Your bags are packed, the taxi is booked – you’re ready to head to the airport to catch your flight. Waiting for the taxi, you look down at your bags with a little bit of uncertainty. Will the bag meet the luggage allowance? Did you put a lid on the aerosol can of deodorant? Is everything in zip lock bags?
Ever been so wound up about baggage allowances and security checks that you wished you were taking a road trip instead? I know I certainly have.
I’ve done hundreds of flights, international and domestic, as a flight attendant in a former life and as a passenger.
And from one Expedia traveller to another, I can vouch that flight regulations and baggage allowances still put me a little outside of my comfort zone.
Here’s what you need to know for a hassle-free experience:
As the world changes so do travel alerts and visa requirements. The best way to avoid the hassle is to educate and organise before you go. Check out a fantastic resource called Expedia Travellers’ Tools. There’s a section solely dedicated to current travel alerts, another for visa requirements, a currency converter, options for affordable and competitive travel insurance along with clickable links to help you change your hotel or car booking. All the essential travel resources at your fingertips.
Check in can be chaotic. To avoid drama, arrange to get to the airport early, no later than 45 minutes for domestic flights and two hours for international flights. If you require special assistance (wheelchairs, you’re travelling with pets or infants), it’s best to call the airline no later than 24 hours prior so that special arrangements can be made.
The greatest check in challenge is baggage allowance. There’ll be times when you’re transporting skis and surfboards, oversized bags or fragile goods. And sometimes you’ve packed everything except the kitchen sink and you’re certain you’re over the weight restrictions. Who can remember what to do for all that? It’s best to clarify all these details before you even begin packing. Find out the baggage allowance and procedures for the airline you’re travelling with over at Expedia Travellers’ Tools Check In.
There’s nothing worse than going through security and having to surrender something from your hand luggage. It can be humiliating and inconvenient. What’s more, airports and airlines are under no obligation to store or return surrendered items, so you can bid farewell to your confiscated item. Let’s take a look at what’s allowed and what’s not.
1. Sharp items or weapons
Any item that has a sharp edge with the potential to be used as a weapon is classed as a prohibited item. That includes anything that can be used to restrain someone. So leave your sharp sporting equipment, kitchen utensils, tools, scissors and cable ties at home. The rules do change: you can now take knitting and crochet needles, pointed metal nail files, nail clippers and disposable razors on board. If you’re unsure, pack the item in your checked luggage. See the Government’s Travel Secure for a more detailed list.
You can take aerosols in your hand luggage as long as they’re for personal or medicinal use – hair sprays, deodorants, perfumes and medical inhalers. The nozzle on the aerosol must be protected by a cap or have a release lock, otherwise it will be confiscated. For domestic travel the aerosols in hand luggage must be under a net quantity of 2kg/2L and a single article must not exceed 0.5kg/0.5L.
For international travel each aerosol should not exceed a 100gr/100ml bottle.
3. Liquids, pastes and gels
While these items seem insignificant, a combination of a pressurised cabin, high altitudes and extended travel cause everyday substances to react. This regulation is in place for international travel only, to protect travellers from the threat of liquid explosives. You must not carry liquids, gels, pastes and aerosols in containers greater than 100ml. You also need to ensure you pack these products in a transparent, resealable bag. You’re allowed one plastic bag measuring no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20×20 cm or 15×25 cm). To avoid any hassles pack the bigger items in your checked luggage.
Remember: If you buy additional liquids and gels (perfume!) Duty Free after security screening, by law they must be packaged in a sealed bag which you can’t open until you arrive at your destination. My biggest tip is to only buy these items at the stop before your destination, otherwise if you have a connecting flight you’ll have to go through pre-screening. They could be confiscated – even if they’re in a sealed duty free bag.
There are exceptions to these rules, especially when it comes to medicine and baby products. Check with your aircraft carrier on what to do to get cleared to carry your required items on board.