There are increased security measures in place at all EU airports, with strict rules on what you can and can't carry in your hand baggage. It is important to pack with this in mind to avoid unnecessary delays at airport security.
Size and type of hand baggage allowed
Hand baggage is luggage that you carry on the plane with you, while hold baggage is luggage that you check-in. The maximum size for an item of hand baggage has been set as 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including wheels, handles and external pockets. However, some airlines may only allow smaller bags, so check with them first.
Airlines may also have their own rules regarding the number of bags you are allowed to take on the aircraft. It is best to contact them if you have any questions.
You are allowed to take electrical items (such as laptops and hairdryers) in your hand baggage but they will need to be removed and screened separately.
Essential medical equipment
You are allowed to bring medical equipment if it is essential for your journey. The equipment will be screened separately and must be accompanied by supporting documentation from a qualified medical professional, such as a letter from your doctor.
Pushchairs, walking aids and wheelchairs are usually permitted in the cabin, but they will need to be security screened first.
Any item of hand baggage larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm will not be allowed in the aircraft cabin. It must be checked in as hold baggage, with the exception of musical instruments.
If you plan on travelling with a large musical instrument, it is best to contact your airline before booking, as you may need to make special arrangements, such as buying an extra seat. Any musical instrument you bring with you will need to be screened separately.
Taking liquids in your hand baggage
Wherever possible you should pack liquids in your hold baggage, as there are restrictions on the amount you can take in your hand baggage.
all drinks, including water, soup and syrups
cosmetics and toiletries, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, mascara and lipsticks
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 need certain liquids during the flight, you can take them into the cabin in limited quantities as follows:
containers must hold no more than 100ml
containers must be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm
contents must fit comfortably inside the bag so it can be sealed
the bag must not be knotted or tied at the top
each passenger can carry only one of these bags
the bag must be presented for examination at the airport security point
Containers larger than 100ml (excluding essential medicines) will not be allowed through the security point even if they are only part full.
One lighter per person may be carried on a flight. Lighters are considered to be liquids and should be put inside the plastic bag or screened separately. You must keep the lighter on your person throughout the flight.
It is very important that you do not:
place it in your hold baggage
return it to your hand baggage after screening
Essential medicines, including inhalers and liquid dietary foodstuffs
You are allowed to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml in your hand baggage, but you will need:
prior approval from the airline and departure airport
supporting documentation from a relevant qualified medical professional (eg a letter from your doctor or prescription)
Remember to take only what you need for your journey. Extra supplies and larger containers of medicine can go in your hold baggage.
Baby food and baby milk
You are allowed to take baby food, baby milk and sterilised water in your hand baggage. This includes:
soya milk for babies
sterilised water for the baby (must be in a baby bottle)
formula, breast milk or cow milk specifically for babies
baby food of various consistencies
You are allowed to take enough for the journey. In some cases this may be over 100ml. The adult carrying the baby food or milk may be asked to verify it by tasting.
Liquids bought at the airport
You can take into the aircraft cabin any liquids you buy after passing through security, as these items go through a separate screening process. This includes bottled water, wines and spirits and fragrances and cosmetics of any size.
The EU has strict security measures in place to keep dangerous items from being taken on board a flight. Find out what you can't take in your hand baggage (bags you carry with you) and what cannot be taken on a plane at all.
What you cannot take in your hand baggage
You cannot take any objects in your hand baggage that can cause injury to yourself and other passengers. These are considered ‘prohibited' and you are only allowed to take these items in your hold baggage (bags you check in).
Prohibited items are also not allowed in the shopping areas of the airport (sometimes called 'airside'), or in the cabin of the plane at any time.
If you have any questions about what you can or can't take with you, please contact your airline or airport directly.
Pointed/edged weapons and sharp objects
The following is not allowed in your hand baggage.
Including but not limited to:
axes and hatchets
arrows and darts
harpoons and spears
ice axes and ice picks
lockable or flick knives with blades of any length
knives, including ceremonial knives, made of metal or any other material strong enough to be used as a potential weapon
open razors and blades (excluding safety or disposable razors with blades enclosed in cartridge)
sabres, swords and swordsticks
scissors with blades more than 3cm in length
ski and walking/hiking poles
tradesman's tools that have the potential to be used as a pointed or edged weapons, including drills and drill bits, box cutters, utility knives, all saws, screwdrivers, crowbars, hammers, pliers, wrenches/spanners, blow torches
Including but not limited to:
baseball and softball bats
clubs or batons - rigid or flexible – including Billy clubs, blackjacks, night sticks and batons
kayak and canoe paddles
billiard, snooker and pool cues
martial arts equipment such as knuckle dusters, clubs, coshes, rice flails, num chucks, kubatons, kubasaunts
What cannot be taken on a plane
The following items are considered dangerous and cannot under any circumstances be taken in your hand or hold baggage.
Guns, firearms and weapons
Any object capable of being a weapon, discharging a projectile or causing injury is prohibited and cannot be taken in either your hold or hand baggage. In a few cases, however, some of the items on this list may be allowed in your hold baggage. You will first need to make special arrangements with your airline. Please contact them if you have any questions.
Items include but are not limited to:
- all firearms (pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns)
- replica and imitation firearms
- component parts of firearms (excluding telescopic sighting devices and sights)
- air pistols, rifles and pellet guns
- signal flare pistols
- starter pistols
- toy guns of all types
- ball bearing guns
- industrial bolt and nail guns
- cross bows
- harpoon and spear guns
- animal humane killers
- stun or shocking devices such as cattle prods and ballistic conducted energy weapons (taser)
- lighters shaped like a firearm
Explosives and flammable substances
Substances that pose a risk to the health of passengers and crew are prohibited and cannot be taken in your hand or hold baggage.
These include but are not limited to:
- explosives and explosive devices including detonators, fuses, grenades, mines
- blasting caps
- detonators and fuses
- explosives and explosive devices
- replica or imitation explosive material or devices
- mines and other explosive military stores
- grenades of all types
- gas and gas containers such as butane, propane, acetylene and oxygen in large volumes
- fireworks, flares in any form and other pyrotechnics, including party poppers and toy caps
- non-safety matches
- smoke generating canisters or cartridges
- flammable liquids and fuels, such as petrol/gasoline, diesel, lighter fluid, alcohol, ethanol and methanol
- flammable solids and reactive substances, including magnesium, firelighters, fireworks, flares
- aerosol spray paint
- turpentine and paint thinner
- alcoholic beverages exceeding 70 percent by volume (140 percent proof)
Chemical and toxic substances
Chemical that pose a risk to the health of passengers and crew are prohibited and cannot be taken in either your hold or hand baggage.
They include but are not limited to:
- oxidizers and organic peroxides, including bleach and car body repair kits
- acids and alkalis such as spillable 'wet' batteries
- corrosives or bleaching substances including mercury and chlorine
- vehicle batteries and vehicle fuel systems
- disabling or incapacitating sprays including mace, pepper spray, tear gas
- radioactive material, including medicinal or commercial isotopes
- poisons and toxic substances, including rat poison
- infectious substances or biological hazardous material such as infected blood, bacteria and viruses
- material capable of spontaneous ignition or combustion
- fire extinguishers