To some of you, it may be surprising that airlines and airports forbid common, necessary items from home on planes. These airline restrictions are for safety reasons, to avoid endangering the passengers or the flight crew. To avoid having to leave your stuff at the airport, it’s important to learn what not to bing on a plane. Also, although some items are banned altogether, others can be brought in either your checked luggage or your cabin bag.
Airline restrictions: What not to pack for your flight
The TSA is one of the most restrictive authorities out there, so I will use it as a reference. I consider that if you’re good to get by TSA, you’re going to be ok in most other airport checks, too.
So here are the categories of items you can’t pack in your cabin bag:
- Explosives and firearms. Therefore no loaded firearms, dynamite, blasting caps, gunpowder, ammunition, flares, fireworks or matches.
- Other weapons. Avoid bringing swords, knives, throwing stars or other martial arts weapons. Outside the USA, you may be allowed to bring knives and scissors, provided that their blade isn’t longer than their imposed limit. To learn the limits, look on the internet for specific airport and airline restrictions that apply to your trip.
- Gases and pressure containers. So don’t pack any tubes of body spray, hair spray, spray paint or bug repellant that contains flammable aerosols. Also, avoid packing liquid nitrogen, cartridges of carbon dioxide, medical or scuba diving oxygen tanks, tear gas, mace or pepper spray. Do not bring your own self-inflating life vest or raft.
- Flammable liquids and solids. Don’t bring any gasoline, butane, propane or other fuels. Also, leave at home any lights with flammable reservoirs, cigarette lighters, and lighter fluid. Flammable paint and paint thinners, cleaning solvents, adhesives, etc. should stay at home, too. However, an exception to this rule applies to flammable perfume. You can bring it in your hand luggage but in small quantities.
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides. Don’t add any bleach, fertilizers, nitric acid, swimming pool products or fiberglass repair kits in your cabin baggage.
- Poisons. Therefore, never pack any pesticides, arsenic or cyanides.
- Corrosives. You can’t bring car batteries, wet cell batteries, mercury, lye, acids, alkalis in your hand luggage.
- Infectious materials. Do not bring in the plane’s cabin any bacterial cultures, viral organisms or medical laboratory specimens.
- Radioactive materials. Items like smoke detectors and radioactive pharmaceuticals should stay at home.
- Magnetic materials. Therefore, no loudspeakers and other equipment that contains strong magnets.
Airline restrictions: What not to pack for your flight after 9/11
After 9/11, the TSA added the following items on the airline restrictions list:
- Any device with a retractable/folding blade
- Straight razors and metal scissors with sharp tips
- Corkscrews and ice picks
- Baseball/softball bats
- Ski poles
- Pool cues
- Golf clubs.
Obviously, you only have here the most common items you’ll find on your airline restrictions list. To these, both airlines and airports can have different additions. And, of course, in some places, they may be more permissive than the TSA.
To always know what not to bring on a plane, check with your air carrier to see what airline restrictions they have.
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