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Prohibited and restricted baggage items
Below are links to key information about security and baggage, including suggestions on how to deal with TSA procedures and how to pack your carry on or checked bag.
The list below has links to resources on common baggage restrictions that are on this page. The table that follows has links to resources on other pages.
- Banned items
- Items restricted to checked bags
- Items allowed in your carry-on bags
- Don't put these in checked luggage
- Restrictions on liquids and gels
- Exceptions to liquids and gel rules
- Flying with cash
- Rules for batteries
- Flying with drones
- Restrictions on duty free items
- Additional airline restrictions
- Video on banned and restricted items
Additional baggage information
Before you fly
Before you head to the airport, you should take the time to get familiar with common security rules such as what kinds of identification you may need, and basic baggage rules such as what valuable or critical personal items should always be in your carry-on bag and not in your checked luggage.
Going through airport security without any extra delays will be a lot easier if you avoid taking banned or restricted items through the security checkpoint. While the following descriptions of banned or restricted items are based on TSA rules and guidelines, most countries have similar restrictions.
The following items are completely banned from aircraft, and should not be brought to the airport:
- Explosive and incendiary materials
- Flammable items
- Gasses and pressure containers
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides
- Infectious materials
- Radioactive materials
- Magnetic materials
- Marijuana (cannabis)
Note: For more information, including details on other dangerous items, visit the banned items page. Also, if you are in any doubt about whether your item may be hazardous, you should bring it to the attention of either your airline or the security screener.
While explosives are banned, passengers can follow specific procedures to carry firearms and some kinds of ammunition in checked baggage.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has prohibited the following items from airplane cabins and carry-on baggage but may (with some exceptions) be carried only in checked baggage:
- Stick or club type sporting goods
- Firearms (including firearm replicas and firearm parts) and ammunition
- Knives and cutting instruments
- Paintball guns
- Power tools and larger hand tools
- Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide)
Note: For more information, including a more detailed list of items that can only be in a checked bag, visit the checked bag only page for additional details.
There are a number of items that could be considered hazardous or dangerous that are actually allowed in the passenger cabin, including your carry-on baggage:
- Non-rechargeable batteries
- Spare rechargeable batteries (there are additional restrictions based on the capacity of the battery)
- Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices (unpowered)
- Small hand tools (less than seven inches or 18 cm in length) that don't have sharp cutting edges
- Matches (other than strike anywhere matches) and common cigarette lighters
- Scissors with a cutting edge less than four inches (10 cm)
If you have any doubts or questions about your carry-on item, contact your airline for advice.
There are many other kinds of items that you should only have in your carry-on bag, or on your person, especially if it is hard to replace, very expensive, or necessary for your health and well being. Examples include:
- Money related items
- Computers and personal electronic devices
- Passports and other identification
- Jewelry, expensive watches, precious metals, and valuables
- Medications and medical devices.
- Difficult to replace items like keys; eyeglasses; mail, documents, and devices with electronic data.
For a more detailed list of items that should never be in a checked bag, visit the Things you should never put in a checked bag page.
Most countries have restricted what liquids and gels a passenger may have in the passenger cabin or in the secure area of the airport. In the US, containers holding liquid and gel products must have a capacity of no greater than 3.4 fluid ounces (100 ml). Also snow globes and similar liquid-filled decorations, no matter what size, can only be carried in checked luggage.
Exceptions to liquid, gel and aerosol rules
There are a number of exceptions to the restrictions on liquids, gels, and aerosols. Most of those revolve around medical items and food items intended for small children.
- All over-the-counter and prescription medications, including insulin and diabetes medical supplies.
- Items needed for passengers with a disability or medical condition.
- Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids.
- Food items like baby formula, breast milk, juice or water for a traveling infant small child.
- Duty-free items purchased at the airport.
Visit the Rules and exceptions for liquids for additional advice on liquids, gels, creams, and aerosols.
There are two things you should consider when flying with cash or other financial instruments, loss of your cash and dealing with legal issues. There are some basic things that you can do minimize these two kinds of risks.
Protecting your cash from loss
- Never put cash or financial instruments in a checked bag.
- Keep your cash out of sight as much as possible
- When passing through security, keep your eyes on the bag with the cash.
Legal issues with cash
- There are no limits, or reporting requirements, when flying with cash on a US domestic flight.
- When traveling to or from the US, you must declare cash or cash equivalents valued at more than $10,000.
- Rules in other countries may be very different, so check before you fly
Visit the How to fly with large amounts of cash page for more detailed information on flying with large amounts of cash or financial instruments, especially when flying to or from the US.
The FAA allows passengers to have in their carry-on bags most batteries commonly used in personal electronic devices. Batteries in checked luggage may have additional restrictions. Below is a brief overview of battery rules.
Batteries allowed in carry on baggage
- Common batteries such as AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, and button sized cells used in consumer electronic items including handheld games and hearing aids.
- Spare batteries for personal electronic devices.
- Small lithium metal batteries commonly used in cell phones, handheld electronic games, and laptop computers.
Batteries allowed in checked baggage
- Most batteries allowed in carry on baggage are also allowed in checked baggage.
- Exceptions include spare (uninstalled) lithium batteries
- Battery-powered devices should be protected from accidental activation.
Any type of battery used to power a scooter or wheelchair is allowed. If you are packing a spare battery for a scooter or wheelchair, contact your airline to make sure that the battery is properly packed for travel.
Visit the following pages for more detailed information about batteries:
General advice on flying with batteries
Specific advice on flying with rechargeable batteries
When passengers fly with drones either in carry on or checked bags, they must follow both airline rules and FAA rules, especially the rules regarding rechargeable drone batteries:
How to fly with a drone
Flying with rechargeable drone batteries
If your duty-free purchase of liquor, perfume, cosmetics, or any other item contains liquids, gels, or aerosols; and the container is larger than 100 ml (3.4 fluid ounces), you have to follow specific procedures to ensure that your items will not be confiscated.
Rules vary by country, but in general, one of the following will apply to you:
- If you can put it in a checked bag before passing through airport security, you don't have to take any precautions.
- If you purchased the item after passing through security, and you are on the last leg of your trip, you can put the item in your carry-on bag.
- If you purchased the item after passing through security, you are not on the last leg of your trip, and you have to pass through airport security before getting on your next flight (standard procedure if you are entering the US), you may have to place it into a checked bag prior to your next flight.
For additional details on dealing with the last situation, visit the duty free shopping advice page for details on how to fly with duty free liquids, aerosols, and gels.
In addition to the restrictions of the TSA, your airline may also have restrictions on what is allowed on the airplane. If you are carrying an unusual item, or if you think that an airline may have a restriction, be sure to contact your airline ahead of time, or to contact a representative in the airport. Also, in the event that an airline loses your bags and finds them later, they may have limited luggage shipping options for getting your bags back to you, especially if you are traveling overseas.
In this video from the Conversation at AirSafe.com, you will get an overview of what is allowed and not allowed either in carry on or checked baggage. You'll also get advice on how to avoid the most common airport security hassles.
Fear of flying and how to control it
Licensed therapist and former airline captain Tom Bunn of the SOAR fear of flying program explains the basic causes of fear of flying and how the SOAR program teaches people how to control their fear.
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http://www.airsafe.com/danger.htm -- Revised: 12 February 2018