MD and I are now cooling our heels in the Alitalia lounge waiting for our Alitalia flight to Rome. We endured the heightened security that surrounds all the airports in London right now, and so I figured I would pass along the fruits of our learning to anyone else who might be headed this was. It could have been a disaster, but ended up working out okay for us.
The rule is one and I mean ONE carry on through the security checkpoint. We usually travel with one roll-aboard type bag that we check, one small carry on ( a briefcase for me; a little roll-aboard demi-lune bag for MD) and a purse (for her) and a little message bag filled with medical papers and a book or two (for me). We’ve never had trouble with this setup until the security gate at Heathrow. We were turned away and told ONE and only ONE carry on was permitted.
We had to stuff the message bag and MD’s purse into the larger than normal briefcase-like carry on that I had. If I were traveling with my regular briefcase, we would have been screwed. As it was, it took both of us to hold the side of the briefcase together, push and lock it. I was afraid it was going to pop open at every turn until we got through security. Had we not been able to get all our stuff in, we would have had to throw away MD’s purse (highly unlikely) or my message bag.
So, don’t plan on doing something normal like taking a carry on AND a purse or a briefcase when you fly out of one of London’s airports. We fly back to the states out of the airport in Edinburgh. I’ll report on the security issues there once I’ve experienced them.
Travel tips for dealing with Heathrow Airport