Are you Allowed to Bring this on an Airplane? 15 Common Items Explained
68 views | By Hangar.Flights Contributor | Last updated on January 30, 2023
It is 2023, and air travel is returning to its previous levels after the travel restrictions following the COVID-19 pandemic. You arrive at the airport an hour early for your flight (as usual) and quickly notice very little has changed during the past few turbulent years. The queues are as long, airline staff are just as rude, the flights are still late, and the sight of TSA agents casually tossing passengers’ items into garbage bins brings back familiar feelings of anxiety, loss, and helplessness.
Because we live in an age where airlines compete with each other to reduce travelers’ baggage allowance, it can be challenging to pack items for a two-week vacation into a luggage bag the size of a fourth-grade backpack. This is why you need to know what you are allowed to bring on a plane. Rules on the items you are allowed to bring along on a flight vary per airline, but they tend to observe the TSA general rules.
So if you are planning your next trip and need information on what you are allowed to bring on an airplane. Or you may be worried the expensive bottle of wine in your carry-on bag will end up in an airport garbage dumpster. Can you bring that bag of legal weed along on your next flight?
All these questions and more are answered in this article. Read on for more details on the items you can pack in your carry-on bag and the restricted items that could endanger plane operations and travelers’ safety. Equally important is our inclusion of a Q&A list of the items you can or can not bring on a plane.
Why you are not allowed to bring certain items on an airplane?
Airlines are understandably nervous about what passengers pack in their luggage, and for a good reason. Airplane incidents like hijackings, bombings, and onboard fires with tragic consequences are fairly common. To minimize those occurrences, aviation authorities created regulations identifying certain hazardous materials prohibited on airplanes, either as checked-in luggage or carry-on.
Some individuals can and do use some of the prohibited hazardous materials as weapons to cause intentional harm to the airplane and passengers. These may include but are not limited to the following:
- Radioactive materials
- Toxic materials
- Infectious materials
- Flammable liquids and solids
You can check the TSA’s extensive prohibited items list for more clarity on what you are not allowed to bring on an airplane.
What items can you pack in your carry-on?
Aside from your clothes and shoes, pretty much everything else in your carry-on bag may be restricted to some extent. You should know by now that items anyone can use as a weapon are banned from airplanes. So, that handy flamethrower won’t make it through airport security. But some “prohibited items” could make it onboard, provided you follow the TSA guidelines allowing them in your carry-on bag.
Concerns about possible hijackings by terrorists passing-off liquid explosives as non-alcoholic beverages or shampoo products at security checkpoints prompted the TSA to create a 3.4 oz rule restricting the volume of liquids, gels, creams, pastes, and aerosols allowed in a carry-on bag. The 3.4-ounce or 3-1-1 rule allows containers with liquid substances not exceeding 3.4 oz or 100 ml in size in a carry-on bag. Passengers must place the containers inside clear one quart-sized zip resealable plastic bags, which must be sealed at airport security checkpoints.
Do you want to know the types of liquids restricted to the 3.4-ounce rule? Here are a few.
- Lotions and sunscreen.
- Hairspray, shampoos, and conditioners.
- Aloe vera products.
- Gel-based beauty products.
Below is a quick guide identifying some common items you can bring on an airplane in your carry-on bag.
|Razor||Only disposable razors, electric razors, and cartridge razors are also allowed in your carry-on bag. Safety razors and straight razors must be inside your checked luggage.|
|Make-up products are allowed in your carry-on. However, liquid makeup in your carry-on bag must meet TSA’s 3.4 ounce rule on liquids and gels. This also includes lip gloss, lip balms, and lipsticks. Powered make-up exceeding 12 oz or 350 ml must be placed in checked bags or will require additional screening.|
Baby food/breast milk/formula
|Baby foods are exempt from TSA’s 3.4 oz rule, and passengers are allowed to bring as many as they need for their child/children. You must inform the TSA official at the security checkpoint that you have baby food/breast milk/formula in your carry-on bag.|
|Medication is allowed in carry-on bags, but airlines have conflicting rules on how much you can bring. Liquid medication is exempt from the 3.4 oz rule, provided you bring a reasonable amount. Pills and gels do not have to be in a container; you can bring as much as you need. An unused syringe must have its medication inside and be safely packed inside a hard-surface container.|
|Strollers||Passengers can bring strollers inside an airplane cabin as long as they can fit inside the overhead bin.|
|Single or rechargeable consumer electronics dry cell, alkaline, Nickel Metal Hydride (NIMH), and Nickel Cadmium AA, AAA, C, and D size 9-volt batteries are allowed in carry-on bags. Also, lithium batteries inside portable electronic devices like laptops, cameras, and cell phones, including spare batteries, are allowed in carry-on bags. No batteries are allowed in checked bags. Car batteries and spillable battery types are prohibited from airplanes unless they are used to power an electric wheelchair.|
|Solid items and snacks like cake, fruits, burgers, vegetables, cookies, and potato chips are allowed in carry-on bags. However, passengers must follow airline rules on packaging food (securely wrapped or placed in spill-proof containers) and be X-rayed at the security checkpoint. Liquids are subjected to TSA’s 3.4 oz rules, and passengers are prohibited from bringing thick liquid jellies like yogurt, oils, ketchup, maple syrup, etc., on airplanes. It is a good idea to check your airline or the TSA website for more information.|
|Tools Under 7-Inches In Length||These include wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers. They are allowed in carry-on and checked bags.|
|Ice skates and rollerblades||These items are allowed in carry-on and checked bags.|
|Alcoholic beverages less than 24% (ABV) or 48 proof are allowed in carry-on bags but subject to TSA’s 3.4 oz requirements for liquids. Alcoholic beverages between 24% and 70% (ABV) are restricted to 5 liters (1.3 gals) in checked bags and must be unsealed. Alcoholic beverages above 70% (ABV) are prohibited from airplanes.|
|Toothpaste||Toothpaste and mouthwash products in carry-on bags are subject to TSA’s 3.4 oz requirements for liquids and pastes.|
|Shaving cream/foam/gel inside a carry-on bag are all subject to TSA 3.4 oz restrictions for liquids, gels, and paste. Ensure the containers are secured in a clear, sealed bag. You must place full-sized cans of shaving cream/foam/gel inside checked bags with a nozzle/button release protection covering the nozzle cap to prevent accidental discharge of the contents.|
|Passengers should pack non-essential powders like baby power exceeding 12 oz or 350 in checked bags. Powers exceeding 12 oz or 350 ml in carry-on bags must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening and may undergo further screening if unresolved.|
|Laptops||Laptops are allowed inside carry-on bags, but you might be required to remove them for X-ray screening by airport security.|
|Knitting needles||Passengers can pack wooden knitting needles or crochet hooks in their carry-on or checked bags.|
It is vital to note that the list of items passengers are allowed to bring on an airplane in a carry-on bag is more extensive than our guide. You can visit the TSA website for updated information.
Passenger Puts Liquids Into Bag At Airport Security Check
What items are prohibited in carry-ons?
Still, on the subject of carry-on bags, many passengers have little knowledge of the items they are not allowed to pack in their carry-on bags. Several airport security incidents confiscating passengers’ items at security checkpoints are often due to a lack of information on what items are not allowed in your carry-on.
Although TSA officials hold near-arbitrary powers on what items to allow, we highly recommend checking with your airline beforehand. Here is our list of items that passengers are prohibited from packing in their carry-on bags.
- Alcoholic beverage with over 70% (ABV)
- Stun guns and tasers
- Sporting items like bowling pins, golf clubs, and baseball bats
- Potentially harmful chemicals like bleach and chlorine
- Hockey sticks and lacrosse sticks
- BB guns and cap guns
- Axes, knives, hatchets, and other household sharp objects
- Self-defense items like brass knuckles and billy clubs
- Self-defense sprays like mace and pepper spray
- Skis and ski poles
- Drills and drill bits
- Box cutters
- Hand saws and power saws
- Swords and other thrusting weapons
- Spear guns
- Tools over 7 inches long
- Bow and arrow
What other items are you allowed to bring on an airplane?
I bet you have questions about what items you are allowed to bring on an airplane. Let us try to answer some of them.
Are you allowed to bring pets on a plane?
Leaving your faithful furry companion at home can be a pain for devoted pet lovers. Thankfully, the TSA allows passengers to bring their pets onboard, but airlines charge extra to allow animals on a plane. Although current rules allow trained service and guide dogs into the cabin at no cost. Airlines typically charge animal fees according to your pet’s weight, size, and carrier dimensions. Check the TSA or your airline’s website for more information.
Are you allowed to bring musical instruments on a plane?
You can bring musical instruments on an airplane if they can fit in the overhead bin or under the front seats. However, certain musical instruments like a cello or violin that can fit in a carry-on bag are considered personal luggage on international flights. It is a good idea to check with your airline before your flight.
Are you allowed to bring firearms on a plane?
Firearms are allowed on a plane but in checked luggage only, and you must declare their presence to airport officials at the security checkpoint. Your firearm must be unloaded and secured in a hard container with keys. The same goes for ammunition which must be locked in a separate hard-sided package. Keep the keys with you at all times. Non-lethal firearms and self-defense sprays like BB guns, nerf guns, pepper spray, mace, etc., should be kept in checked luggage only.
Are you allowed to bring nail clippers on a plane?
TSA rules allow passengers to bring nail clippers in carry-on or checked bags on an airplane.
Are you allowed to bring tea bags on a plane?
According to the TSA, you can bring unlimited tea bags in your carry-on bag. However, you are prohibited from carrying liquid or gel teabags exceeding 3.4 oz in your carry-on bags. Tea bags must be inside clear resealable bags and visible to TSA agents during airport screening. If you plan an international trip, you should check the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) list of approved herbal tea bags.
Are you allowed to bring dry shampoo on a plane?
The TSA allows dry shampoo (aerosol) products on airplanes, but each container of dry shampoo must not exceed 0.5kg (18 oz) or 500 ml. Individual travelers are limited to 2 kg (70 oz) or 2 liters of dry shampoo in checked baggage.
Are you allowed to bring a pair of scissors on a plane?
Like other sharp objects, scissors have restrictions because they are potential weapons. Scissors inside a carry-on bag should be less than 4 inches from the pivot point, larger scissors must be securely packed in your checked luggage to avoid hurting baggage handlers.
Are you allowed to bring markers on a plane?
Water and alcohol-based markers allowed on a plane include but are not limited to Coptic markers, Sharpie markers, and highlighters. You can bring markers on an airplane in a carry-on bag or checked luggage.
Are you allowed to bring spray sunscreen on a plane?
Spray sunscreen products are allowed on a plane. However, each container of sunscreen must be at most 0.5kg (18 oz) or 500 ml. Also, the TSA limits the total aggregate quantity per traveler to 2 kg (70 oz) or 2 liters in checked luggage.
Are you allowed to bring nail polish on a plane?
Nail polish is allowed on a plane; travelers can pack them in a carry-on bag. However, it is important to follow the 3.4 oz requirements for liquids. You must pack your nail polish in clear (3.4 oz or 100 ml) containers and place the containers in clear, quart-size resealable plastic bags.
Are you allowed to bring deodorant on a plane?
The good news for those who love smelling fresh is that you can bring deodorant on a plane. However, liquid or gel-based deodorants follow the TSA 3.4 oz liquid requirements, and travelers must place the container inside a clear quart-sized bag. Solid deodorants are considered harmless, and travelers are not subject to 3.4 oz rules. Therefore you are not limited to a 3.4 oz (100 ml) container.
Are you allowed to bring water on a plane?
Travelers can bring water on a plane, but like all liquids, it is limited by TSA 3.4 oz requirements. TSA agents will confiscate water inside containers exceeding 3.4 oz (100 ml) at screening stations. Empty water bottles exceeding 3.4 may pass through airport screening.
Are you allowed to bring rocks on a plane?
It may sound unbelievable, but the TSA says you can bring rocks on a plane. Your baggage allowance and capacity limit determine the number of rocks you can bring onboard. Generally, all you need to do is ensure that your rocks are tightly packed, clean, and free from dirt and microbes, and you are sure to scale through airport security.
Are you allowed to bring a lighter on a plane?
The TSA considers lighters flammable materials, yet it allows travelers to bring their lighters on airplanes inside carry-on bags. Sounds odd, don’t you think? It certainly does. The TSA allows passengers to bring one butane (flammable gas) or Zippo-type lighter on commercial planes. However, lighters are restricted to carry-on bags or inside your pockets and should not be removed throughout the flight. Under FAA rules, you are prohibited from bringing jet lighters, blue flame lighters, cigar lighter, and lighters resembling guns or other deadly weapons onboard commercial airplanes. Travelers can bring empty lighters (no fuel residue or vapors) on a plane, which may cause delays at airport screening stations.
Are you allowed to bring cigarettes on a plane?
Travelers are allowed to bring cigarettes on a plane without many restrictions. You can pack cigarettes in your carry-on bag, check-in luggage, or even put a pack of cigarettes in your pocket. However, you can’t smoke cigarettes on a plane. You can carry unlimited cigarettes during domestic flights within the U.S. But you are limited to 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars when returning to the United States from another country.
Most readers will probably never think of bringing a firearm on a plane. But it pays to know exactly what items will pass airport screening and the ones most likely to single you out for a cavity search. We hope our article has been helpful. The TSA is constantly updating its list of prohibited items and guidelines in response to emerging security threats and changes in public feedback. You can find all current information on their website.