Guidance: Air travel checklist for travel from the UK

Civil Aviation Authority

July 24
15:00 2023

Things you can do before travel, at the airport and on your return to the UK to speed up your journey.

Before arriving at the airport

Check your passport

You must renew your passport before you can travel if either:

  • your passport has expired
  • you do not have enough time left on it

Renew or replace your adult passport.

It can take up to 10 weeks to renew your passport.

How much time you need on your passport depends on the country youre visiting.

If you are traveling to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements. Your passport must not be older than 10 years on the date you travel. It must be valid for at least 3 months from the date you intend to return home.

Foreign travel advice gives passport requirements for all countries.

Check your documents

Make sure you have the correct documents for your destination - for example a visa or an ESTA.

Check foreign travel advice for entry requirements.

Arrange any special assistance you may require

Special assistance is available to passengers who may need help to travel, including:

  • the elderly
  • people with a physical disability, such as wheelchair users
  • people who have difficulty with social interaction and communication, such as people with autism or dementia

You should ask for assistance either when you book or at least 48 hours before travel.

Read more about travelling with a disability or reduced mobility on the CAA website.

Check when to arrive at the airport

Check with your airline.

Allow for longer check-in times as airlines may need to check COVID-19 related documents.

Dont arrive earlier than the earliest time advised by your airline, as this can cause congestion and delays.

At the airport

At check in

Have the following ready to show to staff when you reach the check-in desk:

  • your ticket
  • your passport

Check in online

If your airline allows online check in, this can save lots of time.

If you check in online, have your boarding pass and do not have a bag to dropoff, you can go straight to airport security.

Get ready for airport security

Carefully pack your bags at home and carry only essential items in hand luggage.

Have your boarding pass ready for inspection your passport is not required at security.

If you take liquids in your hand luggage, containers must hold no more than 100ml.

Put containers of liquids into a clear resealable plastic bag which holds no more than 1 litre and measures about 20cm x 20cm. Take the plastic bag out of your hand luggage while queueing, ready to put them in the security tray.

Remember that liquids may include items such as make-up, toiletries, hand sanitisers, etc.

Read separate guidance about hand luggage and liquids at airports.

Empty your pockets, take off your coat, watch and belt and remove other metal items when you near the front of the queue so youre ready to put them in the trays.

You may be asked to remove your shoes, other items of clothing or jewellery before going through the security archway or scanner.

Electrical items such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops and hair straighteners should be removed from hand luggage to go through X-ray machines separately.

On your return to the UK

Using eGates

Passengers aged 10 and over with a biometric ePassport from the UK, EU and some other countries can use an eGate when entering the UK.

eGates eligibility and how to use the eGates

Remove your passport from its cover and have it open at the photo page.

Put mobile phones or tablets away before you reach the eGate. Take off hats, headphones, sunglasses and face coverings. Stand on the markings, hold the passport down firmly and keep looking at the camera until it finishes processing.

Check to see if you can use an eGate.

Travelling with children

Stay together when travelling as a family, particularly with children.

If you are not the childs parent or may appear not to be the parent, it may help to carry evidence of your relationship with the child or the reason why you are travelling with the child. This could include:

  • a birth or adoption certificate showing your relationship with the child
  • divorceor marriage certificates if you are the parent but have a different surname to the child
  • a letter from the childs parent/s giving authority for the child to travel with you and providing contact details if you are not the parent

Read about travelling to the UK with children.

Further information on the CAA website

Read further advice about your journey and dealing with travel related problems such as delays and cancellations.

Published 30 June 2022
Last updated 24 July 2023 +show all updates
  1. Updated age of eGate users from 12 to 10.

  2. First published.

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