WITH suitcases often going missing, more people are trying to include all their essentials in their hand-luggage nowadays.

Ensuring that no part of their holiday is ruined by any loss, knowing what you can take on the flight with you is more important than ever.

What can I take in my hand luggage?


The NHS website recommends that you put any medication in your hand luggage, the main reason being that if luggage in the hold gets lost, you would still be able to take the necessary medicine.

Before travelling, you should check the airline's regulations, but most of them will allow it.


Liquids are also an area of some confusion, with certain liquids having their own regulations.

According to the government website, the term 'liquid' extends to:


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  • all drinks, including water
  • liquid or semi-liquid foods, for example soup, jam, honey and syrups
  • cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
  • sprays, including shaving foam, hairspray and spray deodorants
  • pastes, including toothpaste
  • gels, including hair and shower gel
  • contact lens solution
  • any other solutions and items of similar consistency

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Breast milk

There are some exceptions from the 100ml restriction, for example with liquids for medical purposes, special dietary requirements or with baby food or milk.

Breast milk up to 2,000ml can be transported in hand luggage, while formula milk and sterilised water can also be taken on board.

Baby food and cooling gel packs are also allowed on board.

You can carry breast milk in hand luggage even if you're not travelling with a baby, but a baby must be present if you have formula milk, sterilised water or baby food.

Frozen breast milk is not permitted in hand luggage, but is fine in the hold.


Cakes, sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and all other completely solid food is fine to take through UK airport security.

However, there are a number of items that you need to treat as liquids.

For example, pots of jam, hummus, syrups, honey and guacamole all have to be in 100ml or under containers – and they have to fit in that tiny plastic bag with your liquids.

Jars of olives and gherkins also count as a liquid, even though they are mainly solids, because they contain a considerable amount of juice.

And items in cans, such as tuna, are also banned as they exceed 100ml and contain liquid.

This also means sauces, yoghurt, vinegar and oil are banned if they exceed 100ml.

Hard cheese is fine in your hand luggage, but soft cheese has to go in the hold.

Soup counts as a liquid, not a solid.

Different airlines have different rules for nuts, with some banning them due to people with serious allergies.


Small scissors with blades no longer than 6cm can go on the plane, but if the blade exceeds that length they will be confiscated by security.

Cigarette Lighter

You can put a lighter in a plastic liquids bag and keep it on your person, otherwise you're not allowed it on board.

Electronic devices

Phones, laptops, tablets, MP3 players, hairdryers, straighteners, travel irons, electric shavers and e-cigarettes are all allowed in your carry-on.

Which items are banned from going into my hand luggage?

Here is the run down on some of the banned hand luggage items:

Hair dye

If changing your hair colour was at the top of your holiday list, think again as the chemical Peroxide found within the dye is banned from flights. 


Due to the consistency of the spread, no more than 100ml can be carried onto the plane in hand luggage. Similar home-comforts such as jams and honey also fall foul of the liquid restrictions.


If you were planning on having a bottle of wine or two once you reached your destination, it would be best to keep to screw caps, or buy a corkscrew once you arrive as they aren't allowed on.

Frozen food

What might have been frozen when you placed it into your bag could be de-frosted once you reach check-in. This means that you could be in breach of the 100ml of liquid limit on flights.

Electronic devices with no charge

If you cannot turn on your devices when requested by security personnel, they can take it from you, placing your holidays snaps in jeopardy.

Walking Poles

If your idea of a perfect holiday is to spend the time hiking and taking in the scenery, your poles need to be stored in the hold or bought/rented once the plane has landed.

Sports Equipment

Golf clubs, darts, catapults, cricket and baseball bats, crossbows and martial arts equipment are all among sports equipment banned from carry on luggage.

Work Tools

All work tools, including hammers, drills, saws, pliers, screwdrivers, spanners, nailguns and blowtorches must be stored in the hold.

Chemicals and toxic substances

None of the following items are allowed either in hand luggage or in checked in bags.

  • oxidisers and organic peroxides, including bleach and car body repair kits
  • acids and alkalis (for example spillable ‘wet’ batteries)
  • corrosives or bleaching agents (including mercury and chlorine)
  • vehicle batteries and fuel systems
  • self defence or disabling sprays (for example mace, pepper spray)
  • radioactive materials (including medicinal or commercial isotopes)
  • poisons or toxic substances (for example rat poison)
  • biological hazards (for example infected blood, bacteria, viruses)
  • materials that could spontaneously combust (burst into flames)
  • fire extinguishers

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