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16 Random Things You Cannot Carry On To A Plane

The TSA’s list of items that are not carry-on approved is very interesting.

Air passengers in the U.S. are generally aware of the usual items not allowed in carry-on bags ― guns, knives, liquids in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces.

But even the most seasoned traveler may not know about some of the more seemingly random things the Transportation Security Administration forbids.

We consulted the “What Can I Bring?” page of the TSA website for some of the most interesting items that are explicitly banned from carry-on luggage.

Magic 8 Balls

As the TSA website notes, “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!” (That’s “no” and “yes” for those not conversant with 8 Ball-ese.) The reason for this carry-on ban is a bit … cloudy, but it could be due to the volume and/or substance of the liquid inside.

The TSA website has a cheeky answer to the question of whether Magic 8 Balls are permitted on planes.

Foam Toy Swords

While foam toy swords are permitted in checked luggage, the TSA does not allow them in carry-on bags. The website notes that realistic replicas of explosives, firearms and incendiaries are also banned from carry-on luggage. Sorry, kids!


Passengers are not allowed to fly with fertilizer in their carry-on bags or their checked luggage due to the risk of explosion. Handling fertilizer can lead to false positives on those TSA hand swab tests as well.

Bowling Pins

Bowling pins must be checked. As the TSA website explains, “sports equipment that can be used as a bludgeon (such as bats and clubs) is prohibited in the cabin of the plane.” Bowling balls, however, are allowed in your carry-on luggage.

Passengers can carry on their bowling balls, but bowling pins are not allowed. 

Cast-Iron Cookware

You’ll have to check your cast-iron skillet. The TSA bans cast-iron cookware from carry-on luggage ― presumably because it could do some real damage if wielded as a weapon.

Fencing Foils

The TSA forbids passengers from carrying on “cutting or thrusting weapons, including fencing foils.” In addition, the website notes, “any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.”

English Christmas Crackers

Holiday travelers, take note. Christmas crackers, a traditional English party favor, are prohibited in carry-on and checked luggage. Per Condé Nast Traveler, that may have something to do with the “tiny amount of gunpowder lining the inside,” which produces a festive bang when they’re pulled apart.

This traditional English party favor is not allowed in carry-on or checked luggage.

Pool Cues

Pool cues are another fun item that’ll have to go in your checked luggage. We assume this is because they’re in that “sports equipment that can be used as a bludgeon” category.

Gel Heating Pads

While electric heating pads are allowed in carry-on bags, the gel variety needs to travel in your checked luggage. This is likely based on the same considerations that drive the general rule about all liquids and gels being in containers of 3.4 ounces or less and fitting into one quart-sized bag.


Don’t forget to check your darts! These very sharp objects are not allowed in the cabin of the plane.

Cooking Spray

Regardless of volume, aerosols that are flammable or otherwise hazardous are not allowed through security. Cooking spray is prohibited in checked luggage as well.

Even if they're in containers less than 3.4 ounces, cooking sprays are not allowed on the plane.

Gel-Type Candles

Although solid wax candles are permitted in carry-on luggage, gel-type candles have to go in your checked bags.

Flammable Paints

The TSA website notes that flammable paints are not allowed in carry-on or checked luggage.

Larger Snow Globes

Per the TSA, “Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces of liquid (approximately tennis ball size) can be packed in your carry-on bag ONLY if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit into your one quart-sized, resealable plastic bag.” But larger snow globes can travel in checked baggage.

Snow globes that are larger than a tennis ball must be checked.  

Ski Poles

If you want to fly with your own equipment for your next ski trip, note that you can check ski poles, but don’t even think about carrying them on.

Canoe And Kayak Paddles

Like ski poles, canoe and kayak paddles can be checked but not brought into the cabin.


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