Have you ever been at the airport and needed to repack your suitcase? There are many rules and regulations regarding what is allowed in a carry-on bag!
It can be hard to track what is allowed and what is not. To help you, we have compiled this guide to what is allowed in a carry-on bag! Keep reading to discover what you can and can’t bring on the plane.
Whether you’re new to flying or a seasoned traveler, you might be surprised to learn that the rules for what you can and can’t bring in your carry-on bags are not as straightforward as you might think.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for screening passengers and their luggage before they can board a flight. This includes checking your carry-on bags for items that could threaten the aircraft.
If you’re caught with a prohibited item, leave it behind, check your bag, or throw it away. In some cases, you could face fines or other penalties.
The good news is that most items are allowed in carry-on bags as long as they meet certain restrictions. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about what you can and can’t bring in a carry-on bag.
Definition of a carry-on bag
A carry-on bag is a piece of luggage that is small enough to be stowed in the overhead compartments on an airplane.
In addition to a carry-on bag, a personal item is also allowed. A personal item is a small bag that must fit under the seat in front of you.
Importance of knowing what items are allowed
Knowing what items are allowed in your carry-on luggage is essential for a few reasons. The most important reason is safety.
The TSA has restrictions to ensure no dangerous items are brought onto an aircraft.
Another reason is to ensure you don’t have to throw away any items. If you pack something in your carry-on that isn’t allowed, you will have to throw it away.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the federal agency responsible for screening passengers and their luggage before boarding an airplane. The TSA lists rules and regulations that passengers must follow regarding carry-on luggage.
The rules and regulations that the TSA has in place are designed to keep passengers and crew safe while they are in the air. It is important to familiarize yourself with the TSA’s rules and regulations before you pack your carry-on luggage.
Overview of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines
The TSA is the government agency that oversees and enforces security at U.S. airports. The TSA has a long list of items prohibited in carry-on bags, and some are also prohibited in checked bags. The list is updated regularly, and checking it before every flight is important.
The TSA also has a list of rules and regulations specific to carry-on bags. These rules are meant to keep passengers and crew safe and apply to all US airlines.
Here are some of the most important things to know about what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag:
• Liquids, gels, and aerosols are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) per item, and they must be placed in a quart-sized, clear, resealable bag.
• Medications, baby formula, and breast milk are exempt from the 3.4-ounce rule but must be declared to the TSA at the security checkpoint.
• Sharp objects, such as knives and scissors, are not allowed in carry-on bags but in checked bags.
• Self-defense items like pepper spray and mace are not allowed in carry-on or checked bags.
• Electronic devices, such as laptops, tablets, and e-readers, are allowed in carry-on bags, but they must be removed from the bag and placed in a separate bin at the security checkpoint.
• Lithium batteries are not allowed in checked bags, but they are allowed in carry-on bags.
• Some electronic devices, such as hoverboards and e-cigarettes, are prohibited in carry-on or checked bags.
If you have questions about what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag, it’s best to check with the TSA before your flight.
Security measures for carry-on baggage
The TSA has implemented several security measures for carry-on baggage to ensure the safety of all passengers. These measures include the following:
• Baggage screening: All carry-on baggage will be screened by X-ray machines. TSA agents may also physically search your bag if they see something suspicious on the X-ray screen.
• Prohibited items: The TSA lists prohibited items that cannot be brought onto an aircraft. These items include weapons, explosives, and other dangerous items. Be sure to check the list of prohibited items before you pack your carry-on bag.
• Liquids rule: Passengers can bring small amounts of liquids, gels, and aerosols in their carry-on baggage. All liquids must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less and must be placed in a clear, quart-sized, zip-top plastic bag. Each passenger is allowed one bag of liquids.
• Special items: If traveling with a firearm, you must declare it to the airline and pack it in a hard-sided case. You are also not allowed to pack any fireworks in your carry-on baggage.
• Additional screening: Sometimes, TSA agents may need additional screening of your carry-on baggage. This could include a hand search of your bag or a test for explosives.
When it comes to liquids, you can only bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less; you can only bring one bag.
This is the same for both domestic and international flights.
If you have more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, you can put it in your checked baggage.
If you bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, you may have to throw it away.
Explanation of the 3-1-1 rule
The 3-1-1 rule is a simple formula to help you remember how to pack your liquids. Each passenger can pack as many liquids as possible into a quart-sized, clear, sealable bag. Each item must be 3.4 ounces or less. The 3-1-1 rule is the same for carry-on bags and checked bags.
Details on container size and quantity limitations
The main thing you need to know about container size is that the 3-1-1 rule limits the size of each container to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less. However, the size of the container is not the only thing that matters.
The total amount of liquid you can carry in your carry-on is also limited. In total, you can carry no more than 1 quart of liquid. This means you can fill as many containers as you can in a 1-quart clear plastic bag, but you cannot bring more.
This is a common mistake people make when packing their carry-on bags. The container size is limited, but so is the total amount of liquid you can bring.
List of commonly allowed liquids
• Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer, and champagne
• Gels: Hair gel, hair wax, and other hair styling gels
• Creams: Moisturizer, hand cream, and other types of skin cream
• Lotions: Sunscreen, tanning lotion, and other types of skin lotion
• Oils: Cooking oils and olive oil
Examples of liquids that are prohibited
• Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol are allowed up to 5 liters per person as long as the alcohol by volume is less than 140 proof
• Alcoholic beverages with more than 70% alcohol are not allowed in carry-on or checked luggage
• Liquid bleach is not allowed in carry-on luggage except in containers of 3.4 ounces or less
• Liquid bleach is allowed in checked luggage as long as it is in a container of 1 quart or less
• Pepper spray is not allowed in carry-on luggage except for certain law enforcement officers
Restricted items are not allowed in your carry on luggage. Some of these items are very obvious, such as explosives, flammable liquids, and firearms. Other restricted items may not be so obvious. This includes items like sharp objects and tools, self-defense items, and sports equipment.
It is essential to review the TSA prohibited items list before packing your carry on luggage. If you are unsure if an item is allowed, it is best to leave it at home. Carry on luggage is subject to a security search, and any restricted items will be confiscated.
Overview of items not allowed in carry-on bags
• Alcohol (more than 3.4 ounces)
• Batteries (lithium and lithium ion)
• Explosive materials (fireworks and flares)
• Flammable items (aerosol spray and lighter fluid)
• Guns and firearms (realistic replicas, BB guns, and paintball guns)
• Household tools (screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers)
• Hoverboards (battery-powered self-balancing scooters)
• Light sabers (toys with light-up plastic blades)
• Meat and seafood (cooked and uncooked)
• Personal defense items (mace and pepper spray)
• Propane and butane (camping stoves and torches)
• Self-balancing scooters (hoverboards)
• Sharp objects (knives, box cutters, and scissors)
• Sporting goods (baseball bats, hockey sticks, and golf clubs)
• Wet ice and ice packs (frozen and partially frozen)
Explanation of sharp objects
You are not allowed to bring any sharp objects in your carry-on bag. This includes things like knives, box cutters, scissors with blades longer than 4 inches, ice picks, meat cleavers, razor-type blades, and sabers.
However, you can bring scissors with a cutting edge of 4 inches or less in your carry-on bag.
The TSA prohibits any flammable items from being packed in your checked luggage, but you can bring a few flammable items in your carry on bag. Cigarette lighters, camp stoves, and propane torches are allowed in carry on bags and are limited to one per person.
You can also bring up to 100ml of flammable liquids in your carry on bag, but flammable liquids are not allowed in checked luggage. This includes common items like rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and certain types of paint. Check the label of any liquid to see if it is flammable before packing it in your carry on bag.
and other restricted items
The TSA has a long list of items that are not allowed in your carry on bag, or even in your checked bag. These are called “prohibited items” and include obvious things like explosives and firearms, but also things you might not think of like:
• Golf clubs
This list is constantly being updated, so it’s best to check the TSA’s website for the most current information.
The following items are allowed in your carry on luggage with no restrictions:
• Food and Snacks: Food items are allowed in your carry on bag. If you are traveling internationally, make sure to check the food and agriculture restrictions of your destination.
• Beverages: You can bring beverages in your carry on bag. The 3-1-1 liquids rule applies to beverages as well.
• Medications: You can bring medications in your carry on bag. This includes liquid medications that exceed the 3-1-1 rule.
• Baby Formula and Food: Baby formula, food, and breast milk are allowed in your carry on bag.
List of items generally allowed in carry-on bags
• Alcoholic beverages up to 140 proof, 3.4 ounces or less, in a sealable, quart-sized bag
• Baby formula, milk, juice, and baby food in reasonable quantities
• Batteries (except loose lithium batteries) and battery-powered devices
• Canned foods
• Cigarette lighters and safety matches
• Coffee and tea
• Common lighters
• Compressed gas cartridges (up to 2 in life vests and 2 spares)
• Cooked meat, seafood, and other non-liquid food items
• Cosmetics and personal care items (including aerosols in limited quantities)
• Dry ice (up to 5.5 pounds)
• Fruits and vegetables
• Gel shoe inserts
• Gel-filled bras and similar prosthetics
• Ice packs
• Insect repellent
• Insulin and ice packs for medication
• Knitting needles and scissors
• Meat, seafood, and other non-liquid food items
• Nail clippers
• Non-flammable liquid, gel, or aerosol paint
• Pies and cakes
• Powdered drink mixes
• Power tools
• Safety razors (including disposable razors)
• Scuba tanks (empty)
• Self-defense spray
• Small arms ammunition (up to .75 caliber)
• Tools (seven inches or less)
• Up to 3.4 ounces of essential oils
You can bring a variety of electronics in your carry on bag. This includes laptops, tablets, e-readers, and handheld game consoles.
You can also bring your chargers, power banks, and other accessories for your electronic devices in your carry on.
While you can bring your expensive electronics in your carry on, it is safer to pack them in your checked luggage. If you have to check a bag, consider using a hard shell suitcase to protect your electronics.
Personal care items
There are a lot of personal care items that are allowed in your carry on bag, but there are also several that are not. If you’re not sure if a certain item can be packed in your carry on luggage, it’s a good idea to check the TSA website or app.
One of the most important things to remember is that you can only bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry on bag. Each item must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less.
Some personal care items that are allowed in your carry on bag include:
• Solid perfume
• Lip balm
• Contact lens solution
• Eye drops
• Gel or aerosol shaving cream
• Gel or aerosol hairspray
• Hair gel
• Hair straightener
• Curling iron
• Hand sanitizer
• Makeup remover
• Makeup brushes
• Nail clippers
• Nail polish
• Shaving cream
• Insect repellent
• Hand cream
• Face cream
• Body wash
• Face wash
• Hair mask
• Bath bombs
• Essential oils
and necessary medications
If you have a condition that requires you to take medication, you can bring that medication in your carry on bag. This is important in case your checked luggage gets lost.
You can also bring a reasonable amount of liquid medications in your carry on bag, even if it exceeds the 3.4 oz limit for other liquids.
If you are bringing a syringe or other medical device with a sharp point, you can only bring it in your carry on bag. You should also bring a doctor’s note to show the TSA agent if they ask about it.
Rules for food and snacks
Some food is allowed in your carry on, but there are some restrictions.
You can bring food through the security checkpoint and onto the plane, but you’ll need to make sure it’s not a liquid or gel.
If you want to bring a liquid or gel food item, like salad dressing, salsa, or yogurt, it will need to be packed in your checked bag.
There are a few special considerations that you should be aware of when packing your carry on bags. These considerations include items that are allowed in checked bags but not in carry on bags, special rules for certain items, and more.
Just because an item is not allowed in a carry on bag does not mean that it is not allowed on the plane at all. In fact, many items that are not allowed in a carry on bag are allowed in checked bags. This is because checked bags are stored in a different part of the plane than carry on bags, and there is less risk of a prohibited item causing harm in a checked bag than in a carry on bag.
Special Rules for Liquids
Liquids are allowed in carry on bags, but they must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less, and all of the containers must be able to fit in a single quart-sized, clear plastic, zip-top bag. If you have liquids that are larger than 3.4 ounces, you can pack them in your checked bag.
Lithium batteries are allowed in carry on bags, but there are special rules that you must follow. For example, spare lithium batteries must be packed in your carry on bag, not your checked bag. In addition, there are limits to the size and quantity of lithium batteries that you can pack in your carry on bag.
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping Devices
Electronic cigarettes and vaping devices are allowed in carry on bags, but they are not allowed in checked bags. In addition, you are not allowed to use electronic cigarettes or vaping devices on the plane.
Medical marijuana is not allowed in carry on or checked bags. If you need to travel with medical marijuana, you must pack it in your carry on bag and declare it to the TSA officer at the security checkpoint.
Sharp objects are not allowed in carry on bags, but they are allowed in checked bags. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, scissors with a cutting edge of 4 inches or less are allowed in carry on bags.
Some sporting goods are allowed in carry on bags, but others are not. For example, baseball bats, golf clubs, and hockey sticks are not allowed in carry on bags, but they are allowed in checked bags.
Information regarding traveling with infants and children
Traveling with infants and children can add an extra layer of complexity to your trip. Fortunately, the TSA has some great resources to help you understand what is allowed in a carry on bag when traveling with small children.
One of the most helpful resources is the “Traveling with Children” page on the TSA website. This page provides a great overview of what to expect when going through the security checkpoint with children.
In addition, the TSA has a helpful “Traveling with Children” video that provides a great overview of the process. This video is a great tool for parents to use to help prepare their children for what to expect when going through the security checkpoint.
The video also provides some great tips for parents to help make the process easier. Some of these tips include:
• Arrive at the airport early
• Keep your child’s routine as normal as possible
• Dress your child in comfortable clothing
• Bring plenty of snacks and activities
• Talk to your child about what to expect
• Be patient
By following these tips, you can help make the process of going through the security checkpoint with your children much easier.
Specific rules for sporting equipment and oversized items
Sporting equipment and other oversized items are allowed in a carry on bag, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
If you’re traveling with a large item like a golf club, you’ll need to check with your airline to see if it’s allowed in the cabin. If it is, you’ll need to make sure it fits in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.
If you’re traveling with a larger item like a surfboard or skis, you’ll need to check with your airline to see if it’s allowed in the cabin. If it’s not, you may be able to check it as a special item.
Guidelines for transporting powders or powdery substances
Powders are generally allowed in carry-on bags, but there are some rules that apply. The rules are in place to prevent the risk of a bomb being made on the plane.
• Powders in carry-on luggage must be less than 12 oz. (350 ml) in volume. If you have a larger amount, you must place it in your checked luggage.
• The 12 oz. (350 ml) rule is for each individual container. You can have more than one container of powder in your carry-on luggage, as long as each container is less than 12 oz. (350 ml).
• If you are flying internationally, you may have to place all powders in your checked luggage. Check with the country you are flying to or from to see if there are any restrictions.
The rules for what you can and can’t bring in your carry on bag are pretty straightforward. But if you’re still not sure if something is allowed, you can always check the TSA’s website or app, or ask your airline.
The key to a smooth security experience is to pack smart. Make sure you know what’s in your bag and that you’re not bringing any prohibited items. And always check the size and weight restrictions for your carry on bag.
Summary of TSA carry-on regulations
When it comes to what you can and cannot bring in a carry-on bag, the TSA has a long list of items that are allowed, prohibited, and restricted. Here is a summary of what we covered:
• You can bring most personal items, like clothing, electronics, and toiletries, in your carry-on bag.
• You can bring food, but there are some restrictions.
• You cannot bring liquids, gels, and aerosols that are more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in your carry-on bag.
• You can bring liquids, gels, and aerosols that are 3.4 ounces or less in your carry-on bag as long as they fit into a quart-sized bag.
• There are some exceptions to the 3.4-ounce rule, like baby formula and medications.
Importance of checking official guidelines before packing
The reason why it is important to check the guidelines of the country you are flying from is that you may be allowed to pack certain items in your carry on that are not allowed in another country. For example, if you are flying from the United States, you can pack up to 12 ounces of liquid in your carry on, but if you are flying from another country, you may only be allowed to pack up to 3.4 ounces of liquid.
The reason why it is important to check the guidelines of the country you are flying to is that you may not be allowed to pack certain items in your carry on that are allowed in another country. For example, if you are flying to the United States, you may not be allowed to pack certain types of food in your carry on, but if you are flying to another country, you may be allowed to pack those same foods.
Knowing what is allowed in a carry on bag is important for saving time and money. Don’t be the person holding up the line at security because you didn’t know what you couldn’t bring.
Plan ahead and pack your bag strategically to get through security quickly. You’ll be on your way to your gate in no time!