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Hand baggage and liquids

See what you can carry through security as hand luggage for flights departing from London Heathrow.

Everything you need to know

To avoid delays, Heathrow operates a two-bag policy at airport security. Only two items of hand baggage may be taken through security control, and they must be no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22in x 18in x 10in). Items larger than this must be checked in as hold luggage – you can check your bag size using the gauges at check-in.

Handbags and laptop bags count as a piece of hand baggage.

Only limited quantities of liquids may be carried through airport security into the departure lounge. This includes bottled drinks, suntan lotion, fragrances, cosmetics, toiletries and all frozen liquids.

The following restrictions apply to all liquids, creams, gels, pastes and aerosols taken through security control:

  • Liquids may only be carried in containers holding 100ml or less.
  • They must be carried separately in a single bag which is:
    • Transparent and resealable
    • No larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in)
    • Able to close properly with all the items inside.
  • At security control, place the bag in the tray with your other items.
  • Liquids in containers over 100ml will not be permitted through security – please pack them in your hold baggage instead.

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

  • Baby food or baby milk: breast milk can be carried in the cabin; when it is stored in a clear, transparent container or bag. Flasks cannot be permitted. The volume of each container / bag should not exceed 2litres. Breast milk should be in a liquid format and not frozen. When travelling without an infant only breast milk can be carried in quantities greater than 100ml, this does not apply to formula milk or other baby juice / food. Please check with your airline as individual hand baggage allowance can vary.
  • You may also wish to take advantage of our pre-order service for collection after security by calling us on 0800 678 5324 or email us.
  • Liquid medicines: You are only permitted to carry quantities of liquid medication in excess of your personal liquid allowance where it is needed during the course of your flight. All medication should be accompanied by documentary proof of authenticity, such as a prescription or letter from a medical practitioner confirming that you need them for your journey. Liquid medication that is not required on the flight should be carried as hold luggage. Find out more about travelling with medicines.

Explosive or flammable liquids, and those that are considered toxic, are not permitted in either hand or hold luggage.

Food or powders should be packed into hold baggage where possible. Although these items are permitted in hand luggage (except flights to the US - see below), they can obstruct images on the x-ray machine, or may be mistaken for suspicious items – so putting them in the hold will help reduce the need for additional checks. Passengers who need to take these items on board should therefore allow extra time at security.

For further information go to

If you are travelling to the US restrictions are in place for passengers carrying powders of over 350ml (drinks can size) or 350g. These items are prohibited from carriage in the cabin. Medical powders such as medicines, baby powders and human ashes are still permitted but subject to further checks. Passengers are asked to make sure items are carried in original packaging where possible with the seals intact and where appropriate proof of authenticity such as a prescription.

Powders purchased in duty free may be carried provided they are packaged in a security tamper evident bag (STEB) inside of which is a receipt proving the item has been purchased airside at an airport.

For further information and specific details please contact your airline

Please ensure your electronic devices are charged. If they don't switch on, you may not be allowed to take them on to the aircraft.
Charging points are available throughout the airport.

More information from

  • All cabin baggage will be X-ray screened.
  • Place laptops and large electrical items separately in a tray.
  • Put coins, keys, mobile phones and other small items in your coat or hand baggage.
  • Place your hand baggage and coat into a tray.
  • Place any liquid items (important: see 'Liquids - 100ml rule' above), correctly bagged, into the tray.
  • Pushchairs and walking aids will be X-ray screened.
  • Wheelchairs will be thoroughly searched.

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

The following items 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 fulcrum), 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, Tasers, animal killers, incapacitating chemicals, gases or sprays (eg Mace), pepper sprays, tear gas and animal repellent sprays.


This includes crowbars, 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, night sticks and martial arts equipment.

Explosive or incendiary substances

This includes ammunition, blasting caps, detonators and fuses, replica/imitation explosive devices, mines, grenades, 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. Industrial adhesives/glue, non-safety matches, lighter fluid and firelighters are also included. The CAA website's dangerous goods page* contains full details.
* Please note that this list only refers to the carriage of items on board the aircraft. With regards to liquids, you will still be restricted to 100ml when passing through security.

Cigarette lighters

A single cigarette lighter is allowed and must be placed in a re-sealable, plastic bag along with your other liquids. (See Liquids 100ml rule above).
We may additionally prevent any item considered to pose a security or safety risk from passing through to the departure lounge.
If you are in any doubt about a particular item of hand baggage, we recommend you to pack it in your hold baggage instead. Please see our hold baggage page for what can and can't be carried.

For most destinations, anything you buy after security control can be taken on board the aircraft. This includes bottled drinks, fragrances and cosmetics in sizes over 100ml.
Please note the following exceptions:


Liquids in containers over 100ml may not be taken on these flights.

Connecting flights after Heathrow

For some destinations, restrictions apply on the sale of liquids if you're stopping en route after Heathrow.
This is because you'll have to pass through security at the connecting airport.
Please ask shop staff if you're unsure. Our shopping A-Z page lists stores' phone numbers.

Returning the same day

For some destinations, if you're returning on the same day, there are restrictions on the sale of liquids at Heathrow.
This is because you'll have to pass through security at your destination airport when you catch the return flight.
Please ask shop staff if you're unsure. Our shopping A-Z page lists stores' phone numbers.