Liquids in hand baggage

Government authorities in many countries have now defined restrictions on the type and quantity of liquids that may be carried in hand baggage through the airport, or on flights arriving into or departing from their country.

The European Union (EU) liquid policy

The European Union agreed a new policy that brings into line all EU countries. The change in policy protects air travellers against the current security threat. Greater consistency will help customers understand more easily what they can and can't take onboard flights with them in the future.

The EU rules on liquids apply to all air passengers travelling from any EU airport, including UK airports, as well those travelling from Albania, Kosovo, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine, regardless of their destination. The changes became effective from 6 November 2006. Limited quantities of liquids, gels or pastes must be held in individual containers not exceeding 100ml. This may include:

  • Medicines
  • Shampoo
  • Creams
  • Hair gel, hair spray
  • Suntan lotions
  • Toothpaste
  • Liquid or aerosol deodorants
  • Perfumes
  • Cosmetics such as mascara and lip gloss
  • Water and other drinks, soups and syrups
  • Other items of similar consistency

The containers must be carried in a separate clear plastic, zip-top or re-sealable bag that does not exceed 20cm x 20cm (8 x 8 inches) or equivalent to one litre (1.75 pint) capacity.

Items must fit in the bag comfortably and the bag must be completely closed.

At the airport security search, the plastic bag must be removed from the cabin bag and x-ray screened separately.



The North American liquid policy

The Transportation Security Administration in the USA and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority relaxed the restrictions in September 2006 on the carriage of liquids through airport security searches on flights departing airports in the USA and Canada.

Customers may take with them in their cabin bag limited quantities of liquids, gels and aerosols, including travel-size toiletries such as shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, toothpaste, hair gel and hair spray. Containers holding liquids must not exceed three American ounces or 90ml. Liquid containers must be carried in a separate clear plastic zip-top bag that does not exceed 20cm x 20cm, or 8 x 8 inches, or quart size. Items must fit in the bag comfortably and the bag must be completely closed. At the security search, the plastic bag must be removed from the cabin bag and x-ray screened separately. Customers carrying liquids may be subject to secondary searches before boarding.

Countries that do not allow any liquids in hand baggage

The following countries do not permit liquids, gels or cosmetics at all in passenger hand baggage:

  • India
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan
  • St Lucia

Restrictions in place for your intended journey

Restrictions on liquids in hand baggage are now in place for a wide range of countries. To understand more about how this may affect you, please click on a country below for detail of specific restrictions in place: