Prohibited Items Week 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021
collage of prohibited items on blue background

We launched Prohibited Items Week for the first time last year as a way to highlight the great work of our officers in airports across the country. We also hoped it would inform and deter travelers from packing prohibited items in their own carry-on and checked bags. Because it was such a success, we’ve brought back Prohibited Items Week for 2021!

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent the majority of the last year homebound in some phase of quarantine. Some have asked, “well, if travel numbers were down last year because of the global pandemic, did you still see large numbers of prohibited items at security checkpoints?” The short answer: yes. Yes, we did. In fact, when it came to firearms alone, the percentage of concealed guns per passenger actually rose in 2020.

With most of us dreaming and planning for that much-needed vacation, we thought we’d share a few travel tips to help save you time at security checkpoints while also keeping our skies safe.


You’re allowed to bring one and only one disposable lighter in your carry-on bag. Disposable and Zippo lighters without fuel are allowed in checked bags. Also, gun lighters, torch lighters or electronic lighters are going to have to stay at home. They’re not allowed at all.


Size matters! Tools measuring 7 inches or less are allowed in carry-on bags, unless they have sharp blades. Sharp tools, or tools greater than 7 inches in length, must be packed in checked bags.


Large electronics are allowed in carry-on bags, but please remove all personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone and place them in a bin for X-ray screening. Yes, even a bread machine can travel in your carry-on.


We cannot stress this enough… any and all firearms, replica weapons, toy guns & BB guns are NOT allowed in your carry-on bag. Firearms must be unloaded and transported only in checked bags. The weapon must be inside of a hard-sided, locked case and declared to your airline at check in. The locked container may be checked alone or be placed inside another checked bag.


Oh hey, we did a blog on this for Valentine’s Day. Good news if your vacation will include romance, check out our blog. Most of your answers can be answered there. 


If we had a nickel for every knife we see in a carry-on bag, well, we’d all be retired and off living on some beautiful island by now. Only butter knives without serrated edges are good to travel in your carry-on luggage. Let’s be as clear as we can possibly be: Sharp knives including pocket butterfly knives cannot go in your carry-on. If you’re travelling with any sharp items, please securely wrap them and pack them in your checked bag.

Be sure you’re following TSA on all of our social media platforms this week for more travel tips, crazy catches and highlights during #ProhibitedItemsWeek.

Don’t forget: You can message our AskTSA team with your travel questions. They’re available on Facebook and Twitter, just search for @AskTSA, and they’ll be there to help you on weekdays from 8am-8pm and on weekends and holidays from 9am-7pm.


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The purpose of this blog is to share the latest news and helpful information with the public. If you have questions about TSA or the information presented here, please contact our AskTSA customer care team on Twitter or Facebook.

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