From fake bones to plants — you might be surprised with what you can get through airport security. We checked the Transportation Security Administration’s website, and while you can’t bring things like chlorine or cooking spray, the following items are apparently okay.
Note: Per the TSA, “the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.” Contact your airline to determine its policy before arriving at the airport. Items may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through security if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns.
1. Artificial Skeleton Bones
Archaeologists will have to keep remains where they were found, but fake bones are allowed on the plane in both your checked and carry-on bags.
2. Cowboy Spurs
Giddyup! Boots with spurs are allowed in your carry-on bag, cowboy.
Although these bony, branched protrusions are sharp by design to protect the animal, apparently they are TSA-approved. However, since a skull would qualify as real bone, you’d probably have to leave it behind if the antlers are attached to a head, or ship it instead.
4. Live Lobster
Ever wish you could bring the taste of fresh lobster home with you? Well, it’s totally possible. Simply put the live lobster in a clear, plastic, spill-proof container, and a TSA officer will inspect it at the checkpoint. While they might not allow it in your carry-on (check with your airline), you can check it.
5. Car Engine Parts And Other Car Parts
Car engine parts and other car parts are allowed as long as they are free of gasoline and oil. Car engine parts, specifically, are only condoned in checked bags if they’re in their original box without any trace of fuel. Of course, if you plan on carrying car parts on the plane, make sure they’ll be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment.
6. Christmas/Holiday Lights
Deck the halls wherever you go for the holidays — or at least bring the holidays in your carry-on. Christmas lights are A-okay according to TSA.
7. Vacuum Robots
We’re not here to judge why you’re taking your robot vacuum on vacation. However, we do recommend taking the batteries out of your Roomba before packing it. Can you imagine it turning on in your carry-on and bumping into the sides of the overhead compartment mid-flight?
8. Tattoo Guns
Firearms are strictly prohibited, but tattoo guns get the TSA seal of approval. Tattoo needles and ink in containers 3.4 ounces or less are also good to go in carry-on bags.
9. Sewing Machine
Sew on the go! Sewing machines are allowed in checked bags or in your carry-on (as long as it fits in the overhead bin or underneath the seat of the airplane).
10. Tortilla Press
Did you find the perfect tortilla press abroad and want to pack it home with you? Want to pack your tortilla press so you won’t be subjected to store-bought stuff while you’re away? No problemo.
11. Camp Stoves
While camp stoves are technically permissible in carry-on or checked bags, they have to be totally empty of all fuel. That means they have to be completely cleaned so that no fuel vapors or residue remain. TSA also requests that travelers wrap cords and layer items in bags to allow for a clear view of the items. Leave the propane behind — it’s prohibited. Visit MSR for more info about flying with a camping stove.
TSA allows microwaves in checked luggage but recommends checking with the airline for their policy if you’d like to carry one on.
Yes, you can take your television. Just be sure to pack it carefully!
14. Bowling Balls (But NOT Bowling Pins)
Bowling balls are allowable in both your carry-on or checked bags, but sports equipment that can be used to bludgeon is prohibited in the cabin. So bowling pins, bats, and clubs have to be checked.
15. Bicycle Chains
Bike chains seem like a dangerous item to carry on, but they’re totally allowed. If the airline will let you bring your bicycle, visit Condor Cycles for tips on packing it for travel.
According to TSA, it’s okay if you bring your hookah in either checked or carry-on bags. Just make sure to dump the water out and clean it before packing. Charcoal is prohibited, though. Wrap your hookah tightly in bubble wrap or towels so it doesn’t break in transit.
Can you imagine checking a plant? Plants do count toward your personal baggage allowance. USA Today suggests taking “care to pack the plant in a way that will keep soil, water, and plant matter contained” by putting it in a garbage bag, letting some air in, and tying it closed. International travel with plants can be troublesome. Check the USDA site for required permits.
You Can’t Bring A Magic 8 Ball
TSA can be cheeky. When it comes to packing a Magic 8 Ball, the site says:
“For Carry-on bags: We asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us…Outlook not so good!”
“For Checked bags: We asked the Magic 8 Ball and it told us…It is certain!”
Wondering if a certain item is permissible? Snap a pic or send a question to Ask TSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.