Flying with hand luggage

Beware!

Some of the stuff you carry onto an airliner in your hand luggage might be construed as a possible highjack threat and confiscated. If in doubt, pack it into your checked luggage.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, airline operators were forced to impose drastic restrictions on passengers, especially regarding what items could be carried in hand luggage on flights. Some of the items restricted verged on the ludicrous, like nail clippers which have been confiscated by airport security officials around the world in the thousands.

After a few new liquid & gel scares taking place last year, there have been even more restrictions placed on hand luggage items for international flights, particularly to the UK and US. Unfortunately, each airline has its own unique form of regulations, so if you are planning on travelling overseas, you will need to check on the latest hand luggage restrictions for your departure point with your travel agent, and perhaps even liaise directly with the airline on what their requirements are. Be sure to check the airline’s website for a guide to current policy. For domestic travel, the restrictions are not as rigorous, but you must still comply with their regulations or risk disallowed items being confiscated. Bear in mind that these restrictions apply to your carry-on hand luggage.

One piece per person
Generally the maximum weight for hand luggage is 7-8kg per person. Most airlines prefer only one piece of hand luggage per person, but ladies can have a handbag as well. Laptops are generally also permitted onboard in addition to one luggage piece, BUT the airline can insist that you only have one piece if the flight is full, so you might have to check-in the rest.

NEVER hand over your laptop computer, even in its bag, as check-in (cargo hold) luggage. The baggage handling is generally very rough, and security is basically non-existent. Take it on the plane with you.

When you go through the security X-ray checkpoint, you will be asked to remove your laptop from its case and both will go into a plastic tray and through the X-ray together with your cell phone and other metal-containing items like keys.

Watch your stuff!
If you’re in a wheelchair, you will be taken through the security gate and given a pat down body search by a security guard. Try to keep an eye on your goods at the X-ray scanner. Make sure that you get back to the X-ray scanner immediately and retrieve your valuables. This helps to avoid mix-ups with other passengers, and worse, undesirables pilfering your things. Beware! Theft is rife in this area.

Always, while waiting in any part of the airport, do not ever leave your hand baggage unattended. Firstly, this is a direct violation of airport security regulations, and secondly, your property will probably disappear within a few minutes.

On International flights, the liquids and gels rule is that passengers may only carry small quantities (max. 100 ml per container) of liquids, gels and aerosols in their hand baggage. The packaging of these products must also meet specific requirements. This applies to all passengers departing from or catching connecting flights at airports within the European Union and the United States.

The new rules apply for liquids such as water and other soft drinks, but also extend to gels, pastes, lotions, and the contents of aerosols. This includes toiletries such as toothpaste, shaving cream, hair gel, lip gloss, and facial creams.

Rules for liquids in hand baggage.

Passengers may carry liquids and gels in containers with a volume up to 100ml.

These containers may only be carried in a transparent plastic bag 20cm x 20cm.

Each passenger may only carry one such transparent plastic bag.

The volume of the transparent plastic bag may not exceed 1 litre.

The transparent plastic bag must be re-sealable.

You may bring a transparent plastic bag from home.

Again, I cannot emphasise enough that you need to confirm all these requirements PRIOR to your departure. It is extremely inconvenient and embarrassing to re-pack your suitcases at the check-in. Contact your travel agent of the airline directly for the latest information.

Happy stress-free flying!

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