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Updated : 01/03/2017

Air safety/security

Hand luggage and hold luggage

When travelling by plane from an airport in the EU, you should keep in mind certain security requirements when packing and boarding:

  • Liquids carried in the aircraft cabin such as aerosols, drinks, toothpaste, cosmetic creams or gels must be carried in a transparent plastic bag - maximum capacity 1 litre - and no container may hold more than 100 ml. Liquid containers larger than 100 ml must be placed in checked baggage. The volume restriction does not apply to medicines and baby food.
  • Duty free liquids purchased from any airport or airline may be carried as hand luggage as long as the item and the receipt remain sealed inside the security bag (with a red border) provided at the time of purchase. You may not open the security bag until arrival at your final destination. However, security officers may need to open the bag and the bottles for screening. If this happens, and you have a connecting flight at another airport, tell the security officer so the liquids can be re-sealed in a new security bag.
  • Any sharp objects that might be used as weapons are not allowed in the aircraft cabin. These could be everyday objects such as corkscrews knives and scissors of a certain size, which should be packed in your hold luggage.
  • Limits on the size of cabin baggage and the number of items you are allowed to take on board are set by the airlines so check with your airline before you travel.
  • Explosives and inflammable items - fireworks or aerosol spray paint for example, and other inflammable and toxic substances such as acids - are prohibited on flights. They may not be carried in either cabin or checked baggage.
  • No weapons of any kind are allowed on board the aircraft.

See the rules on prohibited articles in your hand and hold luggage.

Check your airport's website for a detailed list of prohibited items or ask your airline before travelling.

For general safety, all travel items are scanned or otherwise checked before being allowed into airport security zones.

Cockpit doors are kept locked to prevent unauthorised persons from entering the flight deck.

See also: What can you take with you?

Use of body scanners at EU airports

At any EU airport, passengers may be screened by body scanners, either as the primary method of screening or as an additional method to resolve the cause of any alarms.

It is up to each EU country to decide whether to use these, but if a country has chosen this option it must comply with EU rules. If you are asked to undergo screening by such a scanner you should know, in particular, that:

  • you must be given the possibility of opting out from a body scanner. In this case you  will be screened by an alternative method including at least a hand search;
  • you must be given full information on the technology used before you are screened;
  • you can ask that the image of your body is analysed by a human reviewer of the gender of your choice;
  • the human reviewer will be somewhere else and will not be able to see you;
  • the image will be blurred so you cannot be identified and the images cannot be copied, stored or printed;
  • only scanners which do not use ionizing radiation can be used.

Airlines banned within the EU

All airlines operating flights that begin or end in the EU must meet certain safety standards. Some airlines across the world operate in conditions below European safety levels and may therefore either:

  • be banned from operating at all in European airspace
  • be allowed to operate only under certain specific conditions

If you are concerned about aircraft safety, you can check the list of airlines banned within the EU.

Air security legislation

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