A hot water bottle can be brought through airport security if it doesn't contain water or other liquids. To make sure you can travel by plane with a hot water bottle, we advise you to empty it completely, push the air out of it and screw the stopper before your trip.
When travelling by plane, your hot water bottle is best placed on top of your clothes in your luggage to be easily accessible in case of a check at security. It may be possible for you to ask flight attendants to fill your hot water bottle once you're on board.
How to pack a hot water bottle for a flight
1. Make sure it’s safe for use before packing it
Before packing your hot water bottle for travel, make sure you check it’s in good shape, especially if you plan on using it on the plane. While it has never happened to us, a leaking or bursting hot water bottle on board of a plane can’t be funny.
Make sure you perform the usual check to make sure your hot water will be safe for use.
2. Empty the hot water bottle before passing airport security
As you well know, in most airports, you cannot bring more than 100 mL of liquids through security. This applies to hot water bottles too! The capacity of most hot water bottles on the market ranges between 0,3L and 2,5L, which means you cannot bring a full hot water bottle through airport security gates.
For both your hand luggage and checked-in luggage, we thus advise you to completely empty your hot water bottle and screw your stopper back on in order not to lose it. If you plan on storing your hot water bottle upon arrival, remember to unscrew the stopper. Read why you should do this in our 3 steps to properly store a hot water bottle.
3. Push the air out
While this is a purely practical and obvious tip, we like to make our articles complete! We advise you to push the air out of your hot water bottle before packing it to have more space in your suitcase.
4. Place it where easily accessible
If you plan on packing your hot water bottle in hand luggage, you will need to go through security. In our experience (regularly travelling by plane for 16+ years), atypically shaped objects tend to grab the attention of security, whose job it is to make sure the items you are transporting are safe. Fair enough!
As your hot water bottle may attract the attention of security when your bag is scanned, we advise you to make it easily accessible (e.g. place it on top of your clothes in your suitcase or in your backpack if you have one). This will prevent you from having to unpack your entire suitcase or empty your whole backpack if a check is needed.
Hot water bottle: airports where taking water through security is permitted
In some airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol or Munich airport, for example, the security gates are technically well equipped (high-tech scanners), such that you can take water through security. This begs the question, should you take a full hot water bottle on board in such airports?
In short, there is currently no regulation against bringing hot water through those security gates, which means you can technically bring a hot water bottle with you. That being said, keep in mind that this may not be practical if you have a lot of luggage.
A filled hot water bottle is not exactly the most practical item to pack in your bag while you get your ticket, pack your luggage and go through security. In addition, it might get damaged if you cramp it inside your backpack and it rubs against a sharp object: not recommended!
If you really want to use a hot water bottle during your flight, we advise you to have it filled on the plane or right before the flight, if hot water is available.
Filling your hot water bottle at the airport or on the plane
Airplane cabins can get cold, especially during long flights. If you have to sit on a plane for 8 hours, why not get as cosy as you can? Once you got your empty hot water bottle through security you have two options to fill it.
Find a water dispenser or café
Many airports have hot water dispensers. That's your first option. If you cannot find one, we advise you to go to the nearest café, buy them a croissant and kindly ask them if they can fill your hot water bottle for you.
Worst case scenario, they'll want to make you pay a few euros or dollars for it, which will be well worth it if you need your hot water bottle for a long flight.
Ask the flight attendant for hot water
The second option is to bring your empty hot water bottle on board and ask for a steward or stewardess for hot water. Make sure you only do this once you’re allowed to stand up again after take-off. Flights serve tea to many passengers; they will surely have hot water for you!
Whether you’ll get hot water or not will likely depend on how nice the flight attendant is. Except if you're flying with a low-cost airline, this should not be a problem! In any case, asking won’t cost anything, right?
If you are successful in getting hot water, make sure you fill it following the standard safe steps. Read our golden rules when it comes to using a hot water bottle to refresh your memory on how you should fill and use a hot water bottle.
If the steward or stewardess fills the hot water bottle for you, make sure they only fill it up to two-thirds of the bottle’s maximum capacity. Safely push the air out and screw the stopper on yourself after they are finished filling it.
Using a hot water bottle on an airplane
Use your hot water bottle just like you would on the ground. Make sure you use a cover for it and don’t sit or stand on it. Although tempting (we get it), we don’t advise you to spend the entire flight with the hot water bottle. Make sure to give your skin a break (even if the hot water bottle is covered).
Your hot water bottle will keep you warm for at least 5 hours and maybe even longer depending on the hot water bottle cover material you use.
If you’re travelling with someone, why not share it between you? Finally, we advise you to bring an extra thick plastic bag in case of accidental leaks. In the very unlikely event of a leak, place the hot water bottle in the plastic bag and inform the flight staff. They will advise you on how to safely dispose of the hot water.
Don’t try to be a hero by dealing with a leaking bottle yourself and walking around the plane with it. Someone could get injured if you walk through the aisle with a leaking hot water bottle.
Depending on where you depart from, you may be able to pass security with a full hot water bottle. To be 100% sure you can bring your friend along for your holidays, we advise you to pack an empty hot water bottle.
If you bring your hot water bottle on board, you may get lucky and have a flight attendant fill it with hot water for you. Enough to keep you warm and cosy during long flights!