What Not to Bring Through Airport Security

The list for what not to bring through airport security seems to get longer and longer. The best thing is to stay informed and only try and take what you need on the flight. There is some rhyme and reason to it, although it might not seem that way when uniformed official tells you to throw away your pound of cheddar cheese because it constitutes “a national security risk,”  – and it's not even Roquefort.  Besides cheese, there are a lot of things that you can’t bring through airport security , but there are also some surprising things that you can travel through the air with. Fire arms, for instance obviously can not be brought on the plane, but can be carried in checked luggage for domestic flights in the US as long as they are unloaded and packed in locked hard-sided container. The same goes for ammunition, but it’s best to check with the airline and make sure to declare all items at check-in before boarding. Don’t try to bring any gunpowder or flares though, not even in checked luggage.

  1. Sharp objects such as knifes, spears, meat cleavers, circular saw blades are allowed for checked luggage, but they are not allowed in your carry on items. The same is true of sporting equipment, golf clubs, hockey sticks, spear guns etc.
  2. Most tools can be taken through checked luggage too.  Hammers, crowbars and even drills are all fine as long as they remain out of reach in the cargo hold.  The Travel Security Administration claims some tools such as screw drivers, pliers, and wrenches can even be taken on a plane in your carry-on, as long as they are “under seven inches long and properly sheathed” – I know what your thinking. Odds are, however, that a seven-inch screwdriver would not be allowed on a plane since airport security has the discretion to take anything they see as potentially dangerous away from you.
  3. Common lighters are now allowed on planes, as long as they don’t fall into the torch lighter category. Torch lighters produce a produce a thin needle-like and very hot flame.
  4. Liquids are probably the most confusing item these days for checked luggage. Here, according to the Travel Security Administration, are the rules:  each passenger can carry one 1 quart sized clear plastic bag, containing up to three 100ml (3.4 oz) clear plastic bottles of liquid.
  5. Completely prohibited items include any type of explosive, tear gas, liquid bleach (dang, how will I get these cheese stains out of my shirt), spray paint and liquid batteries.

There are in fact more items off the prohibited list than there are on the list. However keep in mind that if something looks like it could be a weapon, airport security doesn’t have to let you take it on the plane. Seemingly innocent items such as nail clippers, juggling clubs, and yes, cheese can all be given a no go . These items are not on the government list. But it is very difficult to win an argument with an airport security officer. And really, is it worth it anyway?

If in doubt over an item is to check with your airline, airport, or travel agent, pack it in your checked luggage and enjoy the in-flight movie.



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