TSA carry on

What You Can And Can’t Carry On Your Next Flight

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) literally will not let just anything fly. With over a million and a half passengers screened per day, totaling at more than 653 million in 2014, that’s a lot of bags being x-rayed and bodies patted down.

There are very specific guidelines to just what you can and can’t take with you on an airplane — some which may seem more sensical than others. Even the most obvious restrictions, however, are violated daily: in 2014 more than 2,212 firearms were confiscated, over 80 percent of which were loaded.

Guns and water bottles just scratch the surface of airline restrictions. But there are some surprising things that you can bring on a plane, no problem — and other seemingly innocuous items that will get snatched away immediately.

What you can bring:

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Ashes: Your deceased love one may resemble other contraband — think drugs or gun powder — but worry not, Grandma is typically permitted to fly with you physically and spiritually, so long as her container can be screened. Policy on this may differ between airlines, and the TSA won’t open the urn out of respect.

Parachutes: Lucky for those with aviatophobia, you can BYO parachute as a carry on — so long as you’re willing to spend 30 extra minutes waiting for the TSA to inspect it.

Live fish: To avoid the possibility of finding Nemo squished in the baggage claim, you can (and actually, must) carry-on your fishy friends in a clear, plastic, spill-proof container. And yes, it may be larger than 3.4 ounces, even if your shampoo can’t be.

Dry ice: Toxic when in ingested and burning to the touch, you can carry on or check up to five pounds of dry ice to pack your perishables — as long as the package is properly vented.

Ice skates: Sharp blades are okay, apparently, only if they are attached to a sport shoe. Or used for crafting (scissors, knitting needles).

What you can’t bring:

Sporting goods: Though some things (like ice skates) are okay to carry on, others are strictly prohibited: baseball bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, and more will need to be checked.

Tools: Tools over seven inches are not allowed as carry-ons. So unless your wrenches, hammers, pliers, and screwdrivers are tiny, please check your tool box.

Soup: Though the 3.4 ounce liquid rule has several exceptions (baby formula and certain medicines), that can of tomato soup ain’t going nowhere but the airport trashcan.

Snow globes: Likewise, if your Disney World snow globe souvenir is larger than a tennis ball, you’d better check it — unless there’s a live fish or baby formula in it, hypothetically.

Weapons: Now, there are some obvious items both prohibited and illegal that passengers (often quite stupidly) make the mistake of bringing with them to the airport.

While much of this can be safely checked or else put back in a person’s car, illegal contraband is regularly confiscated. Examples are frequently documented on the TSA’s Instagram account, which boasts the most badass findings to its 274K followers.

Check out some of their wildest catches, some of which attempted creative concealment:


What happens to these items? If the passenger chooses to forfeit non-illegal items to the TSA instead of checking or shipping them, they’re handed over to the state-run agencies that may donate, dispose of, or resell for profit.

As for those illegal weapons — well, they’ll probably be used as evidence for the owner’s prosecution.

Still not sure what you can and can’t carry on a plane? Lucky for you, the TSA has an app for that. Just type in a keyword, and they’ll let you know what to do with it.

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Jennifer Markert