What Not to Pack for Air Travel
Travel by air is a fast and efficient way to reach your destination. However, the Transportation Security Administration has specific rules as to what items can be packed in carry-on and checked luggage and what is prohibited.
As a whole, sharp objects are not allowed in carry-on baggage, with the exception of scissors with blades 4 inches or shorter. Box cutters, icepicks, knives, meat cleavers, swords, sabers and razorblades are allowed only in checked baggage. The TSA recommends wrapping sharp items in your checked luggage to protect inspectors.
Sporting equipment is not allowed in carry-on luggage. Ski poles, pool cues, lacrosse and hockey sticks, golf clubs, bats, bows, and arrows are allowed only in checked luggage. Many sporting goods stores carry special protective luggage for equipment intended for flying.
According to the TSA, no firearms or ammunition are allowed in carry-on luggage. Gunpowder and flares are never allowed in checked or carry-on luggage. Some airlines have stricter requirements, but the TSA allows ammunition, compressed air guns without attached air cylinders, firearms in a locked, hard-sided container, unloaded flare guns, gun lighters, pellet guns, starter pistols, and firearm replicas in checked luggage. All firearms and equipment must be declared at the check-in counter.
Screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers 7 inches or longer are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage. Other tools such as axes, cattle prods, crowbars, hammers, drills, saws and tools longer than 7 inches are allowed in your checked luggage.
The only self-defense weapon allowed in carry-on luggage is a container of mace or pepper spray with a locking mechanism that is 4 oz. or less. Billy clubs, blackjacks, batons, brass knuckles, martial arts weapons, nunchakus, nightsticks, stun guns and throwing stars are allowed in checked luggage.
Explosives and Chemicals
Personal care items that contain aerosol, lighters without fuel and one book of safety matches are allowed in carry-on bags. Two lighters with fuel in special TSA-approved cases are allowed in checked luggage. As many as four small compressed gas cartridges for life vests are allowed in carry-on or checked luggage. No other explosive, flammable, chemical or dangerous items are allowed in any type of luggage. These items include dynamite, fireworks, grenades, fuels, gasoline, torches, turpentine, chlorine, bleach, batteries, paint and tear gas.
Snow globes, gel candles and removable gel shoe inserts are not allowed in carry-on luggage but are allowed in checked baggage. Flammable liquids or gels are not allowed in carry-on or checked luggage.
Approved liquids are allowed in carry-on baggage in 3 oz. or smaller containers. You can fill up a 1 qt. zip-top bag these containers. This bag will need to be removed from your luggage during security screening.
Laura Acevedo has been a professional writer for more than 15 years. With a background in business, international relations, psychology and technology, Acevedo writes from both experience and an educational foundation. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Florida and undergraduate degrees in business and psychology.