What Can’t You Take on a Plane

Unlike most other means of transportation, the security checks when you are traveling by air are very strict, there are items you are not allowed to enter the plane with no matter where you are traveling to. You need to know these items so you don’t bring them to the airport.

What Can't You Take on a Plane
What Can’t You Take on a Plane

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a first-time traveler, understanding what items you can and cannot bring on a plane is crucial if you don’t want to have issues with the authorities. Airlines and aviation authorities enforce strict guidelines to ensure the safety and security of passengers, crew, and the aircraft itself. As you prepare for your flight, avoid coming to the airport with any of the following.

Liquids and Gels

One of the most well-known restrictions in air travel revolves around liquids and gels. The 3-1-1 rule is a widely adopted standard, allowing passengers to bring liquids, gels, and aerosols in containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, placed in a quart-sized, clear, resealable plastic bag. However, some liquids remain strictly prohibited, such as flammable liquids and fuels.

Sharp objects

Tools that are sharp or capable of causing harm, such as drills, saws, and crowbars, are generally not allowed in carry-on luggage. Additionally, martial arts equipment like brass knuckles, stun guns, and batons may be prohibited. If you need to travel with such items, consider packing them in checked baggage after checking with your airline for specific guidelines.

Self-Defense Items

While some self-defense items like pepper spray may be allowed in checked baggage, they are often prohibited in the cabin. Their regulations vary by country and airline, so you must check and comply with the specific rules at your departure and arrival locations. Personal safety is essential, but it must be balanced with aviation security measures.

Sporting equipment

Traveling with sports equipment requires careful consideration. While some items like baseball bats, golf clubs, and ski poles are allowed, others, such as baseballs, golf balls, and ski wax, have specific restrictions. Before traveling with these items, you need to check with the airline for their policies on sporting equipment.

Firearms and Ammunition

You can transport firearms and ammunition but it’s subject to strict regulations. The Firearms must be unloaded, locked in a hard-sided container, and declared to the airline. Ammunition should be securely boxed and may have quantity restrictions. If you are traveling with firearms, make sure you comply with both federal and airline-specific regulations.

Electronics and Batteries

Most electronic devices are allowed on planes, but some restrictions apply. Spare lithium batteries are limited to carry-on baggage due to the risk of fire in the cargo hold. Large lithium-ion batteries (over 100 watt-hours) will require airline approval.

Medical Items

Passengers with medical needs can bring necessary items such as medications, syringes, and mobility aids. While these are allowed, you need to carry a prescription for medications and inform the airline in advance if you have medical requirements.

Large Musical Instruments

Musicians traveling with large instruments, such as guitars and violins, may face challenges at the airport. While many airlines allow smaller instruments as carry-on items, larger ones will need special arrangements. Some musicians choose to purchase an extra seat for their instrument or use a specialized transport service. Check with your airline in advance to make necessary arrangements for transporting your large musical instruments.

Prohibited items

Some items are strictly prohibited on the plane, regardless of their form or quantity. These include explosives, flammable items, and other hazardous materials. Additionally, replicas of weapons and items that resemble explosive devices are not allowed.

Radioactive Materials

Items containing radioactive materials, such as certain medical devices, are subject to special regulations. Before traveling with such items, you need to contact the airline and relevant authorities to obtain the necessary permissions and guidance on how to transport these items safely. Additionally, be prepared to provide documentation explaining the medical necessity or purpose behind carrying such materials.

Chemicals and Toxins

Hazardous chemicals and toxins are generally not allowed on board. This includes certain cleaning supplies, industrial chemicals, and other potentially harmful substances. To be law-abiding, you need to be aware of the specific substances that fall under this category and to pack them appropriately.

For instance, corrosive substances, such as strong acids or alkalis, can pose a threat to the safety of the aircraft and its passengers. If you must travel with such chemicals for work or other reasons, consider shipping them separately or exploring alternative options at your destination.

Additionally, some everyday items, such as bleach and certain solvents, are subject to quantity restrictions. Always check the safety data sheets (SDS) for the chemicals you plan to bring and verify whether they comply with airline and regulatory guidelines. If you are in doubt, contact the airline in advance to seek clarification and guidance on the proper way to transport that specific chemicals.

Specialty items

Some items like electronic cigarettes, vape pens, and spare lithium batteries have specific guidelines. If you must transport them, make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules surrounding these items.

Food and Agricultural Products

Bringing food on a plane is generally allowed, but there are exceptions. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and certain meats may be restricted due to agricultural concerns. You need to be aware of the destination’s regulations to avoid any issues upon arrival.

Customs regulations

When you are traveling internationally, you must adhere to both the aviation authority’s regulations and the customs regulations of the destination country. Some items may be allowed in one country but restricted in another. You need to know if the item you are transporting is allowed in your destination country.


If this isn’t your first flight, you probably already know the items that aren’t or are allowed on the plane but if it’s your first, take note of the items listed here. While most airlines have exceptions, some items are generally not allowed, consider these items when packing your bags. In addition, you can always check with your airline for specific policies regarding an item you want to transport.



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