Packing the perfect tray - top tips to get you flying through security


For many travelling through Manchester Airport, going away may be one of the highlights of the year, and the holiday starts at the airport.

Getting through security is a vital part of keeping everyone safe, and making sure you stick by the rules is key to avoiding unnecessary delays - having your items pulled aside for additional screening can add significantly to your wait time.

There are also many ways in which you can keep the number of trays you use to a minimum, so that you can get yourself through to the departure lounge as soon as possible and relax ahead of your flight.

Manchester Airport has put together a handy guide for passengers to help ensure your bags, coats and electricals and liquids fly through the checks.

Prep before you get to the front of the queue

Security staff can only screen you with one layer of clothing. Prepare by taking off outer layers and belts whilst you’re in the queue, so you can pack your tray more quickly when you get to the front.

Whilst you’re queueing, it’s also worth making sure you know what you need to remove from your bag, including small liquids bags and large electrical items such as laptops, and where those items are packed.

Remember to empty your pockets

Remember to check your trouser, skirt or shirt pockets and put any items into your bag or tray. If you leave items in pockets on your person, these will be picked up by our CT body scanners and you may need to be searched.

Remove electrical items from your bag

All large electrical items, whether mains or battery powered, must be removed from your bag and placed in a tray. As a guide, anything larger than A5 size or an iPad mini needs to be placed in a tray with nothing covering it up. 

Familiarise yourself with the rules on liquids

If you can spray, spread or pour something at room temperature, it counts as a liquid in aviation security terms. This includes aerosols such as asthma inhalers and foodstuffs, like butter or jam.

Liquids carried in your hand luggage cannot be packed in quantities greater than 100ml and must be placed into a clear, one litre resealable plastic bag.

Medicines containing liquids and prescribed by a medical professional can be taken and must be presented in a separate bag. The security officer will need to see evidence that these medications are prescribed to you.  

Over the next two years, Manchester Airport and other airports across the UK will be phasing in new screening technology, which will remove the restrictions on large containers of liquids and will allow passengers to leave liquids in their hand luggage during screening. Installing the new equipment will take time, however, so for now, you should continue to pack liquids separately in 100ml containers.

Make sure items in your tray are uncovered

Ensure that coats and jackets don’t cover up any liquids or electrical items in your tray, or the tray is likely to be pulled aside for a manual search.

If you have a lot of outerwear, you can take more than one tray if necessary.

If it is metallic, it goes in the tray

Wristwatches and small items of jewellery such as wedding rings can remain on your person, but other metallic objects – including belts – must be placed into your tray.