‘Attract less attention’ Shopping bag ‘hack’ to beat hand luggage rules

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Hand luggage rules vary depending on your chosen airline, but more often than not there is a weight or size limit. Whether you’re trying to fly without checking bags or have lots of bits and bobs to take onboard, staying in line with these restrictions can be a headache.

Adam Ewart, CEO of Send My Bag, has a “cheeky” trick up his sleeve which he claims can help get a few extra items onboard without attracting too much “attention”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk: “Firstly, double-check with your airline what size of hand luggage you are allowed.

“Fliers are often surprised to find their ticket now only includes a small bag which fits under the seat in front.”

However, if you have a few addition items you can’t fit into your bag, Mr Ewart said though “it’s a bit cheeky” you can try and “carry them through the airport in a shopping bag.”

He explained: “You can also always try to carry additional items in a shopping bag which may attract less attention as you may have got it shopping in the airport.

“But if you push this too far you risk your bag being put in the hold.”

This tip is particularly good for those travelling with children who may want to bring a couple of toys or books onboard, or if you want to bring on some homemade snacks.

Of course, if you do plan to bring food onboard, you must make sure none of it is considered a liquid.

Food items in containers over 100ml, such as hummus or guacamole, are considered a liquid and will be confiscated at security.

For those travelling with children, Mr Ewart recommends making the most of their hand luggage allowance.

He explained: “If you are travelling with very young children airlines will usually allow you to travel with extra items, travelling with children is difficult and you don’t need excess baggage charges on top.

“Check what additional baby bag allowances are offered and ensure you max out using those before paying for extra kilograms.

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“If your child is two years or older you will be buying them their own seat, if that seat comes with a free standard cabin bag, don’t waste it with a small child’s backpack.

“Bring a full-size cabin bag and if your child also wants a small bag it can be put under the seat in front.”

Hand luggage restrictions for UK airlines

Hand luggage restrictions differ between airlines, with some allowing far more than others.

The type of ticket you book can also determine how your luggage allowance.

British Airways

Adults, young adults and children over the age of two are allowed one handbag or laptop bag weighing 23kg and measuring up to 40 x 30 x 15cm, as well as one additional cabin bag weighing 23kg and measuring up to 56 x 45 x 25cm.

Infants under the age of two are allowed one cabin bag for items required during the flight weighing 23kg and measuring up to 56 x 45 x 25cm.


All passengers can bring one small cabin bag per person on board for free. It can be a maximum size of 45 x 36 x 20 cm (including any handles or wheels) and needs to fit under the seat in front.

Bags must weigh no more than 15kg but passengers must be able to carry them.

Passengers can upgrade their ticket type or pay for extra hand luggage.

Virgin Atlantic

All passengers flying in Economy (Light, Classic & Delight) or Premium cabins can take one piece of hand baggage per person weighing up to 10kg and measuring up to 23 x 36 x 56cm.


All passengers can bring one small personal bag which must fit under the seat in front.

This bag must measure no more than 25 x 40 x 20.

Passengers can upgrade their ticket type or pay for extra hand luggage.


Passengers can take one piece of hand luggage per person (excluding infants) weighing up to 10kg and with maximum dimensions of 55 x 40 x 20cm on a TUI Airways flight.


Hand luggage must be no more than 10kg and no larger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm. Passengers can also bring a small, personal item on board.

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