I no longer bother taking my liquids out of my suitcase when going through security, and no one hassles me. The official word is that the TSA will gradually relax rules on liquids in carry-on baggage through 2010:
But my friends and I have repeatedly gone through security with liquids (a) still in the bag, not in a separate bin, (b) larger than 3 oz. My suspicion is that the TSA just doesn’t want to appear stupid for having made a huge fuss about liquids for no reason, so they’ve told screeners not to worry about them any more while keeping the official policy intact.
Standards probably still vary depending on the airport, but I’ve done this at SFO, Oakland, Las Vegas, and Islip, and I’m about to try Madison. Ooh, the suspense!!!
–Your friendly travel advice columnist.