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What can you carry in hand luggage? Airport travel rules to beat check-in queues

Birmingham Mail logo Birmingham Mail 26/05/2022 Tom Blackburn
Passengers have been met with huge security queues at some airports © PA Wire/PA Images Passengers have been met with huge security queues at some airports

The summer holiday season is upon us and millions of Brits are eagerly looking forward to their long-awaited getaways in the sun. But passengers heading abroad have been met with nightmare queues at some UK airports including in Birmingham.

A shortage of security staff has resulted in chaotic scenes, frustrating and angering travellers. As a result, a lot of people have been left wondering what they can put in their hand luggage, in the hope of beating the baggage check-in queues.

But what exactly can you take with you on a plane in your hand luggage? Here’s everything you need to know.

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What can you carry in hand luggage?

There are some items you can’t carry in your hand luggage, so it’s important to be aware of these before you board your flight. The Government’s official guidance can be found here.


Gallery: Things you should never do on an airplane (StarsInsider)

In particular, airport security staff won’t let you take anything they consider dangerous in your hand luggage. You should also check with your airline how many bags you can take, and what size.

When it comes to liquids, you can only take a container of up to 100ml. This container must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which you must show at security.

Drinks, cosmetics and toiletries, sprays, pastes, gels, contact lens solution and semi-liquid foods are all counted as liquids. Where possible, passengers are advised to pack them in their hold luggage.

However, if the liquid is for essential medical purposes, contains baby food or baby milk, or is for special dietary requirements, then you may take more than 100ml through airport security in your hand luggage.

Electronic devices including mobile phones, laptops, tablets, hairdryers, straighteners, electric shavers and e-cigarettes are all permissible as hand luggage. However, you can’t put e-cigarettes in the hold.

There are some items you won’t be able to take in your hand luggage. Corkscrews, knives with a sharp or pointed blade (or a blade longer than 6cm) aren’t allowed, and nor are scissors with blades longer than 6cm.

You also won’t be allowed to take non-safety matches, fireworks, flares and other pyrotechnics - including party poppers and toy caps - either in hand luggage or hold luggage. However, you can put a cigarette lighter in a plastic liquids bag and keep it on your person.

Other items, including nail clippers, tweezers, sewing and knitting needles, umbrellas and walking sticks, are acceptable as hand luggage. You can see a detailed list of which personal items are and aren’t permitted here.

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