London Heathrow Security

Getting through security at Heathrow Airport may seem like a daunting thought to some, but it needn’t be! This page should hopefully answer some of those questions about what you can and can’t take on board, but first, we’ll start with this one; “how long should I give myself to get through the airport?”

Well, to allow yourself sufficient time to check-in, get through security and make your way to the gate, as well as spend a little time in Duty Free of course, we’d advise allowing yourself the following times;

international flight
european flights
domestic flights

Heathrow Hand Luggage – What you can and can’t pack

security info for Heathrow Airport

security at Heathrow


security at Heathrow

security at Heathrow


Heathrow Airport Security – additional things to note:

Heathrow Liquid Allowance:

  • Essential medicines in liquid form sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g. diabetic kit), as long as it is verified as authentic.
  • Baby milk and liquid baby food (the contents of each bottle or jar must be tasted by the accompanying passenger).

Please note: Other bags, such as handbags, may be carried within the single item of cabin baggage. However, depending on the airline, it may be required to be placed within your hand luggage when boarding the plane.


All items carried by passengers will be x-ray screened, including.

  • Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs.
  • Laptops and other large electrical items (e.g. a large hairdryer) have to be removed from cabin baggage and screened separately. (A laptop bag will be regarded as your one item that is allowed in the cabin)

Before Security

All shops and catering outlets are open to all passengers. Hand baggage is now allowed BUT any liquids and gels must be packed into your hold luggage for check-in. Any other purchases must fit into your hand baggage.

After Security

All shops and catering outlets are open to all passengers. Passengers can take all items purchased in the departures lounge into the aircraft cabin unless you are travelling to the USA. For more information, please visit

What to do if a Security or Immigration guard is rude at the airport?

  • Unfortunately, passengers are in a rush and security have an important job to do… often they don’t go together well.
  • It’s difficult to judge because airport security officers have to perform pat-downs, it’s part of their job. And often they may be ruder than your average customer service representative because they’re doing an important job and need to be authoritative.
  • However, if you have experienced unnecessary rudeness or wish to make a complaint, you can contact their complaints body

Duty Free and Departure Lounge Purchases

 Security at Heathrow Airport
Any liquid items purchased in Duty Free can be taken on board the plane, but be sure to retain any proof of purchase as this may be required at transfer points. The above requirements are enforced by HM Revenue & Customs, whilst airlines and airports may have additional measures in place. It’s always advised that you check the additional requirements when you book your flight.

Presents and Gifts

You may think you’re being super prepared by pre-wrapping any gifts you may be taking abroad, but we’re afraid to say that you’ll be wasting your time! Pre-wrapped gifts will be subject to further security checks and will be unwrapped by staff at security.

Heathrow Airport Prohibited items – What Not To Pack

Here are a number of other items that must not be taken on board an aircraft or through security, either as hand luggage or in the hold. Please do not pack the following anywhere in your carry on or checked-in luggage:

Prohibited Items
Flammable liquids and solids Oxidisers
Organic peroxides Gas cylinders
Infectious substances Wet car cell batteries
Instruments containing magnets Instruments containing mercury
Magnetrons Fireworks
Non-safety matches, firelighters, lighter fuel Paints, thinners
Poisons, arsenic, cyanide, weedkiller Acids, corrosives, alkalis, caustic soda
Creosote, quicklime, oiled paper Radioactive materials