Anyone who flies in the U.S. knows about the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids. And common sense tells us that you can’t carry obvious weapons like a gun or sword on a plane. (Or most of us anyway – the TSA seized nearly 4000 guns from carry-on bags at checkpoints in 2017.)
But besides the obviously banned items, there’s a lot of weird and not so obvious items that are banned from carry-on bags by TSA regulations – and even Federal law.
Drills & Drill Bits: Apparently someone at the TSA has seen the movie Body Double. (just kidding!) You’ll have to put your drill and bits in your checked bag to fly. However, just to keep things complicated…if your drill is a rechargeable with a lithium ion battery, and the battery is more than 100 watt hours, you’ll have to carry the battery in your carry-on bag.
Bowling Pins: That center aisle might look the perfect place to set up an in-flight bowling alley. But the TSA gives that plan a big old gutter ball, because bowling pins are banned under the weapons rule. So you’ll have to put those bowling pins in your checked bag.
Medical Marijuana: You might think it is fine to travel with your marijuana products as long as you aren’t leaving the state your card is valid in, or if you are traveling between states where it is legal. (Insert your own “flying high” joke here…) But despite state legalization in some areas, marijuana is still classified by the Federal government as a Schedule 1 banned substance along with heroin and other drugs. TSA agents are Federal agents bound to enforce Federal law. Their primary mission may not be drug detection, but you will get arrested if they find cannabis products or other drugs during screening.
Foam Toy Sword: It may seem obvious to most that this item is just a harmless toy, but the TSA isn’t playing because it’s on their list of items not allowed in carry-on bags. So if you are headed for a cosplay event or a youngster in the party is bringing a foam toy sword home as a souvenir, avoid tears by checking it!
Walking Sticks: This banned item is really confusing, because people with disabilities may carry canes through TSA checkpoints after they are x-rayed or otherwise properly inspected. But if you are a hiker (or just like making a fashion statement with your tux) that walking stick is a no-go in your carry-on according to the TSA.
English Christmas Crackers: If you’re coming home from merry old England (or want to take treats to your loved ones for the holidays) you’re going to have to find another way to transport your Christmas Crackers. We don’t think of them as explosives but they do contain a small explosive to create the “pop”. So the TSA has banned them from both carry-on and checked baggage. Party poopers! (pun intended)
Liquid Bleach: Want to get your whites bleach perfect when doing laundry at your apartment rental? If so, you’re going to have to hit a store at your destination to get your bleach, because the TSA says liquid bleach is a no-go in both carry-on and checked bags. (Regular liquid laundry detergent is ok, though, as long as it is less than 3.4oz and in your 311 liquids bag. I never leave home without a few of these Tide Travel Sink packets tucked in my 311 bag for emergency laundry on the road!)
Wondering if the item you want to carry-on is allowed? Search the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” database to find out!