Every day, security control at Finavia airports removes more than 200 items from passengers’ baggage. The aim is to make sure that flights leave safely and no items that could risk passenger safety are allowed onboard.
It’s not always easy for passengers to remember the strict rules about baggage. Joni Pekkanen, Security Service Manager of Finavia, lists the items that most frequently confuse passengers.
1. Liquids that exceed the 100 ml limit
The most frequently removed items from hand baggage are drinking bottles and cosmetics and hygiene products, such as lotions, gels, detergents and toothpaste, in packages that exceed the allowed limit of 100 millilitres. Food can also be classified as a liquid. The rule of thumb is: if you can spread it, it’s a liquid.
“Usually, the product has been forgotten in the bag. Another challenge is when passengers don’t know if the substance, canned food for example, will be interpreted as a liquid, or don’t realize that it’s the size of the container that matters, not how much liquid is left. For example, a 125-millilitre tube of toothpaste will be interpreted as a container of more than 100 millilitres even if 50 millilitres have been used”, Pekkanen explains.
2. Matches and cigarette lighters
You may carry one box of matches or one cigarette lighter onboard, and you must place it in your pocket. On flights to the United States, matches and lighters are completely forbidden.
3. Scissors, pocket knives and other sharp objects
Sharp items that can cut or pierce, such as scissors, pocket knives, bottle openers, cork screws, knitting needles and multi-purpose tools, belong in the cargo hold.
4. Matches and lighters
Matches and lighters are not allowed in the cargo hold at all, because they could cause a fire hazard.
5. Lithium batteries and power banks
For safety reasons, power banks and loose lithium batteries must be packed in hand baggage. This is because, in case they short-circuit and cause a fire hazard, it is much easier to distinguish in the cabin than in the cargo hold.
Additionally, the lithium content in batteries may not exceed 2 grams or 100 Wh of energy per battery.
“A majority of the inquiries we get these days are for batteries and power banks that have been removed from cargo hold baggage”, Pekkanen says.
With a permission from the airline, you may carry batteries with 100–160 Wh in energy content. Nonetheless, the maximum number of spare batteries is two, and they must be protected from short-circuiting.
6. Highly flammable and other dangerous substances
It is prohibited to pack flammable substances, such as lighter liquids and detergents with a high alcohol content, in hold baggage. An over 500-millilitre can of hairspray is also among the prohibited items, as it could cause a fire hazard.
7. Loose cartridges
During hunting season, loose cartridges can cause trouble in security control. Cartridges for hunting weapons can be taken onboard in hold baggage, but they must be packed extra carefully: a cartridge belt or clip is not considered a sturdy enough casing. Moreover, most airlines require passengers to obtain a permit to carry cartridges onboard.
8. Ski wax removers and ski wax products with fluorine
A winter holiday traveller should remember that most ski waxes and ski wax removers include flammable liquids and are therefore forbidden items in both hold baggage and hand baggage. If your ski wax container says “flammable”, you cannot carry it onboard.
“You may pack a solid, non-flammable ski wax products, but other kinds of products should be purchased at your final destination”, Pekkanen says.
He also notes that passengers can recover the items removed at security control:
“For hand baggage we offer a few different options. The item can be kept in storage or in your car, for example. The items removed from hold baggage will be stored for at least 30 days, and the passenger will be given instructions for redeeming them.”