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Items you can’t pack in your carry on luggage

The appeal of travelling with just hand luggage is growing, with travellers making good use of the time and money saved by having to check in their bags.

The appeal of travelling with just carry on luggage is growing, with travellers making good use of the time and money saved by not having to check in their bags.

Cabin luggage, however, has much stricter guidelines than checked bags for what can and can’t be packed. Skyscanner New Zealand has had a look at some of the main items that can’t go on the plane with you, meaning you can pass through security and not have to ditch any of your possessions.

Some of the main areas of concern for hand luggage include:

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Can I take liquids in my carry on luggage?

A traveller with her small liquid items in a clear plastic bag

This is one of the main groups of items that we’ve learned not to travel with. Liquids, aerosols and gels (known as LAGs) must be in a container no bigger than 100ml, and these kept in a clear plastic bag that will be scanned separately at security. This is only for international flights; LAGs are allowed on domestic journeys.

Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) are only allowed in hand luggage in containers no bigger than 100ml.

Are there any exemptions for taking liquids on a plane?

There are three major exceptions: domestic flights, baby products and medications.

Strict LAGs rules are for international flights only. Flights within New Zealand (so long as they’re not connecting to an international leg, have no such limitations.

Exemptions from this rule also include some medications and baby products. Check with your airline to be sure.

Can I take sharp objects on a plane?

Anything pointy or that has the potential to be used as a weapon is also banned from the cabin.

This includes most tools and many items of sporting equipment, like cricket bats. 

In many instances this is justified – no one wants to see a gun on a plane – but objects such as nail scissors are routinely given up by passengers who underestimated the power in their toiletries bag.

Airport staff are trained to be vigilant in this area so it pays for you to be one step ahead.

A man in a blue suit holds a samurai sword

What’s the deal with lithium batteries and planes?

Whether you want travel with a hoverboard, mini Segway or any similar device, you won’t be allowed – even if you can cram it into your bag.

It’s not that airlines necessarily have a problem with how you get around, but they’re not fans of the lithium batteries that power these devices. The fear is that these batteries can ignite while in transit.

Read about the 10 weirdest items that are not allowed in hand luggage.

Which phone is banned from planes?

The Samsung Note 7 had a nasty habit of exploding while in use, which caused airlines across the world to ban the model.

Hopefully by now all models of this problematic phone have been recalled or turned off, but for those who are still persevering, there’s bad news. Airlines around the globe have banned the model from their planes – that includes cabin luggage, checked bags and passenger pockets.

Can I take food and drink on a plane?

Any food that is ‘liquidy’ (think soups, stews, curries and jellies) is banned, but ‘hard’ foods (cakes, cheeses, etc) are okay.

Depending on where you’re flying to, you may not be allowed to take certain foodstuffs off the plane with you when you arrive for fear of transmission of pests.

While most drinks won’t fit in the limit for international journeys, there are other items that you can’t take onboard for nourishment.

Airline guidance

If you’re not sure whether you can pack an item, one of the best avenues of information is the airline you’re flying with. Air New Zealand, for example, details restricted items on their website.

Each airline has their own specific rules too. Fiji Airways doesn’t allow mattresses as unchecked baggage, Qantas bans camping fridges and Emirates doesn’t allow knitting needles (but other airlines don’t class these as sharp items).

More information

The Aviation Security Service is the authority for what you can and can’t bring on board a plane, so if you’re not sure about an item, they should be your first port of call.

Other countries have different rules for what can and can’t be taken on planes or into their borders. A few examples:

TravelSECURE (Australia)

Civil Aviation Authority (UK)

Tranport Security Administration (United States)

Once you’ve got your head around the items that you can’t take with you, it’s time to decide where to go. Search Skyscanner for flights, cheap hotels and the best deals on car hire.