A Guide To Heathrow Airports Hand Luggage Restrictions}

A guide to Heathrow Airports hand luggage restrictions


Paula Garrett

Strict hand luggage and liquid restrictions were imposed at Heathrow, and all UK airports, last summer. These restrictions have been in place for more than a year now, and yet, in excess of five tons of liquids and gels are confiscated at the UK airports every day due to ignorance of the restrictions.

Ignorance of the restrictions can be extremely expensive a few weeks ago one UK airport reported confiscating a 750 vintage bottle of champagne packed in a passengers hand luggage. Whilst not everyone carries, or can afford to carry, such expensive items in their hand luggage, failure to adhere to the restrictions will lead to the confiscation of perfume, beauty products, sun cream or anything that falls outside regulations. The current restrictions are detailed below to assist you in packing your hand luggage and help you avoid losing money.

Hand luggage restrictions

Passengers are permitted to carry ONE item of hand baggage each, no larger than 56 x 45 x 25cm (22 x 17.7 x 10 inches) including wheels, handles and outside pockets – these dimensions are the maximum size allowed – some airlines specify smaller hand luggage sizes and it is always advisable to check with your airlines website prior to departure. Other bags, such as a handbag (purse), may be carried but must fit within the single item of cabin baggage. A laptop, if carried, must fit within the one item of hand baggage, or if carried separately will be regarded as the one piece of cabin baggage.Any gifts carried in hand luggage must not be wrapped and must fit within your one bag entitlement.

Restrictions on liquids

Liquids, gels and aerosols can only be carried in individual 100ml containers (larger containers, even if only partially full, will be confiscated) and should fit comfortably within a transparent, re-sealable bag measuring a maximum of 20cm by 20cm, with a capacity of no more than a litre.

Where possible, it is advisable to put all liquids, such as water, drinks, creams, sprays, pastes and gels, in check-in luggage. Dont forget liquids include all perfumes, sprays and pressurised containers including shaving foam and spray deodorants, mascara, soups, liquid foundation, toothpaste, hair and shower gel and sun cream.


If you have any questions connected with cabin baggage they should be directed to Heathrow Airport or your airline before you travel.

Liquids can usually be purchased beyond airport security, in the departures area, as these liquids are subject to a separate screening process.

Baby Food

Liquid baby food, water and milk, sufficient for the flight, can be taken through Heathrow airport security, however, the accompanying parent will be required to verify the liquids by tasting them.

Essential Liquid Dietary Foodstuffs

Essential liquid dietary foodstuffs can be taken through airport security but will be subject to verification by the passenger.

Medicines required during the flight

Any essential medicines for the period of the trip may be permitted in larger quantities than 100ml but will require authentication passengers must have obtained agreement with the airline and airport prior to departure and must bring supporting documentation with them from a relevant qualified medical professional.

Syringes required for diabetics or for other medical reasons will only be permitted in hand luggage if medical necessity can be proven. Check with the airline in advance to check what proof is required.

Cigarette lighters

One lighter per person may be carried through security. Lighters form part of the liquid allowance and must fit within the liquids bag, however, they may be screened separately. Passengers must carry their lighter on their person for the duration of the flight they must not be placed in hand luggage.

Cigarette lighters are not permitted in hand baggage or about your person when travelling to/from/via the USA and specific Caribbean countries – Barbados and Jamaica.

Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs

These are permitted but will be security screened.

Musical instruments

Large musical instruments that do not fit into the hand luggage bag are allowed as a second item of cabin baggage but will be screened separately. Passengers must check with their airlines as to whether special arrangements are required, such as purchasing an extra seat for the instrument.

The above security restrictions have been in place for more than a year and it should be noted that if you pack banned substances which are confiscated at the airport, you will not be compensated and items are rarely returned.

Paula Garrett is a contributor to

Heathrow Information

and recommends checking the site for for

up-to-date Heathrow security


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A guide to Heathrow Airports hand luggage restrictions }