Air travel hand baggage and hold luggage rules

Airport security

All baggage items, including hand luggage and hold luggage, must be screened by airport security.

It’s important to pack with this in mind to avoid unnecessary delays at airport security.

Airport security staff won’t let anything through if they consider it dangerous – even if it’s normally allowed.

Size and type of hand baggage

You should always check with the airline before you travel how many and what size bags you can take.

It’s best to contact them if you have any questions.

Electronic devices and electrical items

The electronic devices and electrical items you’re allowed to take on a flight depend on the country and airport you’re travelling to the UK from.

Some airlines might also have different restrictions. Check with your airline before you travel if you’re not sure about what you can take as hand luggage.

Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device does not switch on when asked, you will not be allowed to take it onto the aircraft.

The following restrictions apply to what you can take on a plane.

Item Allowed in hand baggage? Allowed in hold baggage?
Mobile phone yes yes
Laptop yes yes
Tablet devices yes yes
MP3 player yes yes
Hairdryer or hair straighteners yes yes
Travel iron yes yes
Electric razor/shaver yes yes
E-cigarettes yes no



Gas-powered hair curlers

You can take hair curlers containing a gas cartridge in hand or hold luggage as long as the safety cover is fitted at all times. You must not take separate gas cartridges on board.

Medicines, medical equipment and dietary requirements

You’re allowed to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml in your hand luggage, including liquid dietary foodstuffs and inhalers.

You’ll need supporting documents from a relevant medical professional (for example, a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription).

Airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids at the security point.

You can take medical equipment with you if it’s essential for your journey.

The equipment is screened separately and you must show documents from a qualified medical professional, such as a letter from your doctor.

Item Allowed in hand baggage? Allowed in hold baggage?
Cooling gel packs yes yes
Medical equipment (for example, CPAP and TENS machines) yes yes
Tablets and capsules yes yes
Essential liquid medicines yes yes
Hypodermic syringes yes yes
Inhalers yes yes
Special food and liquids needed for medical reasons yes yes
Oxygen cylinders check with airline before you travel check with airline before you travel


There are restrictions on the amount of liquids you can take in your hand luggage. If possible, pack liquids in your hold baggage (luggage that you check in).

Liquids include:

  • 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

If you do take liquids in your hand luggage:

  • containers must hold no more than 100ml
  • containers should be in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures around 20cm by 20cm
  • contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
  • the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
  • you’re limited to one plastic bag per person
  • you must show the bag at the airport security point

Liquids in containers larger than 100ml generally can’t go through security even if the container is only part full. There are some exemptions.


You can take liquid containers larger than 100ml through security if they are for essential medical purposes, for special dietary requirements, or contain baby food or baby milk.

You can also take liquids bought at an airport or on a plane (for example duty free) through security if:

  • the items are sealed inside a security bag when you buy them
  • the receipt for the items is sealed in the security bag and visible

You must not open the security bag until you reach your final destination. Airport staff may need to open the items to screen the liquid at the security point. baggage on flight