Tourist Information Guide

Customs at Barcelona Airport

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Security at Barcelona Airport is provided by the National Police, the Regional Police and privately contracted security companies. Any customs procedures and systems that you find in place at Barcelona Airport will be the same as those implemented throughout the rest of the E.U., by E.U. law.

The situation regarding security is subject to change in airports. It is, therefore, important to check the current situation before flying.

On this page I have provided a guide to what happens when you go through security control at Barcelona airport, what you can currently bring in your hand luggage. What liquids you can carry onto the flight and what you can place in the hold luggage.


Security control before boarding your flight at Barcelona Airport

As you pass into the departures area of the airport you will have to go through a doorway with a built in metal detector that will scan you as you pass through.

Certain items will be scanned separately in an X-Ray machine. You will be asked to:

  • Take off your jacket before stepping through the metal detector.
  • Take off your belt before stepping through the metal detector.
  • Take laptops and any other large electrical items out of your hand luggage to be scanned separately in a plastic tray.
  • Sometimes you will also be asked to remove your shoes to be X-Rayed separately .

tip If you suffer from foot odour now is the time to consider buying some activated carbon odour destroying insoles!


Once you have gone through the metal detector, your hand luggage bag may be taken off the X-Ray scanner belt - either for a random examination, or because staff suspect you may have an object that is not allowed in your bag. See below, under the 'Hand Luggage' section for what you can and cannot bring in your hand luggage.


Hand luggage allowed when boarding a flight

Often you instinctively know what you can and can't bring through customs in your hand luggage. You know that your new set of kitchen knives will not go down too well with security!

However, before packing, it is worth checking an official source to find out what the current situation is regarding what is allowed in hand luggage. Items that may not be allowed generally fall into two main categories - liquids and items that may be considered to be weapons such as sharp objects,and potential explosives.

Check the Official List on the Aena website for current details on what you can and can't bring through customs. Pay close attention to the amounts of liquids that you are allowed to fly with - you may need to decant some things into smaller bottles.


tip When booking some flights - particularly those with low cost airlines - you will have to pay extra in advance to check-in an item of luggage. If you are considering not paying the extra and just bringing hand luggage, it is worth having a think first. Are you going to want to travel with your favourite perfume or a pair of ice skates that could be confiscated once you reach security? If they get taken from you at this point it will be too late to go back and check in a bag.


What is allowed in checked-in luggage

Generally, a lot more items are allowed in luggage that is checked in the hold than in hand luggage. When checking in you will be asked to check whether you have any of the restricted items in your check-in bag. Check before packing what you can and can't bring.

Check the Official List on the Aena Website for exactly what items are prohibited from checked-in luggage.


Carrying liquids onto flights

See above for more information regarding what items are and are not allowed in your hand luggage. You are bound to have noticed the legislation passed in 2006 limiting the amount of liquids that you can bring with you onto a flight - most of us have had our sun cream or shampoo taken off of us at one point or another.

However, if you plan in advance, you can actually bring lots of liquids with you in your hand luggage, as long as you keep them in separate containers, not above a certain total volume however, this may change, so it is best to check the Official Aena Website for precise information.

Make sure that you put all of these liquids in a sealable, transparent bag. These are normally provided at the airport - but you should bring your own just incase. If not you can purchase one from one of the luggage shops before entering customs provided the shops are open.

Remember that all of the restrictions mentioned above regarding liquids only apply to your hand luggage - there are no restrictions on the liquids that you can place in your checked-in luggage.

Going through customs at Barcelona Airport is never a particularly intimidating experience. The most important thing to do is to plan ahead to make sure that you don't have anything with you that may be confiscated. The easiest thing to do is to pack everything that you think may cause a problem into your check-in luggage. If you are not checking in, it is best to travel light - you can borrow the shower gel and scissors off your friends when you arrive in Barcelona!


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