Strict new security measures on hand baggage came into effect across European airports today, regulating the amount of liquids passengers...

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Strict new security measures on hand baggage came into effect across European airports today, regulating the amount of liquids passengers can bring with them on board planes.

The 25-nation European Union agreed to tighten airport security measures after British authorities said in August they had broken up a plot to bring down U.S.-bound flights with liquid-based explosives.

The rules limit the amount of liquids people may take on board planes and reflect efforts to standardize measures. Passengers flying out of Britain, on the other hand, will be able to carry more items onto aircraft from today, as Britain has agreed to lift its total ban on liquids in hand baggage on flights and adopt the new rules.

The rules took effect today at all airports within the EU and in Norway, Iceland and Switzerland (a Europe-wide regulation on the size of carry-on luggage now won’t take effect until April).

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The new European rules on liquids are:

• Each passenger will be allowed to carry on liquids, including creams, lotions, toothpaste, gels and perfumes in individual containers that don’t exceed about 3.3 ounces (100 milliliters) in capacity. (Essential medicines and baby food may be permitted in larger quantities, but must be authenticated.)

• All the containers must be packed in a clear, re-sealable plastic bag that fits in a passenger’s carry-on luggage. Maximum size for the plastic bag is about 8 inches by 8 inches (20 cm by 20 cm).

• The total amount of liquid in the containers must not exceed slightly less than a quart (one liter).

• Drinks and items purchased at duty-free shops past the airport security checkpoints are not included in the total, meaning passengers can carry coffee and/or duty-free liquor or perfume aboard.

Liquids packed in checked luggage are not included in the rules.

• The new European security rules are similar to U.S. security requirements, making it easier for transatlantic travelers. U.S. rules allow air travelers to carry liquid and gels in their hand luggage as long as they’re in containers of 3 ounces (or less) and fit in one quart-sized plastic bag (which measures about 7.5 inches by 8 inches).

Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports mobilized 500 extra people to cope with the changes and ordered over a million plastic bags, a spokeswoman for Aeroports de Paris said.

“Some early morning flights experienced takeoff delays of less than 30 minutes but as of mid-morning the situation was back to normal,” she added.

Before the main security point at Germany’s Frankfurt airport, security staff examined each passenger’s plastic bag during the early morning rush to check its contents kept to the specified rules.

New European Union restrictions on the size of carry-on luggage will not start today; they will come into force on April 17, 2007 in order to give the industry more time to adjust. However, Britain already limits carry-on luggage to one bag (that includes a laptop bag) to a maximum size of 56-by-45-by-25 centimeters (22-by-17-by-10 inches). That size limit will come into force for all EU countries in April, the European Commission said.

Material from the Associated Press, Reuters and Seattle Times Travel staff is included in this report