4 things TSA really doesn’t want you to bring on an airplane

Nov 25, 2021

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If you don’t follow the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) or its Northeast region spokesperson, Lisa Farbstein, on Twitter, you really should.

TSA often tweets hilarious but sobering content about what they find during the standard security screening. You’d be surprised to learn what some travelers try to bring on aircraft. However attempting to bring banned items through security and onto an aircraft — regardless of intention — has real-world consequences.

When prohibited items are flagged during security screening, it slows everything down. Police are called, your items are searched, and you may even face arrest and a fine.

As we enter the busy holiday travel season, you might want a refresher on what is — and definitely is not — allowed on an aircraft, including these four things you shouldn’t pack in your carry-on luggage.

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Guns

This seems like a no-brainer, and yet so many people seem to forget this one. Folks, you cannot bring your gun into the cabin. Even if your firearm is unloaded, it is not allowed. A large majority of the illegal finds from TSA’s Twitter feed involve illicit firearms.

“A Philadelphia woman was caught by @TSA officers with this loaded handgun in her carry-on bag at a checkpoint at @PHLAirport yesterday,” Farbstein tweeted. “She said she forgot she had her loaded gun with her. That’s no excuse. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times.”

Another recent tweet involved a man with a loaded gun stopped by security at Washington National Airport (DCA). He was cited by police and faces a federal civil penalty, Farbstein tweeted.

Firearms must be unloaded and checked in a locked hard-sided container and declared to the airline at check-in.

Also, bullets, magazines and clips are in the same category. You can bring them in checked luggage, just not in your carry-on. Ammunition must be securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or another packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition.

Finally, TSA says toy guns are “generally permitted” but that it recommends travelers pack them in checked baggage. Items that look like realistic firearms — like Nerf guns — are prohibited.

Full-size hygiene products

(Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post/Getty Images)

One of the most confusing restrictions is the “3-1-1” liquids rule. This rule means you can carry liquids, gels and aerosols in travel-size containers onto a plane. But there’s a limit. Each container can only hold 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, and they all have to fit in a single, one-quart, resealable bag.

So, your travel-size toothpaste and lotion are fine. That full-size bottle of mouthwash? Not permitted. A large bottle of shampoo? Leave it at home.

Alcohol

(Photo via Shutterstock)

We’ve all seen the horror stories of disruptive passengers on flights this year. It hasn’t been pretty — and far too many incidents involved the use of alcohol on board.

You can actually bring your own alcohol on a flight — but with several limitations. According to TSA, alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol are limited in checked bags to five liters (1.3 gallons) per passenger. They must be in unopened retail packaging. Miniature bottles of alcohol can be brought in your carry-on but must be able to fit into a single quart-sized bag comfortably.

However, it’s imperative to note that you may NOT consume your own alcohol onboard — a flight attendant must serve alcohol.

And the fines for breaking this rule can be significant: The FAA has fined a handful of passengers more than $1 million this year alone for incidents such as bringing their own alcohol onboard, getting drunk and ignoring flight attendants’ instructions.

Fertilizer

I had to look this one up. If you have a green thumb, I’m sorry to inform you that fertilizer is not allowed in carry-on or checked luggage as it can be flammable. However, you can bring plants (and planting seeds), provided your plant fits in the overhead bin or underneath your seat.

Featured photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

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