Luggage on the flight
Tips for your luggage on the plane
Every airline has their own set of rules and regulations regarding both carry-on and checked luggage. Fly.co.uk gives you an overview of all the airlines, where you can check out the luggage provisions and be properly prepared for your flight.
Luggage tips and tricks
In recent years, many airlines have changed their policies on baggage for international flights. Passengers used to be allowed two bags of checked luggage under a specified weight, usually 50 pounds (22.5 kilograms). However, many airlines have cut this allowance down to one bag per person. Passengers may work around this restriction by packing heavier items in their carry-on bags, or even taking small, rolling suitcases as carry-ons, provided that these fit width restrictions on hand luggage for the flight.Remembering standard packing tips helps to avoid delays and inconvenience when travelling. Liquids are only allowed up to 100 millilitres in carry-on bags; everything else should be stowed in checked bags. Passengers should pack essential items in carry-on bags to last them a few days, in case their checked bags are delayed or misplaced. To reduce the risk of a bag becoming lost, it helps to label all luggage with the owner’s name and contact details, inside and out.
Which things are wise or appropriate to pack
Items which should be carried in the hand luggage
All travel documents and valuables should be kept on the traveller at all times, until they can be safely deposited in a safe at the hotel. This includes passport and identification cards (including child identification cards if travelling with children), debit and credit cards, all travel documents, flight tickets, hotel reservation vouchers, rental car confirmation receipts and travel insurance documents, as well as cash in different currencies. If flying to a destination for which a visa is necessary, this should be obtained well in advance - the airline or relevant embassy will be able to offer information with regards to visa requirements and procedures. As well as keeping original documents in the hand luggage or on one's security pouch or belt, it is advisable to keep photocopies in a different location, and to scan and email copies of the documentation to one's own email address. Should anything happen, this would ensure that the traveller can access copies of the documentation from any location where an internet connection is available.
Things to pack in the hand luggage for the flight
As well as all travel documents, there are valuables and delicate items which should not be packed in the check-in luggage, but kept in the hand luggage to ensure damage is avoided. This includes laptops - which should be at hand and ready to be taken out of the bag for a separate security scan at the airport - and electronic devices such as cellphones, cameras and memory cards, as well as sunglasses and reading glasses. Some electronic devices such as hard drives or professional photographic equipment might need to be scanned separately, so the traveller carrying such items in their hand luggage should make sure that their hand luggage is in a bag that can be re-packed easily and quickly, and should always leave plenty of time at security to avoid missing their flight.
Things to pack for a more comfortable journey
Long-haul flights involve not only many hours on a plane, but also long waits at airports and queues. A few essential items can be carried to make the flight more comfortable and enjoyable, ranging from items such as neck pillows and earplugs for sleeping comfortably during the flight, to reading material to keep oneself entertained. This could involve magazines, newspapers or a travel guide for the flight's destination, as well as e-books and paperbacks. Reading glasses should not be forgotten if necessary, or contact lenses with their cleaning solutions. All liquids should be kept in small containers for the flight, to comply with security regulations at airports.
What to pack for a healthy journey
Travellers suffering from pre-existing medical conditions should ensure that they carry all the necessary medications on them during their flight, as well as a back-up supply in their checked-in luggage. In order to avoid problems at security, all medication should be kept in its original packaging, and be accompanied by a doctor's letter explaining the need for it. Consulting a doctor before a flight will ensure that the patient is safe to fly and has all the medication he or she might need.
Travel essentials that need to be packed
Every traveller, particularly those taking a long-haul flight to an exotic destination, should pack a travel medical kit with remedies for common travel-related ailments such as stomach upsets, jet-lag, mosquito bites and accidental injuries. It is also advisable to pack antibacterial wipes and tissues, with enough supplies for during and after the flight. If travelling to a different country, it is essential to check the power system thee, and pack a converter for charging electronic devices if necessary.
Which things are not appropriate to pack or could be confiscated
General rules regarding restrictions on flight luggage
Security and safety regulations require that all airlines and airports apply restrictions on what is allowed to be carried on board an aircraft. This is to ensure the health and safety of passengers as well as to reduce the risk of disease to humans, life-stock, wildlife and vegetation. Many of today's rules came about as a result of the attack on the twin towers in the USA in 2001, an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK in 2001 and a terrorist plot uncovered in 2006 targeted at UK flights to the USA. Since those events, airlines and airports have tightened up their rules as to what can be transported in luggage. Whilst different airline carriers and countries have slightly differing regulations, they are generally enforced rigorously and it is wise to know what the allowances are before flight luggage is packed.
Articles not allowed in flight luggage under any circumstances
The following items are prohibited from being carried in any type of flight luggage in or departing to and from the UK: combustible materials, fireworks, hazardous chemicals, fuel canisters, wet cell batteries, oxygen canisters, bottle rockets, combustible materials, tear gas, weapons and poisons such as weedkiller, pesticides and rodent poison. If any of these items are found in luggage they will be immediately confiscated and the traveller will be unable to board their flight.
Articles allowed in appropriate flight luggage
Some items may be packed into flight hold (checked) luggage, but are not allowed in hand luggage. These include: sharp objects such as scissors, knives, trade tools and razor blades, sports bats, liquids in amounts larger than 100 ml, plastic catapults, and replica/ toy guns. Items that have to be packed into hand luggage include: laptops, mobile devices (such as phones, i-pads etc), small electronic equipment, medical paraphernalia and prescribed drugs (along with supporting documents from a GP, prescriptions etc), cameras and one cigarette lighter or safety match strike box per person. Please note that cigarette lighters and lighter fuel are not allowed onto flights into the USA. Liquids and gels under 100 ml are allowed in hand luggage provided they are contained in a clear, plastic bag measuring in the region of 20 cm X 20 cm. These can be bought in airports.
Other exclusions involving flight luggage
The above lists of items allowed and banned from flight luggage are not exhaustive. Additional restrictions in the UK are in place on food and plant material to minimize the risk of contamination. Most countries outside the EU do not allow the personal import of meat and dairy products. Other foodstuffs that may be banned or restricted include honey, fish, shellfish, eggs and certain types of fruit, vegetables, plants and seeds. If a traveler has any doubts as to what is allowed to be carried on board an aircraft or packed into hold luggage, it is essential that they check with their airline, the airports that they will be departing from and flying to, and websites of organisations such as DEFRA and the government. Passengers found to be carrying or transporting goods illegally face having the contents of their baggage destroyed or confiscated and risk prosecution involving imprisonment or a substantial fine. Travellers also risk being barred from using particular airlines in the future.
Which things will be monitored or screened separately
Flying with hold luggage and hand luggage.
Airlines have different policies regarding luggage, so size and weight restrictions for hand luggage and hold luggage should be checked well in advance of the flight. Some travellers like to pack a change of clothes in their hand luggage, along with basic toiletries and other essentials, in case their hold luggage gets lost when they reach their destination. Any medication that might be needed during the flight should be carried in hand luggage.
Taking liquids on board a flight
If possible, liquids such as shampoo, toothpaste and soap should be placed in the hold luggage. Any liquids in the hand luggage should be in a bottle of 100ml or less, and should be packaged in a clear, resealable plastic bag with a capacity of less than 1 liter. Once security checks have been passed, there will be the opportunity to shop before boarding the flight, and any liquids bought after security can be taken on board. However, travelers should be aware that if they are catching a connecting flight in another airport, they may be required to go through security checks for a second time, and any liquids they have bought in the airport at the country of origin may need to be discarded.
Taking hand luggage through security checks
When going through security checks prior to the flight, travellers may be asked to remove coats or jackets, as well as belts, jewellery and sometimes shoes. Mobile phones, laptops and large electrical devices will need to be removed from bags and screened separately. Mobile phones and laptops may be taken on the flight as hand luggage, but must usually be switched off during the flight.
Hand luggage sizes, child hand luggage
Hand luggage size allowances during the flight
According to EC Regulation from 7 January 2008, flight passengers have to obey special rules regarding to the size of their hand luggage when they are boarding plane in the UK. In particular, it is very important to check the regulations regarding the dimensions of a small roller suitcase as well as other hand bags, laptops, large electrical items, musical instruments, push chairs and walking aids.
Regulations for liquids
Regulations for liquids on flights
Recent security measures introduced at UK airports have imposed severe restrictions on the amounts of liquids that can be carried when boarding a flight. Liquids - including water and beverages, cosmetics, pastes, oils, creams and mixtures of liquids and solids - are only permissible in containers of up to 100 ml. The total volume of liquids that each passenger can carry is limited to one liter per person per flight, and they must all be fit in one transparent, resealable plastic bag with a maximum capacity of one liter. Such bag must be presented for screening separately at security.
Limitations for certain objects
Limitations for certain objects in the hand-luggage
Since 2006 airport security measures have severely limited the amounts and kinds of objects that can be carried in the hand luggage when taking a flight. In particular, these measures pose strict restrictions on liquids and mixtures of liquids and solids, which can be carried only in small containers and must be placed in a plastic bag at security for a separate scan before boarding the flight. Liquids such as water and other beverages such as juices, soft drinks or liquid foods such as soups and sirups cannot be carried through security, and it is advisable to purchase them at the airport after the security check.
Regulations regarding cosmetics and liquid products
Cosmetic products of a liquid or paste form are subject to restrictions, and there are limitations on the amounts that can be carried on board, which should be checked for the relevant airport before the flight. The limitations apply to all kind of cosmetic products and make-up, including creams, lotions, oils, perfumes, gels including shower and hair gels, pastes including toothpaste, and deodorants. If possible, these kind of items should be packed in the checked-in luggage, but if they are essential during the flight, the security limits must be respected or they could be confiscated at the security check.
Hand luggage allowance during flights
According to EC Regulation No 261/2004, the flight passengers have to obey special rules regarding to what items they may take in their hand and hold luggage when they are boarding plane in the UK. Different airlines may have varying requirements for hand luggage allowance. Therefore, the flight passengers have to consult local travel agency where they have purchased the flight tickets to clarify the situation before boarding the plane. In particular, it is very important to check the regulations if the passenger is traveling with a baby or he/she needs to take some medicines or medical equipment with him/her.
Regulations for duty-free products
Pre-flight shopping after security checks
After passing through the airport's security screening, passengers who wish to shop may do so in the various duty-free outlets. Restrictions apply depending on the customer's flight destination. Having passed through the security screening passengers may purchase and carry on board liquids of sizes greater than 100ml. Furthermore, there are no restrictions on the size of items carried on board the flight for products purchased in the duty-free lounge. Passengers travelling within the EU are not permitted to purchase cigarettes, tobacco and selected spirits at the duty-free price, but are allowed to bring in an unlimited quantity of these items.
Travel medical kits
Packing a travel medical kit
Travel medical kits are a must-have in the luggage when packing for a long-haul flight, especially when the flight involves an exotic destination where the food and climate are going to differ greatly from the country of origin. Prevention is always better than cure, and travellers should try and avoid contact with possible sources of infection. It is essential to pack plenty of disinfecting products and to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces. Antibacterial wipes should be included in the travel kit, and used whenever necessary. It is advisable to carry hand sanitizer at all times when travelling and to use it frequently, particularly before eating.
Medication to be included in travel medical kits
Even if precautions are taken, travellers should be prepared for some of the health issues that may affect them during or after their flight, and travel medical kits should include remedies for the most likely ailments to be suffered: eye irritation, diarrhea, cold, fever and aches, insect bites, motion sickness, injuries and constipation. One of the most frequent ailments suffered by fliers are stomach upsets. There are effective remedies in the market that can stop diarrhea, one of the most inconvenient problems suffered by travellers, although they should be taken only as prescribed and if the problem persists for a long time, medical attention should be sought. Constipation is common, particularly while the body adjusts to a new environment, and normally resolves itself after a few days, but there are also very effective medications that can help.
Essential remedies for travel medical kits
There are some generic medicines which should be included in the kit and taken on board during the flight, as they can help relieve the pain or discomfort associated with various health related problems. It is strongly recommended to carry a good supply of paracetamol and ibuprofen, which can be helpful against fever and aches, colds and to treat the pain in case of injuries. If traveling with babies and children, then child-safe painkillers should also be included, as well as a spoon or syringe so that the correct dose can be given. Antibiotic salve and other forms of disinfectant should be included as a first-aid measure for injuries that might occur during or after the flight, as well as a good supply of plasters and bandages.
Medical supplies and precautions against insects and tropical diseases
It is essential to include in the travel medical kit some products to treat insect bites, particularly when flying to warmer climates. There are products that can relieve the itching and pain from the bites, and some products that can be taken as a precautionary measure to reduce the likelihood of being bitten in the first place. Wearing tops with long sleeves and long trousers after dark is a simple way of helping reduce the chances of being bitten, as well as sleeping under a mosquito net. These are usually supplied by the hotels, but it could be useful to pack one's own to be certain. It is essential to check with the airline or travel agent if the flight destination is a malaria-risk zone, and what vaccinations might be recommended. This should be done at least six weeks before the flight.
Medical kit to carry on board
Nasal gel and eye drops should be carried on-board during the flight. The quality of air in the cabin can easily cause eye irritation and dry out the nose during the flight. These products should be carried in small containers which comply with security measures at airports. The regulations might change between the country of origin and the destination, so the airline or the relevant airports should be contacted to check before the flight.