As if weather delays, traffic, parking and a global pandemic weren’t enough to make getting on an airplane challenging, you don’t want to be “that person” who stalls the line after getting caught trying to bring prohibited items on board.
So here are five things to remember about what you can and can’t bring on a jet:
1. No guns in carry-on bags — it happens more than you might think
Transportation Security Administrator David Pekoske told Roll Call this month that TSA intercepted more than 5,700 guns at airports around the country this year, an all-time high, “and we aren’t even done with the calendar year just yet.”
The previous high was about 4,400 in 2019, he said.
TSA security training instructor Maciej Kwiecinski at a Dec. 21 media briefing showed reporters at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport how to properly pack and secure a firearm, saying they should be unloaded, packed in a hard case with multiple locks and declared with the airline.
Get more details about traveling with guns or ammo by reading the TSA regulations online at tsa.gov/travel/transporting-firearms-and-ammunition.
2. TSA has rules for ammo and gun gear, too
Firearm parts, such as magazines, clips, bolts and firing pins, are prohibited in carry-on baggage but may be stowed in checked baggage, securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.
Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber and shotgun shells of any gauge) must be packaged in a cardboard, wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition and declared to your airline.
But rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.
Replica firearms, including toy guns, should be in checked baggage only.
3. Special rules for lighters, tools, electronics, knives
The TSA’s blog explains many of its rules for air travel, including policies on:
Lighters: You can bring one disposable lighter in your carry-on bag. Disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel are allowed in checked bags.
Tools: Those measuring 7 inches or shorter are allowed in carry-on bags, unless they have sharp blades. Sharp tools, or tools longer than 7 inches, must be in checked bags.
Electronics: Large electronics are allowed in carry-on bags, but you will have to place all personal electronic devices larger than a cellphone in a bin for X-ray screening.
Knives: Sharp knives, including pocket butterfly knives, cannot go in your carry-on. Securely wrap any sharp items and stow them in checked bags.
4. Most of TSA’s FAQs are about toiletries
The TSA gets the most questions about toiletries, so here are some of its rules:
• Safety razors and disposable razors are OK to pack in your carry-on baggage. Even electric razors can be in both checked and carry-on bags.
• Makeup in a solid or powder form is allowed in carry-on and checked bags with no quantity or size limitations. But makeup in a liquid, lotion, gel, paste or cream must be in containers holding 3.4 ounces or less. TSA won’t limit the size or quantity of liquids in checked bags.
• Shampoos and conditioners must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less in carry-on bags. Solid and powder deodorant are allowed in carry-on bags with no limit on size.
5. What qualifies as a carry-on item might surprise you
The TSA has a helpful website, tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all, that allows you to input the item you want to bring in your carry-on bags and find out the rules for it.
Can you guess which of these 10 things are forbidden in your carry-on bags?
• Bread machine
• Bowling ball
• Crochet hooks
• Drum sticks (for music not eating)
• Flowers (bouquet)
• Football helmet
• Tobacco pipes and tobacco
Turns out, none is forbidden, but they may be subject to physical inspection by a TSA officer. You can bring all those things, assuming they fit beneath a seat or in the overhead compartments.