Most of us know the basics of U.S. airport security regulations: Only very small amounts of liquid are allowed through checkpoints (less than 3.4 ounces) while guns are never allowed in carry-ons (though that doesn’t stop travelers from ‘forgetting’).
But the rules are complicated and there are surprises.
Can I Bring This?
Use this key to help figure out what is banned and what’s allowed:
- YES – These items can be packed in carry-ons.
- NO – These items must be packed in checked-bags.
- NO-NO – Leave these items at home.
NOTE: What follows are TSA regulations for U.S. cities. Many are identical to those of other countries, but not all. For more information on international security procedures, check with a government website or visit the airport site and here are links to some of the world’s busiest hubs: London, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo and Dubai.
- Cattle prods, axes, hammers, saws: NO
- Wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers: YES (but they must be no bigger than 7 inches long)
Self defense items
- Nunchucks, Throwing Stars, Stun Guns: NO
- Pepper spray: NO
Flammable, explosive material
- Fireworks: NO-NO (but people try to bring fireworks on planes all the time)
- Sterno, gasoline, lighter fluid: NO-NO
- Real hand grenades: NO-NO
- Fake hand grenades: NO-NO
- Common lighter: YES (but must be placed in an approved case)
- Musical instruments, stringed: YES
- Musical instruments, brass: NO
- Knitting needles: YES
- Fishing rods: YES
- Spear guns: NO (Think this is obvious? Try telling that to the Salt Lake City man who had his spear gun confiscated)
- Baseball bats, bows and arrows, ski poles: NO
- Ice skates and rollerblades: YES
- Wrapped gifts: YES and NO (they can be brought through security but may have to be unwrapped for closer inspection)
- Pets*: YES (they will have to walk through a metal detector and undergo visual inspection)
- Snow Globes: YES (as long as they appear to contain 3.4 ounces of liquid or less, about the size of a tennis ball. Note: The globe must fit in the zip bag holding your toiletries)
*Pets must be booked in advance with the airline and yes, there is a fee for that.
All the following edible items are on the NO list unless in containers of 3.4 ounces or less; otherwise, place in checked-luggage:
- Cranberry sauce
- Peanut butter
- Cheese dips and spreads
- Jams and jellies
- Maple syrup