PREPARING for a flight can be stressful enough, never mind arriving at the terminal to learn you can't bring items in your packed lunch through airport security.
Here we take an in-depth look at what is and what isn't allowed through to ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Can I take food through airport security?
Let's face it, prices for food at airports are often inflated, with passengers unable to go anywhere else to get something to eat.
By taking your own food, it saves you having to fork out at those pricey airport restaurants.
Cakes, sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and all other completely solid food are fine to take through UK airport security.
However, there are a number of items that you need to treat as liquids.
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For example, pots of jam, hummus, syrups, honey and guacamole all have to be in 100ml or under containers – and they have to fit in that tiny plastic bag with your liquids.
Bizarrely, if you took the hummus out of the pot and spread it on a slice of bread, it would be considered acceptable to go through.
Jars of olives and gherkins also count as a liquid, even though they are mainly solids, because they contain a considerable amount of juice.
And items in cans, such as tuna, are also banned as they exceed 100ml and contain liquid.
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This also means sauces, yoghurt, vinegar and oil are banned if they exceed 100ml.
But sweet treats such as caramel or liquid-filled chocolates are allowed – but must also fit in your 100ml bag, along with all your other liquids.
Hard cheese is fine in your hand luggage, but soft cheese has to go in the hold.
Soup counts as a liquid, not a solid.
The general rule of thumb with taking food through airport security is to have it in your hold luggage as in most cases it will cause issues on the x-ray machine.
This could lead to delays and you having to empty out all of your hand luggage.
It is also worth checking if you have US customs pre-clearance – where US customs are stationed at UK airports – if you are travelling to the US.
That's because some travellers have complained that they were made to ditch items like ham sandwiches as they didn’t comply with US customs laws.
Just remember that airport security reserves the right to confiscate anything they deem as dangerous, even if it plays by the rules.
Can I take drinks through airport security?
All liquids must be under 100ml at airport security, or they will be confiscated.
This rule has been in place since 2006.
Any liquids you are taking through airport security must be placed in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm.
Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally cannot go through security even if the container is only part full.
There are some exemptions including items needed for essential medical purposes, baby milk and any dietary requirements.
Once you have passed through security you can buy drinks in the departure area to take on the plane.
You can also take an empty water bottle through security and then refill it at a water fountain.
You can then take this on the plane and drink it.
If you buy a bottle of bubbly or other alcohol above 100ml at the airport, this should be fine to take on board as it will be sealed in an airport bag.
However, you must not open the security bag until you reach your final destination.
In November 2022, it was revealed that the 100ml restriction is set to be ditched by 2024.
The new rules will allow drinks, makeup, and liquids of any size to be carried in hand luggage.
It is worth noting that there are exceptions to the rules, with the government website stating that you can take liquid containers of greater volume than 100ml if they are for essential medical purposes, are for special dietary requirements or contain baby food/milk.
Can I take baby food through airport security?
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If your child is two or under you are allowed to carry some items in your hand baggage, including baby milk and sterilised water – the amount needed for your journey.
Expressed breast milk can be taken in unlimited quantities, as long as it's in individual containers that are no larger than two litres per container, and baby food in liquid, gel or paste form is also fine.
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