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Glass & Ceramics in Hand Luggage | Rules & Tips

Glass & Ceramics in Hand Luggage


Glass & ceramics in hand luggage: is this permitted? On the one hand, there is no specific rule or EU regulation that would directly prohibit the transport of glass and ceramics in hand luggage*.

However, EU Regulation No. 185/2010 under Annex 4 C), which deals with prohibited items in hand luggage, states that blunt items that can be used as a weapon are not permitted in hand luggage.

Now there is different glassware or even ceramic goods that would be suitable quite efficiently as a striking weapon. But among the examples in the regulation only baseball and softball bats, clubs and batons, such as blackjacks, martial arts equipment are mentioned by name.

Do glass and ceramic goods also belong to this category? Hmm, very likely.


Is glass & ceramics permitted in hand luggage?

In concrete terms, it is up to the security staff to decide whether you are allowed to pass through the security control with your ceramics and glassware (the same applies, by the way, to pottery and porcelain). The Airlines itself do NOT have a problem with the carriage of such items. It is important to understand that the security controls are conducted by the airport staff and NOT by the personnel of the Airlines. 

Conclusion so far: You should use common sense to decide which glass & ceramic goods you are allowed to take with you and which not, or to assess the risks and then weigh up whether you want to risk it or not.

Always ask yourself the question: Could item XYZ be seen as a dangerous object or not? If your answer to this question is yes, then you’d better not bring that item with you in the first place.

Smaller items are usually not a problem, while large glass & ceramic items, which could be used as a weapon – e.g. wheat beer glasses or beer mugs –  run the risk of getting confiscated at the security control.

If one is allowed to believe various forums on the Internet, then in some cases such objects can also make it through the security check with a little luck.

And as far as the transport of smaller glass and ceramic goods is concerned, most people report that they had no problems with this in their hand luggage so far.

Transporting a jug in your hand luggage is not expressly prohibited by EU regulations, but it will probably lead to problems during security checks, as the pitcher could be classified as a blunt weapon. And of course, the jug would have to be empty for transport.

The decisions can also vary from airport to airport. At Zurich airport, for instance, security staff might be OK with your wheat beer glasses, and they will let you pass, while such glasses are not tolerated at Frankfurt airport.

So there is no crystal-clear answer to this question. The transport of glasses and ceramics in hand luggage certainly means playing with fire and it all depends on the good attitude of the security staff.

Experience reports on the Internet show, however, that many passengers successfully transport fragile items in their carry-on baggage and do not get into difficulties in most cases.


What about glass & ceramics in checked baggage?

Ceramics in Checked Baggage

The carriage of Ceramics & Glassware in checked baggage is often tolerated by the airlines. However, many airlines write in their GTCs that fragile goods should not be transported in checked luggage and that they are not liable if you do so. So if your ceramics & glassware will break during the trip (while being in the checked luggage), the airline will most likely not take any responsibility for it.


In practice, glass & ceramics can usually be transported in checked baggage*. Transportation in checked baggage is generally easier than in hand baggage since you do not have to march through security checks with these goods.

However, when stowed in checked baggage, you are confronted with the problem that safe transport is not entirely easy in itself, as glasses and ceramics are fragile goods and could therefore easily break while being carried in checked baggage.

*Strictly speaking, however, the carriage of such items in checked baggage (including hand baggage) is often restricted, if not prohibited (depending on the interpretation of the clause) by a clause in the General Terms & Conditions.

Experience reports on the Internet show, however, that many passengers successfully transport fragile items in their checked baggage and do not get into difficulties in most cases.


What is the best way to stow my glassware & ceramics in my luggage?

The following tips are suitable for transport in hand luggage as well as in checked luggage.

  • Roll glasses & ceramics into kitchen rolls or other paper.
  • Alternatively or additionally, kitchen towels, bubble wrap or bubble cushions* are also suitable.
  • Pack the fragile goods in the middle of the suitcase or store them between items of clothing. This way your fragile goods are even better protected (against fall damage).
  • In general, the use of bubble wrap is more suitable for round or cylindrical glass & ceramic products, while bubble cushions are very suitable for square glass products.

Small insider tip: If you transport the goods in your checked baggage, attach a “Fragile” sticker to your suitcase. It is rumoured that suitcases with such stickers are preferred by baggage handlers, and if you are lucky, your suitcase will be the first to arrive on the conveyor belt at the baggage claim. It is worth a try!

Whether in hand baggage or checked baggage: the transport of glass and ceramic goods by air always entails some risks. If you want to be on the safe side (at least a little safer), you should also consider sending your high-quality glasses and ceramics by post.

Shipping by post naturally has the advantage that you can reasonably insure your valuable goods.


What to do in case of damage?

You joyfully receive your suitcase at the baggage claim area and are horrified to discover that your two beautiful wheat beer glasses now look more like a pile of broken glass than a drinking container.

What now?

Would you have had to take out insurance or is your luggage already insured anyway? Who is liable in such a case? A question that is not easy to answer. The answer depends on many factors.

But first, let us have a closer look at what you can and should do immediately in such a case.

Report the damage as soon as possible. If possible at the airport and in the best case at the airline counter in the baggage claim area. Most airlines have an office (sometimes called Lost & Found) there (or in the vicinity).

If you transport delicate items in your checked baggage, it is, therefore, an excellent idea to check your suitcase for defects and damage immediately after receipt.

The reporting obligation is legally fixed at seven days. In general, however, it is certain that the sooner, the better. So if there is anything to complain about, go to the counter at the baggage claim area and fill out a damage form right there.


Is my (hand) luggage insured?

If your baggage (the bags itself) gets damaged during the journey at the time when your baggage is under the care of the airline, the airline is liable and must pay for the damage (repair).

But what about damaged baggage contents, in particular, damage to your fragile glass and ceramic goods? Is the airline also liable for such damage? (checked baggage).

Unfortunately not really. Most airlines list a disclaimer in their General Terms and Conditions which clearly illustrates that the airline is not liable for fragile goods in the baggage (both hand baggage and checked baggage).

Some airlines even say that fragile goods (well I guess we need to assume that glass & ceramics belong to that category!) are prohibited in (hand) luggage.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:



8c) “Items you must not carry in your Baggage”:

Items which we reasonably consider unsuitable for carriage because they are dangerous, unsafe, too heavy, too big, fragile or perishable or because of their shape or character. In deciding if items are unsuitable for carriage, we will take account of the type of aircraft being used.British Airways, General Conditions of Carriage

EASYJET: Item 19.4.11 in the GTCs:

19.4.11 You should not carry fragile or perishable goods, money, jewellery, precious metals, silver, computers, electronic equipment, negotiable papers, securities and other valuables, business documents, passports and other identity documents and samples in Checked Baggage. We assume no liability for these unless otherwise stipulated in Section 16.5.3 (Baggage, damage to baggage).easyJet


SWISS: Item 8.3 Items not permitted as baggage / 8.3.1 c.

c. Items which we reasonably believe to be unsuitable for carriage because they are dangerous or unsafe, or because they cannot be carried because of their weight, size, shape or condition, or because they are too fragile or perishable given the aircraft used, among other things. Information on unauthorised items that we do not transport can be obtained from us on request.SWISS, General Terms & Conditions


CONDOR: Item 10.14

Under section 10 “Restricted or refused carriage of passengers or baggage (right to refusal of carriage) you will find the following —> 10.14

Items that are dangerous or unsafe on account of their weight, size or type or are unsuitable for carriage due to their perishable, fragile or especially delicate nature. Further details in this respect are available from us or our authorised agents.Condor, General Terms & Conditions

While Easyjet’s disclaimer of liability for fragile goods is very clearly formulated, SWISS’s and CONDOR’s disclaimers are much more subtle and spongy.

Also, it can be seen that such fragile pieces of luggage are strictly speaking even forbidden by some airlines (depending on how this clause is interpreted!). That the airlines in these cases are not liable for damage to such fragile items is therefore obvious.


Take out a luggage insurance policy

If you want to insure the contents of your luggage on and for yourself, you can take out baggage insurance. As a rule, baggage insurance also applies in the event of theft. 

However, in this context, it is essential to clarify whether you already have the household contents insurance cover for such theft insurance (on holiday trips).

Make sure you read the terms and conditions of the luggage insurance carefully and study precisely what the insurance is liable for and what not.

In many cases, such insurances plead for the negligence of the passenger in case of emergency and accordingly one should inform oneself exactly about what exactly one gets involved in when taking out such insurance, or which risks are covered by it exactly.

If you are from Germany, luggage insurance is available from Allianz or ERV, for example.

If you are from England, luggage insurance is available from flexicover or cover for you (AXA)

If you are from the US, possible travel insurance companies include travelex and squaremouth.