Belfast Airport Security

Belfast Airport Guide: Security header

Enhanced security measures means that checking in can take longer than it used to. The general rules are: dispose of any liquid items (this includes things like sun cream) before you go through security and if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.

It is advised that you arrive at the airport in plenty of time. Here’s what we recommend:

Leave 90 minutes to clear security at Belfast Airport
Leave 2 hours to safely board a plane at Belfast
For international departures, leave 3 hours to clear security and board your plane

Before You Leave for the Airport

  • Ensure that you have your passport, any necessary visas, tickets and money in your hand luggage.
  • DO NOT pack banned items in your hand luggage.
  • If packing medicines, ensure that they are in their original packaging as this will help avoid a delay or confiscation at customs.
  • Do not gift wrap presents as they may have to be unwrapped by security staff or customs.
  • Dress comfortably as sitting on board an aircraft can sometimes be uncomfortable.
  • The Department of Health has dedicated a section of their site to health advice for those travelling abroad.

Packed hand luggage with phone, watch at the airport

Packing and Belfast’s Airport Security

Don’t let packing your bags be a bother. Instead, follow some quick tips to make the most of your packing:

  • If, like most passengers, you’re travelling with a main suitcase in the hold and with a small bag as hand luggage to take with you on the plane, here are some tips. Here’s our guide of what to pack, and where to pack it.
  • You don’t have to buy hold luggage space from your airline, it’s not a requirement so if you’re carrying all your luggage with you on the plane (hand luggage), make sure there is no more than 100ml (this includes sun-cream, hand-cream, water, sanitiser and medicines) and put these into a clear plastic bag.
  • Only pack things in your hand luggage that you feel you definitely need on the plane. We also advise taking any valuables with you that you don’t want to risk losing or getting damaged in the hold.
    Your hand luggage should have fragile or personal items (such as cameras, purses) and things you’ll need at the airport such as money to pay for taxis or buy lunch, medication on the plane, boarding passes and passports.
    Your hold luggage should have everything else. This includes electrical items such as hairdryers, to liquid items for your trip like soaps, sun-creams. All bags will be weighed and scanned so make sure your bags are within the allocated weight (often 15-25kg depending on your airline) and doesn’t contain anything suspicious or illegal. If in doubt, see the CAA guidelines.
What to pack in your hand luggage at Belfast Airport, valuables, money, passport
Hold luggage packing tips for Belfast Airport, electronics, soaps, clothes

Please note CAA will now be allowing passengers to take solid cosmetics in hand luggage at their airports. The following liquids are allowed:

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

General luggage and extras:

Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs are permitted but will be screened.

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.

Once through 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. All passengers boarding flights to the USA are not permitted to take any liquid or gel items into the aircraft cabin.

Getting to the Airport

  • Always allow plenty of time to reach the airport so that you will be there two hours prior to take off for international flights and one hour prior to take off for domestic flights.
  • Plan your transport and, if necessary, the route you will be taking to the airport.
  • If you are driving to the airport, ensure that you have booked airport parking in advance.
  • If you are being driven by a friend who wants to see you off at the airport, ensure that he/she knows where the short stay parking is located.
  • If taking a taxi, ensure that the firm you intend to use has taxis available for the time you wish to travel; ask them how long they expect the journey to take at that time of day.
  • If taking a train or coach, ensure that you have the necessary tickets (if advance booking is necessary) and that there are no major engineering or road works that could lengthen the journey.
  • If you have hired a car and need to drop it at the airport, check with your car hire company that they have a branch at the airport and allow one way drop offs.

At the Airport

  • Be aware that increased security has considerably lengthened the time it takes to go through check-in and security.
  • Make sure you keep your baggage with you at all times and alert any member of airport staff to any unattended package.
  • Never look after baggage belonging to other people or carry anything onto the aircraft for someone else.
  • Keep a close eye on the display boards announcing which gate flights depart from. Remember that Heathrow is a large airportso getting to your departure gate from the lounge can take up to 30 minutes. Check live flight departures online for any delays.

Airport hall between terminal gates

In the Air

  • Try to relax and, if possible, sleep.
  • If on a long haul flight, move your feet around, or get up and walk around regularly if you can.
  • Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Don’t eat too heavily before or during a long flight as this will help avoid indigestion and hypertension.
  • To reduce jetlag, have some extra sleep before the trip, get some sleep during the flight and try to synchronise mealtimes with the time it is at your destination.
  • Wearing flight socks, taking a low dose of aspirin or moving about every so often during the flight can help prevent DeepVein Thrombosis (DVT).

If you’re travelling with children, why not check out our Travelling With Children advice?

Need some extra assistance? No problem, take a look at our Special Assistance Guide to Belfast Airport to get you round the airport care-free.

Useful contacts

Belfast City Council belfastcity.gov.uk 028 9032 0202 generalenquiries@belfastcity.gov.uk
VisitBelfast, Tourist Information visitbelfast.com (028) 9024 6609 info@visitbelfast.com
Discover Northern Ireland: Belfast discovernorthernireland.com 028 9023 1221 info@tourismni.com

Prohibited Items

If items are confiscated at security control you will not be compensated and, with the exception of unusual circumstances, the confiscated items will not be returned.

Syringes that are needed for diabetics and other medical reasons will only be allowed in hand luggage if you can prove the medical necessity. You may wish to phone the airline in advance to find out what they require as proof of your medical condition.

Not to carry in your hand lugagge

Scissors Razor blades
Knives with blades of any length Household cutlery
Tweezers Hypodermic needles (unless required for medical reasons)
Tools Toy/replica guns (metal or plastic) Catapults
Knitting needles Sporting bats
Billiard, snooker or pool cues Darts

Not to carry in any form – hand and hold lugagge

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, fire lighters, lighter fuel Paints and thinners
Poisons, arsenic, cyanide, weedkiller Acids, corrosives, alkalis, caustic soda
Creosote, quicklime, oiled paper Radioactive materials