Items allowed only in checked bags

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has prohibited the following items from airplane cabins and carry-on baggage but maybe carried as checked baggage:

Sporting goods: Bats (baseball, softball, cricket), hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows, ski poles and spear guns golf clubs, and pool cues.

Knives and sharp bladed weapons: Swords, machetes, box cutters, spare blades, and martial arts weapons such as throwing stars. Exceptions include round-bladed butter knives and plastic knives.

Cutting instruments: Carpet knives, and box cutters (and spare blades), any device with a folding or retractable blade, box cutters, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors with pointed tips, and any device with a folding or retractable blade. Exceptions include small scissors with a cutting edge less than four inches (10 cm).

Firearms: Pistols, flare guns, BB guns, rifles, and other firearms are allowed, but must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. There are limited exceptions to the firearms and ammunition rules for law enforcement officers.

In the United States, federal laws apply to aircraft and to the secure areas of the airport such as the gate areas. State or local laws concerning the carrying of concealed or unconcealed weapons do not apply. Attempting to enter the secure area of the terminal with weapons, even accidentally, may lead to your arrest.

Firearm replicas: Realistic replicas of firearms must be carried as checked baggage. Toy weapons that are not realistic are allowed in checked or carry-on baggage.

Firearm parts: They are treated like firearms and only carried in checked baggage.

Ammunition: In the US, small arms ammunitions for personal use must also be declared to the airline at check-in, and must be securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ammunition, if properly packaged, can also be carried in the same hard-sided case as an unloaded firearm. You should check with the airline to see if it has additional restrictions on either firearms or ammunition.

Paintball guns: Compressed air guns, including paintball guns, may be carried in checked luggage without the compressed air cylinder attached. Compressed gas cylinders are not allowed on aircraft.

Tools: Tools greater than seven inches in length can only be carried as checked baggage. Also, power tools such as drills should also be in checked baggage. Shorter tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, may be carried in carry-on baggage. Any tool with a sharp or cutting edge like a hand saw, box cutter, or drill bit are also limited to checked baggage.

If you have a toolbox in checked baggage, make sure you check every compartment to make sure that your toolbox does not have any containers with flammable liquids, utility lighters, micro torches, or other banned items. Larger equipment like a step ladder or circular saw should be checked.

Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide): Up to 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) may be carried on board for packing perishables providing the package is vented.

Related resources
Items you should never put in a checked bag
How to fly with firearms
Baggage Basics for Checked and Carry-on Items
Carry-on Baggage Advice
Top 10 Baggage Tips
Hazardous and Prohibited Baggage Items
Duty free liquid and gel items
Dealing with security
Laptop security
Electronic cigarettes

Additional resources

Subscribe to the newsletter, and download a free copy of the Baggage and Security Guide which has additional details on what is prohibited and what is allowed in airports and airplanes, as well as insights on airport.

For a more complete list of banned and restricted items, download this TSA brochure. or this FAA brochure.

Items allowed only in checked bags -- Revised 11 January 2017