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As air travel ramps up, TSA urges travelers not to bring prohibited items to airport

WBAL TV Baltimore logo WBAL TV Baltimore 6/17/2022
prohibited items at the airport © TSA prohibited items at the airport

As air travel ramps up to 75% of pre-pandemic levels -- and is expected to increase over the summer -- security officials are warning travelers not to bring prohibited items to the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration on Friday said some travelers seem to be forgetting security checkpoint protocols, especially when it comes to prohibited items in carry-on bags.

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"Travelers play a big part in ensuring a smooth and efficient security checkpoint screening experience," Chris Murgia, TSA's federal security director for Maryland, said in a statement. "Advance planning and packing properly are keys to a smooth security checkpoint experience. It starts with knowing what you should and should not pack in a carry-on bag. We have seen too many prohibited items in carry-on bags."

Knives and large tools

Murgia said common prohibited items include knives and tools larger than 7 inches long. Travelers are encouraged to pack large tools, which can be used as bludgeoning weapons, in checked bags.

As for knives, TSA agents see all types -- butter knives, folding knives, tactical fighting knives, fishing knives, hunting knives, Boy Scout knives, throwing knives, credit card knives, Swiss Army knives, keychain knives, cake knives, cleavers and machetes.

"If you want to travel with your knife, please pack it in your checked bag," Murgia said.

What can I bring?

TSA said travelers should know what can and cannot go in a carry-on bag -- from firearms to oversize liquids -- to avoid checkpoint delays.

TSA said its free myTSA app has a "What can I bring?" feature that allows travelers to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Travelers can also ask TSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA.

It is also important to remember that if someone wants to travel with a firearm, the proper way to do so is to make sure it is unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case, TSA said. The case needs to be locked and taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared.

The airline will make sure the weapon is transported in the belly of the aircraft so that nobody has access to it during a flight. Nobody should bring a firearm to a security checkpoint, even if they have a concealed carry permit, TSA said.

Liquids, gels, aerosols

Other common prohibited items that travelers bring to checkpoints are liquids, gels and aerosols that are larger than the acceptable limit of 3.4 ounces -- shampoo, toothpaste, beverages, sun block, hand lotion, face cream, shaving cream, mouthwash and other toiletries, TSA said.

Each passenger may carry liquids, gels and aerosols that are 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less through a checkpoint as long as those items fit into a 1-quart-sized, resealable bag known as the 3-1-1 bag. Larger containers of liquids, gels and aerosols can be transported in checked baggage.

TSA officers are seeing travelers arrive at the checkpoint with bottles of water, juice, energy drinks, coffee and soda. Travelers may bring empty bottles or insulated containers through checkpoints and fill them on the secure side of the checkpoint.

The exception to the 3-1-1 rule is that, due to the pandemic, TSA is permitting travelers to bring up to one 12-ounce container of liquid hand sanitizer per passenger in carry-on bags until further notice. Passengers can expect that these large liquid hand sanitizers will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint experience.

Need help?

Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll-free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint as well as arrange for assistance at the checkpoint.


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