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To have or to hold: 7 hand luggage restrictions with simple solutions

When travelling from a UK airport you will need to plan ahead or find yourself handing over that rather expensive perfume you didn’t trust to your checked bag or even worse ..try and remain calm…..having your laptop or tablet confiscated!

Whether you intend to pass the flight by indulging in some serious snacking, doing a spot of personal grooming, playing games on your laptop or even celebrating with a party popper on arrival, here are the rules you need to know…..

1 – LIQUIDS OVER 100ml

This is the biggie and where most travellers get caught out. For security purposes, liquids include the following:

  • All drinks including water
  • Liquid or semi liquid foods such as jam, honey, Marmite, soups and syrups
  • Cosmetics and toiletries including shampoo, conditioner, sun cream and sprays, body wash, creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, lipsticks and mascara and lip gloss
  • Sprays including shaving foam, hairspray and deodorants
  • Pastes including toothpaste
  • Gels including hair and shower gel
  • Contact lens solution and e-cigarette liquid
Don’t lose your lippy, make sure it conforms to the rules and all will be well!

You can certainly take any of these items in your hand luggage but you must conform to a simple set of rules. 10 items are allowed and must be in containers of 100ml or less and kept in a single clear re-sealable bag measuring approx 20 x 20cm.

One bag per person is permitted, all containers must fit in the sealed bag ( which must not be knotted or tied at the top ) and you must show the bag at the airport security point.

You CAN take an empty water bottle through security and fill it later and any liquids you buy after going through security are allowed as they have been pre-screened.

Note – Facial wipes are not classed as a liquid which is handy for me as they are an essential part of my flight kit!

Be warned that any perfumes or aftershave over 100ml WILL be confiscated

There are exemptions to the 100ml rule: if you need essential medicines, have special dietary requirements or are travelling with an infant. For details go to which gives not only a complete list of restricted items but also instructions on exemptions.


You can take solid snacks for the journey such as sweets, cakes, crisps, biscuits, snack bars, vegetables, fruit and sandwiches, providing they are not of a solid/liquid mix. So no soft cheeses or strawberry creams I am afraid.

Be aware that some countries like Australia have strict rules on what food you can take in so only take what you can eat on the plane. Declaring my half eaten bag of Haribo Starmix at Melbourne Airport resulted in a thorough and public telling off!

Picnic on the plane? Metal is a no but plastic is a go


Cutlery seems to be a bit of a grey area. Metal knives and forks are a definite no but metal teaspoons are deemed safe as are chopsticks.

Plastic cutlery has a good chance of getting through security but as with all items, even if they are not restricted, if the security team are not happy with your particular choice they have the right to confiscate anything they consider dangerous! As for corkscrews, they are not allowed in hand luggage but can go in the hold.


You are allowed to take only one lighter with you which must be presented at the security point and kept on your person throughout the flight. It must not be returned to your hand luggage.

No lighters are allowed in hold luggage and lighter fuel and refills are not allowed on the plane at all. One box of safety matches is also allowed, as are e-cigarettes. Neither of these are permitted in the hold.

One lighter only please and pack it in your pocket not in your bag


All electrical items must be removed from your bag and screened separately. Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. You will need to provide proof of this at the security checkpoint and if your device does not switch on when requested, you will not be allowed to take it onto the aircraft. Oh. The. Horror.

Batteries and chargers are subject to certain rules which vary depending on your choice of airline. It is best to contact your airline in advance for details on their exact policy regarding these items.


Fancy a bit of crafting on a long flight? Intend to pass the time giving someone a haircut? Not going to happen unless you keep to the rule of taking scissors with blades less than 6cm.

The good news is that you can indulge your creative side with some knitting or sewing as both needles are permitted, and for personal grooming you are allowed a razor with a fixed blade, tweezers, nail clippers and files.

Indulge your creative side with a spot of safe knitting


Sorry to say that these are not allowed on the aircraft at all , so your excitement at arriving at your destination will have to be celebrated in a more sober manner – maybe a small round of applause for the captain and flight crew?

Other items totally restricted are pepper spray, fireworks, dynamite, rat poison, fire extinguishers and car body repair kits.

For the full list of hand luggage restrictions at UK airports then visit and if you are in any doubt then refer to your airline or airport of departure for their specific policies.

Enjoy your flight!