A guide to taking electronics on planes

All hand luggage is screened at airport security, so it’s important you’re aware of what you can and can’t take before you pack. This can help avoid delays and prevent you bringing items that security won’t let through.

All hand luggage is screened at airport security, so it’s important you’re aware of what you can and can’t take before you pack. This can help avoid delays and prevent you bringing items that security won’t let through.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
3
minute read
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Posted 28 OCTOBER 2019

What electronics am I allowed to carry in my hand luggage?

The electronic devices you can typically take on a flight include:

  • Mobile phone
  • Laptop
  • Tablet devices
  • MP3 player
  • Travel iron
  • Hairdryer
  • Hair straighteners/curlers
  • E-cigarettes (not allowed in the hold)
  • Electric shaver
  • Camera (there may be restrictions on specialist equipment)
  • Phone charger

Some airlines or countries may have different restrictions, so it’s important to check with your airline before you travel.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

What do I need to consider before packing electronics?

When packing electronics in your hand luggage, make sure they’re easily accessible as you may have to remove them from your bag when you go through airport security. Laptops and tablets will typically be screened outside your bag and placed in a separate tray.

Forgetting to take your electronics out of your hand luggage could result in security needing to carry out additional security checks, which can cause delays.

Do my electronics need to be charged?

You’ll have to make sure your devices are charged before you travel. This is because an uncharged device might be a security risk – for example, explosives or other substances could be stored in the battery compartment. If your device doesn’t switch on when requested to, you may not be allowed to take it on board.

Can I bring batteries in my hand luggage?

Contact your airline to check the restrictions on batteries in hand luggage as you may need permission in some instances – the information should be on their website. Typically, batteries are not permitted to go in the hold.

The restrictions for batteries will depend on their wattage, if they’re individually protected, how many you want to take and if they’re for personal use. It may be necessary to contact the manufacturer to confirm that they have complied with the airline’s requirements if you’re unsure.

Can I use electronics on board?

You can use electronics on board a plane, but there are restrictions. You’ll not be allowed to use your laptop during take-off or landing, and you can only use your mobile phone if it’s set to flight mode. You can use your devices to listen to music, but you’ll be asked to remove your headphones during the pre-flight safety briefing.

Are my electronics covered under my travel insurance policy?

Most travel insurance policies will cover the cost of any lost, stolen or damaged possessions. However, many policies exclude valuables that have been checked into the hold. Check your policy documents to see what items are excluded to ensure you’re not putting your valuables at risk. It’s a good idea to keep valuables in your hand luggage to ensure they’re covered.

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