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Banned and restricted items

Banned, restricted and dangerous goods are articles or substances that are capable of posing a risk to health, safety, property or the environment. If you wish to carry or transport any such goods, you should be aware of the regulations and any action you might need to take.

If you are in any doubt, please contact British Airways for advice before booking.

Items forbidden for carriage on British Airways by passengers and crew

The following list covers all those items that are forbidden to be carried anywhere on British Airways flights:

  • Disabling devices - mace, pepper spray, stun guns, tasers, etc.

  • Explosives - fireworks, flares, detonators, fuses, dynamite, etc. (except small arms ammunition - see 'Restricted Items' below.)

  • Security-type attach é cases containing dangerous goods - pyrotechnic devices, etc.

  • Electro shock weapons - e.g. Tasers, containing dangerous goods such as explosives, compressed gases. lithium batteries, etc.

  • Blunt instruments capable of causing injury

  • Workmen's tools

  • Strike anywhere matches

  • Flammable gas cylinders

  • Flammable liquids - paint, petrol, lighter refills, solvents, varnish, etc.

  • Flammable solids - firelighters, Chinese lanterns, etc.

  • Substances liable to spontaneous combustion - Phosphorous

  • Substances that emit flammable gases in contact with water

  • Oxidising materials - bleach, peroxides, some fertilisers, etc.

  • Corrosives materials - acids, alkalis, wet cell batteries, etc.

  • Toxic (poisonous) substances - weed killer, insecticides, etc.

Please note: If you're departing from non-EU countries then prohibited items may vary. If in any doubt, please check with the relevant airport authorities in advance.

Restricted items requiring notification to British Airways

The following list covers the items that may be carried on flights with British Airways but require the airline's approval prior to flying and where quantities or regulation of the items are restricted:

  • Objects with a sharp point or sharp edge - knives with blades of more than 6cm, axes, swords and other similar implements. Small knives and scissors can be packed in your checked in baggage.

  • Firearms and/or Ammunition - see Carriage of Firearms and Ammunition below.

  • Camping stoves and fuel containers

  • Solid carbon dioxide (dry ice) 

  • Heat-producing articles - underwater torches, soldering irons, etc.

  • Mercury-filled items - barometers, thermometers, etc.

  • Avalanche rescue pack

  • Life jackets - containing non-flammable gas cylinders

  • Chemical agent monitoring equipment

  • Insulated packages containing refrigerated liquid nitrogen

  • Portable medical electronic devices - automated external defibrillators (AED), nebulizers, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) containing lithium batteries.

  • Lithium ion batteries - with a Watt-hour rating exceeding 100 Wh but not exceeding 160 Wh.

  • Oxygen and other small cylinders for medical use

  • Wheelchairs and mobility aids - powered with either non-spillable, spillable or lithium batteries 

If have any of these restricted items, you should contact British Airways:

  • at the time of booking

  • at least 24 hours prior to departure

Restricted items needing no notification

The following list covers all items that may be carried on British Airways flights but are still restricted to specific limits on quantities or dimensions:

  • Small knives and scissors can be packed in your checked in baggage

  • Aerosols - non-flammable for sporting and home use

  • Non-radioactive medicinal or toilet articles - hairsprays, perfumes, colognes, medicines, etc.

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Non-flammable, non-toxic gas cylinders - e.g. for operation of mechanical limbs, bicycle tyre inflation devices (max. capacity 50ml)

  • Devices containing lithium cells or batteries - laptop computers, cameras, camcorders, etc.

  • Spare lithium batteries (less than 100 Wh)

    A few simple measures can be taken to ensure that spare batteries are carried safely:

    • Always pack spare batteries in your cabin baggage.
    • Where possible keep spare batteries in their original retail packaging (e.g. cardboard/plastic blister packs) which ensure that the terminals are protected.
    • If the original packaging is not available, insulate the battery terminals so they cannot come into contact with any metallic objects:
      - by packing each battery in its own protective plastic bag (e.g. sturdy freezer or sandwich bag)
      - by covering the terminals with insulation tape.
      It is strongly recommended that both the above measures are taken for batteries with protruding or sharp terminals.
  • Hair-curlers containing hydrocarbon gas

  • Radio-isotopic cardiac pacemakers

  • Safety matches

  • Cigarette lighters

Carriage of Firearms and/or Ammunition

Restrictions and limitations
Notify us before you fly

You must call one of our contact centres at least 72 hours before your flight if you intend to travel with firearms and/or ammunition. This is to ensure compliance with UK government (or other local government) embargoes and restrictions. Failure to comply with this notification requirement will result in refusal of carriage.

Notification must include:

  • Quantity
  • Type (handgun, rifle, shotgun)
  • Make/model
  • Calibre


  • Quantity (weight) and calibre

Travelling on British Airways flights operated by other airlines

If you are planning to make a booking on that includes a flight operated by an airline other than British Airways, please contact us before booking to check that the other airline is able to carry your firearm.
Please note: You will not be able to take any firearms, including sporting rifles, on any flights operated by Comair.


All passengers intending to travel with firearms and/or ammunition must ensure they have the required documentation and licences for their firearms and ammunition. This includes export/import licences and authorisation from local and national authorities.

Check-in times

When you travel with firearms and/or ammunition you must be at check-in at least 2 hours before your flight, to allow sufficient time to process the paperwork prior to clearing security.

(Note: groups or individuals travelling with 10 or more firearms or boxes of ammunition must be at check-in at least 3 hours before their flight.)

Checking in at London Heathrow
To check in, proceed to the Assistance Desks located at the end of Zones B/C/D/F/G in Terminal 5 or in Zone G at Terminal 3. Customers in First, Club World and Club Europe should continue to use the respective First and Club check-in zones in Terminals 3 and 5.

Transferring through London
If you are transferring through London, you must allow a minimum connecting time of 3 hours between flights.

Handling Charge

Each case containing firearms and/or ammunition is subject to a £50 each way charge at check-in. Firearms and ammunition are handled by a specialist third party agent on our behalf; this charge covers their costs.

Packing firearms

Firearms and/or ammunition will be accepted provided they are packed in an appropriate carriage case, or if this is not possible, packed securely inside a suitcase with your personal effects. If the firearm and/or ammunition is carried in addition to your free checked baggage allowance, extra bag charges will also apply.

Packing requirements for South Africa or Italy

Firearms and ammunition are not allowed in hold luggage with general personal possessions.

All firearms have to be packed separately from the ammunition and must be in a locked firearms case.

The ammunition must be separate and in its own locked bag/container.

In these instances you will not be charged for the extra bag(s) but will be subject to the appropriate handling fee(s).

Preparing firearms for travel
  • Each firearm carried must be accompanied by the appropriate firearms certificate.
  • The firearm must be unloaded.
  • There will be no additional cost for the carriage of ammunition packed with the firearm*.
  • Ammunition must be packed in either its original packaging or in a suitable container that prevents movement between shells or cartridges, i.e. loose ammunition is not permitted.
  • Bags with ammunition must not bear 'explosives' labels.
  • The Heavy Bag Charge will apply to all bags over 23kg. 

*If ammunition is carried on its own without a firearm, the £50 charge will still apply as special handling for the item is still required.