Hand luggage is the luggage that you can take on-board with you. Since 9/11 and the ‘Shoe Bomber’ in 2001, there have been regular changes to what can and can’t be taken on-board by passengers. All items that are no longer allowed to travel with passengers must be checked in the hold. The number of bags allowed also changes depending on security alerts and airline policy. The typical maximum weight is 5kg.

Governments set the maximum allowances, but some airlines may not allow you to take that much on board (maximum bag size may be smaller for instance). Finding the right allowance involves cross referencing the advice on airport websites and the limits set by the airlines.

Anything that is not allowed on board must either be disposed of, or placed in checked baggage. If you’re at security when the item is rejected, then to check the item will mean going back out to the check-in desk. This may also mean paying excess baggage fees and having to get a new boarding pass printed as the original may no longer be valid when attempting to pass security again.

Remember; don’t just check the restrictions for the outgoing flight. Check the rules for your inbound airport as well as they may be different.

Travelling with liquids – 100ml rule – the following is from the BAA website
Only limited quantities of liquids may be carried through security control in hand baggage. This includes bottled drinks, suntan lotion, fragrances, cosmetics and toiletries.

The following restrictions apply to all liquids, creams, gels, pastes and aerosols taken through security control:

  • Liquid items may only be carried in containers holding up to 100ml
  • They must be carried separately in a single transparent, resealable plastic bag
  • The bag must be no larger than 20cm x 20cm (8in x 8in) and all items must fit inside so that it closes properly
  • At security control the bag must be placed separately on the conveyor belt for screening
  • Liquid items larger than 100ml should be packed in your hold luggage – otherwise they will be confiscated

Exceptions to the 100ml rule can be made for baby food or milk. However, you should only carry what you need for the flight, and you will be asked to taste at least 50% of the containers at security control.



Exceptions may also be made for medicines. However, you may be asked to taste any liquid medicines, or to provide evidence (such as a doctor’s letter) that you need them for your journey.

However, anything you buy after security control can be taken on board the aircraft, including bottled drinks, fragrances and cosmetics in sizes over 100ml.

If you are catching a connecting flight, you may need the store staff to place your purchases in a special sealed bag.

Check when paying and if in doubt place it in your checked baggage.