10 Things You Can Take from Planes—And 6 Things You Can’t
Avoid getting into trouble with this helpful guide of what you can take from a plane.
Items with airline logos are not exactly collector’s items—but there is still a novelty to them. While taking some items with you when you get off the plane is perfectly fine, taking certain others can get you into a lot of trouble.
With a return to normalcy and an increase in air travel, airlines are maintaining practices to keep passengers safe from the ongoing pandemic. Domestic and international flights have now offered modes of protection to keep areas clean and eliminate the spread of germs. Delta is providing complimentary care kits containing a face mask and Purell hand sanitizer. On United Airlines, you’ll be provided with disinfectant wipes. Take whatever sanitizing gear you haven’t used and use it throughout your trip, as airlines don’t reuse them after they have made contact with a passenger!
Eye masks can help make sleeping on a relatively plane easier, and they are also one of the personal items that you can take with you when you leave the plane. “Due to hygiene reasons, the airline cannot reuse eye masks,” says Steve Deane, editor for Stratos Jets.
In-flight socks are another item that cannot be reused by the airline, so it’s OK to take them with you as well, according to Deane. After all, who would want to wear socks that have previously been worn by an indefinite amount of people, even if they have been washed?
Earplugs can save the day when you end up in a particularly loud plane and just want to get some sleep. According to Chris Webber, Head of Marketplace at icelolly.com, they too (unsurprisingly) cannot be reused by the airline. So if you find yourself not using your earplugs on a flight, toss them in your bag and bring them to your next flight just in case.
If there is an article you couldn’t get to in the in-flight magazine before your flight was over, worry not. It is perfectly OK to take it with you when you leave the plane. “Although in-flight magazines could be reused for the next passenger, it’s good advertising for the airline when it’s seen out and about with you,” says Deane. “The airline would probably encourage you to take it for this reason.”
Leftover food and drinks
Commercially packaged food or drink items you’re offered during the flight are fair game to bring along as your journey continues, according to Shylar Bredewold, owner of Odyssean Travel. These items can come in handy if you end up having a connecting flight that is delayed. “Just note that hot or frozen items may not be practical, fruit and other unpackaged goods can fail your customs clearance—eat that apple before you get off the plane,” says Bredewold. By the way, here’s what to know about bringing food on a plane. Also, get to know the history of airplane kitchens.
Similar to pajamas, on first or business-class flights some passengers may receive an amenities bag with toiletry items as a gift, especially on longer flights. These bags are also OK to take home, according to Adler. As they come with travel-size toiletries, why leave them on the plane?
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Some longer flights will give you slippers in case you wanted to take off your shoes and get more comfortable. Feel free to take them with you when you’re leaving the plane!
Business and first-class flights offer comfort items like blankets during the flight. You must leave them on board when you’re leaving the plane as they can be reused. “Paying more to travel in a better class does not entitle passengers to take items offered for the journey,” says Webber.
Just like with blankets, if you’re offered a pillow during your flight you need to leave it when you’re leaving. “It’s for in-flight comfort, not a freebie to take home,” says Deane.
That you shouldn’t take life jackets should go without saying, and yet they are known to be taken, according to Webber. “It is a stunt that could land you with criminal charges,” says Webber. It’s best not to endanger anyone’s safety and leave life jackets where they belong.
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You might be allowed to take the in-flight magazine with you, but the safety cards are another deal altogether. Safety cards in front of your seat are also considered safety items, and should always remain on board.
“Headphones are placed on your ear, not in your ear, therefore the airline can reuse them,” says Deane. Airlines usually change the foam around the earpiece for added hygiene. Fun fact—the two-socket plug airlines use for headphones are there to discourage you from taking them. And don’t even think about taking the nicer headphones in business or first-class with you!
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- United Airlines: “What to expect when you fly”
- Delta Air Lines: “Your Seat Experience”
- Steve Dean, editor, Stratos Jets
- Chris Webber, head of marketplace, icelolly.com
- Shylar Bredewold, owner, Odyssean Travel
- David Adler, founder and CEO, The Travel Secret