Airplane Travel Travel Tips

TSA Rules You Need to Know: A Guide to TSA Carry-On Restrictions

What can you take on a plane? Find out all the TSA carry-on restrictions and frequently asked questions about TSA rules to improve your air travel routine!

 

Frequent fliers are masters in all things plane travel. From doing a cheap flight search like a pro to scoring some insanely cheap flight deals, from knowing the travel hacks for booking one way vs. round trip fares to developing the perfect carry-on packing list—frequent fliers are overflowing with air travel wisdom. We know everything from how early you should arrive for your flight to the need-to-know airline lost and found information and even the best travel day bag, and of course, all of those essential TSA rules, TSA guidelines, and TSA carry-on restrictions that you need to know when preparing for plane travel within the United States.

 

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We’ve been asked all the classic questions on TSA rules and TSA carry-on restrictions: Can you take food on an airplane? Can you bring a lighter on a plane? Can you bring makeup on a plane? Can you take matches on a plane? Are razors allowed on planes? What can you take on a plane? The list of questions goes on and on. And to make it more difficult, TSA carry-on restrictions are constantly changing! In fact just recently, large electronic devices such as laptops, cameras, and tablets, were banned from all carry-on baggage on direct flights between the U.S. and 10 specific airports—so it’s important to keep updated on the current TSA carry-on restrictions. So what can you take on a plane? Don’t worry, we’ve dug deep in the files for TSA rules and TSA guidelines and have your answers to all the top questions on TSA carry-on restrictions.

 


Photo: Nikos Roussos

We’ve already gone through some of the elements of TSA carry-on restrictions, such as the TSA rules for flying and traveling with a drone without violating TSA guidelines, and have an extensive list of all the TSA prohibited items in our Things You CAN’T Take on a Plane section. However, there’s a lot more to TSA rules and TSA guidelines that we’ve worked to clarify for you. Our guide to TSA carry-on restrictions will explain what can you take on a plane?, as well as TSA rules and procedures, and answers to the most common questions for TSA approved items. For further information on TSA procedures, you might want to check out TSA X-Ray Machines: What you should know.

 

Here’s our guide to TSA carry-on restrictions and all the TSA rules you need to know!


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TSA Carry-On Restrictions: What Can You Take on a Plane?

When traveling in the states, its essential to know all of the TSA carry-on restrictions, including TSA approved items you can put on your carry-on packing list. Here are the TSA procedures you will need to follow when traveling on airplanes in the United States.


TSA Approved Leak-Proof Travel Bottle

TSA Liquids Rule

One of the most well-known part of the TSA carry-on restrictions is the Liquids Rule, otherwise known as the 3-1-1 rule (3.4 oz bottle or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic bag; 1 bag per passenger). Every person is permitted to carry on one quart-sized ziplock bag of liquids (though this also includes aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes). Each container of liquid within the bag must be inside of a 3.4 oz (100 mL) or smaller container. When going through security, you should take this ziplock bag out of your carry-on luggage and place it in a bin for an expedited screening process.

TSA Approved Quart-Sized Clear Travel Toiletry Bag

Other TSA Procedures

There are some other fairly routine TSA procedures you may experience when flying in the United States. Unless you have TSA-approved laptop bag, you may be required to remove your laptop from its bag and place it in a bag for the screening process. Additionally, shoes and jackets may need to be removed. We’ve also discussed in detail the process of taking a DJI Phantom drone through TSA in our traveling with a drone guide.

For a more thorough discussion of recent TSA procedures, check out this insightful guide to how airport security has changed since 9/11.

TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Lock


Photo: Rob Annis

TSA Approved Items: Frequently Asked Questions

What can you take on a plane? There’s a whole bunch of questions we’ve heard on the topic. Can you bring a lighter on a plane? Can you bring makeup on a plane? Can you take matches on a plane? Are razors allowed on planes? Can you bring food on an airplane? Don’t worry, we have answers. We’ve scoured the TSA Carry-on List for all of the TSA approved items, as well as the prohibited ones when making our own carry-on packing list. We’ve included the answers to the most popular TSA carry-on restrictions questions here—for a full list, consult the TSA Prohibited Items list.

 


Note: These TSA Approved Items are the official carry-on regulations as listed on the TSA website, but do keep in mind that different TSA officers may be stricter than others.


Can you bring a lighter on a plane?

Yes, lighters with fuel are permitted in your carry-on luggage. They are prohibited in your checked luggage.

Can you bring electronic cigarettes and vaping devices on a plane?

Generally, yes they are TSA approved items for your carry-on luggage, but you should check your airline for further restrictions. The FAA does prohibit these from your checked luggage.

Can you take matches on a plane? 

Yes, one book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches is a TSA approved item for your carry-on bags, but prohibited for checked bags.

Are razors allowed on planes?

Yes, razors are TSA approved items for both checked and carry-on luggages. TSA does require that all sharp objects such as razors are securely wrapped or sheathed for safety.

Can you bring makeup on a plane?

Yes, you can bring makeup, as long as any liquids, creams, gels, etc. abide by the TSA liquids rule.

Clinique Travel Size Skin Care & Makeup Set

Can you bring food on an airplane?

Generally, yes, though liquids and other non-solids (jams, jellies, yogurts, salsas, dips, etc.) are still restricted to the TSA liquids rule.

Can you take alcohol on an airplane?

TSA forbids the carrying on or checking in of any alcoholic beverages over 140 proof (70% alcohol). Alcoholic beverages between 24-70% can only be checked in (up to 5 liters), although small bottles that apply to the TSA liquids rule can be carried on. Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% alcohol have no limitations in checked bags.

Can you bring knitting needles on a plane?

Yes, just make sure all sharp objects are wrapped properly for safety!


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TSA Prohibited Items: Things You Can’t Take on a Plane

In addition to knowing the TSA approved items it’s worth knowing the TSA prohibited items—that is, the things you can’t take on a plane. Bringing prohibited items on an airplane could potentially end up in questioning by security officials and even civil penalties of up to $12,856 for the worst violations. So make sure to follow the TSA rules!

For a detailed outline of all the must-know TSA prohibited items for carrying on the plane, consult our Things You Can’t Take on a Plane section!


The American aviator Charles Lindbergh wrote, “I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.” And how lovely it would be to fly without airplanes and the tedious rituals of TSA rules and airport procedures, but our wingless reality is just one we’ll have to accept for the moment, even if that means accepting the necessity of airplanes and airport regulations. At the end of the day, TSA guidelines exist to protect us and ensure the safety of all fliers. And in doing your part to research the TSA carry-on restrictions you need to abide by, you’re already on your way to becoming a responsible plane traveler. So go ahead, book a cheap flight, get your booty on over to the airport, and approach that daunting airport conveyor belt with confidence knowing you’re not breaking any TSA rules!

 

For more information on air travel, you might want to refer to:

 


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What can you take on a plane? Find out all the TSA carry-on restrictions and frequently asked questions about TSA rules to improve your air travel routine! What can you take on a plane? Find out all the TSA carry-on restrictions and frequently asked questions about TSA rules to improve your air travel routine!

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