An Easy Guide to Hand Luggage Restrictions

No one wants to get all the way to airport security only to be told that they’re not allowed to carry some of the items in their hand luggage on to the aircraft. To help you avoid this horrible scenario and assist you in packing for your holiday we’ve put together an easy guide to hand luggage restrictions for aircraft departing the UK.

Hand luggage allowances

The size and weight of the hand luggage you are allowed to take on-board an aircraft will vary from airline to airline. You should contact your airline to find out how many bags you are allowed to take on-board and whether there are any weight or size restrictions.

Valuable items

Valuable items such as camera’s or jewellery should always be carried in your hand luggage or on your person. Any valuable items carried in your checked-in baggage would not be covered by your travel insurance if they were lost, stolen or damaged.

Liquids and hand luggage

There are strict rules on the amount of liquids which you are allowed to carry in your hand luggage; therefore if possible you should carry liquids in your checked-in luggage.

Rules for taking liquid in your hand luggage:

  • Containers must hold no more than 100 ml
  • Containers should be in single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm by 20cm
  • Contents must fit easily inside the plastic bag so that it can be sealed.
  • The bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
  • You can only carry one plastic bag per person
  • You must show the bag at the airport security point

Containers larger than 100ml (except essential medicines) will not be allowed through security even if they are only part full. You can take liquid containers more than 100ml through security if they are for essential medical purposes or contain baby food or milk - see below for further details.

Lighters

You can carry 1 lighter on-board an aircraft which should be put in the same reseable plastic bag as your liquids. The lighter must be kept with you throughout the flight. You are not allowed to place it in your checked-in luggage or return it to your hand luggage after screening.

Baby food and milk

When travelling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey. In some cases this will be over 100ml.

Airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids at the security point.

Essential medication

You are allowed to carry essential medicines, including inhalers and liquid dietary foodstuffs of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, but you will need:

  • Approval from the airline and departure airport before your journey
  • Supporting documentation from a relevant medical professional eg. a letter from your doctor or copy of your prescription).

The same rules apply for gel packs. Airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids at security.

Essential medical equipment

You can take medical equipment with you if it is essential for your journey. Medical equipment must be screened separately and you must show documentation from a qualified medical professional, such as a letter from your doctor.

Item Allowed in hand luggage? Allowed in hold luggage?
Tablets and capsules Yes Yes
Essential liquid medicines Yes (over 100ml if screened successfully) Yes
Hypodermic syringes Yes Yes
Inhalers Yes Yes
Cooling gel packs Yes (if screened successfully) Yes
Medical equipment (eg CPAP and TENS machines) Yes Yes
Oxygen cylinders Contact your airline Contact your airline

Mobility Aids

Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs are usually allowed in the aircraft cabin but they will need to be screened by security first.

For battery powered wheelchair or mobility aid you should check with your airline before travelling.

Other personal items

Item Allowed in hand luggage? Allowed in hold luggage?
Corkscrew No Yes
Spoon Yes Yes
Knife (with a sharp or pointed blade and/or blade longer than 6cm No Yes (check with your airline)
Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm) Yes Yes
Large scissors (with blades longer than 6cm) No Yes (check with your airline)
Round-ended/blunt scissors Yes Yes
Fixed-cartridge razor blades (disposable razor) Yes Yes
Nail clippers/nail file Yes Yes
Tweezers Yes Yes
Knitting needles Yes Yes
Sewing needle Yes Yes
Umbrella Yes Yes
Walking stick/cane, walking aid Yes Yes
Pushchair Yes Yes
Wheelchair Yes Yes
Safety matches Yes No
Non-safety matches No No
Fireworks, flares and other pyrotechnics, including party poppers and toy caps No No
Cigarette lighter No (No, but you can put a lighter in a plastic liquids bag and keep it on your person) No
Contact lens solution Yes (up to 100ml) Yes

Electronic devices and electrical items

Flying to and from the UK with electronic devices

Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device doesn’t switch on when requested, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.

Item Allowed in hand luggage? Allowed in hold luggage?
Mobile phone Yes (but you can’t use it once aircraft doors are closed) Yes
Laptop Yes Yes
MP3 player Yes Yes
Hairdryer or straighteners Yes Yes
Camera and camera equipment Yes Yes
Travel iron Yes Yes
Electric shaver Yes Yes

The information in this article was correct on 09/07/2014.
For the latest information visit https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/overview