Before you jet off on your summer holiday, it’s important to know what items are banned in hand luggage.
If you’re flying with budget airlines like Wizz Air, Ryanair and easyJet, you might be planning to save money by only taking a cabin bag.
But beware, if you don’t follow the hand luggage rules, you could end up having to throw away some of your favourite things.
The good news is that most airlines let you bring food into the cabin, so you can avoid buying pricey snacks from the airport or trolley.
We’ve got a handy guide to the major airlines’ food and drink policies, so you can check before you pack your lunch.
As for what you can bring in your hand luggage, the list is pretty long. It includes everyday items like clothes, books, pens, paper, headphones and travel pillows.
Some banned items are obvious, like things that could explode or are sharp. But there are also some items you might not expect, like non-foldable umbrellas, scissors, lighter fuel and toy guns.
Full list of the items banned from hand luggage:
- Billiard, snooker or pool cues
- Builder’s tools
- Catapults and sling-shots
- Gas cartridges, or gas cartridge re-fills
- Hammers, nails or screw-drivers
- Hypodermic syringes (unless supported by medical evidence)
- Knives with blades more than 6cm
- Lighter fuel
- Lighter top-up fuel (passengers are allowed to carry one disposable lighter in a clear re-sealable plastic bag)
- Razor blades
- Scissors – specifically, blades measuring greater than 6cm in length
- Sporting bats
- Toy or replica guns (plastic or metal)
- Umbrellas – unless foldable
The above list includes the main items which are banned on all UK airlines in the cabin, but it is important to note that different airlines and countries have different rules. Some countries ban certain food items from being placed in hand luggage, so check with your airline or tour operator directly if you’re unsure and you have something a little unusual in your bag.
In terms of food, the UK Government’s liquid rules for hand luggage at airports also extend to some food items – including hummus and soft cheese.
5 foods banned from your hand luggage:
- Soft cheese
- Sauces/ Jams /Honey/ Chutney/ Vinegar
- Jars of olives and gherkins
Most travellers know that they can’t bring drinks or other liquids in containers over 100ml through security, as per the UK Government’s liquid rules. But did you know this rule also applies to some food items?
According to GOV.UK, “Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally cannot go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions.” This means any food that can be classified as a liquid in a container larger than 100ml is not allowed. This includes sauces, jams and preserves, honey, chutney and vinegar.
Rich Quelch, an expert from Lifestyle Packaging, explained: “Condiments and preserves are considered by airlines as liquid foods. Therefore, they cannot be over 100ml individually, or above one litre collectively. So, take care to check the volume of any liquid food items you want to bring home before you buy.”
Dips like hummus and guacamole are also banned from being brought on board unless they are in a 100ml container. However, there is a strange exception to this. If you spread hummus or guacamole onto a slice of bread and packaged it, this would then be considered acceptable and exempt from the liquid rule.
Jars of olives and gherkins are similarly subject to the liquid rule, due to the brine they are stored in.
Mr Quelch said: “Olives in brine, or any other food item in brine or oil like gherkins or sundried tomatoes, also count as a liquid item when flying with hand luggage so you’ll need to confine it to jars, cans and pouches under 100ml.”
Hard cheese is okay in your hand luggage, but soft cheese can’t be taken through security. If you’re planning on travelling with cheese or any other dairy product, make sure to check any import restrictions of the country you’re going to.
For instance, if you’re travelling from a non-EU country into the EU, you’re not allowed to bring any meat or dairy products with you. You can bring a limited amount of fruit and vegetables, as well as eggs, egg products and honey.
Liquid foods in containers of 100ml or less can be brought onboard but must be put in your clear, plastic bag at security.
Baby food and milk don’t have to follow the liquid rule at UK airports. GOV.UK says: “When travelling with a baby you’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilised water for the journey. There is no legal limit to how much you can take however check with your airport before you travel. You can carry breast milk in hand luggage even if you’re not travelling with a baby. Individual containers of breast milk must hold no more than 2,000ml.”