Items not permitted to be carried on airplanes or helicopters or subject to restrictions

Published on Wednesday 11 September 2019
The carriage by passengers and crew members of items posing a safety and security risk is not permitted or is subject to conditions set by regulation related to air transport. Airlines may be more restrictive than the regulation. It is thus necessary to be aware of the measures they take and to comply with them.

Airbag Application

The Airbag application helps you pack your luggage

In accordance with international regulation relating to passenger air transport, items posing a safety/security risk are not permitted to be carried on an airplane or helicopter, whether this luggage is placed in the hold (checked luggage) or placed in the cabin (carry-on luggage or even on the passengers themselves).

Items that are permitted by the regulation are allowed on-board under specific conditions (nature of the items, location, quantity, packaging, prior information to the airline, etc.) which guarantee the safety and the security of the flight. For example, some items permitted in the cabin are not allowed in the hold (including lithium batteries on their own i.e. batteries not contained in equipment, or spare batteries and e-cigarettes).

In order to make these provisions accessible, the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has developed an application:

 

The aim of this application is not to replace the information that airlines must provide to their passengers about the regulation, but to provide the public with initial information on prohibitions and limitations resulting from safety (dangerous goods) and security regulation applicable in France. Health and customs rules are not covered.

Before planning a flight, it is necessary to be aware of the specific policy of the airline or of the different airlines in the case of connecting flights, as these may be more restrictive than the regulation itself. Do not hesitate to contact them if you have any doubt or require additional information: they will be able to answer your questions.
The DGAC reminds passengers that the airline can, for safety or security reasons or due to space constraints in the cabin, require cabin luggage to be transferred to the hold.

In the event of such transfer, it is essential to make members of the airline aware of the presence of objects in the baggage which are not allowed in the hold in order to keep them in the cabin. Before performing this transfer, the airline should ask the passenger about the content of the bag.

New features

This section provides you with updated information on carriage restrictions for items in the cabin or hold as well as information on specific areas linked to feedback from airlines or linked to the availability of new items or technologies.

 

September 2019: e-cigarettes

Incidents involving e-cigarettes (also called electronic cigarettes or vapers) have been reportedly recently to the DGAC:

  • an e-cigarette whose battery was burning was dicovered in a checked luggage after a flight,
  • an e-cigarette was discovered switched on and overheating under a passenger’s seat (burning smell noticed in the cabin)
  • an e-cigarette was discovered switched on and in the pocket of a passenger’s jacket, which started to ignite the jacket (smoke and burning smell noticed in the cabin).

The DGAC wishes to draw your attention to the following regulatory points:

  • e-cigarettes and their spare batteries must not be placed in checked luggage (in the hold).
  • spare batteries must be individually protected against short-circuit (by use of the original retail packaging or by another means to isolate the terminals, e.g., by applying tape to unprotected terminals, or by using protective pouches or separate plastic bags for each battery).

The following values must not be exceeded for each battery:

  • for lithium metal batteries, 2 grammes of lithium;
  • for lithium-ion batteries, a nominal energy of 100 Wh (watt-hours);

The DGAC also reminds you that is not permitted to charge e-cigarettes and/or their batteries on board airplanes or helicopters and that e-cigarettes must be kept switched off.

Lastly, if you drop your e-cigarette, do not move your seat and immediately inform a crew member. Similarly, if you notice a burning smell or smoke, inform immediately a crew member. Appropriate procedures will be applied by crew members, who are trained to manage this type of situation.

 

April 2019: connected suitcase

A new type of suitcase has appeared: so-called “connected” suitcase.

This is a suitcase equipped with a

  • tracking device, or
  • communication device (via a mobile phone), or
  • device designed to power or recharge other devices (power bank), or
  • motor which moves it.

Even though the power for the tracking and communication functions is provided, for most cases, by standard alkaline batteries, the power banks and motors are generally powered by lithium cells or lithium batteries.

Most of the power banks are not supplied with the suitcase. Power banks are therefore removable and can be carried in the cabin if the limits and the associated carriage conditions are fulfilled.

Be aware that some airlines may refuse to carry in the cabin and in the hold, suitcase with built-in power banks which are therefore non-removable.
It is therefore important to prepare for your flight and to obtain information from the airlines to find out their policy on connected suitcase, particularly those equipped with power banks or batteries powered motors.

Remember to check the lithium battery characteristics before contacting the airlines.
 

June 2018: transfer of baggage from the cabin to the hold

The DGAC wishes to draw your attention to the inherent risk of cabin luggage being transferred to the hold, which the airline may impose for luggage capacity reasons.
Some items that are permitted in the cabin are not allowed in the hold.

Among these are:

  • spare lithium batteries (or batteries on their own),
  • e-cigarettes,
  • power banks.

In the event of a transfer of luggage from the cabin to the hold, it is essential to make members of the airline aware of the presence of objects in the baggage which are not permitted in the hold in order to keep them in the cabin.

Before performing this transfer, the airline should ask the passenger about the content of the bag.
 

April 2018: aerosols

Several cases of aerosols that were not declared by passengers have been reported to the DGAC since the beginning of the year.

The DGAC wishes to draw your attention to the necessity of complying with the regulation in terms of the carriage of aerosols in the cabin and the hold and any additional restrictions set by airlines.

The DGAC recommends you to contact the airline you plan to fly with in order to avoid any of these aerosols being refused at check-in or boarding.

The DGAC asks you to check the type of aerosol (characteristics, classified as dangerous goods or not, etc.). The safety data sheet available on the manufacturer’s website should in most cases provide the information that you need.

Frequently asked questions on items not permitted to be carried on airplanes or helicopters or subject to restrictions

I must change airlines to make my trip. I have checked that the items in my luggage were permitted by the airline I originally chose. Do I need to check with the new one?

Yes. Airlines may have different policies. Items that are permitted by one may be not permitted by another (for example: hoverboards) and, if they are permitted, different restrictions may apply. It is therefore important that you contact the airline you will fly with.
Note: if there are connecting flights, contact all of the airlines involved.

I noticed when preparing for my trip that the item I planned to take is not permitted in the cabin or hold. What should I do?

You can contact the airline or a transport company like CHRONOPOST, DHL, FEDEX, UPS, etc. to look into the options for sending this item by freight if any and to be informed of the associated conditions.

Warning: sending dangerous goods through the French postal operator (La Poste), including Colissimo, is not permitted:

https://www.laposte.fr/particulier/courriers-colis/conseils-pratiques/marchandises-dangereuses-interdites

I have a portable electronic device with a battery. How do I know if this battery is a lithium battery?

Most modern electronic devices have lithium cells or lithium batteries (sometimes called lithium accumulators).

“Lithium” or “Li” is usually indicated on the battery or on the device itself, or in the device manufacturer’s documents. Check whether this information is present.

There are two types of lithium cells/batteries:

  • lithium metal: these are non-rechargeable lithium batteries, also called primary lithium batteries. These batteries can be found in the following formats: AA, AAA, 123, CR123A, CR1, CR2, CRV3, etc. or in round and flat button cells.
  • lithium-ion: these are rechargeable lithium cells/batteries, also called secondary lithium cells/batteries. It should be noted that lithium ion polymer cells/batteries (usually referred to as LIPO) are assimilated with lithium-ion cells/batteries from a regulatory standpoint.

Note: there are three types of cells or batteries which are not lithium. There are dry alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, 9-volt, button cells, etc.), rechargeable batteries (nickel-cadmium for example), sealed wet batteries (with electrolyte fluid and which can be placed in a flat position without a risk of leaks) and non-sealed wet batteries. Sealed wet batteries are often called non-spillable. They should have “NON-SPILLABLE” or NON-SPILLABLE BATTERY” written on them.

I have identified that my device is powered by a lithium-ion battery. One of the carriage criteria for this type of battery is the nominal energy. How do I find out the nominal energy of the battery?

The energy of a lithium-ion battery is expressed in watt-hours (Wh).

This information is generally found on the battery itself, on the device or in the manufacturer’s documentation (battery or device manufacturer). The information may also be available on the manufacturer’s internet site. It is sometimes necessary to calculate it. The formula to use is the following: energy = voltage (expressed in volts: V) multiplied by the dissipated energy (expressed in amp-hours: Ah).

For example, you read 3.8 V and 2000 mAh on the battery. The energy calculation gives us: E = V x Ah = 3.8 x 2 = 7.6 W, given that 2000 mAh corresponds to 2 Ah.

The regulation stipulates portable electric device must be protected from being inadvertently switched on. Why? Can you provide me with any solutions?

Switching on the device during a flight could lead to this device operating in a confined area (in luggage). This could result in the device heating up and which (in extreme cases) could catch fire and set fire to the content of the luggage.

It is therefore necessary to:

  1. put the device in the OFF position (and not put it in stand-by or hibernation mode)
  2. protect the power-on button against any accidental activation (contact between an object in the luggage and the device could have this effect). For example, use the manufacturer’s safety device or packaging (sufficiently rigid, e.g., its original packaging).
The alcohol limit is expressed as a %. What is this?

This is the percentage of alcohol. It is the volume of alcohol compared to the total volume of liquid in the bottle, etc.

What is the difference between a non-spillable and a spillable battery?

“Spillable” batteries are "wet batteries" which contain liquid electrolyte (acid or alkaline) and which can only be stored or transported in the direction indicated by the manufacturer. If placed in a different position, upside down, for example, an electrolyte fluid leak could occur, which would be dangerous for goods and people as it is corrosive or noxious.

“Non-spillable” batteries are generally “dry batteries". They are not subject to this kind of phenomena due to their design. Lithium batteries or gel cell batteries come under this category of batteries.

Spare batteries are mentioned. Are batteries not contained in equipment also concerned?

Yes. Batteries on their own (i.e. batteries not contained in equipment they are intended to power) have the same restrictions as spare batteries.

Note: only batteries that are not defective and that do not pose safety risk are permitted. This condition applies to spare batteries (and batteries on their own) and batteries inside equipment.

What are the applicable regulations for duty-free liquids?

Liquids bought in airports or in the cabin and placed in a sealed bag provided by the airline (category of products bought in “duty-free” shops) are permitted.

These liquids are now permitted regardless of their purchase date or origin (location of the airport or nationality of the carrier where the purchase was made), on condition that the sealed bags in which they are placed when they were purchased remain sealed. The proof of purchase must also remain visible inside the bag. It indicates the airport or airline from which the purchase

Duty-free liquids transported by passengers on connecting flights: If you are on a connecting flight in a French or European Union airport, including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, from a country outside the EU, liquids purchased "duty free" in airports in these third-party countries or from airline companies within these third-party countries can now, in all cases, be kept during the second flight departing the EU, if the regulation is followed: bag kept sealed and a proof of purchase inside. They may also be kept if the passenger has a connecting flight within the EU from an initial flight originating in the EU. In the case of connecting flights in airports outside the EU, you need to find out about the regulation in force in this country, including other categories of liquids authorised in the EU (less than 100 mL, for example).

What will happen if I conceal a prohibited article, if I do not comply with the carriage conditions set by the airline, or if I do not inform it of the presence of an item when this information is required?

At the very least, you risk seeing this item (product, item, equipment) confiscated.

You could also open yourself up to criminal proceedings or fines if the item carried does not meet the legal and regulatory conditions. In addition to yourself, you are also placing other passengers, crew members and baggage handlers at risk in the event of an incident or accident.

What are the procedures for carrying firearms?

The procedures are the following:

in the cabin:

  • firearms and imitation of firearms (e.g., toys) and ammunition are NOT PERMITTED

in the hold:

  • military weapons and ammunition with explosive or incendiary projectiles are NOT PERMITTED,
  • firearms designed for hunting or sport and the associated ammunition (division 1.4S [UN no. 0012 or 0014 only], not including explosive or incendiary projectiles) are PERMITTED on condition that they cannot be immediately used and that the passenger produces all the necessary licenses and that they have requested permission from the airline via a declaration (contact the airline to obtain the form where the passenger states his/her identity and certifies that the weapon is not loaded, the ammunition is separated from the weapon, the ammunition is stored in a rigid case with a separator, the weight of the case does not exceed 5 kg and is in a container separated from the hold luggage).
What should be considered as "liquid" in terms of security regulation?

Security regulation applies to all liquids, aerosols, gels, pastes, creams, lotions, mousses, jams, soft cheeses, etc., and any other substance which is at least partially liquid at ambient temperature. All these different categories are grouped under the general term "liquids".

What flights does this apply to?

All flights departing French airports, including both domestic or international flights. More generally, these regulations apply to all flights departing the European Union (plus Switzerland, Norway and Iceland), regardless of the nationality of the airline.

Can I take liquids of less than 100 mL into the cabin?

Yes. Liquids that are in flasks and/or bottles of less than 100 mL, placed in a closed bag with a maximum capacity of 1 L (i.e. with dimensions of approximately 20 x 20 cm), regardless of the type of liquid, are authorised.
A single one liter bag is authorised per passenger. This bag must be plastic, transparent and closable.

Where can I obtain the bag required for liquids of less than 100 mL?

You can get this reusable plastic bag (freezer-type bag) in shops and supermarkets.
Some airports also provide these bags free of charge. However, this is a service provided to passengers and not an obligation, and there is no guarantee that these bags are systematically offered. It is therefore advisable to take precautions before departing.

Can I take medicines or liquid products for medical usage into the cabin?

Yes. Liquid medicines or products for medical use are permitted in the necessary quantity for the duration of the trip (outbound journey, stay and return journey).
There are no restrictions for solid medicines (e.g., pills and capsules).

Should I be able to justify why I need to keep these liquids in the cabin?

Yes, by presenting a prescription or a medical certificate.

Can I take baby food into the cabin?

Yes. Food for babies is permitted in the quantities required for the duration of the trip (outbound journey, stay and return journey).
The passenger should be able to demonstrate the necessity of keeping these liquids in the cabin by the presence of a baby.

Can I take liquid food for a specific dietary requirement into the cabin?

Yes. Liquid food for a specific dietary requirement is permitted in the quantity necessary for the duration of the trip (outbound journey, stay, return journey).
The passenger must be able to demonstrate the necessity of keeping these products in the cabin, with a medical certificate.

How should I prepare for the security checks?

Passengers are requested to present their liquids separately during security checks and therefore remove them from their cabin luggage.
In addition to these specific provisions for liquids, passengers are also requested to remove their coats and jackets and to remove laptops and other large electronic devices so they can be presented separately.

What are the consequences of liquid security checks?

Liquids are subject to security checks during which the passenger may be required to justify that they are authorised on-board. If there is any doubt as to whether the product is permitted or not, the security agents responsible for the checks may prohibit the liquid from being carried aboard.

What happens to liquids not allowed on-board?

This may concern liquids belonging to categories that are still not permitted or authorised categories for which doubt still persists as to their harmless nature. In this instance, passengers are advised to ask the departing airport about any alternatives to a refusal to carry these liquids: option to check the luggage into the hold, option to collect it after returning from the trip, send it by post, etc.

In the cabin, must I switch off devices that emit radio waves (e.g., walkie-talkies, baby monitors, etc.)?

Switching on and using this kind of device may cause electromagnetic interference with the on-board equipment. It is therefore necessary to comply with the utilisation instructions defined by each airline.
However, the DGAC recommends that you power off and do not use these devices during the flight, avoiding any unintentional switching on or overheating in the luggage.

 

Telephones, tablets, computers or other devices in the cabin
The conditions for using connectivity modes (WLAN, Bluetooth, GSM, LTE) for devices and connected objects (telephones, tablets, computers, etc.) may depend on the airline. If in doubt, the DGAC recommends their use in airplane mode for the full duration of the flight.
Reminder: any electrical device placed in the hold must be:

  • powered OFF (and not put on stand-by or in hibernation mode)
  • protected against any accidental activation

Useful links

See also

Vidéo - EASA : lithium batteries and other dangerous goods

Afficher la version texte de la vidéo

Certains produits que nous utilisons dans notre quotidien nous semblent inoffensifs : sprays capillaires, piles au lithium, parfum... Cependant, ils peuvent être très dangereux lorsqu'ils sont transportés par voie aérienne. Cette vidéo sur les marchandises dangereuses a été conçue pour les usagers afin de les informer.