A List of Permitted Items on Luggage

The TSA reserves the right to determine if an item is prohibited even if it is not on their official list.
The TSA reserves the right to determine if an item is prohibited even if it is not on their official list. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

At the time of publication, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) maintains a list of items that are permitted in carry-on and checked luggage when traveling by air. These rules are designed to prevent a potentially unsafe and harmful situation while giving travelers certain conveniences. Some items are not allowed in carry-on luggage but are permitted in checked baggage. All carry-on items are subjected to airport screening in order to ensure compliance. Special items such as wine, food and beverages and prescription medications are permitted under specific circumstances.

Carry-On Luggage

Toiletries are permitted in carry-on luggage as long as they all fit into a 1-quart-sized clear plastic bag and are each 3.4 ounces or less. One bag per traveler is allowed and must be examined at the airport's security checkpoint. Permitted toiletry items include aerosols, liquids and gels. Scissors are allowed as long as they have metal tips and the blades are no longer than 4 inches. Tools, screwdrivers, wrenches and pliers less than 7 inches, lighters without fuel, and small compressed gas cartridges are allowed in carry-on luggage.


Laptops are permitted as carry-on items. They are subject to X-ray screening by airport security. Laptops must be removed from their bags unless they are put into a bag that permits a clear view of the computer. The TSA provides a list of bag designs that typically allow the computer to pass through screening without having to be removed. If security officials are unable to get a clear picture of the computer on the X-ray machine, it may be subject to removal from the bag.

Checked Luggage

Certain sharp objects are permitted in checked luggage. They include box cutters, ice axes and picks, knifes, razor blades, sabers and scissors. Larger objects such as swords, baseball bats and other related sporting goods are also permitted.

In terms of firearms, gun ammunition, BB guns, compressed air guns, unloaded firearms, unloaded flare guns, gun lighters, unloaded starter pistols, gun parts and pellet guns are permitted when stored in checked bags. Passengers wishing to travel with hammers and other related tools, mace and pepper spray, martial arts weapons, and small compressed gas cartridges must place them in checked luggage. Gel candles, gel shoe inserts, non-flammable gels, liquids and aerosols and snow globe decorations are allowed in checked bags.

Special Items

Certain items such as prescription medications are subject to a separate set of regulations. For example, prescription medications need to be declared at the security checkpoint if they exceed the 3.4 ounce carry-on limitation requirement. There must be a valid medical reason in order for the items to not be checked. Alcoholic beverages are allowed in checked luggage only if their alcohol content is between 24 and 70 percent. It is best to consult the TSA for their full list of regulations for special items as they may change periodically.

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