Airport Security Stress

One of the most stressful parts of going on holiday is getting there – even more so with two young children in tow. And because of the boom in popularity of low cost carriers like Ryanair and EasyJet, we are used to paying very little for our tickets, but a comparatively large amount for the luxury of taking a suitcase with us. So, the queues at the security checks are getting longer and longer as we try to squeeze enough clothing and toiletries to last a fortnight in Tenerife, into a cabin approved bag to avoid doubling the cost of our tickets. The issue with doing this, though, is that there are tighter restrictions on what can go in our bags when we’re taking them on board as cabin bags compared to if they were going in the hold. And when we get it wrong, we are forced to either bin whatever is not compliant or go back round to the check-in desk and pay even more to check the bag at short notice than we would have if we’d pre-booked. Because most of the restrictions are due to security rather than anything else, I tend to use the government’s website as a starting point for what I can and can’t carry in my hand baggage, before checking the airline’s website to confirm the size and weight of the bags. The basic rules that I follow are:


As a general rule, each liquid container is limited to 100ml. This limit is for the capacity of the container, rather than the amount of liquid in it. This means that a half-full 200ml capacity wouldn’t be permitted, whereas a full 100ml bottle would.

Liquids include more than you’d think; as well as obvious things like drinks, shampoos and sun creams, toothpaste, mascara, aerosols and non-prescribed medication are also subject to the limit. All liquids must be placed in a clear, sealed plastic bag and presented to airport security for scanning.

If you are travelling with a young baby, baby milk and food are exempted from these limits, but the baby does have to be present and you may be asked to taste the milk in front of security.


There are lots of things in this section that you might assume can’t be taken through security, but actually can! These include safety scissors with rounded ends, tweezers, nail clippers, knitting needles, safety matches and disposable razors. However, larger scissors, non-safety matches, a corkscrew and knives cannot be carried.


These vary depending on where you are flying to and from, so the advice here is always to check specifically with your airline. Generally, you will be allowed to carry your phone, tablet, camera and laptop in your hand baggage, but this is not always the case so should be checked with your carrier for specific details.


Musical instruments, sports equipment and work tools can generally be carried in the hold but may need specifically booking in and require extra payment. You should check with your airline for specific advice and to book larger items onto your flight.

Of course, despite trying to be organised, sometimes mistakes do happen, and things get forgotten. If you are in the unfortunate position of having got to the airport and are told that something you have brought with you cannot be carried, your options can be pretty limited. Sometimes, you may be able to pay extra for the airline to carry your items, but this is not always available or can be prohibitively expensive. So, if it is something you can do without, and you’re not lucky enough to have a friend nearby who can come to your rescue and pick it up for you, you could find yourself a bit stuck. One option, depending on where you are flying from, would be to use . This would allow you to check in your item with Left Baggage, knowing it will be securely looked after for the duration of your trip and ready for you to collect on your return. It’s a great solution if you are disorganised or is available to book in advance if you are a bit more organised. Heavy car seats and buggies could be left safely, ready to collect again for a taxi or train journey home from the airport.

Of course, it would be ideal if we could always take everything with us, but it’s nice to know that there are options available.

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