The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) closely monitors the items that you can take on an airplane, so it's important to review the list of prohibited items before you travel. If you pack smart and keep your suitcase free of prohibited items, you'll speed through the security checkpoints and enjoy a hassle-free flight. Check the TSA's website before every flight to stay abreast of changes to regulations.

Prohibited Item Exceptions & Caveats

While most sharp, pointed objects are prohibited, passengers may take metal, pointed-tip scissors with blades shorter than four inches and general tools, wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers under seven inches. Passengers may also take common lighters on board the airplane (but not in checked bags) and up to two compressed-gas cartridges, such as for life jackets.

Special Items

Unusual or non-traditional items are regulated by the TSA but many are allowed on board airplanes. Passengers may take small batteries, such as AA batteries or those used to power personal electronics. If you want to bring a camp stove on the plane, it must be completely emptied of gas. You may take cremains (crematory remains) on board provided you allow it to pass through an X-ray screening. Fishing rods, knitting and sewing needles are allowed on board.

Liquids, Gels and Aerosols

Passengers may take liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on baggage provided they adhere to the TSA's 3-1-1 rule for carry-on items. Each item must be kept in a clear plastic container that measures no more than 3.4 ounces. Secure all containers in a clear zip-top bag. Passengers may take these items on board the airplane only if they submit to an X-ray screening.

Food and Gifts

Be careful when transporting food (particularly international edibles) and gifts. You can take gifts on board provided they are unwrapped -- wrapped gifts are subject to being unwrapped for screening. You may take cakes or pies on board if you allow them to be screened. Any food or gifts purchased in the area after screening and the security checkpoint may be taken on board.

Other Items

Passengers can feel free to pack clothing, books, magazines and small personal electronics (including laptops) on board an airplane. Taking accessories, jewelry and shoes on the plane is permitted; however, passengers should beware of metal detectors at the airport when packing. If you want to bring food from home, it should be solid and easy to inspect or pre-packaged, such as a single, sealed serving of potato chips. When in doubt about an item, check the TSA's and your airline's website or leave the item at home.