things you didn't know are allowed on a plane


Air travel is now so common that most people have flown to their destination instead of driving at least once in their lives.

But with the added convenience of air travel also comes added concerns and guidelines for everyone’s safety. The TSA has made it much harder to get weapons or potential weapons on flights in recent years after past tragedies yet sometimes knowing what you can and can’t take on board with you on your domestic flight can be confusing.

While the TSA does have a list of prohibited items as well as an extensive list of items suitable for each kind of airline baggage, some things you may want to bring with you in your carry on are questionable as to whether they fall under certain categories of restrictions or not.

Here are 12 things you probably were not aware are actually allowed in your carry on luggage when boarding a plane.

Related: Does the FAA Check Pilot Medical Records?


#1. Comfort In Your Weighted Blankets 

While success varies with getting weighted blankets on board depending on the TSA agent handling the gate, there are several things that can be done to increase the chances of flying with one as a carry on item.

Bringing along identifying information for the blanket will help agents verify the safety of the blanket and its harmlessness. If it is used as a medical aid for PTSD or Autism, consider getting it ordered as such from a doctor.

As medical equipment, it can be carried on to the plane without fees. Calling ahead can also ensure whether or not TSA will allow it to travel with you at that particular airport. Most weighted blankets are comprised of small polypropylene pellets that are not restricted from air travel and having a small sample may deter agents from turning your weighted blanket away or confiscating it.

Read more on carry on board weighted blankets here.

The LACORDE weighted blanket works great as a carry on blanket. It is available on Amazon here or clicking the image above.


#2. Vacation Drone Shots Anyone?



Drones are perfectly legal packed in your carry on but checking with the airport before you arrive will save you time and hassle at the gate if for some reason they do not approve.

Try to remember to give the scanner a head’s up that there is a drone packed so they do not become suspicious or require special investigating. One thing to note for drone travel is that there are restrictions on taking batteries for your drone.

Each passenger is only allowed three drone batteries and each battery can only be below 100 watt-hours. Be sure to follow all packing safety guidelines for batteries. International travel can be much more restrictive of drones in your carry on luggage than domestic flights will be, so depending on your destination special permits may be required in order to get it through customs.

More information on the best travel drones with cameras here.

The Altair 818 Hornet drone can be carried on board a plane and is very affordable. Available on Amazon by clicking the link or image.





#3. Special Flight Playlist – Bring Your Headphones

Headphones are permitted as carry on items however check before arriving that there are no “electronic bans” in place with the airport.

Bluetooth headphones and other newer devices are often more restricted with special rules about when they can be used on board. However, generally wired headphones are not turned away at the gate. There will always be times on board when headphones or other devices will be asked to be turned off but following instructions will keep yours from being confiscated.

I personally use the Bose QuietComfort 35. They are amazing! I love that they have Alexa built in.

If you are looking for a cheaper option, the COWIN E7 are great too. Of course, both are available on Amazon.

Read more about them here. Top 10 Noise Cancelling Headphones For Travel.





#4. Liquids/Alcohol For Either The In-Between Or Destination

One bag, quart-sized, with any liquids and toiletry items like toothpaste, sprays, creams, lotions, or gels are allowed in carry on bags.

Each item inside is restricted to the travel size containers of (3.4 oz-100 ml) or smaller. This includes alcoholic beverages of any kind. Alcoholic beverages higher than 140 proof are not allowed on carry on bags or checked baggage period.

Pro Tip: I never recommend drinking alcohol on board a plane. But it is allowed onboard.


#5. Stock up on your Food



Solid foods are permitted in carry on bags, however, any food in liquid or gel form has to follow the liquids guidelines. TSA agents will often ask for food and any other objects that clutter baggage to be removed and repacked for easier scanning.

Remembering to pack these items in the suggested ways will prevent delays and make for easier snacking on board. However, through the scanner most foods will be indistinguishable from certain types of dangerous items, so be prepared to open your bag and have agents do a thorough check inside.


#6. In-Flight Entertainment: Laptops/Tablets Are A Go


Laptops and tablets are allowed in your carry on but like other items, they may be asked for removal so that TSA can scan your bag more thoroughly.

Special bags can be bought that allow laptops to be screened without removal from your bag and can be carried on separately from your carry on bag. Sometimes additional measures are required to prove to TSA agents that your device is indeed real such as opening up your laptop for approval.

Generally speaking though, as long as these items do not restrict the view of all items in your carry on during the scan, it is unlikely you will be asked to open the bag or remove the item. Anything larger than a cellphone, such as a tablet, will be removed however into a bin for the scan if the agent thinks it will hinder their view and will be added back to your carry on after security checks.

The Amazon Fire HD is a great option for a carry on board tablet. We finally broke down and got the kids tablets and they have loved them! 

Check out our other recommended tablets for travel here.




#7. Batteries To Keep It All Going

Speaking of laptops, batteries for your laptop that are lithium-ion batteries can only be in your carry on bag. If kept in your checked bag, the bag will be stopped and will not be permitted to travel to the proper destination.

Many other kinds of batteries are permitted in carry on bags as well, such as common AA, AAA, C, D, 9-volt, button-sized cells; rechargeable batteries; standard consumer lithium-ion batteries which about covers every type of battery you will have on you including drone batteries as long as they fall under the under 100 watt-hour rule.

A limit of two is placed on the number of larger lithium-ion batteries such as extended life laptop batteries allowed in a carry-on. Large wet batteries such as car batteries are prohibited. Packing batteries safely is important by following guidelines such as packaging separately in small bags and isolating battery terminals with electrical tape to avoid short circuits. Following these procedures will result in fewer incidences of confiscation and any further issues such as busted batteries during the flight.

More information on bringing batteries on board a plane here.


#8. Comfort In Your Travel Pillows

Travel pillows are allowed with you onto the plane and will not be considered as part of your carry on limit or personal item limit. While some gate agents might have you consolidate a travel pillow with your carry on or personal items, travel pillows are usually small and this is simply to create more room for movement for arriving passengers.

There are many options for types of travel pillows as well they are made to take up less and less space such as inflatable pillows and memory foam pillows that are easily folded and stuffed into your carry on bag.

The TRTL travel pillow is used by many travelers with great reviews! It is available on Amazon.


Some other carry on board travel gear here.






#9. Get The Team And All Their Sports Equipment There



Thankfully, many sports items are allowed to be packed in your carry on bag. Baseballs, baseball cleats, basketballs, bicycle chains, bicycle pumps, bocce balls, bowling balls, boxing gloves, fishing poles, football, football helmets, golf balls, golf shoes, golf tees, handball racquets, hockey pucks, ice skates and roller blades, ping pong paddles, skateboards, ski boots and ski helmets, skydiving rigs, snowboards, soccer cleats, softballs, ball pumps and needles, tennis racquet, track spikes, and volleyballs cover most of the permitted items with the more commonly unknown/confusing items in bold type.

Check with security before-hand that there will be room on the plane for any large sports equipment in your carry on.


#10. Sharp objects aren’t always prohibited!


Generally, most large sharp objects such as box cutters, meat cleavers, other knives, and ice picks will be prohibited from your carry on bag.

Scissors with blades less than 4 in in length will be permitted. Cigar cutters will be considered under special discretion. Disposable razors are allowed as well as knitting and crochet needles. Rounded plastic knives or butter knives are usually the only kinds of knives allowed in carry on bags.

Common items like safety pins, nail clippers, tweezers, and pencil sharpeners can be packed in your carry on also. Each item should be sheathed and wrapped carefully to avoid any danger of stabbing TSA agents and bag checkers. If packed improperly, agents will be more likely to remove these permitted items from your carry on bag.


#11. Medicine-In Flight Or In General 


Medicine in pill or solid form has no restriction on air travel as long as it has been properly screened. These medications do not have to be in prescription bottles or containers but each state has its own regulations for prescription medicines and how to carry them so check with your destination to ensure that they will not be confiscated on the other end of the flight.

Liquid medications can be packed in higher quantities than the usual 3.4 oz liquid restriction if in reasonable quantities for medical use in flight. You are required to tell agents that these are medical use liquids and are subject to additional screening such as opening the containers when requested to.

Having a dedicated medical device or medication bag will make getting past TSA much easier and will not be considered as a part of your carry on limit or as your personal item limit.


#12. Gotta Keep With Your Hygiene – Beard Trimmers

Electric razors and beard trimmers are safe to pack in carry on bags. There are no special restrictions however you may be asked to remove the battery or open your bag to ensure correct identification of the item to TSA agents if it cannot be verified through the x-ray scan. Again, the TSA agent has the final word on your carry on bag and might pull the trimmer or razor if they do not feel it is safe.

Here are my recommended beard trimmers for carrying on board.

The Phillips Norelco One Blade is recommended for carry on board. It is available on Amazon.



After everything is said and done, the TSA reserves the right to remove any item that the gate agent deems dangerous. Following TSA guidelines and restrictions will prevent most air travelers from being held up at the gate.

Hopefully, with these insights, there will less confusion as to what you can bring straight on to the plane with you in your carry on bag. As this article showed, there are a lot of items that are permitted that most people either overlook or would never think it’d be approved.

Travelers have more freedom than they think when it comes to certain categories of items and a few restrictions on others shouldn’t stop you from spending less overall on your next airline flight. If you are diligent about the TSA guidelines and each airlines’ own restrictions, your carry on can and will be filled with all the items you want with you on your flight.

Please remember that the TSA guidelines can change over time and be sure to check their website if you are ever in doubt of the permissibility of any item you want to take in your carry on baggage.


Thanks for reading!


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