Thousands of people fly off on holiday to the USA every day. There have long been rules about what you can and can’t bring on board the aeroplane and these lists of prohibited items are often subject to scrutiny and regular updates. It can quickly get confusing – particularly if you don’t travel very often – so what exactly can you take on board your transatlantic flight?
For many years, the rules about weapons or dangerous items have been clear. No weapons of any kind are allowed to be carried on aircraft flying all over the world. These include guns, knives, scissors, any sort of blades, axes and swords. Some of them might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at some of the things people wish to take with them on an aeroplane! Remember that hiking poles, sporting racquets and umbrellas cannot be carried in hand luggage, so you’ll need to put them in with your checked items instead.
There are some passengers who need medication and if it has to be injected, this can be a concern for them. You can bring your medication onboard the aircraft, but it is worth speaking to the airline and members of security at the airport in advance to let them know what you will be bringing with you. This will give them the opportunity to prepare for your arrival and keep any delays to a minimum.
You will need to show your medication to security (where is may be screened) and keep it separate to other liquids you’re carrying. Used sharps will need to be contained in a sharps box. Ensure you carry your medication with you, rather than having it in checked baggage, as the air pressure can impact on the insulin and make it unsafe for use.
A more recent update to the prohibited list is liquids, which now have set restrictions. While they are not completely prohibited, liquids over 100ml (3.4oz) will not be permitted in hand luggage. This rule also applies to gels, pastes, creams and aerosols.
When passing through security, you will need to ensure all your liquids fit into a clear, plastic, zip-top bag – these are often available for you to grab as you enter the queue for security. All of your liquids must fit in this bag, so be selective with what you pack in your hand luggage. If you won’t need it until you land, put it in your checked luggage instead.
Up until very recently, most electronic devices could be carried on a plane. This included laptops, tablets, mobile phones, music players and various other devices. However, that regulation has now changed and it’s important that passengers are made aware of the new rules. This change only came in from the beginning of July 2014, so many people may still be unaware and arrive at check-in ill prepared, causing delays for themselves and other passengers.
The British government has announced that it will no longer be allowing passengers to board aeroplanes if their electrical or battery-powered devices do not power up. This means that if your phone runs out of battery before you get through the boarding gate, you won’t be allowed to get on the flight and will have to rebook or leave the item behind. The same rule applies to all electrical devices including laptops, tablets, e-books, mobile phones and anything similar. If your device does not switch on when requested, it will not be able to go in your hand luggage and you will be prohibited from boarding. Naturally, this could cause delays and additional expenses if you have to rebook your flight, so ensure that you are not put in that position. Make sure all of your items are fully charged and minimise the use of them to preserve power.
This rule is being rolled out to all airlines flying to the USA from the UK, so it’s essential that you’re aware and prepared. If you buy an electronic device in the airport, make sure it powers up and be aware that the packaging may be subject to scrutiny as well. Bear in mind that there are very limited opportunities to charge your devices in the airports, so try to conserve the power as much as possible. When you are on board, the usual rules apply for electronic devices – they can be used as long as they are in flight mode.
So when you start packing your hand luggage for your holiday to America, just bear this list in mind and check with your aircraft carrier for any specifics that you’re unsure about. If in doubt, put it into your checked luggage or call ahead and ask someone from the airline for verification. That way, check-in will be a breeze and you can start enjoying your American holiday from the moment you leave the house.