Hand luggage rules are difficult to understand, particularly around luggage size. However, rules on contents are now a lot clearer, and we’re here to explain all the hand luggage restrictions.
Restrictions for liquids in hand luggage were introduced in 2006.
If possible, pack your liquids into your hold luggage, but if you're only taking hand luggage or have essential liquids you need onboard, here are the restrictions:
You can take travel bottles over 100ml through security if they're:
Sprays including shaving foam, hairspray and deodorants can be included in your hand luggage toiletries if they're under 100ml.
Tablets and capsules are allowed in your hand luggage.
You can also take essential medicines over 100ml and medical equipment.
You'll need to take a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription with you.
Medical equipment is screened separately.
You can take the following electrical devices:
Charge your devices beforehand in case airport security ask you to switch it on. If you can’t do that, it'll be taken off you.
You can carry one lighter on board in a clear, resealable plastic bag. You can’t put this in your hold or hand luggage after screening.
Most chemicals are banned.
You can’t take:
Most sport equipment needs to go in the hold.
However, you can take the following on as hand luggage:
Some airlines will allow diving equipment.
Sometimes, tradespeople work away and need to take their tools with them.
Tools are banned from hand luggage. Place them in your hold luggage.
Since leaving the EU in 2021, British travellers from England, Wales and Scotland face restrictions on food and drink items allowed into the EU.
Products of Animal Origin (POAO) are no longer allowed; this extends to cakes that contain fresh cream and confectionery "made with high levels of unprocessed dairy ingredients”.
You're still allowed to take:
Returning to Britain brings no significant changes. The UK government says: "You can bring meat, dairy [and] other animal products, for example, fish, eggs and honey.”
There are now strict limits on what you can take into the EU:
"Other goods” are limited to a total of €430 (£390) for air and sea travellers.
Not sure what size bag you can take? Skyscanner has a handy table of each airline's hand luggage size and weight restrictions.