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Heathrow and security

Any opinions as to why security ( at Heathrow) is being so strict on checking bags and what is in your plastic liquids bag? It almost sounds like a "passive-aggressive " work slow down?🤔🤔

Posted by
2598 posts

I have flown out of that airport a number of times over the past several years and they are always that way about liquids. So you have to play by the rules.

Flew out yesterday had no problems with my liquids at all. That was probably the only part of the whole process that went smoothly

Security and check in are a zoo. Good luck

What does this have to do with Covid?

Posted by
304 posts

Just thought it was all part of the Covid Era of Travel. Also thought it was a way for them to make a point of HELP, Look how understaffed we are,without going on strike.
P.s. I didn't realize that solid deodorant was considered a "liquid" It's good to review TSA regs before you fly so you aren't "that guy"!

Posted by
2868 posts

Recently I was unaware I had a joint in my pocket just before going through TSA, and found it at literally the last moment and threw it in a trash can, but I still had a screw up as my feet were not centered on the yellow footprints. I'm always doing something wrong.

Posted by
14923 posts

They have always been strict and humorless, in my experience. It is nothing to do with covid or work slowdowns.

Did they take away the solid deodorant or just want to see it? I had my carry-on pulled out of line and fully emptied for inspection for a small bar of glycerine soap once. The process took a good 20 minutes. Fortunately we had the time.

Posted by
2074 posts

I’m with Lola. In our experience they have always been VERY strict and their rules seem to bit a little different than USA TSA rules. In looking at the LHR website, under security rules, all “liquids, creams,gels,pastes and aerosols” must be in a clear plastic 8x8 bags that closes properly with items inside. I’ve been popped for a lipstick and mascara. Also, they pull frequently so it can be a long wait. On the other hand, I’m glad they’re keeping me safe.

Posted by
5184 posts

The official Government requirements are set out here.

Liquids include:
- all drinks, including water
- liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups
- cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
- sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
- pastes, including toothpaste
- gels, including hair and shower gel
- contact lens solution
- any other solutions and items of similar consistency

Posted by
24939 posts

Ar major difference is that in the US medically-necessary liquids, gels, etc., don't have to fit in your 3-1-1 bag. In the UK, there are no exceptions for medical stuff--you're limited to one bag for everything.

Posted by
5031 posts

According to this TSA page solid deodorant can go in the carry-on and is not limited in size like liquid deodorant.

Those are TSA rules and apply solely to the US, other countries have their own rules. Security agents don't know where individual passengers are flying to so the rules are the rules of the country you are arriving/departing to or from.

Posted by
2625 posts

Indeed, when my sons took their trip to Europe in college through Heathrow (2011), they had to toss their bottle of saline that they used for their contact lenses, and buy them anew later, as an the bottle was too big.

Posted by
3093 posts

The TSA approved liquid bags are larger than UK approved bags. UK security hands them out before security to make the uninformed aware…at least before Covid. Until I changed a piece of clothing I wear, I was always hand searched, which included my body, but also my bags being double scanned often. I use a sandwich bag for my liquids, which appears to be the same size as UK bags, but I never include stick deodorant and soap bars in the liquids bag. These items were never confiscated (nor was anything else). Most US YouTubers are incorrect regarding packing liquids if leaving the country, so it is easy to be caught out.

Re: checking bags, I don’t know. Before traveling I make sure I have the proper size luggage.

This all being said, I have always enjoyed my interaction with TSA people or their equivalent people over seas. Enjoy the entire trip and float thru the experience. I am on vacation the moment I lock the door!

Posted by
2598 posts

They were still giving out the bags yesterday. I just took the bag I had and dumped everything into their bag. I figure it’s easier

And that’s the real reason I had to check. I had bought several liquids and I knew I would never get them past the British security

Posted by
749 posts

i'm a little confused why anyone would use TSA guidance for LHR security - there is a difference! I'm a contact lens wearer, so I definitely had to squeeze my saline into the 3-1-1 bag when I left from there in 2019 (I don't remember them giving us (or requiring) a different bag, but maybe that's changed recently).

But this is no different than CDG - it's CDG/France's security requirements at their airport, not TSA's, even though they may align quite similarly....

Posted by
5196 posts

The TSA approved liquid bags are larger than UK approved bags.

Actually, that is not true. The UK allows litre-sized bags of approximately 20 cm x 20 cm. The US TSA allows quart-sized bags. A U.S. quart is slightly less than a litre so it is within the U.K. size limit.

For some reason at Heathrow they usually want you to use their bag. I guess they don’t want to trust that your bag is the right size. I’ve just learned to always take one of their bags and put my quart sized bag inside it so as not to get held up. It is a waste of plastic, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Posted by
3093 posts

Well, that’s a surprise to me as the bags bought in stores and used as tsa compliant are much larger than the bags I use and they get me thru Heathrow security. I will need to study this more next time I go to Europe. I just use sandwich bags, and it struck me visually that Heathrow used the same, but I have never been good at visualizing volume.

Actually, after seeing comparisons, the US tsa allows 2” deep bags versus the narrow sandwich bags at Heathrow…there is no width allowance on the Heathrow bags. I suspect they only expect it to be one item thick. Feel free to correct me…

Posted by
5196 posts

Wray, I once showed the agent my U.S. plastic bag (which looked like it was virtually the same size and dimensions as the Heathrow bag) and he still made me use the Heathrow bag. Maybe they have just had too many people circumvent the rules :). I’d get it if you had one of those reusable toiletry bags that wasn’t the same shape as a ziploc bag. When your ziploc bag looks nearly identical to the Heathrow bag, I don’t get it.

I’ve had to do other things for Heathrow security that I’ve never had to do at security at other airports. They once made me turn on my laptop. They once made me take a picture with my camera. I was waiting in the gate area once and they announced they were doing a random security check. They made everyone throw away non-clear liquids or drink them up (people who had just bought coffee in the airport were not happy).