Your packing checklist: Carry-on, checked luggage or leave at home?
At the airport you must have encountered times when Security or CISF personnel had asked to open up your luggage and discard some of your stuffs which must have broken your heart.
But if you really dive into the matter then you will discover that all these things are done as a part of procedures to maintain air transport as the safest means of travel.
So, before you head to the airport one should have his/her luggage organized according to your needs and airline allowance and specification.
This Article has been divided into the following 12 parts:
- Items allowed only in Check in baggage (in cargo hold)
- Items allowed in your carry-on or hand bags (inside aircraft cabin)
- Items that you must avoid putting in checked luggage
- Flying with cash
- Rules for batteries
- Restricted Items
- Carriage of ‘Kirpan’ By Sikh Passengers While Traveling By Air
- Additional airline restrictions
- Banned items
- Tips to get you through the Security Checkpoint with ease
- Tips for a hassle-free journey
1. Items allowed only in Check in baggage (in cargo hold)
The following items are restricted inside the airplane cabin and carry-on baggage but may (with some exceptions) be carried in the cargo of the aircraft as checked baggage :
- Sporting goods: Bats (baseball, softball, cricket), hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, bows and arrows, ski poles and spear guns golf clubs, and pool cues.
- Knives and sharp bladed weapons: Swords, machetes, box cutters, spare blades, and martial arts weapons such as throwing stars. Exceptions include round-bladed butter knives and plastic knives.
- Cutting instruments: Carpet knives, and box cutters (and spare blades), any device with a folding or retractable blade, box cutters, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors with pointed tips, and any device with a folding or retractable blade. Exceptions include small scissors with a cutting edge less than four inches (10 cm).
- Firearms: Pistols, flare guns, BB guns, rifles, and other firearms are allowed, but must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided container, and declared to the airline at check-in. There are limited exceptions to the firearms and ammunition rules for law enforcement officers.
- Firearm replicas: Realistic replicas of firearms must be carried as checked baggage. Toy weapons that are not realistic are allowed in checked or carry-on baggage.
- Firearm parts: They are treated like firearms and only carried in checked baggage.
- Ammunition: Small arms ammunitions for personal use must also be declared to the airline at check-in, and must be securely packed in fiber, wood or metal boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ammunition, if properly packaged, can also be carried in the same hard-sided case as an unloaded firearm. You should check with the airline to see if it has additional restrictions on either firearms or ammunition.
- Paintball guns: Compressed air guns, including paintball guns, may be carried in checked luggage without the compressed air cylinder attached. Compressed gas cylinders are not allowed on aircraft.
- Tools: Tools greater than seven inches in length can only be carried as checked baggage. Also, power tools such as drills should also be in checked baggage. Shorter tools, such as wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, may be carried in carry-on baggage. Any tool with a sharp or cutting edge like a hand saw, box cutter, or drill bit are also limited to checked baggage.
If you have a toolbox in checked baggage, make sure you check every compartment to make sure that your toolbox does not have any containers with flammable liquids, utility lighters, micro torches, or other banned items. Larger equipment like a step ladder or circular saw should be checked.
- Dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide): Up to 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) may be carried on board for packing perishables providing the package is vented.
2. Items allowed in your carry-on or hand bags (inside aircraft cabin):
Items that could be considered dangerous but are actually allowed in the aircraft cabin:
- Non rechargable batteries
- Spare rechargable batteries (there are additional restrictions based on the capacity of the battery)
- Electronic Ciggaretes and Vaping Devices (unpowered)
- Small hand tools (less than seven inches or 18 cm in length) that don’t have sharp cutting edges
- Matches (other than strike anywhere matches) and common cigarette lighters
- Scissors with a cutting edge less than four inches (10 cm)
If you have any doubts or questions about your carry-on item, contact your airline for advice.
Always go through the tickets properly.
There are some items, especially if they are hard to replace, very expensive, or necessary for your health and wellbeing. Examples include:
- Money related items: Cash, credit cards, traveler’s checks, blank checkbooks, securities, and anything else that has monetary value or should either be on your person or in your carry-on baggage. If you lose money-related items in your checked baggage, airlines are not obligated to compensate you.
- Jewelry: Necklaces, rings, diamonds, other precious stones, gold, silver, other precious metals, expensive watches, and other small and valuable items like these should also stay out of checked baggage. Like the situation with money, the airline isn’t obligated to compensate you for the loss.
- Laptops and electronic devices: Laptops, cell phones, and other small personal electronic devices should remain on your person or in your carry-on bags.
- Medically related items: Prescription medication, other medications, and other medical items should remain with you in the cabin.
- Other items: If it is small and valuable, or if replacing it would be difficult or expensive, then keep it with you in the cabin. Examples include Passport and other identifications, keys; eyeglasses or sunglasses; photos, exposed film, tickets, art, boarding passes, travel vouchers, mail, financial records, business documents, manuscripts, heirlooms, collectible items, favorite toys, portable data storage devices like flash drives, and software. If you have something else that is small and that you don’t want to lose, keep it with you.
Most countries have restricted what liquids and gels a passenger may have in the passenger cabin or in the secure area of the airport. In India, containers holding liquid and gel products must have a capacity of no greater than 100 ml.
Exceptions to Liquid, Gel and Aerosol:
There are a number of exception to the restrictions on liquids, aerosoles and gels. Most of those revolve around medical items and food items intended for small children.
- All over-the-counter and prescription medications, including insulin and diabetes medical supplies.
- Items needed for passengers with a disability or medical condition.
- Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids.
- Food items like baby formula, breast milk, juice or water for a traveling infant small child.
- Dutyfree items purchased at the airport. (Based on local rules)
There are two things you should consider when flying with cash or other financial instruments, loss of your cash and dealing with legal issues. There are some basic things that you can do minimize these two kinds of risks.
4.1 Protecting your cash from loss
- Never put cash or financial instruments in a checked bag.
- Keep your cash out of sight as much as possible.
- When passing through security, keep your eyes on the bag with the cash.
4.2 Legal issues with cash
- There are no limits, or reporting requirements, when flying with cash on Indian domestic flight.
- When traveling to or from India, you must declare cash or cash equivalents valued at more than 25000 rupees.
- Rules in other countries may be very different, so check before you fly.
The BCAS allows passengers to have in their carry-on bags most batteries commonly used in personal electronic devices. Batteries in checked luggage may have additional restrictions.
5.1 Carriage of Battery cells
Batteries spare / loose, including lithium ion cells or batteries, for portable electronic devices must be carried in carry-on baggage only. For lithium metal batteries the lithium metal content must not exceed 2 g and for lithium ion batteries the Watt-hour rating must not exceed 100 Wh. Articles which have the primary purpose as a power source, e.g. power banks are considered as spare batteries. These batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuits. Each person is limited to a maximum of 20 spare batteries.
6. Restricted Items
Certain other items which may be carried only with advance approval according to policies of Airlines, interlining carriers and local regulations are as follows
Battery-powered wheelchairs with spillable/non-spillable batteries, dry ice, portable medical electronic devices etc.
Ban on Carriage of Lithium Battery Powered Self Balancing Devices in Passenger Baggage. For details you may contact your airline personnel.
6.1 Restrictions on duty free items
If you have purchased duty-free liquor, perfume, cosmetics, or any other item that contains liquids, gels, or aerosols; and the container is larger than 100 ml (3.4 fluid ounces), you have to follow specific procedures to ensure that your items will not be confiscated.
Rules vary by country, but in general, one of the following will apply to you:
- If you can put it in a checked bag before passing through airport security, you don’t have to take any precautions.
- If you purchased the item after passing through security, and you are on the last leg of your trip, you can put the item in your carry-on bag.
- If you purchased the item after passing through security, you are not on the last leg of your trip, and you have to pass through airport security before getting on your next flight, you may have to place it into a checked bag prior to your next flight.
7. Carriage of ‘Kirpan’ By Sikh Passengers While Traveling By Air
Security Regulations – Carriage of “Kirpans” in the Passenger Cabin
The ‘Kirpan’ is an important religious symbol of Sikhism. As per Indian law, Passengers travelling on flights with point of origin and destination both being within India, on an Indian registered aircraft are permitted to carry a ‘Kirpan’ in person. The dimensions of the ‘Kirpan’ must not exceed a total maximum length of 9 inches (22.86 cms.), including the length of the blade not exceeding 6 inches (15.24 cms.) and the length of the handle not exceeding 3 inches (7.62 cms).
Carriage of ‘Kirpan’ is not permitted in the cabin of an aircraft either on person or in the Hand Baggage on any International flight or on any Domestic flight operating through an International Terminal Security Hold Area. The same must be carried by the passenger in the checked-in baggage only.
In addition to these restrictions , the airline you are flying with may also have other restrictions on what is allowed on their airplane. If you are carrying an unusual item, or if you think that an airline may have a restriction, be sure to contact your airline ahead of time, or to contact a representative in the airport.
9. Banned items
The following items are completely banned from aircraft and should not be brought to the airport:
- Explosive and incendiary materials: Gunpowder (including black powder and percussion caps), dynamite, blasting caps, fireworks, flares, plastic explosives, grenades, replicas of incendiary devices, and replicas of plastic explosives.
- Flammable Items: Gasoline, gas torches, lighter fluid, cooking fuel, other types of flammable liquid fuel, flammable paints, paint thinner, turpentine, aerosols (exceptions for personal care items, toiletries, or medically related items).
- Gases and pressure containers: Aerosols (with the exception of personal care items or toiletries in limited quantities in containers sized three ounces or smaller), carbon dioxide cartridges, oxygen tanks (scuba or medical), mace, tear gas, pepper spray, self-inflating rafts, and deeply refrigerated gases such as liquid nitrogen.
- Matches: All matches are banned from checked baggage, and strike-anywhere matches are banned completely from aircraft, but you can have a single book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches with you in the passenger cabin.
- Oxidizers and organic peroxides: Bleach, nitric acid, fertilizers, swimming pool or spa chemicals, and fiberglass repair kits.
- Poisons: Weed killers, pesticides, insecticides, rodent poisons, arsenic, and cyanides.
- Infectious materials: Medical laboratory specimens, viral organisms, and bacterial cultures.
- Corrosives: Drain cleaners, car batteries, wet cell batteries, acids, alkalis, lye, and mercury.
- Organics: Fiberglass resins, peroxides.
- Radioactive materials: There are some exceptions for implanted radioactive medical devices. Contact your airline for details on how to ship other radioactive materials.
- Magnetic materials: Strong magnets such as those in some loudspeakers and laboratory equipment.
- Marijuana (cannabis): Marijuana in any form is not allowed on aircraft and is not allowed in the secure part of the airport (beyond the screening areas). In addition it is illegal to import marijuana or marijuana-related items into the country.
- Other dangerous items: Tear gas, spray paint, swimming pool or spa chlorine, and torch lighters.
If you are in any doubt about whether your item may be hazardous, you should bring it to the attention of either your airline or the security screener.
10. Tips to get you through the Security Checkpoint with ease
Put all items that have to be displayed at the top of your luggage to be easily placed in the tray.
- The liquids in the 20 x 20 cm resealable transparent bag.
- The tablet, camera or any such device.
- The baby food and liquid medication over 100 ml, the latter accompanied with the medical documentation. You may need to prove the authenticity of the liquid.
- Show your lighter and then put it in your pocket. (Based on local regulation)
- Take-off your jacket and/or coat for a separate screening.
- Put all metal items such as keys, coins, watches, belts, jewelry and mobile phones into a tray for separate screening.
- Take your laptop from your carry on baggage and put it into a tray for separate screening.
- Pass through the security control point when instructed to do so.
11. Tips for a hassle-free journey
The ultimate mantra for an enjoyable journey is to travel light. Improper carriage of baggage can put one through a lot of inconvenience. Passengers are therefore advised to ensure their baggage is properly packed and tagged. The following tips will be handy.
- Passenger is the custodian of all baggage including hand baggage and its content at all times.
- Make sure you know your free checked baggage as well as hand bag allowance.
- Know the latest restrictions on carriage of certain items whether in hand bag or in check-in bag.
- Don’t pack any valuables in your checked baggage.
- Any items over your free baggage allowance will be charged as excess baggage, including duty free purchases.
- Label your bags correctly with your name and address and remove tags and labels left over from previous flights.
- Keep all bags including handbags locked at all times, and be vigilant.
- Do not carry packages or items with unidentified content on behalf of anyone.
- Do not accept any packets from unknown persons.
- In some instances you may be required to identify or claim your baggage, for reasons of security or customs regulations, at the connecting point.
- Do not leave baggage unobserved at any time, especially within airport area. Unattended baggage may be removed by Airport Security Staff as an object of suspicion.
- Observe all precautions with your personal belongings and hand baggage at all times, including on-board.
- Make sure you declare before checking-in, if carrying any arms or explosive substances. Concealment is an offence under the Aircraft Act and Rules.
- Before approaching the check-in counters, you may be required to pass all your pieces of baggage to be checked in through the X-ray machines operated by security personnel.
- Make sure you take medication, important documents, valuable items and cash in your hand baggage for access and control.
- Consider adequate insurance for travel including medical exigencies and personal belongings.
After going through this elaborative article you must be feeling that there are too many restrictions imposed on air travel but these are only for your own safety. A hassle free travel is not a rocket science, it only requires proper planning of your luggage so that you may not have to face any troubles during your security check.
So, all the very best for your future travels !
Go where you feel the most alive !!