what can't you bring on a plane

What Can’t You Or Can You Bring On a Plane?

Packing for a flight needs total precision. You need to understand the airlines and airport security requirements. It’s prudent to make sure all your important items are easily accessible during your flight. It is more prudent to check what can’t or can you bring on a plane

It’s important to pack well before a flight. All your essentials should be in your carry on bags. However, while making the preparations, you must restrict yourself to the size of your backpack. 

We have gathered some of the most common mistakes you need to avoid while packing your carry-on bags and highlighted them below.

To avoid fines and being roughed up by the airport security, avoid these mistakes for a better flight without any mishaps. It is advisable to check with your airline in case of any doubt. 

What items are allowed and not allowed on airplanes?

Can you bring a lighter on a plane?

If you are a smoker, this is one question I’m sure you have asked yourself. Bearing in mind fire is dangerous, especially when in a flight, but there are certain guidelines set by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that need to be followed. 

Yes, you are allowed to take your lighter with you, but that will depend on the type of cigarette lighter you own. Knowing the rules between having a lighter in carry-on and checked luggage will avoid being confiscated by the Airport Authorities. 

Disposable lighters and zippo-type lighters are allowed in carry-on bags regardless of the fact they have fuel in them or not.

Arc lighters, plasma lighters, electronic lighters are prohibited even on carry-on luggage. Any lighter that looks like a weapon and likely to cause harm will not be allowed into the plane. Torch lighters, gun lighters will also be confiscated, hence stick to disposables like the Zippo and Bic lighters.

Can you bring food on a plane?

Food AllowedFood Not Allowed
Fruits and vegetablesYoghurt
Seafood and cooked meatTofu
Cakes and piesGravy
CasserolesAny spreadable foods such as jams
Frozen food
nergy bars

You don’t have to smuggle your delicacies in your carry-on bags when you’re on the security line waiting to check up. You are allowed to take as much food as you can into the plane but ensure it’s well packed. The only exception being liquid foods will likely stir trouble with the Airport Security.

How will you know if your food is liquid? Well, airport requirements all come down to a few questions, ‘If you can spill, spread, spray, pump or pour your food, then it’s considered as a liquid.’

Canned foods and alcoholic beverages are the trickiest to get through airport security. There are specific measures to regulations on when they can and will not be allowed in your carry-on luggage at the checkpoint.

The same liquid rule applies to canned foods. If your canned food contains liquid that appears to raise eyebrows to the TSA officers, they are likely to be confiscated as per the specific stipulations set. Similarly, ice packs are allowed only if they are fully solid. By any chance they have any liquid within them or have partially melted by the time of screening, the liquid rule will have them taken out too to avoid spillage on the seat and other passengers.

How much liquid can you bring on a plane?

Liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes are allowed to be in your carry-on luggage. These items will be limited to 3.4 ounces travel container/s at the checkpoint, which translates to 100 milliliters. For easy screening by the TSA officials, these items should be in special entities, separating them from other items. Items in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 millimeters will have to go in the checked bags. Melted ice will not be allowed on the plane.

As for alcohols, small bottles are allowed as long as alcohol content doesn’t exceed 70% by volume. However, most airlines will not allow passengers to consume their liquor on board as you may purchase in-flight, it’s important you check with your airline in case of doubt.

Can you bring makeup on a plane?

Make Up Equipments

Whether in solid or powder form, makeup is allowed in carry-on and checked bags with no quantity and size limitation. However, any makeup packed that is in liquid, gel, cream, or pasty form has to follow the liquid limitations. It should only be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less, which is equivalent to 100 milliliters.

Makeup products such as concealer and foundation by the TSA standards fall into the ‘liquid’ category, same as eyeliners and toiletries like shampoo and conditioners.

Powder makeup and makeup wipes are allowed and can be packed in your carry-on or checked bags—no worries when you need to wipe off the foundation.

The final decision about whether the already packed product will be allowed into the plane lies with the Airport Authority or the TSA officer. However, different countries have different policies; hence a little background research would be useful. Having to check with your airline will help clear uncertainties on the issue.

Are nail clippers allowed on a plane in your carry-on bags?

You don’t need to bite your nails as you approach the TSA security officer; instead, you can clip them. Nail clippers are allowed in your carry-on, but the prospect of flying nails may upset and frustrate your neighbor on the next seat. 

There is no restriction whatsoever set for small manicure items, including nail cutters. It’s recommended you check with your airline for any restrictions or special instructions on the packaging of nail clippers in your carry-on or checked bags. 

Securing your nail clipper or tweezers safely in a separate case will help you to easily access it without injury, like nicking your fingers. Well-packed nail clippers will also facilitate security check-ups at the checkpoint if the officer asks you to remove the items.

What kind of batteries can you carry on or checked bags?

When traveling, having batteries around is almost guaranteed as battery-operated equipment is always with you, including cameras and electronics. Safety guidelines have been outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prevent fire-related incidents occurring on airplanes. 

Here is a summary of what kind of batteries are allowed on the plane and those that are prohibited:

What can you pack in your carry-on?

  • Dry alkaline batteries, which include AA, AAA, type C or D, button-sized cells
  • Rechargeable dry cell batteries
  • Lithium-ion batteries
  • Consumer sized lithium-ion batteries, including laptop batteries, camcorders, and game boys

Batteries allowed in checked bags after the screening process

  • All batteries allowed in carry-on bags are allowed in checked-in bags; however, it is advised the batteries are always in your carry-on bag for safety measures and easy monitoring.

What cannot go in checked luggage?

Wet batteries, including car batteries, are not allowed whether in carry-on or checked bags. The exception is if they power a wheelchair and the aircraft officials have to be notified for proper packaging and monitoring during the flight. 

Spare lithium batteries are not allowed in the plane.

How can I fly safely with my dog?

Closeup Photography of Adult Short-coated Tan and White Dog Sleeping on Gray Textile at Daytime

You can either choose to have your dog with you in the cabin or the dog traveling in the cargo hold, but the decision will depend on the dog’s size, and the airline policy will have a role to play. Generally, it’s safer having your pet with you than it being in the cargo hold. 

Some restrictions govern the number of pets at any given flight in some airlines including pet per passenger basis, and the spots are always limited as it is always on a first-come, first-served basis. Booking early is recommended. However, a fee may be charged ranging from around $70 to $200, and it may vary for larger dogs.

Is knitting allowed on a plane?

After endless long queues and numerous security checks, sitting on a plane can drain you when on board. One way of passing the time is knitting. This will require bringing your needles and hooks, but you might be unsure if they’ll get past security.

Depending on the country, knitting needles and scissors can carry on the language if they are smaller than 4 inches. In the case of cutters and blades, checking is necessary to avoid potential injury. 

Airlines vary in rules and specifications behind needles and scissors. It is recommended you check with them before traveling. Sharp objects are usually flagged at the screening process and will not be allowed through the checkpoint whether in carry-on and checked luggage.

What is not allowed in a carry-on?

Self-defense items, mostly billy clubs, brass knuckles, and other martial arts weapons, are not allowed past security and are usually confiscated to avoid injuring oneself and others. In some airlines, one 118 ml container of mace or pepper spray is permitted after checking and confirming that there’s a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. The mace or pepper spray, however, is only allowed in and not carried on or checked bags.

Sprays that have a concentration of more than 2 percent are prohibited in checked baggage.

Can you carry weed or marijuana to a place?

Person Holding Green Canabis

Some regions and countries have legalized marijuana, which should not influence you to assume you can travel with cannabis whenever you take a flight. Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, meaning even traveling from one state to another with it is a crime (read can you smoke on a plane)

Risks involved may lead to officers being involved. If TSA officials find marijuana in your possession, they have the choice to call local law enforcement. The police will deal with the case, and how they deal with it varies from state to state.

Some officers may choose to fine you. At the same time, some may include a severe fine and an arrest. Most importantly, it is very likely you will miss your flight.

Can I have my sports equipment on the plane?

The size of your sports equipment will factor in whether you will be allowed to take in your carry on bags. For example, a simple yoga mat will be fine as it can fit comfortably in your bag as compared to surfboards which already exceed the carry on baggage size limitations.

Some airlines allow equipment according to your free baggage allowance, but this may differ when handling special equipment. You must contact your airline with your requests for help in baggage transportation.

This will ensure you are aware of any specific rules regarding your sports equipment and their rules. Background checks make you compare different airlines’ different restrictions and go for the one that meets your particular requests.

Medicine in your cabin baggage

When traveling mostly abroad and under prescription drugs, you do not have to worry about getting on the plane with your medications. You will be screened at the airport checkpoint, but that shouldn’t scare you as most don’t fall under restrictions category.

Prescription drugs and other substances such as water are allowed by the TSA into the pane. Small containers are placed in one-quart-sized clear zip-top plastic bags, while medications with larger containers are packed separately in the carry-on bag.

You have to explain to the airport officers at the checkpoint and declare your current medication.

Some of the permitted items include: 

  1. Over the counter prescriptions and supplies. 
  2. Water, juice, and any other liquid nutrition per passenger needed for a medical condition or consumed during the flight. 
  3. Life-sustaining materials such as bone marrow transplants. 
  4. Medical augmentation or medical cosmetics that contain gel.
  5. Baby formula and breast milk.
  6. Ice packs are essential in cooling life-sustaining materials.

You may pack your earphones for movies as they are permitted

Can you bring a laptop on a plane?

You’ll be asked to remove your laptop from your bag by the TSA officials at the checkpoint. It will be placed in a separate bin and scanned. With increased security measures, you’ll be asked to open your laptop once you’re through with the scanning, and the TSA officer will have to confirm whether it’s a laptop. 

You can use your laptop during your flight; however, you may not use your laptop to take off or land. 

While in flight, you should wait for the airline’s instructions for clearance to use electronics. When watching a movie or listening to music, it is advised that you use headphones to not disturb the passenger on the next seat. Visiting websites that are offensive or inappropriate to other travelers is discouraged too.

It would help if you did not leave your laptop unattended as there have been cases of laptops being stolen at the airport. 

As for your laptop, the item is generally permitted in your carry-on and not recommended in checked baggage. Having your laptop may be subject to additional screening but it’s part of the protocol.


It’s important to know beforehand the items that are under restrictions with you into the plane and others confiscated by the Airport Security. In most cases, the confiscated items are assumed to endanger passengers’ safety or compromise security if taken on the plane.

It’s advisable to know what can’t be allowed into the cabin to avoid future frustrations, the cabin crew would store some unnecessary items in the cargo hold. Some you’d have to leave them behind due to the restrictions imposed on certain items.

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