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What can I fly with this Christmas?


Flying home this Christmas? Wondering what you can and can’t take with you on the plane? Fear not – we’ve got all the answers here. From crackers to cheeses, tinsel to turkey, here’s what you need to know before you leave to catch your festive flight.


Can I take tinsel on a plane?

You might not be able to take tinsel in your hand luggage – but most UK airlines will let you pop it in a checked-in bag. It varies from airline to airline, but most carriers won’t be happy with anything which could act as a rope in your hand baggage, as it could potentially endanger cabin crew or other passengers. If someone can use an item as a weapon or to restrain people, then it’s best to put it in the hold.

The same applies to string, cable ties and climbing ropes. The best thing to do is check with your airline to see what they recommend, but if in doubt – in the hold it goes.


Image credit: Flickr / Lindsey Turner


Can I fly with crackers?

It depends on the airline you’re flying with. As a rule, you can’t fly with crackers as they’re classed as an explosive device.

While a few airlines accept crackers in cabin luggage, this is largely irrelevant because several UK airports won’t allow them through security in hand luggage. Always call or email your departure airport to see what their policy is, then check with your airline.

Here’s a quick rundown of some major UK airlines’ rules:

  • Ryanair: Crackers won’t be accepted on flights in either checked-in in or cabin baggage.
  • easyJet: Each passenger can take up to two boxes of crackers in both cabin and hold luggage if they’re packed in the manufacturer’s original packaging. Check that the gifts inside don’t contain any sharp or dangerous items, such as scissors, nail files, or mini screwdrivers.
  • British Airways: You can only take Christmas crackers on flights leaving from the UK provided they’re not homemade and they’re for personal use. You can take up to two boxes per person and they must go in checked-in luggage. You can’t take crackers on BA flights leaving from the US.
  • Flybe: Christmas crackers can be carried in the hold but you can only bring one unopened box of 12 crackers per passenger.
  • You can’t carry crackers in your cabin bag, but they can be checked into the hold. Check with for more information on how many boxes you can take.

Homemade crackers are normally a no-no for most airlines, so check with your carrier before you attempt to fly with them.


Image credit: Flickr/


Can I take party poppers on a plane?

Party poppers are not allowed on UK flights in checked or cabin baggage, as they are classed as an explosive device.

Party popper

Image credit: Flickr/Mike Nelson 


Can I bring wrapped presents in my hand luggage?

No, as pre-wrapped gifts are often subject to further checks and might be unwrapped by staff at security. Presents with liquids, such as gift boxes with shower gels, sprays and perfumes, can be carried in cabin baggage but they’re still subject to UK liquid restrictions.

The best thing to do is pack your unwrapped gifts into your hold baggage, and wrap them when you get there. Large bottles of liquids can still be stored in the hold.


Image credit: Unsplash/Andrew Neel


Can I fly with a Christmas hat on?

Good news, everyone – you can fly with the Christmas hat of your choice. Whether it’s a good old-fashioned Santa hat or you’re not fit to fly without your reindeer antlers, crack on. Just remember that you’ll have to take off your hat when you go through security, and it’ll have to be scanned.

If you’re flying with a bulky hat, some airlines may ask that you stow it in the lockers for takeoff and landing, but apart from that, you should be free to make merry for the whole flight.

Santa Hat Cat

Image credit: Pixabay


Can I take a turkey on a plane?

It entirely depends on the route you’re flying and the airline you’re travelling with, but you should – theoretically – be able to fly with a frozen turkey in your cabin bag, as they’re a solid food and not subject to liquid restrictions. Don’t attempt to fly with ice packs or ice wraps if you’re carrying a turkey in your cabin bag – if you’re carrying more than 100ml of water per container, and they don’t fit into a pre-approved resealable plastic bag, they won’t be allowed on.

We would strongly recommend you don’t travel with a turkey, as after three hours at room temperature, harmful bacteria which can cause food poisoning start to grow. However, if you absolutely can’t travel without a bird, here’s what we advise.

  • Check with the airport you’re travelling from and the airline you’ll be flying with. If you contact them via email and they confirm you’re OK to fly with a turkey, bring a print-out of the email(s) with you to the airport. It may help your case if security staff need proof you’ve contacted the airport and your airline.
  • Make sure you can bring the turkey into the country you’re flying to. Some countries restrict the types of food allowed in – meat, fresh fruit and vegetables can often be problematic
  • Freeze the turkey before you fly, and pack it into your hold luggage.

Regrettably, live turkeys are still not allowed as hand luggage on UK flights.



Image credit: Unsplash/Andrea Reiman


Can I fly with gravy, cheeses or jams?

Gravy, soft cheeses and jams are treated as liquids by most airports, so if you’re carrying them in your cabin lugagge, make sure you can carry them in a 100ml container which fits into a resealable plastic bag.

Flying with perishable goods (much like a turkey) can be a potential gamble – for example, while cheese is generally allowed through airports in the UK, French airports may confiscate it in quantities above 100ml, even if it’s a solid block of cheddar. If they can’t be sure how much you have, they may take it away just to be safe. To avoid any hiccups at the airport, check with the airport you’re flying from, and the airline you’ll be traveling with.


Image credit: Unsplash/Jez Timms


Can I take a Christmas tree on a plane?

You can fly with a Christmas tree, and even bring one home with you – but only one tree, wreath or spray is allowed per person. It must also be from the EU, and less than 10ft in height.

It goes without saying that your Christmas tree must travel in the hold as checked in baggage, no matter how festive you’re feeling.

Unusual items you can fly with

Christmas aside, here are some strange items you wouldn’t think you could take to the skies with – but as a rule, they’re all fine to fly with if you check with your departure airport and airline before you leave.

  • A parachute. Ryanair has a special section on their website for fliers who are determined to fly with a parachute; let’s hope they don’t ever have to use it mid-flight.
  • Musical instruments. If you’re crazy about your cello or devoted to your double bass, this will be music to your ears – you can carry them on board. Obviously, space is at a premium so you may have to buy an extra seat next to you for your instrument, but at least you’ll be in good company.
  • Hypodermic syringes. You’d think needles would be banned from hand luggage, but that’s not the case (pun intentional). You can bring them on board in your cabin baggage or hold luggage if you have a letter from a doctor confirming they’re essential for your journey, and they’re screened separately.
  • Dry ice. Got something in your hand luggage which needs to be kept ice cold? No problem – you can fly with dry ice. The EasyJet website states: ‘You can take a maximum of 2.5kgs of dry ice in your cabin bag as long as it is only used to preserve perishable goods that are not classed as dangerous goods.’ If you’re planning on doing this, we’d advise you let the airport you’re travelling from and your airline know well in advance.
  • Human remains. Ryanair’s website states that you can bring ashes on your flight as long as they’re part of your cabin baggage and that you have a copy of the death certificate and cremation certificate with you. You’ve also got to make sure the ashes are in a sturdy container with a screw top lid. Check with your departure airport and airline before you fly to make sure you don’t face any delays.


Everyday items you can’t fly with

On the other end of the scale, here are some run-of-the-mill household items that you can’t fly with.

  • Cigarette lighters. Well, you can – but it’s complicated. You can fly with lighters, but there are some rules you’ll need to stick to. You can only bring one, and you’ve got to fly with your lighter on your person. When you’re going through security, make sure it’s scanned in a plastic bag along with your liquids, and you’ve got to keep it with you during the flight. You can’t put it back into your hand luggage after it’s been screened. Cigarette lighters shaped like guns are banned on all flights.
  • Non-safety matches. Despite lighters being allowed on planes – and the fact you can have them in your pocket throughout the flight – you can’t bring non-safety matches in your cabin luggage or in your hold luggage.
  • Self-defence sprays. You can’t bring these sprays on a flight in your cabin bag or your hold bag, even if you try and scan them in with the rest of your liquids. Don’t attempt to bring one with you, even if you’re a nervous traveller – you won’t be able to fly with it.


After some further reading? Here’s .gov’s advice on hand luggage restrictions at UK airports and the CAA’s guidelines on banned items. Happy Christmas, everyone!


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