A Guide to Security at Airports
Security at airports has tightened significantly since the events that took place on 9/11. If you haven’t flown since then, or you’re a first time flyer, it is essential that you are aware of airport security procedures, so you can sail through, and not cause unnecessary delays for yourself and /or your family. Please use this as a guide only, and check Gatwick Airports website for more information.
How much time?
Long-haul flights – check in 3 hours prior to departure
European flights – check in 2 hours prior to departure
Domestic flights – check in 90 minutes prior to departure
Have your boarding card / documents ready for inspection
Understand the baggage restriction rules
Place all liquids, gels, creams and pastes in containers of 100ml or less, in a clear, re-sealable, plastic bag for security staff to x-ray separately
Be ready to take off your coat, shoes, belts and hats if asked
Take your laptop, tablet or any other large electrical items from your hand luggage for separate screening
Security are there to help you – be nice to staff and always follow procedures
Baggage restrictions / restricted items
Ensure you check with your airline, and with the airport, what their baggage regulations are. Failure to do so will only slow you down at security, whilst having any prohibited / restricted items confiscated, usually without return or compensation.
Hand baggage rules
Generally it is advised, by Gatwick Airport, to keep hand baggage at the minimum, and although it is important to check individual baggage rules with your airline / carrier, they do offer these general guidelines;
Allow yourself plenty of time to be screened at security. They cannot rush through this important point, just because you are running late.
One piece of hand luggage only, which generally should not exceed 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. You may or may not be allowed to carry a handbag also, please double check with your airline.
Place all liquids, gels, creams and pastes in containers of 100ml or less, in a clear, re-sealable, plastic bag (maximum size: 20cm x 20cm) for security staff to x-ray separately.
Please check below, or on the Gatwick Airport website, for a full list of restricted, and fully prohibited items such as sharp items.
Hold baggage / Check In baggage rules
Gatwick advises & recommends that its passengers place most items in their hold baggage so that getting through security is quicker, and easier. You are also allowed to take many restricted items such as razors in your hold baggage, which is checked – in, that you are unable to take in your hand luggage. Please see lists of restricted / prohibited items below, whilst also checking with your airline.
Please check allowances for medical equipment such as syringes for diabetes, and other medication you need to travel with. You may need to phone your airline carrier or airport to check, and may need to provide proof of the medical condition you have.
Always have your prescription / medical note with you
There is a 100ml maximum with medicines also, and must be kept in a transparent, re-sealable bag.
There’s no limit for powder or pills, but it is advised that you check with the airline, and get their approval.
Following the events of 9/11, there are now tight rules around the carrying of baby foods / liquids.
It is advised you only bring the amount that you need for the journey.
Powdered milk foods, and baby wipes are accepted
Any milk or food in liquid, gel or paste form may need to be tasted by yourself. This can sometimes be up to 50% of the contents.
Boots offer a great service, where you can pre-order, and collect baby milk from the departure lounge, to avoid an issue at security.
Common restricted items include, but are not limited to;
- Razor blades
- Knives with
- Household cutlery
- Party poppers
- Hypodermic needles (unless required for medical reasons)
- Toy or replica guns (inc. water pistols)
- Sporting bats and clubs
- Billiard, snooker or pool cues
Common prohibited items include, but are not limited to;
- Flammable liquids and solids
- Oxidisers – such as bleaching powders
- Organic peroxides
- Gas cylinders
- Tear gas cylinders
- Infectious substances – live virus materials
- Wet car cell batteries
- Instruments containing magnets
- Instruments containing mercury
- Non-safety matches, fire-lighters, lighter fuel
- Paints, thinners
- Vehicle fuel system parts which have contained fuel.
- Poisons, arsenic, cyanide, weed killer
- Acids, corrosives, alkalis, caustic soda
- Creosote, quicklime, oiled paper
- Radioactive materials