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UK Airport Hand Luggage Restrictions

Use these guidelines to check if your carry-on luggage and checked-in baggage meets the allowances set out and restricted by airport security in United Kingdom.

Hand and Hold Luggage Restrictions in UK

There are restrictions on what items you can take with you when you are boarding an airplane in the UK.

That means your hand baggage and hold luggage will get checked by security staff.

Some airport hand luggage rules differ when taking goods abroad to sell. There are variances too if you take items overseas temporarily for business reasons.

Example could include business product sales samples or certain musical instruments for a music performance.

Cabin Baggage Allowances

Note: If airport security staff considers any item to be dangerous they will not allow it to pass through (even if the item is normally permitted in hand luggage). Airlines differ in their allowances for how many bags and what size bags you can take on board with you.

Cabin Bag Liquids: Restrictions and Guidelines

Whenever possible you should pack all liquids in your ‘checked-in’ hold baggage because there are significant security restrictions on the amount of liquids you can take in your carry on hand luggage.

Liquids which may be restricted include:

  • All drinks (including water)
  • Liquid or semi-liquid foods (e.g. honey, jam, soup, syrups)
  • Cosmetics and toiletries (including creams, lip gloss, lotions, mascara, oils, perfumes)
  • Sprays (including hairspray, shaving foam, spray deodorants)
  • Pastes (includes toothpaste)
  • Gels (e.g. hair and shower gel)
  • Contact lens solution
  • Any other solutions or items of similar consistency

Guidelines for taking liquids in your hand luggage:

  • You must show the bag at the airport security point.
  • Containers must hold no more than 100ml.
  • The bag must not be knotted or tied at the top.
  • You are limited to 1 plastic bag per person.
  • Contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can get sealed.
  • Containers must be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than one liter and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm.

Note: As a rule liquids in containers larger than 100ml cannot go through security. This hand luggage regulation applies even if the container is only part full in most cases.

Liquids Exemptions

As a rule, liquids inside containers larger than 100ml cannot pass through security even if the container is only partially full. However there are some exemptions to this restriction and items will usually be allowed through security if:

You can also take liquids through security if they were bought at an airport, on a plane, or at a duty free shop providing:

  • The items are sealed inside a security bag when you buy them.
  • The receipt for the items is sealed in the security bag and visible.

You must not open the security bag until you reach your final destination but airport personnel may need to open the items to screen the liquid at the security point.

Liquids Restricted Outside the EU

Countries which are outside the European Union (EU) may have different regulations for carrying liquids as a transit or transfer passenger. Therefore you should check these rules with the relevant airlines and airports before you travel outside the EU.

Alcohol in Hand Luggage Rules UK

Does the UK flights ban allow you to carry alcohol in hand luggage? This section explains the rules and regulations for carrying alcohol onboard a flight.

  • Passengers who travel with hand luggage ‘only’ can take alcohol on board with them. You can take bottles in the cabin if they are under 100ml and fit inside a plastic bag that measures 20cm x 20cm.
  • You can take larger bottles of alcohol onboard but only if you purchased them at the duty-free shop.
  • The bottles must remain inside the sealed bag. You should also keep the receipt that shows the proof of purchase.
  • Security staff may screen the bag again on connecting flights (in transit).

Note: The alcohol can get taken away from you and placed as disposal if you fail to follow these rules.

Drinking Your Own Alcohol on a Plane

Many passengers fail to realise that you are not allowed to drink your own alcohol on a plane. As a rule, only a flight attendant can serve alcohol to you – from the drinks trolley.

There have been reports made by some frequent fliers that contradict this rule. They said cabin crew had served personal ‘unopened’ alcohol to passengers. Despite having no proof either way, it would depend on the airline involved.

Even if it happened, the flight attendant would need to keep the bottle for the rest of the flight. They would also throw away any remaining alcohol inside the bottle at the end of the flight.

Airline staff can refuse to serve any passengers who get too drunk (at their discretion). In fact some airlines do not allow any alcohol taken on board at all (e.g. Kuwait Airways and Saudi Arabian Airline).

Cigarette Lighters

You are permitted to carry only one (1) lighter on board and it should be secured inside a resealable plastic bag which you must keep on you throughout the duration of the flight. You are not allowed to put a lighter:

  • In your hold luggage.
  • In your hand luggage after successful screening.
Food and Powders

Carrying food items and powders (e.g. coffee, talcum powder) in your hand luggage can cause delays. Some food and powders obstruct the images on airport x-ray machines.

Security staff may need to check your bags again ‘manually’ after the scan. Thus, putting powdered food items in your hold luggage will help to minimise delays.

Hold Luggage Restrictions and Cabin Bag Rules

Ammunition and Weaponry

Check which guns or firearms are not permitted as hand baggage during a flight. But, certain items may go as hold luggage when taking a plane flight.

Baby Food Allowances

Airline travel regulations are less restrictive for taking baby milk and baby food on planes. Check what amounts you can carry in your hand luggage for the journey.

Chemicals and Toxic Substances

Airport security regulations are strict when flying in and out of the UK. Check which airline restrictions apply to chemicals and toxic substances in hand luggage.

Electronic and Electrical Devices

Check out the current flight restrictions on electrical items and electronic devices. The guide clarifies the rules for electricals in hand luggage.

Medicines and Medical Equipment

Guidelines on essential medicines and medical equipment during air travel. Check the flight security rules when flying in to or out of airports in the United Kingdom.

Personal Items

A list of prohibited items and what airlines allow as hand luggage. Check what must be stored in the cargo hold when you fly in and out of the United Kingdom.

Sports Gear

Check whether your airline lets you bring sports gear and games equipment on the plane in your hand luggage.

Travelling with Cash

This guide explains the new rules for declaring cash when entering or leaving the United Kingdom into or from another country.

Work Tools

The guide explains airport security regulations on work tools. Check if the airline lets you bring working tools and portable power machinery on the plane in hand luggage.

Hold Luggage Restrictions and Hand Luggage Guidelines for United Kingdom