Air Travel Rules UK FAQS

How long before my flight should I get to the airport? 

This varies quite a bit. It can depend on the size of the airport and the time of day you are travelling, and whether you are flying to a domestic, European or international destination – so it iss best to find out from the airline directly beforehand.

As a general rule, many airports recommend at least two hours before you travel and it’s always better to arrive with time to spare.

You can help to take the stress out of the day by making sure you are prepared before you leave home. For example, make sure you know which terminal you’re flying from; keep tickets and passports handy; make sure cabin baggage meets the airline’s size requirements; and pack any liquids into the baggage that will go in the hold.

How many bags can I check-in? 

Airlines have varying limits as to what they will put in the hold, usually measured by weight, so it is best to check beforehand.

How many bags will I be able to take on to the plane with me? 

Passengers are limited to one item of cabin baggage, whatever class of travel.

Make sure everything you need for the plane can fit into a single bag that is no more than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (including wheels, handles and external pockets).

It’s vitally important to note that the one bag rule covers laptop bags, handbags and purses as well so they will all need to fit into your one bag to pass through the security check.

Be aware that some airlines may require a smaller bag for commercial reasons.

Also, any large electrical items (including laptops, hairdryers etc) will be screened separately, so it’s best to keep them accessible.

What are the rules about liquids and how much is too much? 

Since the alleged plot last summer, tighter security measures for liquids have been in force at UK, European and international airports.

If you need to, you can take small quantities of liquids through security. But only if they are carried in a single, clear, re-sealable plastic bag and each item is placed in a separate container no greater than 100ml. A freezer bag – approximately 20cm x 20cm or smaller – is about the right size.

Liquids of any size can still be checked into the hold, so it’s best to put these in your main suitcase. You can always buy drinks or toiletries in the departure lounge if you need to, since the goods will have been security screened beforehand.

Containers larger than 100ml such as drinks bottles (including water), even though it might only contain 100ml, are NOT permitted.

What do I do with my medicine or my child’s inhaler?

Inhalers are allowed through, along with any other medicines in tablet or powder form.

Essential medicines that you will need during your trip must be checked through security. Again, they have to be in your clear, plastic, re-sealable bag and in containers of less than 100ml.

For essential medicines of more than 100ml, you will require supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional and prior approval from the airline. This applies to everything from cough medicine through to insulin.

You can also be asked to verify medicines at security, which may involve tasting, or testing on the skin.

Remember, spare containers can always be packed in your hold baggage and you should always make sure you have enough medicine for the whole holiday.

What about other essentials and what do I do about the baby bottle or nappy cream? 

Liquid baby food or sterilised water, sufficient for the journey, can be taken through airport security. The accompanying adult will be required to verify by tasting.

You may also be asked to verify liquids such as nappy cream by testing it on your skin.

Can I take my make-up and hairspray on board with me through security?
Again, only in containers of 100ml and inside the plastic bag – provided it will fit amongst other liquid items you wish to bring. If in doubt, it is by far better to put your make-up and any sprays into your hold baggage.

Is it OK to have alcohol in my baggage? 

Yes, you can check alcohol into the hold baggage and any duty free you buy in the departure lounge can be taken with you on board.

But remember that the liquids restrictions apply at all EU airports and a growing number of other airports across the world, so you might need to pack duty free in the hold baggage for your return journey.

I have to transfer what will happen to the liquids I’ve bought on the way out after going through all the security?
Restrictions apply at transfer points as well. So if you buy a product in Duty Free and it is provided in a sealed bag you MUST NOT open it until you reach your final destination. You should also retain your proof of purchase throughout your journey as you will be required to show it at all transfer points. Always check at your Duty Free shop, or with your carrier.