Airport security

Travelling through Southampton Airport should be easy, fast and friendly. We strive to achieve an average security wait time of less than 5 minutes and this information should help you prepare for your trip before you travel.

Hand luggage  

Watch this short video and read the guidance below to see what you can and can’t pack in your hand luggage, how to pack to save you time and what to expect at Southampton Airport security.

Liquids 100ml rule

There are legal restrictions on packing liquids in hand luggage. The following restrictions apply to all liquids, creams, gels, pastes, including bottled drinks, food products, lotions, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries.

  • Containers carrying liquids must be no bigger than 100ml in size. Liquids in containers over 100ml in size will not be permitted (even if the container is only part full).
  • Liquids must be presented for screening in a single bag which is:
  1. Transparent and resealable
  2. No larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in)
  3. Able to close comfortably with all the items inside.
  • Only one bag of liquids is permitted per passenger.

Please note: clear bags are available at the airport free of charge.

The following exceptions may be made to the 100ml rule:

  • Baby food or baby milk: Please carry only what you need for your journey. Additional tests may be conducted.
  • Liquid medicines: You may be asked to provide evidence that you need them for your journey. Additional tests may be conducted.

Security screening

Both you and your hand baggage will be screened at security control. Your bag, personal belongings and some clothing items will need to be put into a tray and screened by X-ray.

  • Laptops and large electrical items must be removed from your bag and placed in your tray separately from your other items.
  • Put coins, keys, mobile phones and other small items in your coat or hand baggage.
  • Place your hand baggage, coat and belt into a tray.
  • Place any liquid items, correctly bagged and sealed, into the tray, separate from your other items.
  • Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs will also be subject to search.

To save time, we advise you to only place items required for the flight in your hand baggage.

Carrying gifts in hand luggage

  • Avoid wrapping gifts. Security staff may wish to view them, and so may need to unwrap them.
  • Never carry anything on to an aircraft for anyone else

Banned items

For safety reasons the following items cannot be taken on to an aircraft. Please do not pack them in any luggage (hand baggage or checked-in hold baggage).

  • Bleaches
  • Cigarette lighters including refills
  • Corrosive materials
  • Creosote, quicklime, oiled paper
  • Explosives, ammunition, detonators and related equipment
  • Fire lighters, lighter fuel, paints, thinners
  • Flammable liquids and solids
  • Infectious substances such as live virus materials
  • Instruments containing magnets
  • Instruments containing mercury
  • Mace spray
  • Magnetrons
  • Mercury
  • Non-safety matches
  • Organic peroxides
  • Oxidisers such as bleaching powders
  • Oxidising materials
  • Party Poppers, Fireworks and pyrotechnics
  • Poisons, arsenic, cyanide, weedkiller
  • Radioactive materials, acids, corrosives, alkalis, caustic soda
  • Smoke canisters and smoke cartridges
  • Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders
  • Thinners and solvents
  • Vehicle fuel system components which have contained fuel
  • Wet-cell car batteries.

Items banned from hand luggage

In addition to the items listed above, the following may not be carried in hand baggage.

  • Sharp items. This includes knives (with blades over 6cm), razor blades, box cutters, scissors (with blades over 6cm from fulcrim), axes, hatchets, cleavers, ice axes, ice picks, swords, sabres and sharp or pointed martial arts equipment.
  • Projectile-firing weapons. These include firearms, toy guns, replica/imitation guns, firearm parts (except telescopic sights), airguns, pellet guns, BB guns, flare guns, starting pistols, bows or crossbows, arrows, harpoon guns, spear guns, slingshots and catapults.
  • Stunning devices and incapacitating devices. Including stun guns, stun batons, tasers, animal killers, incapacitating chemicals, gases and sprays such as Mace, pepper sprays, acid sprays, tear gas and animal repellent sprays.
  • Tools. This includes crowbars, drills, power drills and drill bits, saws, blowtorches, bolt guns, nail guns, or any tool with a blade or shaft over 6cm (eg screwdrivers or chisels).
  • Blunt instruments. This includes baseball/softball bats, clubs, batons  and martial arts equipment.
  • Explosive or incendiary substances and devices. This includes ammunition, blasting caps, detonators and fuses, replica/imitation explosive devices, mines, grenades, fireworks, pyrotechnics, smoke canisters, smoke cartridges, dynamite, gunpowder or plastic explosives.
  • Dangerous goods. These include flammable or harmful substances such as gases, oxidisers, poisons, corrosives and hazardous biological or chemical material. Non-safety matches, lighter fluid and firelighters are also included. A single cigarette lighter may be carried on your person.

Additionally we may prevent any item considered to pose a security or safety risk from passing through security. If you are in any doubt about a particular item within your hand baggage, we recommend you to pack it in your hold baggage instead.

Please visit our Security FAQs page for further information.