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What can I take on an aeroplane?

07 March 2017

It may appear obvious, but sticking to rules on what you can take in your hand and hold luggage is vital if you want a stress-free holiday. Are razors a no-go? And exactly how much liquid can you take in your luggage?

Advice board at an airport showing restricted items
Knowing what you can and cannot take on-board an aircraft, in both hand and hold luggage, can save you time and stress at the airport.

Individual airlines have their own size and weight baggage restrictions, so make sure you read them before taking flight. 

To save you any headaches for your next holiday read this guide to learn what items you can take on a plane before boarding.

Liquids – get them bagged!

In nearly all cases, containers which hold over 100ml of liquid can’t go through security, even if they’re part full. Restrictions can vary in countries from outside the EU. 

For instance, if you were flying to Europe from somewhere like Sri Lanka you’d need to consult your airline before traveling. There are exceptions to these rules –

1.If the liquid is for medicinal purposes

2. If it’s for special dietary requirements, or;

3. If it contains baby food or baby milk.

If any of the above apply to you, read through these guidelines so you can walk onto your next flight with no issues.

Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact take a lighter on-board an airplane. These must be stored in a plastic bag like what you’d use to carry liquids in, and kept on you at all times. 

Note – you can’t carry more than one lighter on to your flight, and you can’t keep it inside your hand baggage.  

Whenever you’re holidaying, you want to be sure you’re able to take personal belongings on board with you. Read this list so you’re not caught out.

What can I take in my hand luggage?

• Small scissors (with blades no longer than 6cm)

• Tweezers

• A spoon

• Knitting needles

• Round-ended/blunt scissors

• Sewing needle

• Fixed-cartridge razor blades (disposable razor)

• Umbrella

• Nail clippers/nail files

• Walking stick/cane/walking aid

• Pushchair

• Wheelchair

• Contact lens solution (up to 100ml – in a plastic bag)

• Safety matches

• Keys

What electrical items can I take in my hand luggage?

As a rough guide, the following items can be taken aboard in your hand baggage –

• Mobile phone

• MP3 player/iPod

• Hairdryer/straighteners

• Travel iron

• Electric shaver

• E-cigarettes (note – you can carry these with your hand luggage, but you can NOT put them in the hold)

If you’re travelling either to or from the UK, it’s important to make sure these devices are fully charged. You’ll be asked to turn on your device at security, and if it doesn’t do so then you’ll have to leave it there.

UK Electronics ban items you can and cannot take in your carry on luggage
Electronic tablets, laptops and portable DVD players are now banned from all carry on luggage on all flights to the UK from Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan.

What can’t I take in my hand luggage?

To save any sticky situations at security, ensure you don’t bring any of these items aboard –

• Corkscrew

• Knives                                               

• Large scissors (with blades longer than 6cm)

• Non-safety matches

• Fireworks/flares/pyrotechnics such as party poppers or toy caps

• Cigarette lighter (as noted above, these can be kept in a plastic liquid bag and kept on you at all times)

A new ruling by the UK government at the end of March 2017 means that new restrictions on taking certain electronic items in you carry on luggage will be introduced on some flights. 

All travellers on flights to the UK from Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan will no longer be able to take items such as iPads, Kindles, portable DVD players and laptops onto a flight in their carry on luggage. 

Instead, these items will now need to be placed in your hold luggage. You can find out more information about the rules regarding the restriction here.

…and can I take a musical instrument aboard?

Are you itching for a holiday but can’t face leaving your fine spruce violin at home? 

If you’re planning on taking a large musical instrument aboard with you, you may need to contact your airline first to ensure it can be stored. 

In some cases, passengers may even need to purchase an extra seat, but if this fazes you then there’s always the hold.

Can I take a wheelchair aboard?

If either you or a travelling companion needs a wheelchair, then you’ll be able to bring it on-board without any worry. Due to security reasons, they’ll need to be screened first. 

However, airport staff treat everyone with the utmost respect, so the process is both efficient and easy for everyone involved.

Can I take food aboard a plane?

Want to take a taste of Venice back home with you? If you’re bringing back some tasty souvenirs for your family and friends, you’ll need to pack them in the hold. 

Any food purchased in duty-free can travel with you– perfect for a continental mid-flight snack!

What can I take in my hold luggage?

Aside from the prohibited items previously discussed, refrain from packing any of these things and you’ll be set for take-off in no time.

• Flammable items – both liquids and solids

• Oxidisers such as bleaching powders

• Organic peroxides

• Tear gas/any gas cylinders

• Wet-cell car batteries

• Scientific instruments containing mercury

• Non-safety matches

• Fire lighter/lighter fuel/paints

• Vehicle fuel system components which have contained fuel

• Explosives/ammunition/detonators and related equipment

• Smoke canisters and smoke cartridges

Most importantly, you must never carry anything on to an aircraft for anyone else.

These regulations might first seem overwhelming, but after reading this guide you’ll be more than ready to stroll through security and embark on your next adventure.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.