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Security FAQs

Frequently asked security questions

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Answers to frequently asked questions about security at Southampton Airport, made up of genuine enquiries received from passengers.

  • Bag size and volume
  • Transparent, resealable bags
  • Bag content
  • Contact lenses
  • Toiletries
  • Phones, cameras, electrical items
  • Sharp items
  • General
  • Medicines
  • Families and babies
  • Exceptional items
  • Shopping after security
  • Security control

Bag size and volume

What is the bag size for hand luggage (carry on)?

Your airline may enforce restrictions on the size and number of cabin bags. Please contact your airline for further information.

Can I take a handbag and a piece of hand luggage?

We recommend you contact your airline about hand baggage allowances as these vary between operators.

Transparent, resealable bags

How big can the transparent, resealable bag be?

The capacity must not exceed 1 litre (20cm x 20cm, or 8in x 8in). Bags are available free of charge at the airport.

How many liquid bags can be taken through Security?

Only one bag may be carried per passenger.

Bag content

Can I take liquids in containers over 100ml?

Not in hand luggage. Any liquids in containers over 100ml have to be packed in your main baggage that you check into the aircraft hold. There is a free water fountain facility available by the ground floor toilets in the departure lounge, should you wish to fill up your own water bottle.

Can I pack food and powders in my hand baggage?

Food items and powders in your hand luggage can obstruct images on x-ray machines. Your bags may need to be checked again manually by security. You can put these items in your hold luggage to minimise delays.

Food in sauces or dishes that have a high liquid content will need to be in containers 100ml or less, and go into a transparent, resealable bag.

Can I pack yoghurts and fruit juices in my hand baggage?

Yes, but these need to be in containers 100ml or less, and have to go into your transparent, resealable bag.

Contact lenses

I wear disposable contact lenses. Can I carry spare sets in my hand baggage?

You may carry a couple of spare pairs in your hand baggage. The packages need to be sealed. Beyond that, you should pack in your hold luggage.

Can I take contact lens solution in my hand baggage?

Yes. Contact lens solution must be in a container 100ml or less inside a transparent, resealable bag.


Can I take my lipstick and deodorants on board in my hand luggage?

Yes, you can take on board all solid cosmetics and so a standard lipstick would be acceptable as would solid deodorants. You can also take atomiser/cream/roll-on deodorants in containers up to 100ml. These will need to go in a transparent resealable bag.

Can I buy cosmetics, toiletries and drinks after security?

Yes. If you are on a direct flight to your destination, you can fly with everything you buy after security.

Phones, cameras, electrical items

Can I take electrical items such as an MP3 player, a portable DVD player and a laptop?

Yes, there are no limitations on electrical items. We will ask for items to be removed and screened separately - laptop computers and large electrical items must be removed from hand baggage and placed in the trays with other belongings.

Can I take my digital camera and mobile phone through security?

Yes, but please place these items in your hand luggage or your jacket so that they can go through the X-ray machine.

Can I carry spare batteries in my hand baggage for my electrical items, such as laptop, DVD player, digital camera and mobile phone?

Yes, you can.

Do the increased security measures affect camera film?

No. Independent tests undertaken by the British Photographers' Liaison Committee (BPLC) to establish the full and exact details of any potential film damage caused by baggage screening machines at airports, have given the all-clear to current hand-luggage x-ray inspection systems of the kind installed at Southampton Airport.

Can I carry gas hair tongs in my hand baggage?

Yes you can but you are only allowed to carry the one gas cartridge that powers the appliance. But please double check with your airline first as some carriers may restrict these items.

Sharp items

Can I take a nail file on board in my hand luggage?

Yes, providing the blade is not longer than 6cm

Can I take nail scissors in my hand luggage?

Yes, providing the blades are not longer than 6cm (measured from the fulcrum).

Can I take knitting needles in my hand luggage?

Knitting needles are allowed.


Can I take reading material with me in my hand luggage?

Yes, you can carry on books and magazines, brought with you in your hand luggage, or purchased in the departure lounge.

Will I have to take my shoes off for security screening?

You should remove your footwear for security screening only if you are asked to do so by a security officer.

Can I carry glass items on board in my hand luggage?

Yes you can carry glass items on board

Can crash helmets be carried through security?

Yes, but please contact your airline as some may operate relevant cabin baggage restrictions.

Can I take my jewellery on board?

Yes, the only restriction here might be that some items could be categorised as ‘sharp objects’. If you have any doubts then please check the restrictions in this area.

Can I carry my house keys and car keys in my hand luggage (including the remote lock device)?

Yes, you may carry these either in your pocket (but remove them for screening at security) or in your hand baggage.

Can I carry my glasses case with my glasses in them in my hand luggage?

Yes you can

Can I carry an umbrella in/with my hand luggage?

Umbrellas are permitted. They will be X-ray screened at security control.


What quantities of liquid medication can I take with me on my flight?

Passengers are allowed to take essential medicines sufficient for their journey. Amounts under 100ml should be placed in a transparent, plastic bag with other liquids.

For amounts over 100ml, supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional (eg a letter from your doctor or prescription), is required.

All liquids should be presented at security for x-ray inspection. Additional tests may be conducted.

I carry insulin and hypodermic needles. Is this allowed in my hand luggage?

Yes, you are allowed to carry both the insulin and needles.

I would like to carry some non-prescribed medicine in tablet form, such as paracetamol. May I do that?

Yes, you can. There is no limit to what you carry in tablet or pill form, whether it is prescribed medication or not.

Can I carry an EpiPen in my hand luggage?

Yes you may carry an EpiPen in your hand luggage

I am asthmatic, can I carry an inhaler in my hand luggage?

Yes, you can, but any spare canisters must be in your hold luggage. You may be asked to verify the item.

I have a spray for angina. Is this allowed in my hand luggage?

Yes, you may carry essential medicines for the trip. You may be asked to verify the item.

May I carry a blood pressure monitor in my hand luggage?

Yes, provided it complies with your airline's hand luggage rules. Please contact your airline if in doubt.

We are transferring bone marrow and stem cells out of the country – can we carry them in our hand luggage?

The Anthony Nolan Trust should be notified and they, in turn, should fax the details to security.

I need to carry a liquid wig spray. Can I have this in my hand luggage?

Yes, up to 100ml, and it has to be presented in a transparent plastic bag.

Can I carry my homoeopathic medication, which is in liquid form, in my hand luggage?

The rules for homoeopathic medicines are the same as for other liquid medicines.

Families and babies

Am I allowed to take a baby-bag as well as my own cabin bag, if my child is sitting on my lap?

Please confirm the arrangements with your airline, as different operators have different rules on hand baggage.

Am I allowed to take my child’s pushchair to the departure gate?

Yes, you are allowed to take pushchairs, prams and buggies to the gate. These items will need to be X-rayed, though, and so your child/children will have to be lifted out at security. The security officers may make further checks of the pushchair.

Am I allowed to take children’s puzzle books, games and stickers on board?

Yes, you are allowed to carry these in your hand luggage through security and you can also buy them in the departure lounge.

Can I take wet wipes on the plane?

Yes, you can carry wet wipes with you onboard.

Can I take milk powder with me to make up a bottle of milk on the plane?

Yes, you can carry milk powder.

Does a bottle or carton of prepared milk or sterilized water need to be a maximum of 100ml?

If you are travelling with an infant, these items can exceed 100ml and do not have to fit into the resealable bag. However, the amount must be sufficient for your trip only and you may be asked to open the containers and taste the contents. There are no limits for powder formula; bottled water is available in shops after security. Your airline can provide water during the flight.

What happens if the baby can only tolerate non-dairy and needs soya milk or rice milk?

You may be asked to open the containers and taste the contents. The milk should be in bottles.

Can jars of baby food be taken on board in my hand luggage?

If you are travelling with an infant, you may be asked to open the containers and taste the contents of infant or baby food that you bring with you. Try to only carry what you need for the journey. The jars do not need to go into the resealable bag.

Can I take puréed food in plastic pots or containers in my hand luggage?

For an adult, puréed food is treated as a liquid.

Can we take baby car seats (for use on the plane) through security?

Yes, These may be carried through security and you should check with your airline when you check-in for your flight.

Can we carry sandwiches and crisps for the children through security?

Yes, crisps are fine and sandwiches with any type of filling are also permitted.

Can we carry children’s liquid ibuprofen and paracetamol in our hand luggage?

Yes, carry sufficient for the trip and less than 100ml. You may need to test the liquid medicine by tasting it

Exceptional items

Can I take my musical instrument on board?

Yes, but please contact your airline as different operators have different rules. Instruments will be subject to X-ray screening. Some accessories, such as percussion mallets or wire brushes for drums, may not be allowed in your hand luggage.

I have a hat box. Can I take it with me in the cabin?

Yes, if it fits within any maximum dimensions for hand baggage set by your airline.

Can I carry my wedding dress on board?

Yes, providing it complies with any cabin baggage restrictions imposed by your airline.

I am going on a scuba-diving holiday. How do I transport equipment such as air tanks and CO2 cartridges for buoyancy aids?

Air tanks for diving cannot be carried. Small non-toxic gas cylinders, for example, those used for artificial limbs or in lifejackets, may be carried in the cabin or in hold baggage; however, you must check with your carrier as they must approve the carriage of such items.

Can I carry sports equipment such as flippers and fishing tackle in my hand baggage?

Yes, providing it complies with your airline's hand baggage regulations. There are limitations on sharp objects and so you should double-check none of your equipment is covered by those restrictions.

Can I still padlock my hold luggage? Or does it have to be left open?

Yes, you can still padlock it, or use a combination lock. Luggage that is checked in the USA must either be left unlocked or locked with a special padlock approved by the TSA. Your carrier will be able to give you further details.

Shopping after security

Can I still buy and carry on my tax and duty-free goods?

Yes, absolutely (but to be clear, this is only with items purchased after security checks). Also, if you are flying within the EU you can have it stored until you come back using our Shopping Collection Service. Just ask any of the retailers at the till.

Can I buy water and food in the departure lounge to take on board the flight?

Yes. You can take water on board all flights.

Security control

What do I need to do with my transparent resealable bag?

Have it ready for inspection at security. Ensure it is fastened closed and kept separate to your hand luggage.

What else can I do to help me go through security faster?

  • Remove laptops and other large electrical equipment from your bag and place them in a tray.
  • Put all small items like keys, coins and mobile phones into your coat or hand baggage, then place these into a tray.
  • If you have liquids in containers of 100ml or less, put them into a clear resealable bag, which should be placed alongside other items in your tray.
  • If you have been asked to remove your shoes, place these in the tray too.
  • Place hand baggage onto the roller bed for X-ray screening.
  • Any liquid/paste medicines in containers over 100ml may require verification at the security checkpoint.
  • Go through the security archway when called forward by one of the security officers.

How can you assure me that there will be no terrorists on my plane? What checks do you make on airport staff? How do you know there are no terrorists working in security? Or smuggling bombs on to planes via in-flight food?

The current state of heightened security in the UK is unprecedented and your concern is understandable. We are strictly regulated by the Department for Transport, who have always had procedures in place for us to follow to ensure adequate aviation security. We have processes in place for searching and screening both passengers and their luggage prior to their entry to restricted areas – this also includes screening of the catering provisions.

In addition, there are stringent procedures for screening and vetting all our employees prior to joining the airport’s workforce. These procedures are constantly reviewed, especially in such situations as the current security alert.