Before you can board a flight in the United States, you and any carry-on baggage must be screened by agents of the Transportation Security Administration. They will search for and remove prohibited items -- and at times you may face loss of the item and even prosecution. So take care when packing for a trip to avoid such items as pocket knives, scissors, straight razors and gas-fueled lighters.
Here is a summary of the TSA list of prohibited items.
For details, go to www.TSA.gov or call 1-866-289-9673.
- Firearms or ammunition of any description, including air guns and BB guns or gun parts, or realistic replicas of firearms or starter pistols. These can be checked through; however, flare guns, gun lighters and gunpowder are prohibited from all flights.
- Sharp objects, such as pen knives, box cutters, razor blades (safety razors are permitted), swords, etc., and metal scissors with pointed tips (OK for check-through baggage).
- Sports equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as baseball or cricket bats, bows and arrows, golf clubs, pool cues, lacrosse or hockey sticks or spear guns. All are acceptable as check-through items.
- Tools, ranging from axes to screwdrivers, cannot be carried on but may be checked through.
- Martial arts/self-defense items, such as pepper spray or Mace, stun guns, nunchakus, billy clubs, blackjacks or brass knuckles may not be carried onto a flight but may be checked through.
- Any explosive materials are banned from all flights, as are gasoline and other fuels, gas torches, lighter fluid and strike-anywhere matches (up to four books of safety matches are permitted). Lighters may be checked through only if empty of fuel, unlessed enclosed in a DOT-approved case.
- Disabling chemicals, such as tear gas or pepper spray, or dangerous chemicals, such as chlorine for pools or spas, compressed gas cylinders, liquid bleach, spillable batteries (except in wheelchairs) or spray paint.
- Allow ample time for check-in and security at the airport.
- Make sure you have a government-issued photo ID that can be shown at check-in and boarding. If you have an E-ticket, check with your airline about confirmation and necessary documentation.
- Pack valuables jewelry, cash or electronics -- in your carry-on bag, since check-through baggage will be screened and may be opened. Tape a business card to the bottom of your laptop.
- If you wish to lock your check-through bag, use a TSA-recognized lock.
- Do not pack wrapped gifts or carry them to a security checkpoint. TSA will have to open such packages, so wrap them on arrival.
- Know what’s banned from air travel. Do not carry lighters or prohibited matches, pack knives or scissors in a check-through bag or leave them behind. Avoid carrying bottles of liquid through checkpoints.
- Declare firearms and ammunition to the airline and place them in checked-through baggage.
- Control your carry-on bags. Never leave them unattended.
- Report any unattended package in either the airport or aboard the aircraft to security or flight personnel.