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Gatwick airport baggage and security

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There are numerous security procedures and restrictions in place at Gatwick. It is advised that you understand these before you pack your luggage so that you are prepared before you arrive at the airport.

Baggage allowances

Airlines will let you know what their allowances are by various means: If you have a ticket, the hold allowance will be printed on the ticket. Ticket wallets also contain general information about carry on bags. On electronic tickets (e-tickets) baggage allowances are usually on the confirmation notice. Hand luggage allowances are also given on individual airline websites.

Overweight baggage: If your hold baggage is heavier than the allowance, the airline is entitled to charge an excess baggage charge. If your cabin luggage is overweight or too big, you might be asked to check it in to the hold. If doing so takes your hold luggage above your hold baggage allowance, you might have to pay excess baggage charges. The best way to avoid any problems is to confirm with your airline the allowance and then pack accordingly with a little weight to spare.

Hand luggage: Most airlines allow passengers only one item of hand luggage through the airport search point, with a maximum size of 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Some airlines, however are now allowing more - you may wish to call them in advance to check.

Liquids restriction: Passengers are able to take liquids through security check points again, however, some restrictions still apply. Individual containers of liquids must not exceed a maximum capacity of 100ml.

All containers must be presented for examination to security in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag. The re-sealable bag must not exceed a capacity of 1 litre or 20cm x 20cm.

Airport Hand Luggage Limits

Liquids Include:

  • All drinks, including water, soup and syrups.
  • Creams, lotions, oils, perfumes and make-up including mascara
  • Sprays and other pressurized containers such as shaving foam and deodorants
  • Toothpastes and other pastes.
  • Hair and shower gels.
  • Other solutions and items of similar consistency.

Please Note: Essential medicines or baby food can be carried on in larger volumes than 100ml, however, these items will be subject to authentication.

Some of the items not to pack in hand luggage:

  • Household cutlery
  • any knives
  • razor blades
  • tools
  • scissors
  • hypodermic syringes
  • knitting needles
  • corkscrews
  • sporting bats

Gatwick airport security

Checking in: It is important to give yourself plenty of time to check in at the airport. For long haul flights the check-in is 2 or 3 hours prior to your flight. Give yourself longer. Tighter security means everything takes longer than it used to at the airport, particularly during peak times. You should anticipate delays and long queues for check-in and screening. We recommend you allow extra time in case of special circumstances.

Expect to have your bags searched: Carry-on and checked bags are subject to being hand-searched, particularly if the contents can't be seen by the x-ray machine. Don't wrap gifts until you've gone through security. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

You can avoid setting off the x-ray machine alarms by not wearing jewellery, shoes and any accessories that contain metal. Security staff may ask to search you as well as your luggage. These searches are carried out at random, so do not be alarmed or offended if you are chosen for searching.

Locked suitcases: When you're travelling from the UK, it is generally accepted that you lock your suitcase. You may be asked to open a bag where the contents are unclear.

If you are flying from the USA the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) asks that bags be left unlocked to make the job of security screeners easier and quicker. The TSA has recently listed on its website ( www.tsa.gov ) a number of brand names that have accepted and recognised locks. These are locks that airport security screeners can open and relock. The list also contains the names of several makes of travel padlocks that screeners can open and relock.