Keep These Items OUT of Your Carry-on Bag

••• The Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Denver International Airport. agents as she and others pass through the security checkpoint at the Denver International Airport. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Edited by Benét Wilson

The Transportation Security Administration has created rules of what travelers can -- and cannot -- bring aboard flights in their carry-on bags. There was a time where there was confusion, from airport to airport and even different shifts of transportation officers.

At one time, TSA screeners were making policies on items including pumped breast milk, liquid medicines, cigarette lighters, razors, scissors and knitting needles.

But now, lighters and breast milk can be taken on board. Other previously prohibited items that are now allowed include battery-powered E-cigarettes, safety matches, pies and cakes, knitting needles, needlepoint tools, scissors smaller than four inches, disposable razors and screwdrivers/wrenches/pliers.

The TSA has confiscated millions of lighters and has gotten into some hot water for confiscating the pumped breast milk of mothers who have had to travel for business or whatever other reasons without their infants - and pumped breast milk takes time and energy and should never have been banned as carry-on since it could easily be spoiled in checked luggage.

In the U.S. corkscrews with no blades are allowed to be put in carry-on bags, while in Canada, corkscrews are only permitted in checked luggage. Toy weapons are banned as a carry-on in the U.K., Canada, and other countries, but only true-looking replicas are banned in the U.S. Metal nail files are nearly universally banned, but nail clippers with no metal nail file are not.


Since its formation in 2001, TSA has fine-tuned its list of items travelers should not put in a carry-on bag. They include: blasting caps; pool/spa chlorine; fireworks; liquid fuels; gel candles; liquid bleach; spray paint; tear gas; turpentine; pain thinner; ammunition/guns; self-defense weapons; mace/pepper spray; box cutters; knives; baseball and cricket bats; ski poles; hockey/lacrosse sticks; and pool cues.

But some items travelers can't bring in a carry-on bag include any type of ammunition, axes and hatchets, baseball bats, billy clubs, box cutters, cigar cutters, cordless curling irons, fireworks, flare guns, flares, gel candles,  hammers, leatherman tools, lighter fluid, medical marijuana, pepper spray, razor blades, shoe spikes, spray paint and walking sticks. Here's the full list of items the TSA has determined are prohibited in carry-on bags.

Trying to carrying prohibited items may cause delays for  travelers, but they may also lead to fines and sometimes both a TSA civil enforcement action and a criminal enforcement action. The agency recommends that travelers check their baggage before leaving home to ensure they are not carrying any prohibited items to avoid a possible arrest and/or civil penalties. Civil penalties range from $250 for items including tear gas, flammable liquids and firearm parts up to $11,000 for dynamite, gun powder and hand grenades.

If you're still concerned about what you can or can't bring on that next, check the links belowto see what's allowed -- and not allowed -- onboard the top global carriers.  If you're still in doubt, it is a good idea to call the airline directly, as they will outline what can/not be brought on board, and can advise you not only about banned potential weapons, but about what the airline considers dangerous goods as well.

Air Canada

Air France

Alaska Airlines

Allegiant Air

American Airlines

British Airways

Delta Air Lines

Hawaiian Airlines




Spirit Airlines

Southwest Airlines

United Airlines