Category: Uncategorized

How to stay out of trouble with the TSA

How to stay out of trouble with the TSA

The United States’ Transportation Security Administration has a comprehensive list of items that are prohibited for whenever you are planning to take a flight, whether it’s domestic or international. They’re divided into the following categories:

Explosive or flammable items
Self defense
Sharp objects
Sporting goods

Some of  the items under each one of these categories might be allowed if you pack them inside your checked luggage.

The screening process will be a lot easier as long as you pack properly and you plan ahead. This can make your travel experience more comfortable and hassle-free. Even if one of the items mentioned here is generally permitted, it may be subject to even more screening or it may not be allowed at all through the checkpoint, if it happens to trigger an alarm during the process of screening.  This is also the case if the item appears to have been tampered with or poses security concerns.

Let’s take a look at some of the items that are prohibited according to each category:

It is okay for you to take electronic cigarettes and vaping devices with you in your carry on luggage, but it’s not okay to store them in your checked items. This is prohibited by the FAA. Battery-powered e-cigarettes, atomizers, vape pens, vaporizers and electronic nicotine delivery systems may only be carried in the aircraft cabin. Different airlines may have different restrictions. All electronic cigarette and vape-pen devices should be removed from carry-on bags if checked at the gate or planeside. The same thing happens with lighters. The ones that have no fuel are allowed in checked baggage. Those with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage unless they comply with the limit of up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a case approved by the TSA.

If you want to carry non flammable liquids, gels or aerosols you are limited to up to 3.4 ounces or 100.55 milliliters or less, as long as it fits in one clear plastic quart sized resealable bag. If you need to travel with more than that amount, you must check it in.

One book of safety matches is permitted as a carry on item but no matches are allowed in the checked luggage. You can also take small compressed gas cartridges, up to two in life vests and two spares. The spares must accompany the personal flotation device and presented as one unit.

As far as the TSA goes, these are all the  flammable items that you can take with you in your carry on luggage.  You may definitely not carry any sort of firearm, ammunition, gunpowder or even realistic replicas of firearms in your carry on luggage. This restriction also applies to self-defense items such as brass knuckles, martial arts weapons, nunchucks, self-defence sprays, stun guns, shocking devices or throwing stars. The only sharp object that you are allowed to take with you in your carry on luggage is a disposable razor.

Ticket to Ride_carry on luggage_aviation law_shahram shirkhani
Image courtesy of Daniel Miller at

In the case of food there is something in common with the non-flammable liquids that we mentioned earlier. You have a limit of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of alcohol, creamy dips and spreads, gravy, jam and jelly, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, salad dressing, salsa and sauces, soups and yogurt. A couple of exceptions to the 100 milliliter limit applies to fresh whole fruits and pies and cakes. Good news for pastry lovers!

If you love sports, we regret to inform you that you may not carry with you and baseball bats, bows and arrows, cricket bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, pool cues, ski poles or spearguns, but there is one exception that will interest you if you practice skating. You guessed it right: skates!  This, of course, includes ice skates and rollerblades.

And if you are a craftsman,  you will have to face the fact that the only item that you are allowed to take with you in the carry on luggage is a screwdriver. Or  a wrench. Or pliers. Any of these items cannot be longer than 7 inches. But if you can afford to take them in your checked luggage, you are free to travel with axes, hatchets, cattle prods, crowbars, drills and drill bits, hammers, saws and larger tools.

Keep in mind that the final decision of carrying any item rests with the TSA officer or whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint. Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed  or securely wrapped to prevent injury to security officers and baggage handlers. When we talk about sharp items allowed in your checked luggage, we are referring to box cutters, ice picks, knives, razor-type blades, sabers, scissors or swords.

You can read more about prohibited items on the official website of the Transportation Security Administration, at


What are the most important rulings on the convention on international civil aviation?

View from the airplane_aviation

Image courtesy of Nathaniel C. at

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944), also known as the Chicago Convention, was created to update the rules on aviation. It is the most important normative treaty related to international aeronautical public laws.

In 1944, with the end of World War II in the corner, United States promoted a Conference in order to update international agreements on civil aviation, stagnant since 1919 Paris Convention. The Conference was held in Chicago from November the 1st until December 7th of 1944, with the attendance of delegates from 52 States. At that time the civil aviation committee was awaiting the end of the war for its re launch, there had been great technological advances in aeronautics, US economic potential was in full swing, while the major European powers, the USSR and Japan were completely in debt, with a virtually destroyed civil aeronautics industry. This brought a showdown in between the U.S. which had a very strong economic position that was seeking a policy of free international air transport trade compared to the rest of the countries that wanted to adopt a protectionist policy to rebuild their economies and their aviation industries.

Finally, the agreement regulated in a liberal way the aspects of navigation and air traffic, together with the non-remunerated air traffic. The costly air transport was at the mercy of bilateral agreements between the United States, which would be reported within the ICAO.

It was agreed to establish a permanent body that would continue the task started in 1919, initially called the Provisional organization of International Civil Aviation, until it was renamed The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 1947, this agreement was endorsed by the Member States.

Airplane at Centenial Airport_aviation
Image courtesy of Heath Alseike at

Here are the most important parts of the convention, The Air Navigation.

Article 1: All States have full and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory

Article 5: All civil aircraft can fly over the airspace of another State (1st freedom) and perform non-commercial technical scales on it (2nd freedom) without obtaining prior permission from that country. These freedoms are to be subject to the conditions of air navigation imposed by that State (for example military exclusion zones) and also the country may require the airplane to land and allow inspection inside the aircraft for security reasons.

Article 6: No scheduled air service may be operated over a territory without a permission or special agreement with such State.

Article 10: The State may require that foreign aircraft land on Customs’ Airports and allow the state to inspect them.

Article 12: Every State can keep its own rules of the air always and require them to aircrafts that are flying its airspace provided that they are consistent with the given statements in this agreement

Article 13: The laws of each State with regard to entry and exit of passengers or goods (customs, passports…) must be complied with during the arrival, the departure and the stay in that country.

Article 16: The authorities of every State have the right to inspect the aircrafts and examine the certificates and documents of the same

Article 24: Spare parts, oil, fuel, etc. from an aircraft entering one of the Member States of the Convention will be free of taxes provided that these are not discharged in that State.

Article 29: Aircraft intending to make an international flight must carry the following documents on board:

  • Certificate of registration
  • Certificate of airworthiness
  • Licenses suitable for every Member of the crew
  • Log-book.
  • Aircraft radio license.
  • List of passengers with their names and places of embarkation and disembarkation
  • Detail on the load being carried.


Image courtesy of Jonathan Cohen at

Article 30: The Aircraft that is flying over another State can only have a radio that has been previously approved by the ruling of the country in which the aircraft is registered. Radio operators shall bear the appropriate license that allows them to use it.

Article 32: Pilots and crew should carry certificates of suitability to perform their task, these issued by the State in which the aircraft is registered. However, a third party Member State may not recognize the certificates of suitability issued by another country.

Article 33: The certificates of suitability airworthiness, etc. Those are issued by a State and will be recognized by all the signatory States of the Convention only if such certificates meet minimum requirements imposed by this Convention.

Article 40: No aircraft, not even a personal one that has the certificates or licenses in order as previously specified, shall participate in international navigation, without the permission of the State or States in whose territory they fly on. The registration or use of such aircraft, or of any of its certificated aircraft parts, over a State that is not the one the aircraft’s original homeland will be at the discretion of the State in which the aircraft or part is being imported.

The London Array

The United Kingdom (UK) and the United Arab Emirates have established a number of joint energy initiatives in recent years, including the London Array offshore wind park. The Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar is a major partner in the project, which began in 2001 as a result of environmental studies of the outer Thames Estuary. Two years later, London Array Limited obtained a 50-year lease from the Crown Estate for the offshore site and a cable route to the mainland.

Officially completed in December 2012, the London Array occupies an offshore area of more than 100 square kilometers. The site features two fully operational offshore substations and 175 wind turbines, which collectively produce over 600 megawatts of electricity. In addition to providing enough power for almost 500,000 homes in the UK every year, the London Array effectively reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 925,000 tons per year.

To learn more about the London Array, visit the project’s website at

Cultural Connections Between the UK and UAE

Over the past several decades, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates have worked together to establish a wide range of cross-cultural programs. British companies such as BP, Shell, and Rolls Royce have pledged considerable support to the Emirates Foundation, which sponsors initiatives in areas such as social development, the environment, society and culture, education, and research and development. Together with the UK-based Booker Prize Foundation, the Emirates Foundation launched the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. The newly established prize recognizes the accomplishments of Arabic creative writing and promotes translation of Arabic works into other languages.

In terms of British culture, the UAE has long expressed an admiration for falconry and equestrianism. In 2009, Abu Dhabi Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan traveled to the UK to attend the International Festival of Falconry, where he met with Prince Andrew and gifted him a white female falcon. Abu Dhabi itself also plays host to the International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.

The Common Law Roots of English Law

In England, the judicial system operates according to the principles of common law. In essence, common law dictates that the rulings made by the highest courts must adhere to the “common custom of the realm.” Unlike civil law systems, which allow local courts to establish legal precedence and let judicial officials codify the law in a systematic manner, common law systems treat judicial rulings as binding and use them to form the basis of the country’s legal system.

The common law system in England is most often thought to have begun in 1189, when Richard I ascended to the throne. During the early years of the common law system, English rulers found it difficult to guarantee a predictable, smoothly operating court system. Many judges earned their positions merely by their social standing or family history, which resulted in a number of incompetent and highly biased judges. Today, English common law enjoys a rich history of precedents and relies on the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom for universally binding judicial rulings.