The thought of losing your baggage while travelling can be extremely disappointing, but the heartbreak of leaving your personal items back at the airport just because you packed wrongly is unimaginable. Packing for a holiday or business trip can sometimes be stressful, but packing the wrong things in your bag has the potential to completely ruin your trip. The topic on things that you can’t carry in your baggage is a never-ending discussion between travelers. Some items are prohibited on planes at all times, while others may be checked and not carried, or vice versa. Confusing right? “When in doubt, leave it out”, says the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Travelling by airlines means adhering to various rules, regulations and restrictions for carrying different items in the baggage. Rules are often determined by travel class type, frequent flyer status and routes flown. To ensure your safety and that of others, there are certain restrictions to the items which you may carry on board the aircraft, both in your checked and cabin baggage. All Airlines maintain a complex system of rules for transporting both carry-on items and checked bags on flights and can refuse the transport if:
- The baggage is not packed satisfyingly.
- The baggage is suspected to contain dangerous goods and you not permitting the baggage to be looked through.
We’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide for what you can and can’t take through on a plane, as well as some important tips for travelers.
Checked bags are larger in size and are placed in the cargo compartment of the same plane. Passengers are strictly advised not to put the following items in checked baggage and should only carry these items in their carry-on bag, or on person, especially if it is hard to replace, very expensive, or necessary for their health and well-being:
- Essential Documents
All necessary original documents containing sensitive information such as your passport, boarding passes, Identification cards, financial records, travel vouchers, business documents etc should be kept with you in your carry-on bag/cabin bag. However, for back up reasons, if you plan to put important papers in your checked baggage, store only photocopies and not originals. Original documents of all sorts should be strictly carried along with you in your hand bag.
- Cash, Debit or Credit Cards
Your cash, checkbooks, debit/credit cards, travelers checks and any other item that has monetary value should be kept with you in your carry-on bag, as there can be possibility of electronics, money, and other valuables being stolen from passenger bags and in such cases the airlines are not obligated to compensate you.
- Jewelry and Valuables
You should leave jewelry (necklaces, diamonds, accessories, expensive watches, precious metals etc) and other valuables at home when traveling, but if you require these items, be sure to wear them on person or store them safely in your carry-on bag.
- Laptop and Electronic Devices
Electronics such as laptops, tablets, cell phones, devices with electronic data, and other electronics are characteristically fragile, expensive and prone to breaking if carried in checked baggage. There is also a risk of your checked baggage getting lost, damaged or stolen and airlines will not compensate you for lost or damaged electronics or electronic data. Such items of great value should be carried with you or in your carry-on bag.
- Power Banks
Power banks must be kept in your carry-on bag and are not allowed in checked baggage.
You can take E-Cigarettes on a plane but only in your carry-on bag or in your pocket. You cannot put them in your checked baggage. You will not be permitted to use your vape on board the aircraft cabin. Also, it’s better to disconnect the battery and if possible switch it off. You are also advised to empty your vape tank since changes in cabin pressure can cause it to leak.
- Other Items not suitable for transport because of their properties and characteristics, including size, weight, type, vulnerability to spoilage, fragility, brittleness, crushability, or particular sensitivity.
- Any other dangerous or hazardous items such as party poppers, segway, coconut, lighter etc that can pose a danger to the aircraft or to people or items on board the aircraft.
A carry-on bag is smaller and travels with you in the cabin of the airplane. Most airlines allow one piece of carry-on/hand/cabin baggage (depending upon travel class), that can fit in the overhead compartment of the plane.
The cabin baggage is screened by passing the baggage through the X-ray equipment at the screening checkpoint. If an item is too big to go through the X-ray, it must be checked. Similarly, if an item is not permitted past the checkpoint, you may have the option to place it in your checked baggage.
In addition to the carry-on baggage, you are allowed to carry the following additional item in the cabin which can go under the seat in front of you:
- Laptop bag
- A small handbag, purse or equivalent
- A small backpack or diaper bag
In addition to the extra item above, you are also allowed to carry the following items in the cabin (subject to security regulations):
- Cash, important documents, jewelry
- Camera, laptop
- An overcoat wrap or blanket
- A reasonable amount of reading material
- Helping aid for mobility impaired passengers such as a walking stick or crutches
- Collapsible baby stroller
- Infant & child food (in reasonable quantity)
Passengers are allowed to carry only small amounts of liquid items in their carry-on baggage, packed in individual containers of no more than 100 ml in volume. Packages must be put in one transparent reclosable plastic bag. One 1 litre plastic bag is allowed per passenger. So, if you’re travelling with your favorite perfume, ensure it is not more than 100ml.
Liquid items include:
- Water and other beverages, soups, jam, syrup
- Cosmetics and toiletries including creams, lotions, oils, tonics, perfumes, mascara and lip gloss
- Sprays such as shaving foam, hairspray and deodorants
- Toothpaste and other pastes
- Hair and shower gel
- Contact lens solution
- Any other solutions and items of similar consistency
Exceptions applied in special cases:
- Medicines (provided that they are prescribed on the name of the passenger or a health report/document stating that the passenger needs to consume such medicines, is presented and such medicine is kept in its original package)
- Baby liquid food (provided that the baby is also travelling on board and up to the amount required during the flight)
Note: Security officials may ask you to document the exceptional case or may make you taste the medicine/baby food/liquid at the check point
Baby Food and Baby Milk
You’re allowed to take enough baby food, baby milk and sterilized water for the journey in reasonable and approved quantity. Each container will need to be screened at the security point and airport staff might need to open the containers to screen the liquids.
Duty Free Products
Duty free purchases such as chocolates, souvenirs, toys, alcohol, cigarettes, perfume, etc are also permitted in reasonable quantities for all service classes. The products you buy from Duty free shops will be placed in a special bag together with the invoice and the bag will be sealed. This bag will be allowed on board only after the bag and the invoice are checked at the security check point.
During purchase, the sales executives at the Duty free counters often cross-check flight details and destination to avoid any inconvenience to the passengers.
Passengers are not permitted to carry the following items in Carry-on Baggage:
Scissors, lighters, pocket knives, razor blades, utility knives, safety razors, party poppers, flares, smoke cartridges, fireworks, firearms of all types such as pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, model guns, toy or replica guns (including water pistols), blunt objects, working tools, darts, sport tools cannot be taken on the aircraft at any point.
The following items are completely banned from aircraft, and should not be brought to the airport:
- Explosives, firecrackers, detonators, flares, ammunition or fireworks
- Weapons or their parts
- Compressed gases
- Flammable liquids
- Radioactive material
- Blasting caps
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides
- Poisons and infectious substances
- Toxic substances, e.g., pesticides; corrosive substances
- Marijuana (cannabis) or any other drugs
- Replicas or imitations of explosive devices
- Dynamite, gunpowder and plastic explosives
- Any items that generate a strong magnetic field
Important Tips for Travelers:
- You should always check size limits of baggage with your airline before you travel. Your allowance depends on the type of ticket you’ve booked, the cabin you’re travelling in, whom are you flying with and your loyalty status with the airline.
- Always pack personal belonging in the cabin luggage.
- Luggage, travel bags, handbags, and other checked baggage must be locked.
- Remove all old baggage tags.
- Purchase Travel Insurance for security from baggage loss or theft.
- Write your name, detailed address, and phone number on your checked baggage as passengers tend to carry identical looking bags. With your identification details, it will be easy to recognize your bag.
- Keep your baggage and belongings in sight when passing through a security checkpoint.
- If asked about the amount of money in your baggage by the airport officials or other responsible authority, always tell the truth.
- 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.
- If your carry-on baggage does not meet the requirements resulting from applicable standards or safety considerations, it may be questioned and approved for transport within the limits of checked baggage. In such case, all valuable items, documents, laptops, cameras, cell phones, keys, etc. must be taken out of the baggage and should be carried along with you on person.
- Checked baggage should be packed securely to prevent it from breaking during the flight transport. The baggage should be able to withstand normal handling during transport within the airport, and during loading and unloading from the airplane.
There are always exceptions to the rules so make sure you check with the respective airline or your travel agent for the latest baggage information before you head to the airport.