Proper packing can minimize your wait time at airport security checks. Before packing, know your airline's baggage policies and review the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Packing Tips.
Pack smart and follow the guidelines.
- When in doubt, leave it out! If you are unsure whether you can bring an item through a security checkpoint or onboard an aircraft, put it in your checked bag or leave it at home. Review TSA's Prohibited Items before packing.
- Know airline baggage guidelines, which include information like the permitted sizes and quantities for carry-on luggage, fees for additional checked bags, checking large oversize items, and more. Visit your airline's website to read their guidelines and contact them directly with specific questions.
- In general, carry-on luggage is limited to one piece plus one personal item, which includes a purse, briefcase, laptop computer, or small book bag or back pack. Large back packs used for hiking and camping are considered carry-on luggage.
- Avoid packing important, valuable items in checked baggage. Keep medicines, cash, jewelry, passports, visas, business papers, and irreplaceable items near you in your carry-on bag.
- Make sure all luggage is tagged and labeled with your name, address, and contact information.
- Other items that can be carried with you onto an aircraft include: coats, jackets, and wraps; safety seats for children, diaper bags, small bags of snacks and consumable food, books and newspapers, and assistive devices such as strollers.
- Know TSA's 3-1-1 Rule. Pack all non-necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols (such as mouthwash, cosmetics, etc.) in checked luggage.
- Do not wrap gifts. If a security officer needs to inspect a package, they will unwrap gifts. Wait until your final destination to wrap presents.
- All other luggage must be checked at your airline's curbside check-in station or ticket counter.
As of January 1, 2008, loose lithium batteries are not allowed in checked luggage. Lithium-ion batteries, often found in laptop computers, differ from primary lithium batteries, which are often used in cameras. Some newer AA-size batteries are also primary lithium.
While there is no explosion hazard associated with either kind of battery, the Federal Aviation Administration has studied fire hazards associated with both primary and lithium-ion cells. As a result of this research, the FAA no longer allows large, palletized shipments of these batteries to be transported as cargo on passenger aircraft. Keep batteries and battery-operated equipment with you in your carry-on baggage.
For maximum safety and security of your personal electronic devices (including camera, camera equipment, laptop computers, video games, DVD players, cell phones, video cameras, etc.) avoid packing them in checked luggage. Always keep fragile or expensive items with you on the aircraft, whether in your carry-on bag, purse, or carrying case. TSA regulations allow these electronic devices in carry-on and/or checked baggage:
- Camcorders and video cameras
- Digital and traditional* cameras and lenses
- Laptop computers
- Mobile phones and pagers
- Personal data assistants (PDAs)
* X-ray and other screening equipment can damage undeveloped film in camera equipment. Pack undeveloped film (and cameras containing undeveloped film) in your carry-on bag. You may also declare film faster than 800-speed to a TSA offer for hand inspection to avoid having it go through the X-ray machines.
Please be aware that the use of electronic devices is not allowed during flights. Check with your airline for specific regulations on the use of electronic devices.