Carrying Dangerous Goods On Flight & The Consequences for The Same

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Ilina Devadhar, TLR

Published on August 30, 2023, 15:36:44

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Carrying Dangerous Goods On Flight & The Consequences for The Same

Thinking about flying to or from the UAE? This article covers, in brief, the dangerous goods which are prohibited on flights along with those substances that need prior consent. Since failure to adhere to the policy of the dangerous good may result in legal sanctions including fines and imprisonment, it is important to be aware of which items are banned.
It is commonly asked passengers travelling via airways to throw away certain belongings of theirs because they are prohibited on flights. Not only is this upsetting, but many times passengers are not aware that the items are not allowed. The dangerous or hazardous items are those that may jeopardise the aircraft's and passengers' safety due to their chemical or physical nature. The Civil Aviation Regulation restricts and governs the transit of such items.
The UAE has prescribed laws and regulations along with a list of banned substances on flights and those items that need prior approval. This can be found in the customs clearance section of the government website. Though this list of banned or dangerous substances is continuously updated, one is advised to check on the respective airline's website and also the regulations of the country being travelled to. 
If you are travelling from Dubai, then you should start by ensuring that you have the correct bag. The Dubai Airport baggage requirements include no long straps attached to the bag, and all bags should have at least one flat surface. The preferred shape of the bag is rectangular. If the requirements are not met, your baggage may be rejected at check-in.
Prohibited items
Some items that are strictly banned include smart wheels and smart luggage. Personal motorised vehicles like hoverboards and Segways are prohibited. This prohibition applies even if you just have a connecting flight from the UAE airport and despite the airline’s approval.
If you are flying to the USA from the UAE, you need to keep in mind that smart luggage has been banned since January 2018. This is due to the prevalence of Lithium batteries which are used to run the GPS tracking systems, phone chargers and electronic locks. These have been associated with causing fires on planes. Batteries and power banks can be carried in the handbag if they are small and they must be switched off.
Items that are completely banned include crude ivory, gambling tools, three layered fishing nets, betel leaves, goods intended to be imported from boycotted countries, hallucination pills etc. The list is not exhaustive and hence you must check the restrictions before the day of departure. 
Other banned items include disabling devices like pepper sprays, mace and electroshock weapons like tasers. Security type attaché cases, cash bags and cash boxes are prohibited because of the Lithium batteries.
Items that are permitted only in check-in include real or replicas of toy weapons, sharp objects like knives, razor blades, scissors, sporting bats and clubs. If you are carrying drones, then you should also have the proper permits and they must be in the check-in baggage. These are considered to be dangerous and hence not allowed in the cabin. Hypodermic needles may be allowed if you have an appropriate medical certificate for the same.
All forms of items containing explosives are forbidden. This includes fireworks, matchsticks etc. All forms of guns/weaponry are strictly prohibited unless you have the appropriate license and other essential requirements. Ammunition is not allowed but with prior approval, you may be allowed to carry a limited amount of the same.
Other items:
Liquids
It is a known fact that most aeroplanes do not allow liquids in cabins. If you are travelling from Dubai, then it is recommended that you keep the liquids in transparent plastic bags in your carry-on so that spillage can be avoided. Each liquid item must not exceed 100 ml in quantity and the total liquid quantity should not exceed 1 litre. There is no limit on the number of liquids kept in the check-in baggage. There are certain exceptions like medication, baby milk and certain liquids for special dietary requirements.
Medicines
If you are carrying any banned medicines then you must have a valid prescription that needs to be attested. The quantity of the medicine should be proportionate to the required dosage of the scheduled stay in the UAE. Some of the banned medicines include Opium, Cannabis, Codeine, Morphine etc. Since this list is not exhaustive, it is recommended to check the UAE Ministry of Health’s website. Passengers must not bring expired medicines with them.
Gifts, Cigarettes and Alcohol
If you are carrying gifts, they must not exceed AED 3000 and the total cash should not exceed AED 60,000. The gifts should be of limited quantity and the passenger should not be a frequent traveller with goods on a regular basis or a member of the respective conveyance crew.  The cash possessed by those under the age of 18 would be added to the total cash carried by the guardian.  If you are carrying more than 60,000 AED, then you ought to declare it at customs. Such restrictions are done to prevent illegitimate money from crossing countries. Dubai Customs has launched the iDeclare app to ease the process and reduce the time taken to declare items. It has been a successful digital transformation with new updated versions and has led to a drastic improvement of the passenger experience. It has reduced the time to self-declare goods at one of the world’s busiest airports to less than 4 minutes. 
Alcohol is allowed, but needs to be within permissible limits to get it custom-free. You need to be 18 or above for carrying allowable cigarettes or alcoholic beverages into the country. 
The amount of alcohol must not exceed 4 litres or 2 cartons of beer, containing 24 cans each or not exceeding 355ml for each can or its equivalent. These custom exemptions are only applicable when you are not a frequent traveller to Dubai or a member of the conveyance crew.
The number of cigarettes should not exceed 400 or the value of 2000 AED. Cigars must be less than 50 and the value should not exceed AED 3000. Up to 500 grams of tobacco is allowed.
Food 
The general rule is that passengers should not carry cooked homemade food or other unprocessed and unpacked edibles. This also includes seeds, raw plants, fruits, and vegetables. However, you may be permitted to import certain food items for non-commercial purposes only. The food items should be properly packed and stored. This includes canned food, juice concentrates, drinks and syrups, saffron, eggs, dates, and honey and sugar products. However, the list of items allowed is frequently changed and hence you must refer to the regulations imposed at the time of your travel.
Penalty
If the security finds dangerous goods in your baggage, then they are under full authority to hold the items for investigation and can release them subject to Competent Authority approval.
UAE Civil Aviation Authorities are strict when it comes to abiding by the rules, laws and other regulations. Generally, if you are found guilty of carrying dangerous goods on flights that are banned or need prior approval, you may be fined or sent to prison for anywhere between 1 month to 3 years, depending on a case-by-case basis. At times, you may have to pay a fine and spend some time in prison.
Hence, to avoid unnecessary delay in your travel, it is encouraged to be aware of the legal requirements and be in touch with good law firms and lawyers who will always be by your side lest you find yourself in any situation that needs an intervention by a lawyer.

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