What happens during the security check?

Your question of the month in June (2016)
Lukas, 9 years old

When travelling by plane, the adventure already starts at the airport: Check-in, the security check and then it is off to the gate and onto the plane. It is important that you and your family arrive on time at the airport prior to departure to allow enough time for all these stations. Today, we will explain to you why the security checks are so important.


All passengers have to go through the security check. This is important so that all passengers can travel securely. At the security check, all of the travellers have to put their jacket and hand luggage, i.e. the items they want to take on board, on a conveyor belt. All liquids that you might be carrying with you, such as shower gel and toothpaste, have to be put on the belt inside a transparent bag as well.

Please note: Liquids are only allowed in containers of maximum 100 ml. At some airports, belts and shoes also have to be taken off and put on the conveyor belt.

The security staff then screens and checks all items on the belt on a monitor. This is particularly important as this enables them to ensure that no dangerous items such as scissors, knives, or hazardous liquids (for example, flammable liquids) are taken on board the plane. While your luggage is being checked, you walk through a kind of gate, the so-called metal detector.

There is a similar reason for this as for the luggage control: The security staff can see if you are carrying prohibited items, e.g. made of metal. When a light flashes or a beep tone sounds, you are checked again by the security staff. Nowadays, there are other types of checks as well: Sometimes you have to stand still in the gate with your arms and legs spread wide. That is a "full-body scanner" that screens your entire body and takes a kind of picture that the security staff can then check.

When you are done with the checks, you can pick up your things at the other end of the conveyor belt and go to the gate, which is the assembly point from where you will be subsequently guided to the plane. Would you like to see all steps of the security check again and the other stations at the airport in picture form? Then take a look at our travel chain: To the travel chain