Excuse me, is that your hand luggage? Five things you didn't know you could bring onboard a plane

Passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 have their hand luggage screened before boarding an aircraft, on Sept 7, 2011. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
Passengers at Changi Airport Terminal 2 have their hand luggage screened before boarding an aircraft, on Sept 7, 2011. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 

SINGAPORE - Swiss-based musicians LGT Young Soloists missed their flight from Hong Kong to Zurich recently because they were not allowed to board the plane with some of their instruments. Singapore Airlines has since apologised to them.

So what exactly are you allowed to bring on board? While rules vary from carrier to carrier, most follow the rule that any hand luggage must be smaller than the standard cabin luggage weight and length dimensions.

Here are some things you might not know are allowed in the cabin with you.

1. Falcons

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Some Middle Eastern airlines, such as Qatar and Etihad Airways, allow these birds of prey in the cabin. The birds however are not allowed to fly freely in the cabin and need to be properly hooded or secured to their minders' leather gloves. As for other animals, service dogs, who usually guide visually handicapped passengers, are allowed on most carriers but all other pets will have to make the journey in the cargo hold.

2. Kirpans

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On Indian domestic flights, Air India permits its Sikh passengers to carry a kirpan - or ceremonial dagger - if it is not more than nine inches long.

3. Wedding dresses

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Air Canada and Dutch airline KLM both allow wedding dresses as carry-on luggage, as long as they are in garment bags and meet weight and size restrictions.

4. Human remains

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Spanish carrier Iberia Airlines allows passengers to carry human ashes or cremated remains on board, as long as they are "in a suitable funeral urn, duly covered and discreetly kept out of sight". The same goes for passengers on Italy's national airline Alitalia, with the added caveat that urns must be able to be inspected by X-ray - that is, not made of lead or titanium.

5. Medical equipment

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Budget airline easyJet allows passengers to bring small oxygen canisters on board for medical use, while British Airways allows portable dialysis machines in the cabin. SilkAir even provides supplementary oxygen kits, provided you buy an extra seat for the oxygen canister.