Airport security restrictions 2016: Your essential at-a-glance guide

Read this at-a-glance guide to airport security regualtions and don't get caught out

Read this at-a-glance guide to airport security regulations and don’t get caught out

Packing for your holiday? Make sure you read APH.com’s guide to the latest airport security restrictions 2016. From liquids to medications and electrical devices, we’ve the essential information you need. Step away from your packing list and read on…

Also in this feature…

Alongside your guide to the latest airport security regulations for summer 2015 (below), we’ve also got the following related sections to help ease your journey through the airport…

Guide to fast-track security lanes
How much and how to book here
Travel pack price hikes exposed
Find out the shocking truth here

Battery-free mobile device chargers
Beat security ‘switch on’ rules here
Save your smartphone battery tips
No charger? Here’s how to save power

Hand luggage and hold restrictions

From medications to baby food and electronic devices, here’s what air travellers can – and can’t – pack in their hand luggage and suitcases. Check the sections below to make sure you comply with all current regulations…

Liquids in hand luggage

Carrying liquids on planes is subject to tight security measures and restrictions. Failure to comply with these will result in items being confiscated and destroyed. Here’s all the information you need to ensure you’re given the green light.


How much liquid can I carry in my hand luggage:

How much liquid can I carry in my hand luggage: Any container of liquid must not hold more than 100ml. If at all possible, you should pack permitted liquids in your hold luggage. Don’t worry about going thirsty, airlines will provide passengers with free water when on the plane.


What liquids are included:

What liquids are included: The following are covered by restrictions on liquid.

All drinks, including water
Liquid or semi-liquid foods, such as soup, jam, honey and syrups
Cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
Sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
Pastes, including toothpaste
Gels, including hair and shower gel
Contact lens solution
Any other solutions and items of similar consistency


How to carry liquids:

How to carry liquids: If you need to take liquids in your hand luggage, you’ll need to make sure you comply with the following restrictions…

Liquids must be in container that holds no more than 100ml
Containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag that’s approx 20cm x 20cm
Containers must fit easily within the bag so that it can be sealed
Bags must not be knotted or tied up
Each passenger is limited to one plastic bag
Your bag must be available for inspection at the security point


Liquids exempt from 100ml rule:

Liquids exempt from 100ml rule: Some liquids can be carried in quantities of more than 100ml. These can include the follow

Liquids essential for medical purposes within the duration of the flight
Liquids that are for special dietary requirements
Liquid containers that hold baby milk or baby food
Liquids of more than 100ml if bought after security:


You can take liquids of more than 100ml bought in duty free if:

You can take liquids of more than 100ml bought in duty free if:

The items are sealed inside a security bag when you buy them
The receipt for the items is sealed within the security bag and visible
You must not open the bag until you pass through security at your final destination


Baby food explained

Make sure you're up to date with the latest regulations on baby food

Make sure you’re up to date with the latest regulations on baby food

Anyone travelling with a young baby will need to be especially sure they’re up to date with the latest regulations. Fortunately, baby milk, sterilised water and baby food is all allowed in hand luggage – and in many cases it will be acceptable for this to be more than the usual 100ml cut-off.

Please note: Baby food must be packed in compliance with instructions for all other liquids. This includes being placed in a clear plastic bag that can be sealed without being tied. Be prepared for airport security staff to open and screen any baby foods or associated liquids at the security point.

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
Breast milk, formula milk, cow’s milkYesYes
Sterilised water for the babyYes (must be in a baby bottle)Yes
Soya milk for babiesYesYes
Baby foodYesYes

Lighters

Smokers can only carry one lighter on board the plane. This must be in hand luggage only and should be packed within a clear, resealable bag – like the one used for your liquids. This must be kept on your person at all times and not packed in the hold or within your hand luggage.

Mobility aids

Items to aid mobility are usually allowed in the plane’s cabin, but will need to go through security screening as usual. Battery powered items, such as wheelchairs, may have restrictions. Please contact your carrier for advice.

Personal items… hold or hand luggage

Where would you pack this lot? Find out this and more here...

Where would you pack this lot? Find out this and more here…

Planning to take any of the following items on your trip? Here’s where to pack them. Click below for a full rundown of what and where you should pack your everyday bits and bobs…


Where to pack your personal items: Hand luggage or hold...

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
CorkscrewNoYes
SpoonYesYes
Knife (Sharp or pointed blade and/or blade longer than 6cm)NoYes – check with airline
Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm)YesYes
Large scissors (with blades longer than 6cm)NoYes – check with airline
Round-ended/blunt scissorsYesYes
Fixed-cartridge razor blades (disposable razor)YesYes
Nail clippers/nail fileYesYes
TweezersYesYes
Knitting needlesYesYes
Sewing needleYesYes
UmbrellaYesYes
Walking stick/cane, walking aidYesYes
PushchairYesYes
WheelchairYesYes
Safety matchesYesNo
Non-safety matchesNoNo
Fireworks, flares, party poppers and toy capsNoNo
Cigarette lighterNo, but see section aboveNo
Contact lens solutionYes (up to 100ml)Yes


Essential medications and medical equipment

Many of us need to take regular medication and this shouldn’t be a barrier to travelling the globe – just make sure you’re aware of the rules. Click below for what you can and can’t take on the plane.


Overview: The info you need to get started

Overview: If you have a medical condition that requires medication, you should be allowed to carry quantities of more than 100ml in your hand luggage. This includes medicines and equipment such as inhalers and liquid dietary foodstuffs. However, these items must all be made available for screening if required.


Letter from a medical professional: Get the doc writing

Letter from a medical professional: Anyone who needs to carry medication in quantities exceeding 100ml, or medical equipment in hand luggage will need to have this confirmed in writing from a relevant and qualified medical professional. The letter must be available for inspection at all times. Most doctors will charge for this letter (from £10 upwards) and some might want to see you before they’ll write it, so make sure you request it at least two weeks before flying.


Original packaging: Loose pills cause problems

Original packaging: You should always keep all medicines in their original packaging and not be packed loose.


Where to pack: At-a-glance guide to travelling with your medicines

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
Tablets and capsulesYesYes
Essential liquid medicinesYes (over 100ml if successfully screenedYes
Hypodermic syringesYesYes
InhalersYesYes
Cooling gel packsYes (if screened successfully)Yes
Medical equipment (eg CPAP and TENS)YesYes
Oxygen cylindersContact your airlineContact your airline


Electronic devices

We’re all travelling with more electronic devices, so it’s important to keep up with the ever-changing airport security regulation that apply to them. Here’s all you need to know.

Keep all devices charged

When flying to and from the UK, you will need to ensure that all electronic devices can be switched on if required. Failure to do this could mean you are not allowed to board or have your device barred from the flight. Here is all the information you need.


What are the new security measures:

From 2014, anyone flying from a UK airport has been expected to show that electronic devices in their hand luggage can be switched on. This doesn’t just apply to US-bound flights, either – passengers could be asked to power-up devices on any route.


Are devices checked at ‘security’ or at the boarding gate:

Interesting question. Many airlines are stating on their websites that they have charging facilities at the gate where passengers can charge devices if they have time. When we contacted the DfT, a spokesman told us this information was not available for security reasons. The spokesman’s advice was to make sure all your devices are charged while at the airport. However, most statements from airlines suggest that it is ‘at the gate’ where you’ll need to prove the device is operational. This is important because it opens up more ‘charging’ locations.

Is it just phones and laptops:

Phones, tablets and laptops will certainly be on the list, but also devices such as MP3 players, camera equipment, electric shavers, along with hair dryers and straighteners. These are all devices that you’re allowed to carry in hand luggage.


Will I need to worry about devices in the hold:

It’s not clear and the Department for Transport has not elaborated on this. Our advice is that it would be prudent to ensure devices in the hold can be switched on.


Which airports and destinations:

Once again, the DfT is not giving away detailed information apart from confirming the restrictions will apply to flights to and from the United States. However, the underlying advice is that all international passengers should be in a position to comply with requests to turn on devices. UK travel organisation ABTA says the DfT has advised it that the new measures will affect ‘some routes into and out of the UK’ but it’s not saying which.


What will airlines do if the device won’t switch on:

Here’s how a selection of popular airlines plan to address the problem of passengers with uncharged or broken devices.

British Airways: BAoriginally said that out-of-charge passengers would have to reschedule their flight but later updated this by stating they could choose to fly and have the device posted to an address of their choice. The airline will foot the bill.

Virgin Atlantic: Like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic has offered to pay for the broken or uncharged device to be posted to an address of the passenger’s choice.

Thomas Cook: The airline says that passengers would be allowed to join the flight from Gatwick Airport if they left their drained device behind, or arranged to have it forwarded on – presumably at their own cost.

Monarch and Thomson Holidays: No comment has been issued.

easyJet: The budget airline gave APH the following statement: “The safety and security of its passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority. The airline fully adheres to all regulations which apply to its flights.  easyJet is aware that the DfT may extend some of the new security measures but at this stage no new measures have been applied to passengers flying on easyJet flights. If that changes we will advise our passengers accordingly.”

American Airlines: The airline told Huffington Post: “Customers departing from certain European airports with electronic devices that won’t power on will be given the option to mail the device to their home or other location, discard the device, or be rebooked on a later flight at no charge.”


What if my devices aren’t charged when asked to turn them on:

Anyone who can’t turn on a device when asked could be barred from the flight, or more likely have the device confiscated.


Can I charge my device at the airport:

If your phone or other device is out of charge, there are options at most airports. This may include dedicated chargers, or just free plug sockets around the terminal. A recent study found that Heathrow and Luton airports had the most sockets.


Where should I pack my electronic devices

Hold or hand luggage, here’s our at-a-glance guide to packing your gadgets… Simply click below to see.


Electronic devices: Where to pack your gadgets

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
Mobile phoneYesYes
LaptopYesYes
Tablet devicesYesYes
MP3 playerYesYes
Hairdryer or straightenersYesYes
Camera and camera equipmentYesYes
Travel ironYesYes
Electric shaverYesYes


Spare batteries: Batteries for items such as cameras, tablets, laptops and smartphones can be subject to restrictions regarding where you can carry them on a plane. Contact your airline or clink the following link for more information.
CAA advice on travelling with spare batteries

Gas-powered hair curlers: These can be taken onto the plane in hold- or hand luggage provided the gas cartridge is fitted and the safety cover remains fitted at all times. You must not take additional gas onto the aircraft in either hold- or hand luggage.

Sports equipment

Anyone for tennis? Where should you pack your sports kit...

Anyone for tennis? Where should you pack your sports kit…

Heading away for sporty break? Here’s the information you need to know about getting your equipment through airport security.

Here’s where you need to be packing your kit…Click below to reveal.


Where to pack your sports equipment: At-a-glance guide to hold or hand luggage

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
Sports parachuteYesYes
Bat, racquet or sports stickNoYes
Snooker, pool or billiard cueNoYes
Golf clubsNoYes
DartsNoYes
Walking/hiking polesNoYes
Fishing rodNoYes
CatapultNoYes
Firearms (including replica firearms)NoCheck with your airline before you travel
Harpoon or spear gunNoYes
CrossbowtNoYes
Martial arts equipment NoYes
Diving equipmentCheck with airlineCheck with airline


Working abroad

Heading overseas to ply your trade? You might want to read this information regarding where you should pack your tools…

Click below to find the information you need…


Packing your tools: At-a-glance guide

ItemAllowed in hand luggageAllowed in hold luggage
Tool with a blade or shaft longer than 6cmNoYes
Drill and drill bitsNoYes
Stanley knifeNoYes
Saw (incl portable power saw)NoYes
ScrewdriverNoYes
HammerNoYes
PliersNoYes
Wrench or spannerNoYes
Bolt gun or nail gunNoYes
CrowbarNoYes
BlowtorchNoYes

Chemicals and toxic substances

If your holiday’s not complete with a full quota of toxic susbtances, here’s the information you need to consider when packing your case and hand luggage. Click below for information on what you can’t travel with…


You cannot travel with any of the following: Either in hold- or hand luggage

You cannot travel with any of the following…
Oxidisers and organic peroxides, this includes bleach and car body repair kits
Acids and alkalis (such as ‘wet’ batteries)
Corrosives or bleaching agents (including mercury and chlorine)
Vehicle batteries and fuel systems
Self defence sprays (eg mace, pepper spray)
Radioactive materials (including medicinal or commercial isotopes)
Poisons or toxic substances (such as rat poison)
Biological hazards (eg infected blood, bacteria, viruses)
Materials that could spontaneously combust
Fire extinguishers


Ammunition

It might not surprise you to find out that you can’t take any guns or firearms as hand luggage. Some may be allowed in the hold, so speak to your airline before you fly.


The following are not permitted in the hold or cabin as hand luggage: Never take these

The following are not permitted in the hold or cabin as hand luggage…

Blasting caps
Detonators and fuses
Imitation explosive devices (including replica or model guns)
Mines, grenades, and other explosive military stores
Fireworks and pyrotechnics
Smoke canisters
Smoke cartridges
Dynamite
Gunpowder
Plastic explosives (including black powder and percussion caps)
Flares
Hand grenades
Gun cigarette lighters


Beat the security gate queues

Beat the security queues with The Express Lane at Birmingham Airport

Beat the security queues with The Express Lane at Birmingham Airport image credit

Seeing your life stretch ahead of you in a never-ending queue to the airport security desk can be a little disheartening – and stressful if you have a brood of kids to contend with. Don’t despair, spend a few pounds extra to fast-track the misery and (legally) jump to the front of the queue by booking your spot in one of these priority lanes…

Click below to book your fast-track security lane access at the following airports…

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport
Security FastTrack
How much: £4.50 per person
Book it here

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport
Security Fast Track
How much: £3.50 per person
Book here


Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport
FastTRACK
How much: £5.00 per person
Book here

Bournemouth Airport

Bournemouth Airport
Fast Track
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport
Fast Track
How much: £3.95 per person
Book it here


Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport
Fast Track
How much: Comes with your airline ticket from participating airlines
Find out if you qualify here


Luton Airport

Luton Airport
Priority Lane
How much: £3.00 online – £5.00 at terminal per person
Book it here


Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport
Use the airport’s fast-track system to speed up your progress.
How much: £5.00


Leeds-Bradford Airport

Leeds-Bradford Airport
Fast Track
How much: £4.00 per person
Book it here


Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport
Express Lane
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport
Express Lane
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


Southampton Airport

Southampton Airport
Priority Security
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Aberdeen Airport

Aberdeen Airport
Priority security
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport
Priority Security
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport
FastTrack
How much: £3.50 online – £5.00 at terminal per person
Book it here


Exeter Airport

Exeter Airport
Fast-Track
How much: £4.00
Get more information here

Newcastle Airport

Newcastle Airport
Security Fast Track
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here

More to follow...

Look out for more services as they arrive


Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport
Premium Passport Control has just been launched. It’s open to arrivals only and can help speed up your journey from plane to baggage reclaim. Book ahead and be one of just 50 passengers using the service each hour – ensuring you’ll breeze through. It’s over 18s only, so families are left in the queue. Service must be booked 24 hours in advance.
How much: £12.50 per person – the UK’s most expensive.
Book here

Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport
Security Fast Track
How much: £3.50 per person
Book here


Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport
FastTRACK
How much: £5.00 per person
Book here

Bournemouth Airport

Bournemouth Airport
Fast Track
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport
Fast Track
How much: £3.95 per person
Book it here


Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport
Fast Track
How much: Comes with your airline ticket from participating airlines
Find out if you qualify here


Luton Airport

Luton Airport
Priority Lane
How much: £3.00 online – £5.00 at terminal per person
Book it here


Newcastle Airport

Newcastle Airport
Security Fast Track
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


Leeds-Bradford Airport

Leeds-Bradford Airport
Fast Track
How much: £4.00 per person
Book it here


Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport
Express Lane
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


East Midlands Airport

East Midlands Airport
Express Lane
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here


Southampton Airport

Southampton Airport
Priority Security
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Aberdeen Airport

Aberdeen Airport
Priority security
How much: £3.50 per person
Book it here


Belfast International Airport

Belfast International Airport
Priority Security
How much: £3.00 per person
Book it here (System seems to be unavailable at present)


Liverpool John Lennon Airport

Liverpool John Lennon Airport
FastTrack
How much: £3.50 online – £5.00 at terminal per person
Book it here


Exeter Airport

Exeter Airport
Fast-Track
How much: £4.00
Get more information here


Small products – big prices

Read this before you buy your ‘cute’ little packs of travel toothpaste…

Travel size prices revealed

Travel size prices revealed

Retailers will sell you small versions of regular products – such as toothpaste – to help you beat the 100ml security restriction. That’s very thoughtful of them, you might think – until you see the shocking mark-up you’re being charged. Click below to see a few examples and get decanting…

Click below to reveal the shocking price mark-up on a selection of popular travel pack goods…


Click to see how much extra you're paying: Travel pack prices exposed

Travel packs revealed

Travel packs revealed


Save your battery

Running out of power can leave you looking at the possibility of having your phone confiscated by airport security. If you’re running low and haven’t got time or facilities to charg it, here are some tips for prolonging its life.

How to increase your battery life

How to increase your battery life

While all electrical devices need to be charged, it’s likely to be smartphones that will cause most angst for travellers. So, if your power bar’s heading south at an alarming rate, here are our tips for conserving your battery power.

1: Ensure you close all apps running in the background. Despite not being in use, they’ll constantly check for updates and zap your power.

2: Turn off Wi-Fi, mobile data roaming and Bluetooth. These will continually search for connections and soak up even more power.

3: Turn off GPS. While you might not be able to locate your exact position, looking out of a window and spotting a large jet parked outside should help confirm you’re at the airport. Shutting down your GPS will save plenty of battery power.

4: Disable vibrate: It might be a great way to let you know when your phone’s ringing while it’s set to silent – but it will also take liberties with your battery. Turn it off now.

5: Dim the screen. Doing this will help reduce the amount of power needed to light your screen – giving you even more minutes of battery life. Don’t forget to disable ‘haptic’ feedback, too. This is the slight buzz when you tap the screen while writing texts, etc.

6: Enable airplane mode. Going under the radar for an hour or two at the airport will be a small price to pay for not having your phone confiscated at the gate. Airplane mode will ensure all battery power-munching connections are cut.

Don’t lose your device to a flat battery… Alternative chargers

Getting yourself a portable power pack is a great way to ensure you’ve always got charge in your phone or similar device. However, many power packs require charging themselves – meaning they might not have power to top up your device and then get confiscated themselves. Here are some alternative charging devices that should be ready to go at all times.

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