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Your Luggage and Security

  Tips Home >> Travelling Tips >> Your Luggage and Security


What types of items are forbidden by security to be carried on the plane?
Some things can only be checked while others can only be shipped via air cargo. Check with the Airline if you think you’re bringing something questionable, you’ll need to follow their guidelines. Some items may get you in serious trouble with airport security and under federal law, you must declare any hazardous materials you are carrying or shipping to the airline. Violations can carry a huge fines and prison time.
You should bring that laptop on board as a carry-on, but make sure the batteries are good. You may have to demonstrate that electronic items such as laptops and video cameras are what they look like by showing that they work. Hence the need for good batteries. Any electronic devices that aren’t in working order will look suspicious to security. Security screenings are supposed to leave computers unharmed, but you might ask for a manual inspection.
Remember that mace key chain that makes you feel so safe? Sorry, it’s not going anywhere.
Neither is that really nice lighter with the lighter fluid reservoir.
Knives or cutting instruments of any kind are not allowed in any carry-on baggage. Even corkscrews, nail files, cutters and razors have been confiscated by security so you should put these items in your checked luggage.
Anything that could be used as a weapon or is an incendiary device won’t be allowed on the plane.
Don’t travel with wrapped packages because they will probably be opened, wrap them after you arrive.
Don’t tell little Johnny he can carry that souvenir pioneers’ musket on the plane because it is obviously a fake gun, he can’t. It also has to be checked, all the way back at the check-in counter. You know the one with the long lines. If you think he’ll cry too much when you take it away, imagine his face when it comes off the conveyor belt half destroyed because you didn’t pack it your checked bags like you should have.
Any item from a list of hazardous materials published by the Airline. These lists can include many common household items that become hazardous when transported by air.
What types of items are considered to be hazardous materials by the Airlines?
Some items may be obvious, but you may also find some surprises. During flight, changes in temperature and pressure can cause items to leak, generate toxic fumes or start a fire so many common household items can become hazardous materials when transported by air. You should contact your Airline directly if you think you’re bringing something questionable for any additional limits that may apply. Under federal law, you must declare any hazardous materials you are carrying or shipping to the Airline. Violations can carry a huge fines and prison time. This list is not all-inclusive and the Airlines are allowed to develop their own restrictions, which may be even more limiting than the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Flammable liquids such as fuel, paints, paint-thinners/cleaners, lighter fluid, butane fuel including curling iron refills and lighters with flammable liquid reservoirs.
Flammable solids such as "strike-anywhere" matches, fireworks, signal flares, sparklers, ammunition, gunpowder and other explosives.
Bleach, drain cleaners, solvents, corrosives and oxidizers.
Pressurized containers such as spray cans (hair spray, deodorant or repellents).
Recreational items such as scuba tanks, propane tanks, CO2 cartridges, self-inflating rafts and camping equipment with fuel.
Dry ice, gas-powered tools, wet-cell batteries, oxygen tanks, radioactive materials, poisons and infectious substances.
Any item that could be used as a weapon including but not limited to firearms, mace, tear gas, pepper spray, knifes, cutting instruments.

Are there any exceptions that allow certain hazardous material to be transported on the aircraft?

Yes. There are certain exceptions and guidelines for some personal care, medical needs, sporting equipment, and items to support physically challenged passengers so you should contact the Airline for their exact policies concerning these types of items and any extra fees that may apply.
Certain unloaded real guns may be allowed in only checked baggage, if the guns are locked inside protective cases. You should contact the Airline for their guidelines on shipping a gun in your checked baggage. You should also check for laws about carrying your gun to the airport and into your destination. Boxed small arms ammunition for personal use may be transported in checked luggage, but you should check since allowable amounts may vary depending on the Airline.
Some personal hygiene items such as perfume that contain hazardous materials may be allowed to be carried on board, but they are often limited to no more than 16 oz per container and no more than 70 ounces total.
Dry Ice, usually 4 lbs. or less, for packing perishables may be carried on board an aircraft provided the package is vented.
You may be allowed to bring a scuba tank that has been drained to a low amount of psi compression.
Electric wheelchairs may be able to be accommodated on board, but the battery may need to be disconnected, removed, and the terminals insulated to prevent short circuits.
Many Airlines provide supplemental (medical) oxygen with documentation of medical need and advance notice for in-flight use only, but most do not provide oxygen for use at ground locations.

Why does everyone make such a big deal about me keeping an eye on my luggage?
Many bags are similar and someone else could accidentally pick up your bag thinking it is their own.
There are professional thieves working most airports and a turned head is all that is needed.
Someone could use your bags to smuggle something illegal.
Someone could place a terrorist device in your luggage.
For everyone’s security, you’ll be asked if you packed you own bags or if you left those bags unattended at anytime. If you left your bags unattended and then try to put them on the plane, security will certainly take the time to search your bags.
Security can, in the interest of safety, even refuse to allow your bags on the plane.

Why do they bother to ask questions about your luggage, wouldn’t a terrorist just lie?
When you check-in, you are often asked questions such as: Did you pack your own luggage? Did you leave your luggage unattended at anytime? Has anyone asked you to carry items on this flight? Are you carrying any hazardous materials? They ask these questions to help keep everyone safe. Obviously, since anyone could just lie, the questions alone won't catch someone who has planned to bring something dangerous on the plane. The questions are meant to find dangerous items that have been placed with innocent travelers. If you (or someone close to you husband/wife) packed your bags, you have always had an eye on them and have not accepted any items from strangers to carry with you, then it's much less likely that your bags are carrying dangerous materials.

Should I admit it if I only left my luggage unattended for a few seconds?
Yes. It is important to think carefully about security’s questions and answer honestly. It could save your life and the lives of others. If you did leave your luggage unattended or even if you just looked away for a few seconds, then someone could have placed something dangerous to the safety of the plane inside your bags. If someone asked you to transport something on the plane, then that something could be dangerous or forbidden, such as a bomb, weapon or smuggler's contraband. For your own, as well as other's safety, you should never leave your luggage unattended or accept items from strangers. Honesty is important here. If you did happen to leave your luggage unattended, admitting that you did shouldn't mean that they wouldn’t check your luggage. They will just normally do a more extensive security check on your bags and since you'll be on the plane you’ll want to make sure they do.


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