We all know about the liquid ban, but after security staff at Derry airport stopped a student from flying with a Green Lantern mask in his carry-on bag, we investigate what other surprising items are restricted by the authorities.
The UK has strict security measures in place to stop ‘dangerous’ items from being taken on a flight. Some are obvious: a concealed Kalashnikov could cause embarrassment at security. But it may surprise you that unsuspecting items such as fishing rods are deemed dangerous. We lift the lid on what’s banned from your hand baggage.
1. Tent pegs
Flying to a music festival? Camping? Don’t carry your tent pegs in your hand luggage as they’ll get confiscated. Which will leave you a bit stuck: you’ll either have to sleep under the stars, which carries the risk of a fellow festival goer falling, or peeing, on you in the night; or stay awake for three days, which you may do anyway, so no biggie. Tent poles are ok though.
2. (Multiple) cigarette lighters
Oddly, considering the official line, ‘you can't take any objects in your hand baggage that could cause injury to yourself and other passengers,’ you can take a lighter on the plane. But no more than one. Confusingly, 'you must keep the lighter on your person throughout the flight. It is very important that you do not return it to your hand baggage after screening.'
The rules are the rules. While you might argue that a one-person portion of chicken and mushroom bears less threat to the safety of your fellow passengers than a lighter, liquid is liquid. Well, 101ml or more of liquid. The same goes for mascara, clotted cream and 10 litres of Curious by Britney Spears. You should know that by now.
4. 10 litres of Curious by Britney Spears
You may think that you can get around the liquids rule by decanting big bottles into lots of little containers, but NO: ‘containers must be carried in a single, transparent, re-sealable plastic bag, which holds no more than a litre and measures approximately 20cm x 20cm’.
While we’re on the subject of liquids, if you need a keep a big bottle of ‘essential’ medicine on you, well, tough. You can’t take more than 100ml of the stuff. Actually, you can, as long as you notify the airport in advance. Not sure that they’ll accept sauvignon blanc as essential medicine, but it’s worth a try.
6. Badminton racquets
The authorities take a dim view of sporting equipment. Cricket bats: fair enough – the trusty willow is the weapon of choice for many a well-spoken, white-haired, real ale-enjoying assailant, but the ban extends to badminton racquets. As for ‘martial arts equipment’, that’s fine as long it’s checked in, so you can stuff your case with an arsenal of ‘knuckledusters, clubs, coshes, rice flails and nunchucks’.
7. Fishing rods
Why you’d want to take a harpoon away with you is your business, but if you’re off on a whaling holiday, it’ll have to go in the hold. The same goes for fishing rods, presumably so you’re not tempted to get your own back on that annoying child in seat 11A by hooking them with a Woolly Worm.
If you are a jet-setting joiner or plumber, check-in bag fees will eat into your income, for you are not permitted to carry on essential toolbag items such as screwdrivers, spanners, pliers, saws, drills or drill bits on the plane. Actually, it’s unclear whether it’s ok to take your drill bits and not your drill.
From tear gas to infected blood and fire extinguishers, ‘Chemicals and Toxic Substances’ are a complete NO. This includes peroxide. So if you’re off to Malia with the lads and you’re all planning to amusingly bleach your hair, do it before you leave.
‘IN ANY FORM’, says the rules. Just in case you were unsure.
If this doesn't clear things up, see the official guidelines in full here.
More: Our industry experts explore and expose more air travel truths, exaggerations and nuggets of absolute rubbish in the Skyscanner Travel Podcast.