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Hand luggage only: what you can and can’t take on a plane

If you're flying with hand luggage only, don't get yourself in trouble with airport security. From your laptop or a lighter to nail scissors or your new drone, check out these hand luggage restrictions for most major airlines flying out of Ireland.
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Can I take scissors, tweezers or an umbrella in hand luggage?

While most everyday items such as scissors, nail clippers, and tweezers are allowed, there are other simple items that are prohibited. You definitely won’t be cracking open the wine on board as corkscrews are not allowed in hand luggage. Knives of all kinds over 6cm in length are also banned on board, so leave that pocket knife at home if you don’t want to lose it at airport security (this rule also applies to scissors). Surprisingly, lighters are frowned upon so we’d recommend picking one up when you arrive at your destination.

So what exactly can you take in your hand luggage?

Everyday items

Item

Permitted on board?
CorkscrewNo
CutleryNo
Knife (with sharp or fixed blade more than 6 cm)No
Folding blade knifeNo
Scissors with blades greater than 6 cmNo
Razor BladesNo
CutterNo
Nail ClipperYes
TweezersYes
Knitting needlesYes
LighterNo
Safety MatchesNo (may be carried on the person)
UmbrellaYes
CaneYes
WheelchairYes
Children’s strollerYes
Liquid for contact lensesYes
Printer cartridgeNo

Can I take my laptop on the plane flying from Ireland?

Currently, you are permitted to take your laptop and other electronic devices on all flights as hand luggage from Ireland to your final destination, if flying direct. The recent laptop ban caused some confusion, but at the moment carriers operating from previously affected countries (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia) are no longer subject to relevant restrictions. 

If you are carrying a power bank or rechargeable camera battery over 16cm, you may be asked to place this in your hand luggage at check-in. Lithium batteries should not be stored in the hold, and as such, you’ll have to put them into your hand luggage.

Electronics

ItemPermitted on board?
LaptopYes
TabletYes
MP3 PlayerYes
Hair dryer or straightenerYes
Camera and camera equipmentYes
Travel ironYes
Electronic razorYes
Laptop ban

Can I take my medicine in my cabin bag?

Medicines, pills and tablets are usually allowed in your hand luggage as long as the containers they are in do not exceed 100ml. If you need to carry more medicine with you, you must notify the airline in advance. For oxygen or air for medical use, this will depend on your airline and it’s best to check directly with them before flying. EasyJet permits compressed air or oxygen cylinders with a medical certificate, so long as the length does not exceed 0.5 metres and the diameter 250 mm. Ryanair also allows different types of respiratory equipment (masks, respirators, ventilators continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP) so long as they comply with cabin baggage dimensions. If you’re taking liquid medicine such as a cough bottle, ensure it under 100ml or it will be taken off you at airport security.

Medicine

ItemPermitted on board?
Cooling gel packYes
Medical equipmentYes
Drugs and pillsYes
Syrups and other medicines in liquid formYes
Hypodermic syringesYes
InhalersYes
Bottles of oxygenContact the airline directly
ScalpelsNo

Can I bring sandwiches, food or drinks in my carry on bag?

Food, such as a packed lunch, is permitted so taking some sandwiches or Tayto crisps on board should not be a problem. You can also take snacks such as fruit, nuts and sweets with you. Drinks are a different story, however, and you cannot take liquids over 100ml, which also applies to tinned fish, brined olives, soft cheese and jams. So leave grandma’s strawberry jam at home for the week! Whilst the liquids restrictions is still in place, parents can bring sterile water or milk for their baby, so long as it’s tested with security. If you want water for the plane, you just need to buy it after you go through security.

NOTE: If bringing food and snacks such as fruit on board, it is important to eat it or throw it out before landing in certain countries. Australia, for example, is extremely strict on what food items can be brought into the country and you can get landed with very big fines.

Vietnamese Pork Banh Mi Sandwich with Cilantro and carrot

Babies

ItemPermitted on board?
Any drink (eg water, fruit juice, tea, coffee)No
Milk, powder, cow or soyaYes
Sterile water for babyYes – in a bottle
Baby foodYes
JamNo
SyrupNo
HoneyNo
Fresh cheese in liquid or malleable form (cheese, spreadable)No
YogurtNo
SoupNo
SauceNo
OilNo
VinegarNo
Dried FruitYes
NutsYes

Can I bring my hockey stick, parachute or fishing rod in my hand luggage?

There is no hard and fast rule for all sports equipment, but most are not allowed on the plane. This includes tennis rackets, crampons, walking sticks and ice skates. If you have a large piece of equipment you wish to ship, make sure you call the airline before your flight to discuss the best way to transport it. Most large sports items must be checked in and then brought to the oversize luggage area for inspection, so if you’re heading on your holidays with just hand luggage, best to leave the hurley at home!

Sports equipment

ItemPermitted on board?
Sports parachuteYes
Bats and racketsNo
Golf clubsNo
Darts gameNo
Hiking stickNo
Ice skatesNo
Fishing rod, harpoon or rifleNo
Firearms (including reproductions)No
Martial arts equipmentNo
Diving equipmentNo
Crossbows, arrows and arrowsNo
Fronds and catapultsNo
CramponsNo
JavelinsNo
Ice axes and ice picksNo
SwordsNo
Canoes and paddlesNo
Golf Clubs

Can I take work tools and equipment in my hand luggage?

Unfortunately, airline cabin luggage restrictions don’t favour carpenters or designers. If you have a hammer, nuts, bolts, screwdrivers or paint spray with you in your tool box, you will need to check all of it in, even if they’re small.

Equipment

ItemPermitted on board?
Blade or cutting tools larger than 6 cm (eg screwdriver)No
Drill and accessoriesNo
Professional knivesNo
Cutting matsNo
Saws (including portable electric saws)No
HammerNo
MacheteNo
Aerosol paintNo
Turpentine and paint thinnerNo

What other items aren’t allowed in cabin luggage?

Can I bring camping equipment in hand luggage?

If you’re heading away camping and were hoping to bring your tent in your hand luggage, we have bad new for you. Tents will need to go in the hold during the flight, as the poles can be considered dangerous. If you’re considering bringing gas for the fire, think again, as it’s not permitted on board, and any of your camping snacks (tinned fish) need to fit the 100ml liquid limit.

Can I bring my photography equipment on board?

This normally just depends on the size of your equipment. If your cameras and tripods can all fit in a hand luggage bag that meets the airlines restrictions, you should have no problem bringing it on board the plane.

Can I bring my drone as hand luggage?

With the popularity of drones for both professional photographers and hobbyist, drone laws are still evolving. Currently you can bring your drone as hand luggage with you as long as it fits within basic cabin baggage dimensions. However, if you are transiting through certain airports, such as Budapest, you will be asked to check your drone in. Remember that drones are totally illegal in many countries, such as Morocco and Cuba, so don’t even think of bringing it to these places unless you want to lose your drone to security and potentially end of in jail!

Drone as hang luggage

Are candles and oils liquids, or solids?

If you are planning to bring some candles on holiday with you, or hope to pick some up to bring home as a gift, remember that candles count as liquids, as do solid oils (like coconut oil) which means they can’t be over 100ml.

Can I take hazardous materials in my hand luggage?

All hazardous materials, pointed or sharp objects and weapons (such as revolvers, firearms, pistols and rifles) are prohibited in your hand luggage. It is also the case for tear gas, compressed gas, cleaning products and fire extinguishers and other “chemicals and toxic substances”. That includes peroxide hair dye, so don’t bother planning a mid-holiday hair dressing session!

You should also note fireworks and gunpowder is banned in all forms, including the poppers that kids sometimes play with. The good news is that you can carry traditional Christmas crackers on your carry-on baggage if you fly with airlines like Aer Lingus – but do check the rules of your airline to avoid disappointment!

Read more about the Christmas gifts you can and can’t take on board in our detailed article.

*Information correct at the time of publication, however check website of the airline you will be flying with for specific details of their baggage and hand luggage policy.

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