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A guide to taking electronics on planes

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.

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
minute read
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.


On 6 August 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated the list of countries that are exempt from its ongoing advice against all non-essential international travel.

If you choose to travel overseas to a destination where the FCO is advising against non-essential travel at the time of your departure, then your insurance policy will be invalid, and any claim likely to be rejected.

For domestic travel, please check the local public health rules for the destination you wish to travel to within the United Kingdom.

For more information, please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

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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