There are specific rules for the things you can bring in your carry-on bags on board. Carry-on luggage rules decide everything from how much fluid you can take on a plane to what sort of toiletries and athletic gear is reasonable.

The rules and regulations specified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are often confusing for those traveling for the first time via airplane or those carrying a carry-on with them on board.

For instance, you cannot pack any sharp item, i.e., knives, in a carry-on, but you can bring scissors on board. Can you bring glass items in your carry-on? Can you pack sporting items in your carry-on bag? What about e-cigarettes and vaping devices?

Not sure what you can and can’t bring in your carry-on bag on-board? Keep your worries aside because we have shown up with his trusty luggage restriction checklist to help make packing for your next flight a breeze.

This article is a complete guide to What is Allowed in a Carry-On Bag, and you should be better off leaving home.

See Also: How to Carry Skis on the Backpack? 3 Best Ways!

What is Allowed in a Carry-On Bag?

What Can You Bring on a Plane in Your Carry-On?

Small items/tools: 

Small items like screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers are permitted but of a specific size, i.e., seven inches or less in length.

You can also pack scissors, nail clippers, pill cutters, and small scissors of a particular blade dimension measuring 4 inches or less from the pivot point. The rest of the other tools/items should be packed in checked luggage.

Carry-on liquid, gels, and aerosols—including food, drinks, and toiletries: 

You are allowed to bring nearly all kinds of liquids, including beverages, contact lens solution, shampoo, makeup products, liquid medicine, nail polish, perfume/cologne, face toner; gels, i.e., hair gel, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, face serum, and aerosols (products dispensed in a pressurized spray can or bottle, i.e., hairspray, dry shampoo, or spray-on deodorant).

According to the rules and regulations of TSA, all liquids must be in a container of size no more than 3.4 ounces, and all liquid containers must fit together into a one-quart size clear zip-lock bag.

This TSA rule applies to all liquids mentioned above, including toiletries and over-the-counter cold medication.

Note: Infants’ medical liquids and liquid foods are exempt from these rules. If you are packing one of such items, you should let the TSA security officer know.

Matches and lighters: 

You can pack standard lighters and one book of safety matches, but make sure you won’t be taking a strike-anywhere-match (the one that can be lit by striking against any rough, dry surface).

Items like that are prohibited even in checked-in luggage as they can cause an unexpected mishap. Only safety matches are allowed in checked as well as carry-on baggage.


Items like battery cells and dry batteries (AA, AAA, C, and D) are permitted by most airlines in either carry-on or checked-in luggage.

You can bring loose lithium batteries with 100 watt-hours or less in your carry-on bag. They are only checked in as long as they are in a device.

Knitting needles and razors: 

Knitting needles and razors (both disposable and electronic) are allowed in either carry-on or checked-in. But make sure that any of the knitting items or razor isn’t left uncovered or otherwise protected to prevent injuring luggage handlers and inspectors.

Gifts and expensive items: 

Wrapped presents, jewelry, currency, and other valuable items should be carried by your side, provided they meet the security regulations.

Note down: sometimes, security screeners may unwrap gifts for inspection, so we recommend you to leave presents unwrapped until you reach your destination.


Electronic gadgets like standard-sized laptops, tablets, and cell phones are allowed in a carry-on bag. In fact, such items must be carried onboard for safety purposes.

During security checkpoints, you are not required to remove these items from your backpack while screening. However, larger electronics, i.e., laptops, full-size video-game consoles, and full-size DVD players, must be removed from their cases at the security checkpoint and screened individually.

Medication and equipment: 

All kinds of prescription and over-the-counter medications are allowed to be packed in a carry-on bag. There is no specification for the quantity you are carrying.

Other medical necessities, i.e., inhalers, EpiPens, canes, casts, blood-sugar test kits, crutches, liquid nutrition for disabled persons, and tools for medical or cosmetic reasons, such as mastectomy products, can also be packed in carry-on bags. You must inform your security officer if you are carrying such items and are subject to double screening.

E-cigarettes and vaping pens: 

Battery-powered e-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pens, atomizers, and electronic nicotine delivery systems should always be carried in your carry-on bag.

If you have any e-liquid with a quantity of fewer than 3.4 ounces, it is allowed on board. Doses larger than 3.4 ounces must be checked-in. 

Infant food items and equipment: 

Infant food items including baby formula, breast milk, juice, gel- or liquid-filled teethers, and canned, jarred, or processed baby food are permitted by the airline if the baby is on-board.

There are no quantity specifications for these items as they are considered an exemption from the TSA rules and regulations. Still, you may be asked to remove them from your bag and declare them to the screener before going to security at the security checkpoint.

Through security, you can take other baby items like baby wipes, child car seats, and baby carriers.

Small pets: 

Small pets are allowed to be brought on board and can be taken through the security checkpoint, but you must contact the airline for their policy regarding animals prior to your flight to avoid inconvenience during your travel.

You may be asked to remove your pet from its carrier at the security checkpoint and subject to the screener.

Restricted Items NOT Allowed on a Plane in Your Carry-On

Sharp objects: 

Sharp objects, i.e., box cutters, ice axes and picks, knives; including pocket knives, but excluding plastic or round-bladed butter knives, meat cleavers, razor-type blades, and scissors that exceed four inches, are not permitted by TSA to be brought on-board. They should be packed in your checked-in luggage.

Note that: If you have any sharp object in your checked-in luggage, make sure to wrap it securely to prevent any injury to baggage handlers and inspectors.

Self-defense items: 

Self-defense items like sprays (like mace or pepper spray) and other things, such as billy clubs, blackjacks, brass knuckles, and other martial arts weapons, are not allowed to be packed in a carry-on bag.

Gel-type candles and large bottles of alcohol: 

Gel-type candles are not allowed on-board; however, they can be transported via checked bags. Per the 3-1-1 rule, passengers are permitted to carry any liquid not more than 3.4 ounces of quantity in a carry-on bag or even smaller to get fit into a single quart-sized clear zippered bag.

If you are carrying more than the specified quantity, you need to pack them in checked luggage.

Sporting goods and athletic equipment: 

Sporting tools, i.e., baseball bats, golf clubs, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, martial arts weapons, hiking poles, and tent spikes/poles (except balls) are prohibited by the TSA from carry-on luggage and must be packed in checked luggage.

However, some exemptions include tennis rackets, fishing poles, snowshoes, and longboards. But these exemptions vary from airline to airline, so you are required to contact your respective airline in case you have any such item with you.

Wrapping up

Carry-on luggage rules are different for different airlines, but some of the rules are common for most airlines. In this article, we have mentioned all the possible limitations and regulations that are being followed by almost all airlines.

But we suggest you contact the security check office before your flight to get the maximum possible information regarding your luggage.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and find it helpful. Do let us know your thoughts on this article in the comments section below.

We wish you a safe and comfortable journey…!!!