Share on Facebook

A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

14 Surprising Things You Aren’t Allowed to Take on a Plane

Sorry, but your Magic 8 Ball might have to stay at home.

1 / 14
This photo shows bottles of Everclear, 190 Proof grain alcohol, for sale at a grocery store in Madison, Wis. A bill in the state Assembly would ban the sale of 190-proof alcohol like Everclear, out of concerns about its potencyScott Bauer/Shutterstock


You’re welcome (though not necessarily recommended) to pack some minibar-sized bottles on the plane with you, but don’t try getting the most bang out of your 100 milliliters by sneaking a high-proof liquor. Any alcoholic beverages more than 140 proof (70 percent alcohol) aren’t allowed in your carry-on or checked bag. So yes, your 151 rum needs to stay at the resort too.

2 / 14
A magic eight ball sits on a distressed wood texture with lots of room for text! Vintage magic 8 ball! ghershewe/Shutterstock

Magic 8 Ball

We’ll have to quote on this one: “For Carry-on bags: We asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us…Outlook not so good! For Checked bags: We asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us…It is certain!”

3 / 14
Snow globe with fir tree and cute snowman on blurred background.Artorn Dumkram/Shutterstock

Snow globes

You might have a hard time finding getting your holiday gifts through security. Snow globes can only contain up to 3.4 ounces of liquid, meaning the globe is about the size of a tennis ball. You’ll also need to squeeze the whole thing, base and all, into the quart-sized bag with the rest of your liquids. If you can’t get it to fit, you’ll have to put it in a checked bag. Find out which four letters on your boarding pass guarantee a longer wait at airport security.

4 / 14
close up chemical Fertilizer in sacksiamporpla/Shutterstock


Believe it or not, fertilizers can be an explosion risk. The ammonium nitrate in some versions can also be an ingredient for bombs, so green thumbs should wait to get their hands on fertilizer until they’re off the plane.

5 / 14
housekeeping set with towels and plastic bottles in laundry top view mockup279photo Studio/Shutterstock


Hopefully you don’t plan on doing any heavy cleaning on vacation. Even in a 3.4-ounce liquids container or a checked bag, bleach won’t be allowed onto the plane. Learn the 11 things you should pack in a carry-on so you’re ready for anything.

6 / 14
Medieval swords handmade wooden children shop, toysCeliafoto/Shutterstock

Foam swords

They probably can’t do much damage, but the TSA still doesn’t allow foam toy swords in carry-on luggage.

7 / 14
Aerosol dispensertsyklon/Shutterstock

Bear spray

If you’ll be camping or hiking, wait to buy bear spray (pepper spray for bear attacks) or bear bangers (devices that make a loud noise to scare bears away) until you reach your destination. Neither is allowed in your carry-on or checked bag. Don’t miss these other 18 things you should never do on an airplane.

8 / 14
white with red stripe pins in of triangle at bowling alleyAleksei Lazukov/Shutterstock

Bowling pins

Bowling might be the epitome of a noncontact sport, but the TSA fears some passengers could get the wrong idea. Just in case you decide to use your pins as a weapon, you’ll need to stow them in your checked luggage. Surprisingly enough, you can keep your bowling ball on the plane with you, though.

9 / 14
Baseball bat and ball on green turf backgroundDan Thornberg/Shutterstock

Baseball bats

This equipment belongs in your checked bag. Because it could be used as a bludgeon, the TSA won’t allow it in a carry-on.

10 / 14
Hairdresser makes hairstyle girl with long red hair in a beauty salon. Create curls with curling irons. Professional hair care.dimid_86/Shutterstock

Cordless curling irons

This is one of the few items allowed in a carry-on but not a checked bag. Cordless curling irons use butane, which could catch fire if the hair tool turns on by accident. In your carry-on, you’ll need to put a safety cover over the curler just in case. Make sure you know these genius hacks for packing beauty products in a carry-on.

11 / 14
Vintage cast iron skillet with checkered kitchen towel on rustic wood background. Low key still life with directional, natural lighting for effect.Marie C Fields/Shutterstock

Cast iron pans

Chefs can’t get too excited spotting cookware souvenirs. You can bring cast iron cookware in your checked bag, but it won’t make it through security in a carry-on.

12 / 14
Festive surprise concept with opened red bon bon Christmas cracker and glitter stars on white wood table with copy space for your text here. Milleflore Images/Shutterstock

Christmas crackers

Anyone traveling to the United Kingdom during the holiday season might be tempted to take home a Christmas cracker as a souvenir. Filled with jokes, candy, and toy crowns, they seem innocent enough, but most U.K. airlines won’t allow them, and the TSA bans Christmas crackers and party poppers from all luggage.

13 / 14
Close-up Of A Person Sitting And Applying Ice Gel Pack On An Injured KneeAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Gel heating pads

The gel inside is essentially a liquid, so you won’t be able to carry a heating pad that big in with your carry-on. Stick with an electric heating pad, or stow it in your checked bag.

14 / 14
Tear gas or pepper spray for personal safety and defense.Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock

Pepper spray

You can’t bring pepper spray in your carry-on bag, and even checked bags have their limits. Any mace or pepper spray needs a safety mechanism preventing it from spraying, and it can’t contain more than 2 percent tear gas.


Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.