At an airport conference in Los Angeles a few years back, an airport commissioner spoke authoritatively, if not a little haltingly, about the one item that gets confiscated most by TSA officers at LAX security points: fur-lined handcuffs. It seems the airport storage closets are full of these items, perhaps given out by the boxload at charity functions throughout the year.
And for all the things that cannot make it through the sensitive scanning machines at security, a lot of items that seem truly doubtful are perfectly ok take on a plane.
Consider the 20-pound turkey or 15-pound ham you cooked for Christmas dinner. Pass. Just make sure the mud on that extra pair of sneakers you are also carrying on does not mix with the food to become added seasoning. And all that Pepperidge Farm stuffing? That can go, too.
Got pies? Stack them up in the overhead compartment, along with cakes, cookies, fresh whole fruits and mini (3.4 ounces or smaller) bottles of booze. If you want to sip that booze, however, you will have to wait until you get off the plane. There is too much money in onboard alcohol sales at stake.
If you want to keep your food items cold, ice packs are fine – as long as they are frozen. As soon as they start to melt, they become liquid and will not fly. And should that melting happen while you are airborne? Well then that is your problem – and your seatmates. That means those who would rather boil than bake can bring onboard those live lobsters and crabs, and hopefully keep them alive and pinching throughout the flight.
What about the rest of the meal? If you are coming with a full basket you may have to take a large suitcase along and check it. Mashed potatoes? Gravy? Dressings, jellies and sauces? – All these are a probable “no” for cary-on items although TSA claims the security officer at the scene has the last say. Still, you can check the dinner, from alcohol to soups, in a suitcase without concern for measures.
If you want to kill the meal first and then bring it on the plane, you will be happy to know that antlers can go. They may require special preparation and a small fee first, depending on the airline’s policy, but horns can definitely fly with the passenger.
Meanwhile, chances are, there will be more gift packages flying this season than turkeys or game, and to this TSA says, well … ok. However, wrapped gifts are not encouraged. While most security officers will do their best to leave these items alone and let the scanners do the snooping, the agency leaves open the possibility that gifts will have to be unwrapped and inspected at the discretion of the onsite officers. That could apply to carefully chosen and wrapped snow globes, so best to keep those sparkling glass tokens unconcealed and in your TSA quart-sized liquids baggy, assuming the snow globe in question is holding less than 3.4 oz of liquid.
If you are also hauling the tree under which all those gifts will sit, that is a possible go as well, although it will have to be wrapped in burlap first and checked into the hold.
If you are playing Santa this season, no doubt your sack of loot can be checked as can your sleigh, kayak, and properly packed bicycle. If you are a Santa that smokes, you can take one lighter onboard and your e-cigarette vaping pen (although policies are in flux when it comes to items using lithium batteries). If you are sticking to your Santa story, arrive with real ID from the North Pole, perhaps a reindeer driving license or international passport. Santas in a hurry will be happy to know that parachutes can be stored onboard. And if you are a Santa that sweats a lot, you can bring on stick deodorant of any size, but ditch the gel or liquid stuff.
Other items that can be carried on a flight include human remains. These must be cremated remains, of course, but the deceased can fly with their loved ones as long as they are packed in a container. That container should be plastic, as metal urns might not make it through security. Also, although TSA will allow cremated remains to fly, each airline may have its own policy about this. In any case, an urn, whether metal or any other material may be checked into the hold.
The active set will be happy to know that ice skates, roller blades and fishing rods usually make it into the overhead compartment without issue.
And knitters need not fidget through the flight. Knitting needles are good to go, even though in horror movies they make great weapons. It’s the thread cutters that have to stay back in the suitcase.
DIY types can now travel with their tools – as long as those tools are shorter than seven inches in length. Still, these items and anything with blades, points or spikes may have to be surrendered at security so best to check them. You can keep the nail clippers, nutcrackers and corkscrews, however, and the tweezers. Crowbars, cattle prods, axes and hatchets – these are definite “no” on the TSA website, although checking them in is fine.
TSA, in trying to keep with the times, has its own Instagram account and often posts photos of tried and tossed items that try to make it through to the flight. Most recently, a human-sized stuffed bear entered the netherworld of TSA rejection bins, as did a spear gun, a host of hand guns, a statue of the Grim Reaper with scythe, a machete, a silverware set, and hot sauce contained within a fake Flashbang grenade container.
The security agency asks people to reach out to them with a photo and description of the item they wish to carry on through Instagram or Twitter at @AskTSA, and an answer will be forthcoming.
Once you have roasted your turkey, selected your knitting needles and collected your corkscrews and clippers, you can take them on a plane in the new Limited Edition Sparrow II Wheeled Garment Bag from ecbc. The luggage offers a soft case exterior with a large capacity interior that will easily fit a 20-pound turkey and then some. But that’s not all. All your electronics travel with you and stay charged – from computer to iPad to smartphone in the easy-zip Fastpass® compartment. Toiletries and valuables travel with you, too, in a separate zip compartment. It all fits efficiently into the TSA carry-on dimension requirements and rolls with you for easy handling.
Not packing a 20-pound turkey? Slip that 15-pound ham into a Lance Executive Daypack and still have room for an extra pair of shoes and a laptop. The Lance slips smoothly under the seat while the pies and gifts in the shopping bag can fit securely into the bin space.