Traveling by air is convenient, but it comes with its own set of rules and regulations. But what can I take on a place in checked luggage? To help make your next flight a little less stressful, here is a comprehensive list of what you can (and cannot) pack in your checked bag.
What Can I Take on a Plane in Checked Luggage?
With a few exceptions, you can pack most items in your checked baggage.
Here are some of the common items that are allowed:
This one is obvious, but it bears repeating. You can pack as much clothing as you want in your checked bag, as long as it doesn’t exceed the weight limit.
Again, there is no limit on how many pairs of shoes you can pack, but try to limit yourself to just the essentials. And if you’re worried about them taking up too much space, consider wearing your bulkiest pair on the plane.
All of your liquids, gels, and aerosols can be placed in your checked luggage on a plane. This includes things like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, mouthwash, toothpaste, hairspray, and perfume. Aerosols must not be hazardous or have a hazard label.
Cameras & Electronics
Most electronic devices are allowed in carry-on and checked bags with some restrictions. For example, spare lithium batteries must be placed in carry-on baggage only. Check with the TSA or airport authority website for a comprehensive list of what devices are allowed and how to pack them properly.
Food and Drinks
Most food and drinks are allowed in checked luggage. However, some international destinations ban some types of foods that may cause environmental problems by introducing invasive species. An example of this is usually plant seeds that can grow into an environmental nightmare in delicate habitats. Check your arrival destinations’ banned list and make sure to declare all foods at your international arrival destination, otherwise, you may be fined.
Knife & Sharp Objects
Knives (of any size), box cutters, ice picks, meat cleavers, razor blades not in a cartridge, sabers, swords, and Swiss Army knives are all banned from being carried on an airplane — they must be packed in your checked luggage instead. In addition to sharp objects, anything that could be used as a bludgeoning weapon (such as baseball bats, cricket bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, pool cues, and ski poles) must also be stored in your checked bag. Tools ( such as hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and wrenches) are also not allowed in carry-on luggage but may be packed in checked baggage.
Some sporting equipment is allowed on an airplane if it meets specific criteria — for example, it cannot exceed 70 inches when fully assembled.
The following equipment may be packed in your checked baggage:
- scuba diving & snorkeling
- hang gliding
- snowboard & skiing
- water polo
- water skiing
Ammunition & Firearms
Obviously, firearms are not allowed in the airplane cabin — they pose too great of a risk to the other passengers. However, they can be transported in your checked luggage. In addition, they’re not allowed in your regular checked luggage. They need to be placed in a secure hard case. If you’re traveling with firearms or ammunition, please check with the airline ahead of time to find out their specific policies and procedures. Firearms are usually classified under sporting equipment.
What You Cannot Pack in Checked Luggage on an Airplane
In addition to the items listed above, there are also certain items that are outright banned from being packed in either your carry-on or checked baggage — no exceptions.
These items include:
Explosives & Flammable Items
Any item that could potentially cause a fire or explosion in the bulk hold is not allowed on an airplane — this includes flares, fireworks, lighter fluid, and camping gas. Items that are pressurized (such as spray paint or whipped cream cans) are also not allowed on planes due to the risk of explosion. If you have any questions about whether an item is allowed on an airplane, please check with the airline directly or with the TSA’s website.
If you do have hazardous luggage that needs to be checked, it will have to be transported as cargo, which is an additional cost. Airlines ship hazardous through their cargo business, and these items need specialized transportation and handling.
Other Common Items Not Allowed in Checked Luggage
140 Proof Alcohol: Travelers are often surprised to learn that they are not permitted to bring certain types of beverages on an airplane. Specifically, any beverage with an alcohol content of 70% or more by volume (ABV) is not allowed in checked luggage or carry-on.
Camping Canisters: Camping canisters that use propane or butane as a fuel source are not allowed in checked or cabin luggage on an airplane. This is because the gas inside the canister is highly flammable and could potentially cause an explosion. The camping canisters that are allowed on an airplane must be emptied of all fuel.
Cordless Curling Irons: Cordless curling irons are one of the best beauty tools on the market, and they’re becoming increasingly popular as more and more women discover their convenience and versatility. But cordless, butane or gas-powered curling irons are banned from checked luggage and the cabin since it is a fired hazard. It’s safer to travel with a corded curling iron.
Fireworks: Fireworks are considered a fire hazard and therefore are not allowed on airplanes. While some people may think that fireworks are just a fun celebration, they can be dangerous if not handled properly.
Certain Household Products: Many household products are hazardous and banned from checked luggage and the cabin. Ammonia is a strong irritant that can cause respiratory problems, while bleach can cause severe burns. In addition, ammonia can be explosive if mixed with other chemicals, and bleach is an oxidizer that helps start or spread fires quicker. Always checked if your household products have hazard labels. If they do, they’re most likely banned from passenger airplanes.
E-cigarettes and Vapes: Electronic cigarettes and vapes are a new technology that has been growing in popularity in recent years. However, there is still some confusion about whether or not they are allowed on airplanes. The answer is no — electronic cigarettes and vapes are banned from being packed in checked luggage on an airplane. This is because they pose a fire hazard due to the lithium-ion batteries that they contain. If you’re traveling with an e-cigarette or vape, it’s best to pack it in your carry-on bag. That way, you’ll be able to keep an eye on it and make sure that it doesn’t accidentally get turned on or damaged.
Spare Batteries: Spare lithium batteries are not allowed in checked luggage on an airplane. The batteries can catch fire if they are damaged or heated, and this poses a serious safety risk to other passengers and crew. You are allowed to bring spare lithium batteries in your carry-on luggage.
Packing your checked luggage doesn’t have to be stressful if you follow these simple tips. Be sure to know what items are prohibited by the TSA or local airport authority and pack accordingly.
Weigh your bags before leaving for the airport to avoid any surprise fees from the airline. And finally, check for recall notices on any items you plan on packing just to be safe. With these tips in mind, you can rest assured that your checked baggage will make it through airport security without any problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I pack anything in my checked luggage on an airplane?
No, you can’t pack anything in your checked suitcase. Certain items are restricted by the TSA or local airport authority due to the safety of passengers and the aircraft.
These checked luggage-restricted items include: spare lithium batteries, explosives, hazardous materials, fireworks, marijuana, improperly secured firearms and ammunition, e-cigarettes and vapes, and more.
What is not allowed in checked baggage for international flights?
When packing for an international flight, it’s important to be aware of what items are not allowed in checked luggage.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, some of the items that are prohibited include sporting goods such as bats and golf clubs, self-defense items such as pepper spray and mace, flammable items such as aerosol cans and lighter fluid, and corrosive materials such as pool chemicals and acid.
In addition, there are restrictions on bringing certain food items due to concerns about biosecurity. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables are not allowed, nor are many types of meat. So when packing for an international flight, be sure to check the TSA website for a complete list of prohibited items in checked luggage.