Know which items not to bring on a plane

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1
Know which items not to bring on a plane. This applies to safety, size, weight, and even food, as there are restrictions on all of these.
  • Safety restrictions vary between countries but include obvious safety hazards (knives in your carry-on, flammable liquids in any of your luggage), not-so-obvious hazards (nail clippers or files in your carry-on), and a few seemingly inexplicable items (an unopened bottle of water on US flights – unless you purchased it after going through security).
  • Weight and size restrictions depend on the airline, so check their website ahead of time for more information. Most medium duffel bags and hand luggage marketed as carry-on will be accepted into the cabin.
  • Avoid bringing peanuts on planes. These can cause allergic reactions in other passengers.
  • If crossing international borders, don’t bring agricultural items (fruits, vegetables, seeds), meats, or dairy products. Though you may be able to get away with it in some countries, many regulate these items to reduce the spread of nonnative species and disease.
2
Separate liquids from the rest of your carry-on. Liquids should be easily accessible so that you can remove them for inspection while going through security. In the US, there are very specific liquid and gel allowances:
  • You are allowed to bring a maximum of 3.4 ounces of a liquid/gel per container (not total). For example, a 2-ounce bottle of shampoo, a 2-ounce bottle of toothpaste, and a 3.4-ounce bottle of face wash would be okay.
  • All individual containers of liquid must be placed together inside a resealable 1-quart bag (provided for you if necessary as you move through the security line). Before you and your luggage go through the scanners, you will have to place the bag of liquids by itself on the luggage conveyor belt so that it can be inspected if necessary.
  • To circumvent the hassle of packing and storing liquids separately, bring solid toiletries (ex. solid deodorant, powder concealer, etc.). You can also put liquids in your carry-on bag.
  • Liquid allowances don’t usually apply to prescription medication (provided that you have documentation with you to verify), infant formula, breast milk, or the like. Just be sure to store these separately from your other liquids and inform an agent that you have them.
3
Avoid checking in luggage if possible. Many airlines pad their bank accounts by charging passengers for check-in luggage. Even if you don’t mind the extra expense, waiting for check-in luggage to be processed and redistributed after arrival can add another half hour or more to your airport experience – and occasionally, bags that don’t make the flight must be sent to you at a much later date. If you are traveling with kids, make sure each one carries the maximum amount of luggage allowed (if possible) so that, as a group, you can bring more items into the cabin. Wear your heaviest clothing (such as jeans, running shoes/tennis shoes, sweatshirt) while traveling to save on space. Consider replacing your jeans with light-weight travel pants which take less space and dry quickly.

4
Consider getting a TSA-approved laptop bag. If you are flying in or through the US and your laptop is inside your bag together with other items, you will be asked to remove it before your things are X-rayed, which can slow down the line and create a mess if not properly organized. If you’re still luggage-hunting, you might want to get a bag designed to avoid this process (usually consisting of a laptop flap that folds away from the rest of the bag so that the laptop can be X-rayed by itself without technically being removed).

5
Keep your most important items in your smallest bag. Most airlines allow one small and one medium piece of carry-on so that people are still able to bring things purses and diaper bags. Since you will most likely be stowing the larger of the two bags in the overhead bin, avoid putting things you will want during the flight (ex. a sweater, book, or snack) up there or you will have to stand in the aisle and dig through it mid-flight.


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