TSA bans these innocent items from your carry-on


Getting through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at Miami International Airport can be quicker if you know what some of the harmless prohibited items are in your carry-on bag.

There are even those who are unaware that if you travel with an authorized weapon, it always goes in checked baggage.

Not all travelers know that there are a number of seemingly harmless prohibited items that you can’t pack in your carry-on bag or backpack. And while it’s clear that guns are the number one prohibited item in carry-on bags, there continues to be a dangerous nationwide trend of bringing guns to TSA checkpoints, mistakenly thinking that because it’s legal to have a gun in The US can put it in carry-on luggage.

Authorities have reported that so far this year, through April, 195 firearms have been found at different international airports in Florida.

Unauthorized passengers who arrive at TSA checkpoints with weapons face a TSA civil penalty that can exceed fines of $13,910, regardless of whether the person is arrested. And if the traveler is in the TSA PreCheck program, he loses those privileges possibly permanently.

Officials say most of the detainees try to get through security checkpoints with weapons loaded with a chambered bullet. All authorized weapons must be properly packed and declared at the time of check-in.

Here are the seemingly innocuous prohibited items you can’t put in your carry-on:

Sports equipment

The vast majority of sports equipment is prohibited in the aircraft cabin, especially baseball bats, hockey sticks, golf and skis, as they can be used aggressively against someone.

Although shot put balls or shot puts are not specifically listed as prohibited items in carry-on baggage, officers may not let you through security if they think they present a security problem or cause an alarm. They are best carried in checked luggage like most sports equipment.

Skittles or Bowling Pins cannot be carried in the aircraft cabin either.

wrapped gifts

If you plan to carry gifts in your suitcase, it is convenient that you do not wrap them. When going through the TSA officers need to see what they are so they don’t raise unnecessary red flags.

Southwest Airlines Canceled Flights
Some prohibited items in carry-on bags may travel in checked baggage.

Christmas cookies

Surely if you travel to the United Kingdom during the Christmas holidays, you will be tempted to buy their typical Christmas cookies as a souvenir. These boxes full of pranks, candy and toy crowns look innocent enough but they are prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage. When the popular English Christmas crackers are opened they create an explosion sound due to a miniscule amount of gunpowder stored inside.

firecrackers for children

Children’s firecrackers like Bangs Snaps are completely prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage because they contain small amounts of silver fulminate, a primary explosive composed of silver salt derived from fulminic acid that is stored inside each bag.

foam toy swords

They probably can’t do much damage, but the TSA still doesn’t allow these foam toy swords in carry-ons.


Oddly enough, fertilizers can explode. Certain types of ammonium nitrate can be ingredients for bombs

spray insecticide

Aerosol insecticides are not allowed in carry-on baggage, but they are allowed in checked baggage as long as they are not labeled as dangerous material or “hazardous material” (HAZMAT).

They are also not allowed any type of insect repellent when they have more than 3.4 oz/100 ml.

Small hand blenders

If you don’t remove the blade from the blender, it can be confiscated. In principle, they are allowed in hand luggage only in these cases. Any sharp objects in checked baggage must be securely sheathed or wrapped to prevent injury to screeners and baggage handlers.

Cooking spray and other products

Although it is not very common to travel with cooking items such as a can of Pam, it cannot be transported in either a carry-on or checked bag.

Other kitchen products such as bleach, spray starch, insecticides, drain cleaners, solvents, sprays, and oven or bathroom cleaners are also not allowed.

The final decision on some items is left to the discretion of the TSA officer examining your carry-on bag.

Drones, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

Be careful with these fashion items because although drones are allowed through the checkpoint, most airlines do not allow them in the cabins of the planes. Check with your airline before you travel. Drones containing lithium batteries and components of certain parachute systems may be prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage.

Ink cartridges

Ink and toner cartridges are strictly prohibited in both carry-on and checked baggage if they weigh more than 16 ounces, as they pose a travel security risk.

Souvenirs of Snowballs or Snow globes

Although they are not totally prohibited, they have their restriction. Snowballs or snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid—about the size of a tennis ball—may be packed in a carry-on bag only if the entire snow globe, including base, fits in a 1-quart resealable plastic bag. You can only take a ball that is 3.4 ounces or less. Larger snowballs are packed in your checked bag.

gel insoles for shoes

Any type of gel that weighs more than 3.4 ounces is not allowed in carry-on luggage and is supposed to be stored in the checked bag. If a gel item weighs less than that amount, it can go in a carry-on bag. Although there is no prohibition on gel shoe inserts, the final decision is at the discretion of the TSA officer examining your carry-on bag.

bear spray

If you plan to go camping or hiking somewhere with bears, buy pepper spray for bear attacks or those device bombs that make loud noise to scare them away at your travel destination. They are not allowed in any luggage.

Samsung GalaxyNote 7

There is an emergency order against this smartphone device. It cannot be carried in either the carry-on bag or the checked bag.

Twitter: @IsabelOlmos

This story was originally published on May 4, 2022 11:10 a.m.

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Isabel Olmos is a reporter for Public Service. At el Nuevo Herald she has written stories for Trasfundo, Locales, Friday Magazine and Gallery 305, and has covered fundamental topics such as health, art, cooking and travel. She is a scriptwriter for television documentaries. She has a degree in Journalism from the CEU San Pablo University in Valencia, Spain.



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