Airport security: all you need to know
We know there are a million-and-one things to remember before starting your trip, so when it comes to something as important as airport security, and knowing what you can and can’t take with you, it’s good to be prepared. Here’s how.
We’ve put together a quick checklist so you’re clear on how to best prepare for airport security. That way, providing you leave ample time to go through, you can get on with enjoying your trip.
- Have your travel documents ready. (Remember: you don’t need your passport to go through security, just your boarding card.)
- If you’re taking liquids (this includes toiletries, perfumes, cosmetics and food), make sure they’re in containers of 100ml or less, and in a transparent, re-sealable plastic bag. Up to a 1 litre limit.
- Keep these re-sealable bags separate from your hand luggage, and give them straight to security staff.
- Stick to your airline's restrictions on hold and hand baggage weight allowance. See baggage restrictions >>
- Take off your jacket and/or coat. They will be put through the x-ray scanner separately.
- Empty your pockets into the trays provided.
- Remove laptop computers and other large electrical devices (like iPads and tablets) from your hand luggage. These will be screened through the x-ray scanner separately.
- We may ask you to take off your shoes and belt.
What if my boarding card is damaged?
If you check in online, make sure your boarding pass is printed well and on good quality paper. Also, don’t fold it across the barcode, and ensure it’s neither wet nor damaged. We’ll scan it at security, so if it can’t be read, you’ll have to go back to check-in to get a replacement.
What are the restrictions on electronic devices in my hand luggage?
If you’re travelling with electronic devices in your hand luggage, please take the time to look through the Department for Transport’s latest guidelines.
What are the restrictions on liquids?
When travelling from any UK airport, liquids are only permitted in containers of 100ml or less. These containers need to be in a 20cm x 20cm re-sealable, transparent plastic bag and given to security staff separately from your hand luggage.
If you don’t have a bag for your liquids, there are machines at various places in the terminal, including check-in and security. Four bags are £1.00.
You’re allowed a maximum of ten items of 100ml or less, in no more than one bag per passenger. These restrictions only apply to hand baggage; liquids can still be packed in your hold luggage. See dangerous and prohibited items and hand luggage restrictions >>
What types of liquids can I take?
The following liquids are permitted, provided they’re in containers of no more than 100ml: gels, pastes, creams, contents of pressurised containers, drinks, soups, syrups, deodorant, shaving gel or foam and aerosols. See liquid guidelines >>
Please bear in mind that this is not a definitive list. Do not pack any sharp or restricted items in your hand luggage. At Bristol Airport we class laser pointers as such. See a full list of dangerous and prohibited items >>
If you’re unsure, please ask your airline or travel agent before you travel.
How many bags can I take through security, and what are the size restrictions?Airlines flying from Bristol Airport have their own restrictions on weight allowance for hold and hand baggage.
It’s down to you to make sure the amount of bags you take through security meets your airline’s guidelines. This means you avoid being refused entry at the boarding gate.
What if I’m travelling with kids?
You’re allowed to bring a pushchair, buggy or baby car seat, but it will need to go through the x-ray scanner. You’re also allowed to bring baby food, but only the amount that’s necessary for your trip; it will also need to go through the x-ray scanner.
There are no restrictions on powder baby formula, and as long as you are travelling with a baby or infant you can carry a reasonable amount of liquid and liquidised food for the baby or infant. You can either carry the liquids as part of your liquid bag allowance, in which case the standard liquid rules apply; or alternatively separately in containers over 100ml. Following x-ray screening, security officers may also need to carry out additional checks on these items.
We advise checking with your airline about restrictions on taking a pushchair, buggy or baby car seat onto your flight.
What if I need to take medicines or medical equipment with me?
You’re allowed to take the medicines with you that you need to sustain you for your flight, plus a reasonable amount to cover any delays. Anything else should go in your hold baggage. Liquid, aerosol or gel medicines in containers of 100ml or less must be placed inside a clear bag. Liquid, aerosol or gel medicines over 100ml must be carried separately, together with supporting documentary proof of authenticity, such as a prescription label or letter from your doctor.
Even though there is no limit on the amount of medicine you can take through security, it will go through additional security screening. You’ll be asked to prove that you need the medicine.
If you need to bring things like insulin and needles, or asthma inhalers, you are able to do so, but only the amount you need for your flight (put the rest in your hold baggage). Again, you will be asked to prove that you need it.
You can carry contact lenses or lens solution with you, but the current liquid rules apply; each solution container or lens packet must be no more than 100ml and fit inside your transparent liquids bag. Alternatively you can purchase contact lens solution from retail outlets in the departure lounge.
Bringing a wheelchair or walking frame through security is fine and, like all items, it will be searched thoroughly. Check with your airline about restrictions on taking it on your flight.
Should you need to bring medical equipment like heart rate monitors, that’s also fine, provided it meets the restrictions on size. Any equipment like this is subject to security screening.
I'm pregnant or have a pacemaker; must I walk through the metal detector?If you are pregnant or wearing a pacemaker, you may request a hand search instead of walking through the metal detector. Please explain to the officer on duty the reason for your request.
What am I allowed to buy after security?Once you’ve gone through security, you can make the most of the shops and restaurants in the departure lounge.
Anything you buy in the departure lounge can be taken on the plane, including bottled drinks, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries.
If you’re flying with easyJet or Ryanair, you’re allowed one bag of duty free shopping, in addition to your one piece of carry-on luggage.If you’re transiting through a hub (such as Schiphol or Dublin) to an EU country, you need to get your shopping sealed at purchase. If you’re travelling on to a non-EU destination through a hub airport, you could risk having items removed. Speak to us if you have any queries.
For specific flight queries,please contact your airline or tour operator directly.