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Things you can’t take on a plane

We bring you a list to give you an idea of what things you cannot take on the plane, both in carry-on and checked baggage.


We bring you a list of items that are best left out of your hand luggage. Many of these can be carried in your checked baggage, although there are also some that cannot even go there. Let’s review the list of things you can’t take on a plane, to avoid starting that dream trip with setbacks.

When traveling on a plane, in addition to thinking about details such as choosing the right seat and preparing to spend the hours on the flight, we must know what items we can pack and what not. In case we can check luggage, know which ones we can carry in that suitcase and in case of not being able to check it, keep in mind what our restrictions are.

Things you can’t take on a plane: in hand luggage

In addition to considering the weight and measurements, which you should not exceed, for hand luggage, you have to think about what items should not be put there.

What will happen if those prohibited items accidentally slip into your bag or carry-on?, when going through the security checkpoint, most likely, the agents will find it, and you will have to throw it away right there. Many times it doesn’t matter, but if it’s something expensive or has sentimental value it’s going to be a huge pain.

This list is generic, before flying check the website of the airline with which you are going to fly for the most up-to-date list

During the article, we will refer to the following organizations:

  • TSA: acronym for the Transportation Security Administration, which is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security which manages security at airports.
  • Aeromexico: Mexico’s main airline
  • AICM: Mexico City Airport (the Benito Juarez)
  • KLM: airline of the Netherlands

Razors and razor blades

These items must be packed in checked baggage, but what about rakes?, in the case of the latter, they can be carried in hand luggage. At least in the case of the TSA and Aeroméxico.

Knives and scissors

Metal knives must go in checked baggage. Swiss Army knives also fall into this category. If you just bought one as a souvenir on your trip, it is best to pack it in your checked bag. It would be sad if it ended up in the airport trash can.

In the case of scissors, at least for the TSA, if they do not exceed 4 inches, and are not sharp, they can be carried.

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Firearms

These cannot be carried in hand luggage. I thought this item would be one of those things that you can’t take on the plane at all, but you can pack it in your checked baggage. In any case, check with the airline, since you will most likely have to declare (and also pay) that you have one when checking your luggage. In addition to verifying that regulations of the place of destination are not breached… but that’s another story.

Matches and lighters

Here there may be some differences between countries, in the case of the TSA they allow you to carry safe type matches, which are those that light up with a specific surface. The opposite of this are the matches that are lit by touching any surface that are prohibited in any luggage, whether carry-on or checked.

In the case of lighters, again, there is no single rule, for example in the AICM they say that you can carry a lighter of conventional size, and only one.

In the case of Europe, for example, the airline KLM further specifies that, just as the TSA and AICM allow you to carry security matches and lighters, but these must always be in the possession of the passenger, it probably means in your nearest bag and not packed in a carry-on bag.

Tools

Here, it will depend on the type of tool. In principle, if it is about sharp objects, these will not be admitted, and it will be better to check them.

Liquids over 100ml

It seems that this is the area where, unfortunately, everyone agrees: containers of more than 100 ml cannot be carried in hand luggage. I think it has happened to all of us who have traveled by plane that we forget a bottle of water. As a result, either you quickly drink the water there or throw it away.

As liquids, in addition to beverages, they also include products such as perfumes, creams, aerosols, foams, gels, shampoo and toothpaste. In addition to being in individual containers with a capacity of no more than 100 ml, these must be placed in a transparent plastic bag with an opening/closing system. But that is not all, as if that were not enough, there is also another restriction: the total of the liquids must not exceed 1 liter (the bag being approximately 20 x 20 cm).

Medicines and breast milk are outside this restriction, but you should preferably check with the airline in question, as there may be special considerations to consider. For example, for medicines, they will most likely ask for a prescription.

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Things you can’t take on a plane: neither in hand luggage nor in checked baggage

Electronic cigarette

They should not be packed in checked baggage, but may be carried in carry-on baggage. Of course, the liquid in the cigarette becomes part of the liquid quota.

Explosive and flammable materials

Some items included in this category would be dynamite, detonators, pyrotechnic material, grenades, mines, gas cylinders and liquid fuel.

Chemical and toxic substances

Radioactive materials, poisons, compressed gases, acids, fire extinguishers and paralyzing spray, among others, fall into this category.

Other completely prohibited objects

  • Samsung Galaxy Note7 Mobile Phones
  • Mercury devices

Things you can carry in your hand luggage

To finish happily, after seeing the things that you cannot take on a plane, we are going to see the list of items that can be carried in hand luggage, and therefore, on the plane:

  • Empty bottles for liquids (although you will probably be searched even more for them)
  • Solid chocolate
  • Typical sweets (but not liquid)
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Photographic camera
  • Medicines and pills (always check that the medicine in question does not violate any legislation)
  • Knitting needles
  • Umbrella (as long as it has no sharp parts)
  • Jewelry
  • Ice skates (whaaat? but they do have knives! check with the airline)
  • Musical instruments
  • Cremated remains (you can, but always check with the airline the special conditions for this precious transport)

Always find out before traveling

This list, of course, is not exhaustive or official and in fact there will always be one or another that is different between countries, airlines and airports. In case of any doubt, always contact the airline, as they are responsible for giving you the directives that will apply to your trip.

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Olga Grijalva Alvarez

Olga is a traveler and travel content creator with 17 years of experience. Her goal is to share useful information to help you plan your adventures. She has visited more than 40 countries and is excited to share her experience with you.

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