Slideshow: 5 Strange Items You Can Pack in Your Carry-On

By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterMarch 18, 2013
By Miriam B. Weiner, Staff WriterMarch 18, 2013, at 2:38 p.m.
U.S. News & World Report

Slideshow: 5 Strange Items You Can Pack in Your Carry-On

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5 Strange Items You Can Pack in Your Carry-On

5 Strange Items You Can Pack in Your Carry-On

The Transportation Security Administration announced on March 5, 2013, that it will no longer screen for pocket knives, golf clubs and other potentially threatening items as of April 25, 2013. The decision has drawn fire from the media, flight attendants' unions and frequent flyers. But this new development simply adds to a long list of questionable pronouncements on what does or does not qualify as an appropriate carry-on item. Keep reading to see some of the most shocking items allowed through TSA checkpoints.
You can't bring … Scissors

You can't bring … Scissors

According to TSA guidelines, standard scissors will not clear airport security. In order to be deemed "fit to fly," scissors must have blades measuring 4 inches or shorter. So if you're a lover of arts and crafts, you'll want to measure before sealing up your tool kit. 
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5 Strange Items You Can Pack in Your Carry-On

The Transportation Security Administration announced on March 5, 2013, that it will no longer screen for pocket knives, golf clubs and other potentially threatening items as of April 25, 2013. The decision has drawn fire from the media, flight attendants' unions and frequent flyers. But this new development simply adds to a long list of questionable pronouncements on what does or does not qualify as an appropriate carry-on item. Keep reading to see some of the most shocking items allowed through TSA checkpoints.

You can't bring … Scissors

According to TSA guidelines, standard scissors will not clear airport security. In order to be deemed "fit to fly," scissors must have blades measuring 4 inches or shorter. So if you're a lover of arts and crafts, you'll want to measure before sealing up your tool kit. 

But you can bring … Knitting needles

Knitters rejoice: Your favorite pair of needles can accompany you to your seat. (And don't worry — the TSA won't confiscate your sewing supplies, either.) Because knitting needles might raise concerns as they pass through the X-ray machine, be prepared to remove them for TSA agents should they ask. You can also opt for wooden or plastic needles, which are less likely to draw attention.

You can't bring … Ice picks

Airport security officials do not allow passengers to carry ice picks in their carry-on luggage. These simple tools — used to chip and carve blocks of ice — appear under the "Sharp Objects" category on the TSA's "Prohibited Items" list.

But you can bring … Ice skates

Hockey skates, figure skates, speed skates … bladed footwear no longer halts airport screenings. But for safe measure, be sure to store your skates in a small bag with skate guards on. Hockey players should also note that the TSA policy change on April 25, 2013, will permit hockey sticks to be brought on board as well.

You can't bring … Gel shoe inserts

Bad news for sore-footed flyers: Gel-filled orthopedic inserts are not allowed through airport security. Why? They exceed the 3.4-ounce limit allotted for gels and liquids. If you must travel with gel inserts, you'll have to pack them in your checked luggage; otherwise, we recommend donning cushioned soles fashioned from solid material.

But you can bring … Snow globes

Your feet may ache, but at least you can keep your favorite souvenir by your side. There is no way for TSA agents to determine the exact amount of liquid volume a snow globe contains. As long as it's no larger than a tennis ball, your snow globe should have no problem making it the gate.

You can't bring … A dead body

You may not believe it, but flight attendants have seen instances of passengers attempting to smuggle a deceased loved one into the cabin. It's understandable given that airlines charge exorbitant fees for transporting remains. But even if you somehow make it past TSA officials, you'll likely face a confrontation with your flight crew.

But you can bring … Cremated remains

Many airlines permit passengers to transport cremated remains as a carry-on, meaning you will not have to shell out thousands of dollars to transport the ashes of a deceased friend or family member. And a TSA agent will never ask you to open a cremation container so that they can sift through remains. However, because the ashes will have to pass through the X-ray machine at airport security, you should store remains in a wood or plastic container rather than a metal urn.

You can't bring … Throwing stars and nunchucks

Whether you consider them valued collectables or tools of the trade, you cannot board a plane with throwing stars, nunchucks or any other martial arts weapon. The TSA will also confiscate self defense-related items such as stun guns and pepper spray. You will simply have to place your personal safety in the hands of the flight crew until you reach baggage claim at your arrival airport.

But you can bring … Whips and chains

You may notice raised eyebrows if you pack adult toys in your carry-on, but TSA agents will not confiscate these items (unless you're carrying the type of gear used by Indiana Jones). But before you pack your bags, consider this: Would you really want to open a window into your private life should security officials need to search your carry-on luggage? 

See the Best Carry-On Luggage of 2019 »
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