Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS -

Ev­ery once in a while, ques­tions about what items are cleared to travel with at air­ports pop-up and leave us scratch­ing our heads. Some re­cent ex­am­ples in­clude: slime, cit­ric acid, an ac­cor­dion, pep­per spray, black petrol, a coy­ote skull, weed, hair wax, and corn­bread. We don’t know why some peo­ple would need to fly with some of these items, but we’re not here to judge.

Vi­o­lat­ing TSA rules on pro­hib­ited items can re­sult in a fine of up to $13,066 per vi­o­la­tion, so it’s well worth check­ing ahead to avoid trou­ble.

The TSA has a help­ful “What can I bring?” search tool on their web­site to search be­fore you pack, though the fi­nal de­ci­sion is al­ways made by the TSA of­fi­cial on site. We’ve put to­gether a brief Weird Stuff to Carry-On guide by class.


We couldn’t find coy­ote skulls listed but antlers are good to go, even in your carry on lug­gage. Ar­ti­fi­cial skele­ton bones are OK too, which may come in handy for anatomy stu­dents.

Bear spray and bear bangers (flares) are out. You can’t check them and you can’t bring them on board. Teddy bears and other stuffed an­i­mals are cleared to fly, but be rea­son­able about it. Size mat­ters, es­pe­cially in the over­head bin. Re­ally large stuffed an­i­mals should be checked with the air­line as ir­reg­u­larly sized lug­gage if they don’t fit in a suit­case.

Fish­ing lures are cleared for take-off, whether you check them or carry them on­board. How­ever, large fish hooks must be sheathed, wrapped se­curely and packed into checked lug­gage. Flies can fly in the cabin with you, as can ex­pen­sive reels or frag­ile tackle packed in your carry on bag. If you’re div­ing for your catch, spear guns are OK in checked lug­gage but a no-go in the cabin.

Live lob­ster? Your air­line will de­cide whether they will al­low fresh lob­ster to travel in the cabin with you, but you can check lob­ster as bag­gage. In fact, restau­rant sup­pli­ers check lob­sters

and crabs for ship­ping to restau­rants around the world all the time. There are spe­cial­pack­ing re­quire­ments, so call your air­line. And, no, lob­sters do not qual­ify as Emo­tional Sup­port An­i­mals. Se­ri­ously.


Corn­bread—Good news! Bread is cleared to carry on­board, as are most solid food items. You can bring these on the plane or check them in your lug­gage. But wed­ding cakes that take up a whole over­head bin­will cause trou­ble.

Moon­shine is a no. Al­co­holic bev­er­ages that are over 140 proof, in­clud­ing grain al­co­hol and 151 proof rum, can­not be car­ried on planes ei­ther in your hand lug­gage or in checked bag­gage.

Slime might be con­sid­ered a gel and cit­ric acid is a liq­uid, so these may give you some trou­ble, de­pend­ing on how much you need to carry. The rule on liq­uids, gels, creams, and pastes lim­its you to 3.4 ounces or 100ml.

Fer­til­izer is out, by the way. It’s not al­lowed in carry-on bags or in checked lug­gage.


Black petrol is a liq­uid but the big rule of thumb is that flammable or ex­plo­sive items are gen­er­ally banned on planes — you can’t fly with most of this stuff. There are very few ex­cep­tions (the odd dis­pos­able lighter and spare bat­ter­ies). The TSA has a whole list ded­i­cated to in­di­vid­ual flammable and ex­plo­sive items that you can check out.

Hair wax qual­i­fies as a paste, so rules on liq­uids, gels, and pastes ap­ply. Most cos­met­ics and beauty items fall into this cat­e­gory.

Ac­cor­dions and mu­si­cal in­stru­ments re­quire spe­cial screen­ing — even in checked bags. Some in­stru­ments can be car­ried on­board, but brass in­stru­ments must be packed in checked lug­gage.

Weapons are a real prob­lem on planes, though there are spe­cific rules for per­mit­ted car­riage, and the TSA has a ded­i­cated list. Lightsabers are fine, though. The TSA finds that we lack the tech­nol­ogy to make real lightsabers, and they al­low the plas­tic toy ver­sions in carry-on and checked lug­gage, so there’s that.

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