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Hand luggage tips

Frequent flyers are generally up to speed on what they can and cannot pack in their hand luggage. However, for those of us that fly infrequently, perhaps, just the annual summer holiday, it's easy to forget what items are permitted and what are prohibited in your hand luggage. 

Never fear, to help make the packing of your hand luggage simpler we've compiled a list of hand luggage packing tips for you:

Hand Luggage Size and Weight
The maximum permissible size of an item of hand luggage is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, however, as sizes vary between airlines, you should check your airline’s hand luggage size limits.

Most airlines limit the weight of your hand luggage too, so don't forget to check weight allowances.

Details of the maximum size, and weight, permitted for your hand luggage should be detailed on your booking confirmation. If you can't find the dimensions, just pop onto your airline's website and check the FAQs. 

If your hand luggage is larger, or heavier, than your airline's allowance, you will be required to have it placed in the aircraft hold and pay for checked-in baggage - don't forget, the fee to check in a bag is higher at the airport than it is if you prebook.

One Bag or Two?
Most airlines only permit one item of hand baggage - if you have two, a handbag or purse for example, the smaller bag must be placed inside the larger bag when boarding the plane.

How to pack liquid items

  • Only liquids in containers of 100ml or less can be packed in hand luggage
  • Liquids must be placed in a clear, resealable plastic bag that is no larger than 20cm x 20cm - only one bag per person is permitted.

What constitutes a liquid?

  • Water and other drinks, soups, syrups
  • Lotions, creams and oils
  • Lipsticks
  • Perfumes
  • Sprays
  • Gel products, such as hair and shower gels
  • Canisters, such as shaving foam, deodorants and hairspray
  • Pastes, including toothpaste
  • Mascara

If in doubt, pack the item in your main hold luggage.

Prohibited Items
Many items are restricted in hand luggage. These include:

  • Knives
  • Scissors
  • Razor blades
  • Replica or toy guns
  • Zippo/refillable lighters or lighters with windproof flames – only one disposable lighter per passenger is allowed but must be placed in a liquids bag and kept on your person
  • Hypodermic syringes - unless supported by medical evidence
  • Building tools, including nails, hammers and screwdrivers
  • Darts
  • Sporting bats and snooker, billiard and pool cues
  • Restraining Items - handcuffs, fishing line, restraining tape
  • Catapults and slingshots
  • Umbrellas - unless foldable
  • Explosives
  • Gas cartridges or refills
  • Lighter fuel
  • Paint
  • Acid
  • Mercury
  • Non-safety matches

For up-to-date information on hand luggage restrictions, visit the Government website