Hand Luggage Restrictions for Airline Flights: What Exactly are Passengers Allowed to Carry on to the Plane?

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With all the recent changes to hand luggage restrictions by the airlines, many people are unsure as to what they are allowed to carry on to an aircraft. To further muddy the waters, different airlines have different regulations, and what is permitted varies in different countries. The following is a guideline which will hopefully go some way towards solving the confusion. If you’re planning this journey, make sure to take a look at the luggage review at americanviptours.


Recent Changes in Airline Security Regulations

In January 2013, there were changes made to the existing laws regarding hand luggage restrictions at UK airports. Previous to this time, with the heightened security threat at all UK airports, passengers were only allowed to carry on one item of hand luggage to all flights.

Now this restriction has been lifted from many UK airports, including all the major airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, and Glasgow. However, it is advisable to check with the local airport before packing hand luggage, since individual airlines may operate different policies regarding carry on baggage.

Maximum Size for Hand Luggage on Flights

There is nothing quite so frustrating as showing up to the airport to check in for a flight and being told that one’s hand luggage exceeds the maximum size allowed in the cabin. Many people believe that because they’re allowed to take one item of hand luggage, it can be of any size or weight, but this isn’t the case.

The maximum size for hand luggage is 56cm x 45cm x 25 cm per bag for most flights, but again, it is wise to check this with each individual airline. Often the maximum weight is seven kilos, but this may vary from one airline to another.

Air Travel Regulations and Liquids

Both the USA and the UK have restrictions on how much liquid passengers can carry on to the plane.

For a while all liquids were banned, but these restrictions were later eased somewhat. The situation now is that liquids, gels, deodorants and similar items are only allowed in individual containers of 100ml. They should be pre-packed in a see-through plastic bag which is resealable. The bag should be no larger than 20cm x 20cm, so it fits comfortably into one’s hand luggage and can be easily identified by airport authorities.

Each passenger is allowed only one of these types of bags. If passengers have medication that is required on the flight, they should make sure that it has all the information on it and is only the smallest amount needed for the duration of the flight. Occasionally essential medicine that is larger than 100ml is allowed, but it must be authenticated.

Other Items Forbidden in Hand Luggagegirl-571808_640

For some time no sharp items have been allowed in hand luggage. Passengers should make sure that they have no knives, metal nail files, screw drivers, or similar items, as these will be confiscated.


The best thing to do is contact each airline before a flight to ascertain their precise regulations. Packing carefully before the flight ensures that there will be no unpleasant surprises at check-in.

Remember – after check-in it is possible to buy any items, such as water or other drinks, which may be required on the flight.

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