Liquids in carry-on baggage: what can you take?



Here is a practical guide to what liquids you can take in your hand luggage when you fly to and from UK airports

Imagine the scene. With the steel precision of a NASA scientist, you’ve reduced your capsule wardrobe to the minimum requirements, folded and rolled up your lightest essentials, uploaded your boarding pass – and you’ve, in fact, arrived at the airport with the recommended two hours in advance… then you arrive at security.

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1. What liquids are prohibited on flights to and from the UK?

All drinks: including water
Liquid or semi-liquid foods: including soup, jam, honey and syrups
Cosmetics and toiletries: including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
Vaporizers: including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
Pasta: including toothpaste
Gels: including hair and shower gel
Solution for contact lenses: including other solutions and elements of similar consistency

If you want to take any of these liquids in your hand luggage, there are a few things you need to make sure of:

– You must take no more than 100 ml of any liquid on a flight
– Liquids must be placed in 100 ml individual containers – larger containers, even partially full, are generally not accepted safely
– All 100ml containers should fit in a clear plastic bag no longer than 20cmx20cm
– Only one plastic bag is allowed per passenger
– The the bag must be able to close and be sealed – overly padded plastic bags will not be accepted and you will not be able to tie or tie the top of the bag
– The maximum the total amount of liquid you can take on a flight is one liter
– Bags must be taken out of your hand luggage and presented at the airport security check

Good to know: If you are concerned that your plastic bag may not be up to the task, most UK airports have decent sizes available at security, although some may charge you 20p for one.

Packaging hacking: shop for a few inexpensive essentials at the airport once you get through security and save your space for expensive cosmetics you can’t live without. You can say goodbye to a half-empty bottle of shower gel at the end of your trip, but you won’t want to throw away your favorite moisturizer.

Packaging hacking: Keep your holiday makeup simple with minimal products. Remember that lip gloss and mascara count as liquids!

Packaging hacking: buy reusable 100ml travel containers and fill them with your favorite products at home before you travel.

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2. What are the rules regarding duty-free liquids in carry-on baggage?

If you were going to stock up on alcohol or perfume in the duty-free, don’t panic! All liquids purchased at the airport or on the plane are allowed in your hand luggage, even if they exceed 100 ml. However, you are not allowed to drink from your vodka bottle during the flight, as all items must remain closed and sealed in an airport security bag with a visible receipt. But be careful if you take another flight to another country, as even sealed duty-free bags can be re-checked and subject to that country’s liquid safety regulations.

Do not forget : if you are on the outward journey of your trip, do not buy anything you will need to get home. You can polish this gin bottle while on vacation, but better get that special scent when you get home.

3. Can I take medication in my hand baggage?

If you need to take essential medications or topical skin creams with you when traveling, you don’t have to do without them during the flight. As long as you have a note from your doctor explaining why you need them or a pending prescription, they can stay with you in your carry-on baggage and can exceed 100ml. Remember to show them to security personnel as you pass as they might need to open the containers to filter liquids.

Good to know: Make sure you leave enough time for your doctor to write a note, as this can sometimes take a few weeks and incur costs.

The following table shows the drugs and medical equipment allowed in your hand and / or hold baggage:

Baggage restrictions on medication
Item Is this allowed on board? Is this allowed in the hold?
Tablets and capsules Yes Yes
Liquid drugs Yes – if more than 100 ml are to be tested successfully Yes
Hypodermic syringes Yes Yes
Inhalers Yes Yes
Refreshing gel packs Yes – if screened successfully Yes
Medical equipment, including CPAP and TENS machines Yes Yes

4. What about baby food and milk?

Traveling with a young baby or infant can be stressful enough without having to worry about what you can and cannot take with you. So it’s good to know that you can bring as much baby milk, sterilized water and food as you need for the trip, which can exceed 100ml. As with other liquids, you will need to show these items to security. You can also carry breast milk in your hand luggage even if you are not traveling with a baby, but you cannot carry frozen breast milk. Individual containers of breast milk should not contain more than 2000 ml and each container should be checked at the point of safety.

Good to know: Security personnel may ask you to taste your baby’s water or milk, so be prepared to swallow formula!

Baggage restrictions on milk and baby food
Item Is this allowed on board? Is this allowed in the hold?
Breastmilk Yes Yes
Frozen breast milk No Yes
Soy, infant formula and cow’s milk Yes (baby must be present) Yes
Sterilized water Yes (but must be in a bottle and baby must be present) Yes
Baby food Yes (baby must be present) Yes

These are just a few of the most normal items – find out what more unusual things you are not allowed on a flight.

5. Can I take food on board the flight in my carry-on baggage?

If you don’t want to fork out for soggy food on the plane, you can take your own snacks on board. Solid foods like cookies, fruit, and sandwiches are not restricted on flights, but the above liquid restrictions apply to liquid foods like soup and jam. You will also need to declare any food imported into the UK from outside the EU. You can find more detailed information on this subject on the site.

Good to know: Some countries prohibit or restrict certain foods, so it’s always best to check with your airline and destination country, including which airlines you might be transferred to during your flight.

Within the EU Outside the EU
At the moment you can bring any food into the UK from another EU country. You can bring:
• Up to 10 kg of meat, potatoes or dairy products from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. You are not allowed to bring this type of food into the UK from another country;
• Up to 2 kg of fruits and vegetables for your own use or for family and friends. They must be carried in your personal luggage and be free from pests or diseases;
• Up to 2 kg of eggs, egg products and honey;
• Up to 20 kg of fish or 1 whole fish (whichever is heaviest).

Be warned: Remember honey counts as liquid, so don’t be tempted to take a few jars home as gifts in your carry-on. You will have to throw them at security. Ditto for fine local wines – unless you bought them from the duty free shop.

6. Are lighters or electronic cigarettes allowed on flights?

Yes, but you can only take one lighter or e-cigarette with you when boarding a flight, so don’t take your entire collection! Lighters and e-cigarettes are included in the liquids allowance described above, which means you need to be able to squeeze them into your resealable plastic bag to pass through security, then remove them to take with you when you get on. board the plane.

Good to know: Even if you are allowed to carry a lighter or electronic cigarette on board, the days when you could smoke on a flight are over, so don’t even think about it!

Finally, we’ve put together some FAQs to answer some of the most common queries:

Faq Information
Can I take deodorant or aerosols in hand luggage? Roll-on aerosols and deodorants are classified as liquids, so anything over 100ml will have to fit in your checked baggage. Containers of less than 100 ml are accepted if they are in a transparent plastic bag.
Can I take aftershave or perfume in hand luggage? If the bottle is less than 100ml, then yes, provided it is in a clear plastic bag.
Can I take toothpaste in hand luggage? If the tube contains less than 100ml, then of course – again, as long as it’s in a clear plastic bag.
How many bags of liquids can I take? Passengers are limited to one plastic bag per person.
How many bottles can I take? There is no limit, but all bottles must fit in a plastic bag measuring 20cm x 20cm.

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Information correct as of September 29, 2018, obtained from Please always check the latest guidelines on before booking a trip

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