Firstly a bit of background. I'm a British national, my wife is Taiwanese. We currently have a pending Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) application, so as a result the Home Office currently have both of our passports and her biometric permit. Her previous leave expired in January but as we submitted the ILR application in December her current leave to remain is valid until a decision is made by the Home Office.

We would like to visit Scotland on holiday within the next couple of months. We have several friends in Glasgow and I've never travelled that far north in the UK before. We live on the south coast, so our options are:

  • A 10 hour drive (in ideal conditions)
  • A 9 hour train journey
  • A 1 hour flight

We live within reasonable travel distance of Southampton airport, so the flight option sounds best for us.

I'm of the understanding that for an internal UK flight we do not need passports, only a valid form of ID such as a driver's license. I have a full license and my wife has a provisional license, so we can travel on those, however given my wife's pending ILR visa application I'm nervous about using airports for fear of any misunderstandings about her current situation by border staff.

I know that this would not be an issue at all if we were to travel by land, so for those who have travelled within the UK, how does the landing and arrivals process for internal UK flights differ from international flights? Are my worries justified or misplaced?

  • 6
    There shouldn't be any need to worry about misunderstandings with border staff, since it's a domestic flight you're unlikely to encounter any - when your flight lands, you'll enter the airport building through a door that bypasses border control. The only people checking your ID will be airline staff (at check-in and/or at the gate), and all they care about is that the name matches.
    – Joe Malt
    Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 21:33
  • 2
    @JoeMalt that sounds like an answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 6:41
  • When you arrive back at Southampton there are separate entrances for domestic and international. Never been to Glasgow but my ID has not been checked at arrival at Manchester for instance.
    – mdewey
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 9:49
  • 1
    Have you considered getting the train to London and then the sleeper from Euston to Glasgow so saving a night's hotel?
    – mdewey
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 9:50
  • @mdewey I have, while a double sleeper cabin is roughly equivalent to the cost of flight + 1 night's hotel, we then have the additional cost and time of getting from Southampton to London Waterloo, then the tube to Euston, likely at evening peak. Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


You do not need to worry. Domestic flights do not require passports. But let's see what the authorities say. https://www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Before-you-fly/Making-a-booking/Travel-documentation/

Some airlines accept photo driving licences and other forms of ID for domestic flights, but many don’t so check your airlines website when you book your flights. If you turn up with the wrong type of ID you will not be able to fly and you are unlikely to get your money back.

Now, you are flying SOU-GLA direct, that means a BE flight. Our next step then is https://www.flybe.com/check-in/id-requirements

Domestic travel - all must be photographic unless otherwise stated

  • A valid passport
  • An expired passport (domestic flights only up to two years after expiry)
  • Valid EU or Swiss national identity card
  • Valid driving licence (Full or Provisional are accepted)

Bingo! Bon voyage.

  • Cheers, and is Joe Malt also correct about there being a different arrivals process? i.e. bypassing border control as we're not crossing a border? Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 8:56
  • Absolutely. What the above means is that many / most people will not have their passports on them just a driving licence.
    – user4188
    Commented Feb 21, 2019 at 8:58

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