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British Airways Hand Luggage Allowance 2020

British Airways Hand Luggage Allowance




How much carry-on baggage is allowed on British Airways?

A large piece of hand luggage with the maximum dimensions of 56 x 45 x 25 cm and a maximum weight of 23 kilograms and a small piece of hand luggage (also called a personal item), such as a laptop or handbag. For the small piece of hand luggage, the maximum size is 40 x 30 x 15 cm (maximum weight also 23 kg!).

The cabin baggage allowance at British Airways is the same for all classes of travel, Economy, Premium Economy, and Business/Club, regardless of whether it is a short or long haul flight and regardless of whether it is a BASIC or FLEX (FLEX PLUS) fare.


Hand luggage allowance for infants & toddlers at British Airways

What is the cabin baggage allowance for babies and toddlers at British Airways?

With most airlines, babies aged 0-2 are not entitled to carry-on baggage. With British Airways, however, they are. At British Airways you can bring a large piece of hand luggage (56 x 45 x 25 cm, 23 kg) for babies (0-2 years).

For children under the age of 2, you may also bring liquid baby food on board for the duration of the flight. The rule for liquids in hand luggage does not apply to baby food, which is needed during the flight.

For children aged 2 and over, the same hand luggage allowance applies as for adults (see fares & regulations above).


Liquids in hand luggage at BA

British Airways also complies with the EU regulation for liquids in hand luggage. Liquids (including aerosols, gels and creams!) may only be carried in cabin baggage on British Airways flights if they are in a container with a maximum capacity of 100 millilitres and if they have all been stowed in the bag of liquids.

Please note that the effective capacity of the containers is decisive and not the current filling level. So if you have a 250 ml shampoo but it is practically empty (let’s say there are 50 ml left in it), it is NOT allowed on board.

All liquids must be stored in the so-called bag of liquids so that they can be transported in hand luggage.

This zip-top for liquids must not hold more than one litre and must also be transparent and resealable. The liquid containers themselves do not necessarily have to be transparent.

If you would like to take larger quantities of water (>100 ml per container) with you in your hand luggage, there are two ways of doing this

  • You just buy water AFTER the security check
  • You bring an empty water bottle (for example a PET bottle) through the security check and then fill it with water in the toilet. More information about this little hack can be found in our article: Empty drinking bottle in hand luggage


Handling of Musical instruments at British Airways

One would hope that the airlines would have uniform rules for this. But that is not the case at all. On the contrary. Almost every single airline (also) has a different set of rules when it comes to musical instruments in the cabin (and also in the cargo hold). So how does the whole thing work at BA? Let’s have a look at that now.

Smaller musical instruments

Smaller musical instruments such as violins, violas and small wind instruments may be carried on board at British Airways within the hand luggage allowance. Remember: British Airways allows you to bring both large and small hand luggage on board at all fares.

Instead of a large piece of hand luggage, you can now simply take a musical instrument as such into the cabin. You will then still be entitled to the small piece of hand luggage, but not to a large piece of hand luggage (your musical instrument will count as this large piece of hand luggage in this case).

The special thing about this is that if the large piece of hand luggage is a musical instrument, then the dimensions may be 80 x 45 x 25 cm. This is very generous because many airlines set the same standards for musical instruments as for the conventional big hand luggage piece (this would be 56 x 45 x 25 cm for British Airways).

Larger musical instruments

Larger instruments, such as a cello or guitar, which exceed hand luggage requirements can be transported on an extra seat at British Airways. This extra seat must, of course, be paid for. The price for such a seat is the same as for a regular seat.

Further information on the transport of musical instruments at BA

  • It is imperative that you transport musical instruments in a hard case. Musical instruments in soft cases may not be accepted by the BA.
  • Consider taking out instrument insurance for your instrument.
  • If your instrument is larger than 80 x 45 x 25 cm, you must notify the BA at least 24 hours before departure to ensure that your instrument can be transported in the aircraft’s hold.
  • If you are travelling with musical instruments, this may cause delays at the airport (security check, check-in). Plan a little more time for this.

The transport of musical instruments on an airplane needs to be well thought out, so it certainly wouldn’t hurt to take a close look at the following 9 valuable tips.


British Airways: Traveling with pets

British Airways does not carry any animals except guide dogs for the blind. ESAN dogs are not allowed on British Airways flights.

Many low-cost airlines do not carry animals. However, guide dogs for the blind are permitted on all airlines, which is probably regulated by law. So even with low-cost airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair, they do at least need to allow assistance dogs in-cabin.


British Airways: Overweight carry-on baggage

What happens if your hand luggage is too heavy?

Well, the first thing to mention at this point is that this is likely to be quite difficult, as both the large piece of hand luggage and the small piece of hand luggage have a weight limit of 23 kilograms. In theory, you can carry an incredible 46 kilograms of hand baggage, as long as the permissible dimensions of the hand baggage according to BA are not exceeded.

Should you nevertheless manage to bring too much hand baggage with you, then your hand baggage must be checked in, but will be taken into account in your free baggage allowance. What does this mean in concrete terms?

In concrete terms, this means that you only have to pay excess baggage charges for this excessively heavy hand baggage if the free baggage allowance for checked baggage is exceeded or if you have booked a tariff that does NOT include checked baggage.

This is the case with the BASIC tariff. In this case, you will have to pay excess baggage charges at the airport (airport rate). For a piece of checked baggage 23-32 kg, you have to pay 75 Euro. You should, therefore, avoid excess baggage at all costs, otherwise, it will be expensive. Of course, this is not only true for British Airways…


British Airways: Food in hand luggage

British Airways, like all other European airlines, allows you to take food with you in your hand luggage, so you don’t run into any problems during the security check at the airport. However, there are a few things to consider in this context:

  • If you bring food in liquid form, the rules for liquids in hand luggage must be observed. These rules also apply to Nutella, sausage spread and jam, for example!
  • For some foods, especially milk and meat products, there are strict import regulations and sometimes also bans. Therefore, it is essential that you observe the import regulations of the respective destination country.

How to get in contact with British Airways?

How to get in contact with British Airways

Pictures copyrighted by Tis Meyer /


British Airways is very generous with hand luggage and provides detailed information on hand luggage regulations on its website. If you still have any questions, you can easily reach the airline via various social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

British Airways offers the following contact channels:


Unfortunately, British Airways does not offer live chat. A live chat function is currently only available on easyJet, Ryanair and Condor.

As in most cases, we advise you to contact British Airways via Twitter. British Airways can be reached relatively quickly via Twitter and usually responds competently and reliably.


Related Questions


Can I take a handbag with me on British Airways in addition to my regular hand luggage?

Yes, all British Airways fares allow you to carry a large piece of hand baggage (e.g. a carry-on trolley) as well as a small piece of hand baggage (handbag or laptop bag).


Can I take a backpack with me as hand luggage at British Airways?

Yes, depending on the size of the backpack, British Airways may accept it as a large or small piece of hand baggage. At all BA fares, you can take a large piece of hand luggage (max. 56 x 45 x 25 cm, 10 kg) as well as a small piece of hand luggage (max. 40 x 30 x 15 cm, 23 kg) with you. However, transport in the cabin of the aircraft is only guaranteed for the small piece of hand luggage. The large piece of hand baggage may have to be carried in the hold under certain circumstances (usually because of limited space onboard.


What is the purpose of these yellow tags at British Airways?

These yellow tags are used by British Airways to identify small carry-on items. If your small piece of hand baggage is marked with such a tag, you are guaranteed to bring it on board the aircraft. The small piece of hand baggage must, of course, comply with British Airways hand baggage regulations in terms of size and weight.


Can I bring both pieces of hand baggage on board with British Airways?

No. Only the small piece of hand baggage is guaranteed in the cabin. The large piece of hand luggage (56 x 45 x 25 cm) must in some cases be transported in the hold of the aircraft due to space reasons (limited space on board).


Can batteries be carried in hand luggage at British Airways?

Yes, batteries and rechargeable batteries (especially spare batteries) are usually carried in hand luggage at British Airways, as is the case with all airlines these days. Up to 4 spare parts per person (including chargers) and batteries in devices are permitted. These spare parts (spare batteries) should either be in their original packaging or transported insulated/protected from metallic objects. In addition, lithium batteries and accumulators should not contain more than 2 g of lithium and should not exceed 100-watt-hours. Batteries with 100 to 160-watt-hours can also be carried in hand luggage, but as a rule, require prior notification to the airline. The subject is complex. You can read more about this in our article “Batteries in Hand Luggage“.


Does British Airways offer a live-chat?

No. British Airways currently does not offer such a service. You can reach out to British Airways on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook) or contact them by phone (call centre) or by using the contact form on their website.


How much ml of liquid can I carry in my hand luggage on BA flights?

Based on EU Commission Regulation 185/2010, British Airways only allows liquids to be carried in containers that hold no more than 100ml. All of these liquids must also be stowed in the transparent bag of liquids, which in turn must not have more than one litre (1000 ml) of capacity. You may therefore only take containers with a maximum of 100 ml of liquid with you and have a total of 1000 ml in your hand luggage. The number of containers is not limited. So it doesn’t matter whether you take 10 containers of 100 ml each or 100 containers of 10 ml each…as long as the containers all fit into the plastic bag and the total quantity of one litre is not exceeded, you are doing just fine. Liquid medicines and liquid baby food are also exempt from the rule for liquids in hand luggage at British Airways and may therefore also be brought in larger quantities in hand luggage.


Can I bring a deodorant in my hand luggage with British Airways?

Deodorants are permitted in hand luggage, but are subject to the rules for liquids, as these also include gels, creams and aerosols. Your deodorant may therefore only be carried in hand luggage if the container does not exceed 100 ml and the deodorant has been stowed in a clear bag for liquids. In addition, the deodorant must not be “highly flammable”. Deo sticks are a good alternative to the classic spray deodorant. These do not count as liquids in hand luggage and are, therefore, safe to go.


Can I have coffee in my hand luggage on British Airways flights?

Solid Coffee is allowed in hand luggage. If the coffee is in liquid form, however, the rules for liquids in hand luggage must be observed. You are therefore only allowed to bring small quantities of liquid coffee through the security check (containers with a maximum of 100 ml, securely stowed in the bag for liquids). If it is powdered coffee, you must also observe the powder rule when travelling to the USA.


How much liquid can I carry in checked baggage at British Airways?

In principle, there are no quantity restrictions for liquids in checked baggage. However, there is one exception for aerosols. If you take aerosols such as a hairspray with you in your checked baggage, then the rule applies that you may bring a maximum of 2 litres and that each individual container may hold a maximum of 500 ml. Further information can be found in our article: Liquids in checked luggage


Does British Airways have a maximum weight for the small piece of hand luggage?

Yes, the small piece of hand baggage can weigh a maximum of 23 kilograms and is therefore just as heavy as the large piece of hand baggage. 23 kilograms, you heard right!


In business class at British Airways, can I bring two large pieces of hand luggage on board?

No. The free hand baggage allowance at British Airways is always the same: ONE large piece of hand baggage and ONE small piece of hand baggage. This means that you cannot bring two large pieces of hand luggage (56 x 45 x 25 cm) on British Airways Business Class.


Is it allowed to bring additional accessories on board with British Airways?

It is unclear whether British Airways allows such accessories on board or not, as there is no mention of them on the BA website. Many airlines list the permitted accessories by name on their website. On the BA website, however, there is no trace of them. On request at British Airways, it was said: A coat is ok. However, stick umbrellas are not tolerated, other (smaller) umbrellas are. However, the staff were not quite sure about this either. The rules don’t seem to be so clearly defined here. Many airlines allow you to bring on board a few more (or at least one) accessory such as an umbrella, reading material or a blanket in addition to your regular hand luggage, which you do not have to stow in your hand luggage. At the security checkpoint, these items usually pass through without any problems (however, umbrellas with a metal tip could potentially cause trouble at the security checkpoint). If you want to be on the safe side, you should stow all items in your hand luggage and do without additional items (which would have to be transported in your hand).