I’m sorry, but you have to leave that behind.

I’m sorry, but you have to leave that behind.

There’s nothing worse than hearing that at the airport just before you go on board. Traveling can be a great hassle, especially if you are not a frequent flier and are not aware or prepared for the safety regulations regarding luggage and security at the airport. To avoid setbacks and embarrassments, here is some important information to keep in mind when you are packing for your flight. Basically, just keep in mind the items you are not allowed to carry. There are the obvious items that you should never pack such as illegal drugs or explosive devices. However, most items that you should not pack are not so obvious, and some may be allowed in checked bags but not in carry-on bags or vice versa. Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport.

Items not allowed on board aircraft at all:

Apart from
Explosive and incendiary materials, Flammable Items, Oxidizers and organic peroxides, Poisons, Infectious materials, Corrosives and Radioactive materials these are the items you should not even take to an airport.

Gases and pressure containers such as: aerosols (except for  personal care items or toiletries in limited quantities in containers sized three ounces or smaller), carbon dioxide cartridges, oxygen tanks (scuba or medical), mace, tear gas, pepper spray, self-inflating rafts, and deeply refrigerated gases such as liquid nitrogen.

All matches are banned from checked baggage, and strike-anywhere matches are banned completely from aircraft, but you can have a single book of safety matches (non-strike anywhere) with you in the passenger cabin.

Strong magnets such as those in some loudspeakers and laboratory equipment are absolutely banned.

Most airlines don’t allow electronic cigarettes in checked bags, and prohibit their use in the cabin.

checked luggage_aviation law_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of Jennifer at Flickr.com

The following items can only be taken in checked bags:

Most Sporting goods including bats (baseball, softball, cricket), hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows, ski poles, spear guns, golf clubs, and pool cues, and in some cases depending on the size require a special fee for oversized items such as surfboards and others; Knives of any length, composition or description; Tools greater than seven inches in length and power tools such as drills; Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide)up to four pounds (1.8 kg) may be carried if the package is vented, and cutting instruments including carpet knives and box cutters (and spare blades), any device with a folding or retractable blade, linoleum flooring cutters, and metal scissors with pointed tips.

According to the TSA (Transport Security Administration) in regards to checked baggage screening they state the following: “TSA screens approximately 1.1 million checked bags for explosives and other dangerous items daily. Upon check in, your checked baggage will be provided to TSA for security screening. Once the screening process has completed, your airline will transport your checked baggage on your respective flight as well as deliver it to the baggage claim area. The majority of checked baggage is screened without the need for a physical bag search.

Inspection Notices: TSA may inspect your checked baggage during the screening process. If your property is physically inspected, TSA will place a notice of baggage inspection inside your bag. This is to inform you that an officer conducted an inspection of your property. TSA may randomly inspect checked baggage, regardless of whether an alarm is triggered during screening.”

Keep in mind that there are some items that could be considered dangerous but are allowed on board the plane, when in doubt ask at the check in counter before it’s too late to pack the items in your checked luggage.

Among these items there are:

Plastic or round bladed butter knives; Most hand tools that are less than seven inches (18 cm) in length and that don’t have sharp cutting edges such as tools like wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers; small scissors with a cutting edge less than four inches (10 cm); Other household Items like parts, especially hardware, electrical, or plumbing components as well as the most common batteries.

Most countries have restricted what liquids and gels a passenger may have in the passenger cabin, especially on international flights. Read carefully because there are important exceptions that could change your whole packing system.

Passengers may not pass through the security screening with gel or beverage containers of greater capacity than 3.4 fluid ounces (100 ml) each. If you do bring these containers, the United States the 3-1-1 TSA regulation still applies in most airports around the world; meaning that you can fill as many 3 oz. bottles of toiletries (100 ml) as you want into ‘’one’’ quart-size plastic transparent bag (limit one per flyer), but you have to take out the bag at security screening.

However, the following items are part of the exceptions to the rule mentioned above because most of these revolve around medical items and food items intended for small children and so are of great importance to the passengers.

All prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications including insulin and other diabetes medical supplies and items intended for passengers with a disability or medical conditions. 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. And finally, food items like baby formula, breast milk, juice or water for a traveling infant small child.


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