Planning a trip abroad? Airlines and immigration authorities are strict about what’s allowed in your luggage, so you’ll need to be aware of what you can and can’t take with you to avoid a sticky situation.
Anything with the potential to go boom is strictly off limits both in the cabin or the hold, including fireworks, corrosives and toxic substances, lithium batteries and self-defence devices such as mace or pepper spray. Check with your airline, as there are many more items on the list.
Another no-no is sharp objects, such as utility tools and scissors. These can’t be in your hand luggage, so even your metal nail file needs to be packed into your checked luggage. Car and motorcycle parts, plasma screen, televisions or toy guns also need to go as cargo.
Liquids, Aerosols and Gels
Known as LAGs in airline speak, liquid, aerosols and gels can be carried in your hand luggage. However, you’ll have to show them to airport security, so lotions, pastes (yes, that means toothpaste too) and make up are required to be in containers of 100ml or less, and clearly labelled.
Your containers then need to be placed in a 20cm x 20cm clear Ziplock bag, which must be sealable, so make sure you don’t overfill it. Only one bag is allowed per traveller.
Exceptions to the 100ml rule are baby formula or milk, special dietary requirements or prescription medications (see below), but they must still be declared. Items bought at duty free such as liquor and perfume are also exempt.
Prescription and over-the-counter medications (eye drops, headache pills and contact lens solution) and water, juice or nutritional substances (if you have a medical condition) are allowed in the cabin. But, in the case of prescription medicine, you’ll need a letter from your doctor or a copy of your prescription.
Mastectomy products containing gel or saline, inhalers, cooling gels and respiratory equipment are also permitted; however check with the airline if you make use of an oxygen cylinder.
As an anti-terrorism measure, both the UK and the US have placed a ban on electronic equipment bigger than a smartphone (16cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm) in hand luggage on inbound flights from several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Turkey. Large electronic devices are still allowed as checked baggage.
- Portable DVD players
- Large gaming consoles
- Travel printers and scanners
However, the US has lifted the ban on Emirates, Etihad and Turkish Airlines because of the extra security measures they’ve put in place.
The exception to the rule when it comes to smartphones is the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which is banned on all flights, due to its volatile nature.
As benign as they may seem, certain sports equipment isn’t allowed into the cabin including golf clubs, walking poles and hover boards, as they are potentially dangerous weapons. There is, of course, space considerations too.
To be on the safe side, check with the airline and your travel agent what you can pack before jetting off.
By Nicci Botha
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.