Briefly explained: Hand Luggage Rules

Regulations for business trips

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Many hand luggage rules are self-explanatory - others less. In order to prevent you from getting into unpleasant situations at the airport, we have summarized the most important rules for you:

Hand Luggage Liquid Restrictions

Every occasional flyer is probably familiar with the most important regulations for liquids in hand luggage. Liquids, creams and gels may only be carried in containers that do not hold more than 100ml. The same regulations also apply to food of comparable consistency. You should store the 100ml bottles in a transparent zip-lock bag, with a maximum volume of 1 liter. Please note that only one zip-lock bag per person is allowed. In order to save time, you should show the bag separately at the security check.

Other regulations apply to products you purchase from the Duty Free Shop, such as alcoholic beverages. You may carry these with you in your hand luggage, but you should make sure that the shop personnel stow the bottle in a tamper-proof bag.

Please be aware that non-EU countries may have different rules for liquids in hand luggage. Products from Duty Free Shops can cause problems at those airports. If you are planning to make a purchase, you should inform yourself in advance about the applicable regulations at your transfer airports. For the restrictions of American security screening please have a look at their Transportation Security Administration.

If you are dependent on medication, you should label it with your name and dosage and show it separately at the security check. Also, you should carry a doctor's certificate with you as a prescription proof.

Hand Luggage Size

For being able to declare your hand luggage as such, it must meet certain size criteria. Unfortunately, there are no globally uniform hand luggage rules. So which dimensions are suitable for your hand luggage? The size usually varies between 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Most airlines allow to carry a personal item additional to your hand luggage, such as a purse or laptop bag.

Hand Luggage Weight

As well as to the size of your luggage, there are no internationally valid regulations for hand luggage weight. The maximum weight allowed can vary between 6 and 12 kilos, the standard weight for most airlines is 8 kilos. If no weight is specified for the hand luggage, the following applies: The piece of luggage may only be that heavy so you can stow it in the luggage compartment above your seat without any help from others.

Important Hand Luggage Restrictions Regarding Dangerous Goods

It is obvious that you should carry neither pepper spray nor firearms in your hand luggage. What else should not be carried in your hand luggage? The following "dangerous objects" are forbidden:
  • Briefcase with alarm system and integrated lithium batteries
  • Razor blades – you should use disposable razors as these are allowed
  • Nail polish remover, because it is easily inflammable
  • Hairspray and other compressed air containers
  • Storm and petrol lighters; a gas lighter, however, is permitted as long as you wear it on your body. Caution: When travelling to or within the United States, lighters are generally prohibited
  • Many airlines prohibit carrying the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone
  • Scissors including hair clippers – with a blade length of more than six centimeters

There is considerable uncertainty over batteries and rechargeable batteries. According to the applicable hand luggage rules, commercially available alkaline batteries may be carried in unlimited quantities. However, there are restrictions on lithium-ion batteries, such as those used in laptops. As a general rule, laptops or other devices with lithium-ion batteries may only be carried in hand luggage and will be examined extra carefully at the security check. A quantity restriction does not exist. In contrast, you may only carry two external lithium-ion batteries with you, such as Powerbanks. These must not exceed an energy content of 100Wh. 

Hand Luggage Rules – Better Safe Than Sorry

Although there are certain common hand luggage rules, they can differ depending on the destination or transit country, airline and transport class. Furthermore Guidelines are constantly being changed without you noticing it. In order for you to not unexpectedly have to leave important items behind at the airport, it is advisable to find out about the applicable regulations on the airline's website before you start your journey.
Published by Megali on 24/09/2018 Photo credit: © Kaspars Grinvalds

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