Travelers often find themselves confused with changing guidelines for airline travel. Many items prohibited on airplanes are logical restrictions. Potentially dangerous items are generally restricted to checked luggage, if allowed at all. If you are unsure about an item not listed, contact your airline for clarification. Check with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the latest restrictions.

Sharp Objects

Sharp items prohibited in carry-on bags include box cutters, ice picks, knives, meat cleavers, razor blades, sabers, swords and scissors with blades longer than 4 inches. Plastic knives or butter knives with a round blade are allowed. Sharp objects are allowed in checked bags if sheathed or wrapped.


No firearms are allowed in a carry-on bag. Flares and gun powder are prohibited from both carry-on and checked luggage. Firearms and flare guns may be checked if unloaded, packed in a locked, hard-sided container and declared. Compressed air guns are allowed in checked baggage with the compressed air cylinder removed. Ammunition may be allowed in a checked bag, but the rules vary by airline. Gun lighters, parts of guns, pellet guns, realistic replicas of guns, BB guns and starter pistols are allowed in checked baggage.

Self-Defense & Martial Arts Items

Self-defense and martial arts items are prohibited in carry-on bags. Items allowed in checked baggage include mace, pepper spray, throwing stars, night sticks, stun guns, brass knuckles, billy clubs and other martial arts weapons. Mace or pepper spray must have a safety device to prevent discharge during transport.

Sporting Equipment

Most sporting equipment is prohibited as a carry-on. Baseball bats, bows and arrows, cricket bats, hockey and lacrosse sticks, ski poles, golf clubs, pool cues and spear guns must all be transported in checked luggage.


Tools, including screwdrivers and wrenches, that are seven inches or less in length are allowed in carry-on luggage. Other tools such as axes, hatchets, crow bars, hammers, drills, drill bits, cattle prods, saws and tools longer than seven inches must be packed in checked luggage.


All explosives, flammable liquid items and disabling chemicals are prohibited from both carry-on and checked luggage. Prohibited items include blasting caps, dynamite, flares, grenades, fireworks, replicas of explosives, aerosols, any fuel, gasoline, gas torches, strike-anywhere matches, lighters, paint-thinner, bleach, chlorine and spray paint. Other explosives or flammable objects not listed are prohibited as well. Contact the airline if you are unsure about an item.

Amount of Liquids

Liquids are allowed in your carry on luggage in limited quantities. Liquids must be in bottles of less than 3.4 ounces. All bottles must be inside a quart-size zip-top bag. One bag is allowed per person. Breast milk, formula and medications are exempt from the liquid rule. They must be declared at the security check point.