Liquids, Banned, Restricted and Dangerous Goods

Information on the restrictions that apply to baggage and hand luggage. Includes information about taking liquids in hand baggage, advice on taking medicines onboard, and banned goods.

There are restrictions on what items you can take onto aircraft for reasons of safety, security and taxes. Some items are not allowed in your hand luggage and some are not allowed anywhere on the aircraft. Some items need to have the approval of the airline before you can take them on board.

Individual airports have discretion to confiscate anything they consider dangerous, regardless of whether or not it appears on the list of prohibited articles and passengers who have queries over whether something will be permitted should check with the airport and airline in question before travelling. 

Medical equipment and medication

Essential medicines are allowed in your hand luggage. If the medicine is a liquid, and the amount of liquid is more than 100ml, you will need to get permission from the airline and airport, as well as a letter from your doctor.

You will need permission from the airline to take certain medical equipment on board for example oxygen or insulin pumps. Some airlines will not allow you to take your own oxygen bottles on board but will provide this on request – there may be some charge for this.

If you are likely to exceed your hand luggage allowance by carrying medication or medical equipment, you should let your airline know in advance. You may need to provide a doctor's letter to support this.

If you have questions on whether your health condition may be affected by flying, the Aviation Health Unit at the CAA has produced a series of frequently asked questions (FAQ's) relating to passenger health.

Powered wheelchairs and mobility aids

If you have a battery-powered wheelchair or mobility aid which you wish to take on the aircraft, you need to contact your airline to let them know. This is because battery-powered devices can be a fire risk on board aircraft, and the airline will need to disable the battery before the flight takes off.

Dangerous Goods

International standards allow passengers to carry dangerous goods either in carry-on baggage, checked baggage or on their person.  However, passengers should be aware that airlines and security screening agencies have the right to refuse the carriage of certain dangerous goods and additional restrictions implemented by countries may limit or forbid the carriage of some items in the interests of aviation safety.

Certain sharp knives, ammunition, guns and certain scissors are banned from being taken into the cabin of the plane, whether in hand luggage or on your person.

The CAA has published guidance on the types of dangerous goods which passengers are permitted to carry in their carry-on baggage, in their checked baggage, on their person and those which are forbidden on an aircraft.  Some dangerous goods will require the airline's approval before travel.

Excess baggage

If you exceed the airline's permitted carry-on baggage size and weight limitations, you may be advised to transfer this baggage to the aircraft hold.  Should this be the case, you must ensure that your baggage does not contain dangerous goods that are premitted for carriage in carry-on baggage only, for example spare lithium batteries.

Rules on liquids in hand baggage

There are strict restrictions on liquids in hand baggage for security reasons. If you need to take liquids away with you, aim to pack as much as possible in your hold baggage. Liquids in this sense include lipsticks, mascara, toothpaste, hairspray and shaving foam.

Information on the latest rules on what liquids you are allowed in your hand luggage is published by Gov.uk.

Empty water bottles

The Department for Transport does not prohibit the carriage of empty water bottles through security in hand luggage.  

Packing for your return

While you are away, think about what you will be allowed to bring back on your return flight, and be careful not to buy items that are not allowed on the plane or to be imported into the UK.

Other restricted items

Resolving travel problems

If you have had a problem with taking an item on board an aircraft which you believe you should have been allowed to take (and you have spoken to the airline, and have not been able to reach an agreement) you can contact the CAA.