Are There Any Materials Which Should Only Be Checked And Not Carried On?

Are there any materials which should only be checked and not carried on? There is a long list of things that should not be taken on board the plane in your carry on bag, and most of these are obvious - nothing potentially dangerous, explosive or flammable.

Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 the airlines and the TSA have worked hard to make sure air travel is safe for everyone, at the same time minimizing the inconvenience caused by extensive security. There is a long list of things that should not be taken on board the plane in your carry on bag, and most of these are obvious - nothing potentially dangerous, explosive or flammable. Many common household items are potentially dangerous in the confined and pressurized space of an airline cabin.


The rules on sharp objects have been relaxed a little over the last year or two. You cannot put in your carry on bag such obviously dangerous things as large knives, pointed tools and various other sharp objects. Metal scissors, which are smaller than 4 inches in length, are now allowed in your carry on bag. Plastic knitting needles and small nail clippers are generally acceptable these days, as are small tools such as pliers and screwdrivers.




Larger and heavier sharp objects are not allowed in your carry on bag and must always be in your checked baggage. These include such items as swords, large knives, metal bars or crowbars and ice axes. Always make sure they are wrapped securely and the point protected by cork or something similar.

Needless to say, guns and ammunition are never allowed in your carry on bag - not even realistic toy or replica guns. If you plan to take a gun, you will have to check in at the main ticket counter, rather than at curbside; you must be over 18 and may have to sign a "declaration" provided by your airline. Guns must be unloaded and packed securely in a crush-proof container. Starter pistols and flare guns must also be in your checked baggage.

Pressurized containers such as aerosol cans are not allowed in your carry on bag, with the exception of a standard deodorant or hairspray canister. The contents of each container may not exceed 16 ounces. Lighters must be in your checked baggage as well as lighter fluid, paint thinner and various other highly flammable substances. Safety matches are actually permitted in carry on bags but prohibited in checked baggage.

If you have anything in your checked luggage that you need to alert the screeners to, by all means do so. It is always a good idea to point out ahead of time if you have weapons, sharp objects or chemicals, even though they are permitted.

Most sporting items are allowed to be transported by the airlines, although you will almost certainly have to check them because of their size. There may or may not be an excess charge depending on the item and whether or not you take it instead of one of your two checked pieces.

Finally, if in doubt, check with your airline or take the item in your checked bag. As with many other aspects of the airline industry, the rules can change constantly. The TSA also has up to date advice on their website.

© High Speed Ventures 2011