20 Items Banned By TSA in Checked Baggage

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Traveling by air requires familiarity with TSA’s baggage rules. This is to ensure a hassle-free journey. Among the myriad items, the TSA strictly prohibits certain items in checked baggage. These restrictions are for the safety of all passengers and cover a range of items.

This list will give you an overview of 20 items that the TSA bans in checked-in luggage. Some of the common items may surprise you.

High-Proof Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages over 70% alcohol can turn your luggage into a fire hazard. The TSA bans these due to their extreme flammability and potential danger. Travelers should opt for lower-proof alternatives or purchase these items post-security. Remember, safety trumps convenience when it comes to high-proof spirits.


The TSA restricts lighters in checked baggage to prevent accidental ignition. This includes Arc lighters, plasma lighters, electronic lighters, and e-lighters. Passengers may carry one lighter in their carry-on or on their person. Always check the latest guidelines before flying with such items.

Bang Snaps

Bang snaps are the small fireworks that pop when thrown and are not flight-friendly. Their potential to ignite accidentally bans them from both checked and carry-on luggage. To be safe, leave these novelty items at home. Air travel is not the place for these explosive amusements.

Bear Spray

Designed to deter bear attacks, bear spray is too potent for air travel. Its high concentration of capsaicin categorizes it as a hazardous material. Passengers should seek alternative protection or purchase it at their destination. Always prioritize safety over convenience when packing.

Blasting Caps

Blasting caps, used to detonate explosives, are strictly forbidden. Their inclusion in luggage poses a significant risk to aircraft and passengers. Such hazardous materials have no place in checked or carry-on baggage. The ban ensures the safety of all aboard the aircraft.


Butane containers, used in torches and some lighters, are highly flammable. The risk they pose in the cargo hold is too great for airlines. These items are best left at home or purchased upon arrival. Safety regulations strictly prohibit their transport in checked luggage.

Chlorine for Pools

Chlorine, a common pool cleaner, is dangerous in aircraft holds. Its corrosive and reactive nature makes it a banned substance. Travelers should source such chemicals locally, not pack them. The prohibition of chlorine ensures the integrity of baggage and aircraft.

Cooking Spray

Cooking sprays, though seemingly innocuous, are just flammable gases. The pressurized cans pose a risk of explosion under certain conditions. It’s safer and more convenient to buy cooking spray at your destination. The TSA’s ban on such items underscores the importance of safety.


The TSA examines 1.4 million checked bags every day for explosives. Dynamite, an obvious explosive, is strictly prohibited in checked baggage. Its potential for devastation makes it unfit for air travel. Even small amounts pose a significant threat to safety. Adhering to this rule is paramount for everyone’s well-being.


Fertilizers, though useful for gardens, can be explosive under certain conditions. Its chemical composition makes it a risk in the cargo hold. For safety reasons, it’s best to leave such items at home. The ban on fertilizer underscores the importance of prioritizing safety.

Fire Extinguishers

Due to their pressurized nature and chemical contents, fire extinguishers are not allowed. They can become hazards if the pressurized container unexpectedly opens. Passengers should rely on the aircraft’s safety equipment. The restriction ensures that onboard safety measures are adequate and controlled.

Flammable Paints

Flammable paints pose a risk of combustion, making them unsuitable for checked baggage. Their volatile organic compounds can become hazardous. It’s best to purchase paints at your destination or ship them separately. Safety considerations dictate this restriction, emphasizing caution.

Gas Torches

Gas torches, used for welding or caramelizing desserts, are dangerous aboard flights. The contained butane or propane poses a significant fire risk. You can purchase such tools at your destination and not pack them. This rule is in place to mitigate potential fire hazards.

Gun Powder

Gunpowder, used in ammunition, is highly explosive and banned from checked baggage. Even small quantities can cause significant harm. Travelers must find alternative ways to transport such materials safely. The prohibition of gunpowder in luggage is a critical safety measure.

Liquid Bleach

Liquid bleach is corrosive and can cause damage if leaked. Its hazardous nature disqualifies it from checked luggage. You can consider alternatives or purchase bleach post-arrival. The TSA enforces this rule to prevent accidents and ensure safety.

Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries, while essential for many devices, pose a fire risk. You can only carry batteries with 100-watt hours or less in your hand luggage. This policy prevents potential thermal runaway incidents in the cargo hold. Always follow the guidelines for transporting lithium batteries safely.

Live Fish

Live fish in checked baggage is not permitted due to oxygen and temperature concerns. They require special arrangements for their safe transport. Consult with airlines for specific policies regarding live animals. The well-being of the fish and safety regulations dictate this restriction.

Medical Devices

Certain medical devices, especially those containing radioactive material, require special handling. Passengers should inform the airline and seek approval before travel. Documentation and proper packaging are essential. This ensures the safety and functionality of the devices upon arrival.

Power Banks

Power banks are indispensable but are only allowed in hand baggage. Their lithium content can pose a risk in checked baggage. Always keep power banks with you to comply with safety regulations. This precaution helps prevent potential fire hazards during flight.

Realistic Replicas of Explosives

Realistic replicas of explosives, even if non-functional, can cause alarm. Their presence in checked luggage is strictly prohibited. These items can lead to misunderstandings and security concerns. Ensuring that such replicas are not packed is crucial for security protocols.

Safety Matches

You can only carry safety matches in person and not in checked luggage. However, you can carry a small quantity for personal use. This restriction is in place to prevent accidental ignition. Adhering to this rule contributes to the overall safety of the flight.

Anika is a CPA and founder of What Anika Says. She shares simple and actionable frugal living, money management and money-saving tips to live a debt-free financially independent life. She has been featured on popular websites like Bankrate, Forbes, Mint ,and Authority Magazine. Byline: MSN