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Fluid Dynamics – taking liquids through security

I’d forgotten about the restrictions imposed by airlines regarding the amount of liquid one is allowed to bring through security.

I like to think of myself – perhaps inaccurately – as a well-seasoned traveller. I feel fairly confident zipping around international airports, I know the important airline rules and I know what to ask for from whom if I have a problem.


Nevertheless, I still do stupid things when travelling and so it should not have come as a total surprise to get monumentally stitched up at Gatwick a few months ago when I’d forgotten about the restrictions imposed by airlines regarding the amount of liquid one is allowed to bring through security.

In the course of the removal of my possessions – which was more like a smash-and-grab raid at Boots – I lost the following: a bottle of expensive aftershave, matching after-shave balm, matching shampoo, shaving foam and all my contact lens cleaner. Total cost: something horrendous and almost certainly more than the cost of my flights. I realise I should be pilloried for having (had) such an array of poncy items but I was, nevertheless, somewhat miffed to have them taken away. Whilst keeping a weather eye out on eBay so I can buy them back at some point, I looked into the definitive rules about flying with liquids regarding what one is allowed to take, how it must be carried and found out the answers to a number of questions:

How can I take liquids through security?
You can take up to 100ml of separate liquids through security, in different containers, as long as it is held in a clear plastic bag that is no bigger than 20cm x 20cm (8” x 8”).

Does it have to be a particular type of bag?
Clear plastic as mentioned and it should also be a “ziplock” or re-sealable bag. Fold-over freezer or sandwich bags are not allowed.

Can I take more than one bag?
Only one bag per passenger is allowed.

What if I want to take a bottle of water etc. through?
Too bad I’m afraid. You can’t. Either drink it in the queue or bin it. Once you have cleared security, most airports will have shops where you can buy drinks, duty free alcohol and perfume – and replacement aftershave for the bottle you have had confiscated.

Is it true that Australia has different rules?
Yes it is. You cannot bring any liquids greater than 100ml in volume into the country. Australia also has various other strict laws about what you can and cannot bring into the country. Violation of these rules can result in imprisonment and/or vast fines. For more information, see lia/cant-take

What if I am carrying bottled milk for my baby that exceeds the 100ml limit?
This is fine but you could well be asked by a security officer to taste the milk. You are allowed to take as much baby milk as is deemed necessary for your journey. It should also be remembered that cabin crew will be happy to assist with any requirements you may have during your flight and can provide water as needed.

For further information see