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Airline Cabin Luggage Restrictions And Size

Updated on January 15, 2011

What can you take in your cabin luggage – i.e. what’s allowed? Many travellers have a general idea then start second guessing. The simple answer is: inform yourself. Ground security staff will take any/all items that are restricted so do be warned – you will lose your expensive perfumes and aftershaves, should they not comply with hand luggage limitations.

Cabin Luggage Restrictions

For cabin luggage restrictions, I’m using the UK as a base but the allowances are pretty much the same across the board. This is because air travel is global: there’s no point a UK airport allowing you to take ‘x’ onto a flight when they know that your destination airport will only remove it from your possession on your return through their system - and vice versa.

You are allowed to carry liquids in your cabin luggage but – there is a size restriction. This is related to liquid explosives and is enforced as a measure of safety. No single liquid can exceed 100ml in size. They must all be contained within a clear plastic sealable bag – usually handed out at airports. The size of the bag is no more than 20cm x 20cm, which is approximately a litre.

Cabin Luggage Liquids

Cabin Luggage Restrictions

Cabin luggage liquids are defined as the following, and must be carried within a clear plastic bag:

  • Lotions
  • Gels
  • Pastes
  • Baby food/drinks – these must be tasted by the possessor
  • Cosmetic items i.e. foundation, mascara etc
  • Drinks
  • Syrups
  • Creams
  • Oils
  • Perfume
  • Deodorants
  • You may also carry small pressurized containers such as shaving foam


Cabin Luggage Liquids Storage

Again – the above cannot exceed the 100ml size restriction and must fit into the transparent plastic bag. Anything not sitting comfortably within the alloted space will be removed.

Don’t be surprised – when retrieving your liquid items after going through the security gate  – to find that you've lost an item of two if your plastic bag doesn't look like the picture to the right.

Cabin Luggage Medical Allowance


Cabin luggage medical allowance means that you're allowed to carry prescription medicines. If you're carrying specific medical equipment this must be carried seperately and will also be screened sperately - and of course you must provide supporting medical documentation.

You can carry medication that exceeds the 100ml limit but again you will be expected to provide the required documentation. Basically use common sense. Make sure that what you are obliged to disclose/show to the airport security fits within the allowed transparent bag. Make sure that no individual liquid exceeds 100ml. And don't be surprised if items prohibited items or anything that exceeds the allowancee is removed from your possession.

Once you've passed through security, you can buy other liquids that you're allowed to carry onto the plane. These have already been screened in a seperate process and have passed security measures.

Stock up on the alcohol ... !


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    • profile image

      Dominick 6 years ago

      Can I take a small tv LCD tv in cabin

    • profile image

      Riot Grrr 7 years ago

      I could never get all of my liquids to fit in one of those dinky bags. If you have that same problem, do as I do...

      (i) Make sure you haven't got any metal on you that will make the detector beep..

      (ii) Stuff your pockets with toiletries. You can always put them back in your bag once you get past the check.. :)

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 8 years ago

      Bookmarked this hub as a reminder, it will be useful in future but as you suggest I will check current rules before travelling. One airline we travel with now makes you put your duty free purchases into your one bag handluggage if you are taking it on the plane; because of their one bag per.person rule. Thanks for this hub.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 8 years ago

      2 patricias - yes you are correct. It's best to check with the carrier. They all have the information available and none of it is hard to find. Seek and you shall find ;)

      Fish - lol I dislike flying and so I'm with you!

      Keira - going back to 2patricias comment ... the safest way is to check with the carrier. Better to know before than after! And thankyou as always :)

    • keira7 profile image

      keira7 8 years ago

      Hello my dear, I have to travel a lot and, I remember when they first change the rules. It was a reel pain. I have notice also that different airoport have different rules. Some they say only one hand luggage not even a book or a small hand bag. When others they will leave you pass with a hand bag and one luggage. I think sometimes they just want to annoye us.:) Great hub my dear.

    • fishtiger58 profile image

      fishtiger58 8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Wow, its getting crazy out there. Think I will just keep my feet on terra firma, and stay off the planes.

    • 2patricias profile image

      2patricias 8 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Sometimes the rules change! So if you travel infrequently, check to find the Internet to find the most up to date rules.

    • frogdropping profile image

      Andria 8 years ago

      Traveler - hey :) Thanks for that! You're right ... anyone that flies in and among will surely have seen the removal of possessions. I don't know of an airport that isn't 100% about the restrictions.

      And I remember on my last flight (in April) that one or two passengers clearly carted more onto the plane than they should have. If ever I get on a plane that's too heavy to fly above 10ft from the ground - I know who I'll be giving a harsh stare to ;)

      Dohn ... the contents of trash cans is almost worth photographing. It's amazing how stupid some people are. Every carrier/airport is very clear about restrictions re cabin or hand luggage. And I really have seen folks having incredibly expensive perfumes removed. Common sense is key :)

      And I saw your question. I can't work out how it got there. I can't see a questions box. I think there's been a ghost in the hub machine. Still ... I'll answer it. Never had a question asked of me before!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Sorry, Frog. Please disregard the question I posted...It seems that the question capsule has now been moved right above everyone's comment box in each their hubs. I think it's a good idea.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      I really enjoyed this hub, Frog, especially about stocking up on the alcohol! Many people apparently don't know about all of things, because every time I go to the airport, someone is always getting stripped of their belongings, especially of things like mouth wash and bottled water (check the trash can while going through security). Thanks again.

    • Travelers way profile image

      Travelers way 8 years ago from Midwest

      Nice blog. I have traveled alot this year and have noticed several times while passing through security people being stopped because they try to carry on a liquid or sneak through something larger than allowed. Also, while on the plane I notice people taking on two large carry on bags vs. the allowed 1 carry on and one "small" personal item. This is funny but can be annoying on full flights. Like you say in your hub "common sense". Thats mainly all it takes.