When it comes to packing for a flight, what you can and can’t put in to your bags feels like a pretty obvious list.
Flammables? No. Explosives? Definitely not. Firearms? Take a guess.
But it turns out there are a lot more items you cannot carry on board than you might think.
From regulations around sporting equipment, to e-cigarettes, to cremated human remains, a leading travel insurance specialist has revealed the most surprising rules around carry-on luggage in Australia that you may not know about.
“Australian Airlines have a plethora of hand luggage restrictions that can be tricky for travellers to adhere to,” Jonathan Etkind, spokesperson at InsureandGo, said in a statement.
Not only do passengers need to be wary of bringing a bag that weighs more than the maximum allowed limit, as this can result in additional fees, but they also need to know what items they are not permitted to take on the plane.”
So, what are the rules around carry-on luggage, when travelling within or from Australia, that you might not know about?
1. Your handbag, coat and laptop bag will be part of your carry-on luggage limits on certain airlines.
If you thought your weekender bag was the only piece that counted as carry-on luggage, think again. When bringing a handbag or another personal item, such as a laptop bag, a small camera, or even a blanket or overcoat, these items will likely count towards your carry-on weight allowance on budget airlines (such as Jetstar), but will be excluded in your hand luggage allowance on full-service airlines (like Qantas).
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2. High-value items are only covered when they are in your hand luggage.
According to InsureandGo, flyers should always keep valuable items, such as laptops and cameras, in their carry-on luggage, as travel insurers generally do not provide cover for these items if they are transported in the cargo hold of any aircraft, ship, train, tram or bus.
You will only be covered for such items in your check-in luggage if airport security forced you to transfer them from your carry-on to the cargo hold, and they got damaged.
3. If you need to take e-cigarettes or other vaping devices, ensure that they are in your carry-on. As e-cigarettes and other vaping devices use high-discharge lithium batteries, which could be at risk of igniting due to overheating, they must be packed in carry-on luggage only.
Batteries that are not installed in a device should also be in your carry-on luggage and be protected from short circuiting by being placed in their original retail packaging, a sturdy container, or another type of protective material.
Your travel insurer will not cover you for any mechanical or electrical breakdown that occurs due to leaking powder or fluid carried within your check in baggage, so it’s important that these devices are always in your carry-on.
4. There are no limits on liquids and powders in your carry on, when flying domestically. When flying within Australia, there are no restrictions on the quantity of powders, liquids, aerosols and gels you can bring on-board, provided it meets your carry-on size and weight limits.
According to InsureandGo, there are only limits on these items if you are travelling domestically and departing from an international terminal. In these scenarios, all aerosol deodorants, hair sprays or shaving gels must have a fitted cap or locking device.
5. You cannot carry more than 100ml of liquid on an international flight out of Australia, even if the contents of the bottle are partially filled.
Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) must be in containers of no more than 100ml or 100g — and inorganic powders, such as salt, sand, and some talcum powders, must be in containers of no more than 350ml or 300g — in your carry-on luggage.
You cannot take containers larger than these limits, even if they are partially filled. For example, a 200g toothpaste tube that is half full is not allowed. However, there are no restrictions on organic powders, such as baby formula, protein powder and coffee.
6. You can only carry on-board cremated human remains if you have official documentation.
These documents must come from the crematorium confirming the contents, and the container used to hold the ashes must be free from contaminants, such as soil, and sealed properly to avoid risk of accidental spillage.
7. Baby formula, hypodermic needles and certain medicines are allowed in your carry-on if you need them mid-flight — as long as they are accompanied by medical proof.
Given that you have a doctor’s note explaining why you need certain medicines or medical items, you can bring them on-board if you need them during the flight. This includes baby formula, prescription and non-prescription medicines (including special dietary products) and medical items, such adrenaline auto injectors, in the case of allergic reactions, and hypodermic needles, to deliver insulin for diabetics.
8. Larger musical instruments are permitted, but they may need to have their own seat.
That’s right, if you’re planning on playing a few tunes while travelling interstate or overseas, larger musical instruments, such as a cello or guitar, and other large items, such as artworks, can be brought onto Australian aircraft as carry-on luggage.
However, if they are classified as bulky items, you may have to purchase a seat for them and notify the airline that the seat is for a bulky item.
9. You can fly with certain recreational, sporting and petrol-powered equipment.
Luckily for sports and adventure enthusiasts, your equipment can be brought in as part of your carry-on allowance.
For instance, most Australian Airlines will allow footballs and basketballs to be carried in the cabin, providing they are partially or fully deflated. Racquets used in squash, tennis and badminton are also allowed in your carry-on.
In some circumstances, you can also carry avalanche rescue backpacks, camping stoves, and even a heat producing device, such as an underwater diving lamp. However, on some major airlines, you must obtain airline approval for these goods before flying by submitting a request online.
10. Certain sharp objects are also allowed.
There are even sharp objects you can bring in your hand luggage allowance, such as knitting and crochet needles, umbrellas and safety razors. Pointed metal nail files are also allowed when flying in or out of Australia. However, pointed metal scissors, including manicure scissors and scissors with blades more than 6cm long, are prohibited in your carry-on.