What can you take on a plane?

airport security

Security is something airlines don’t take lightly – thank goodness – so there are a number of restrictions on items you can take on a plane. Knowing what you can and can’t take with you can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re not a big traveller, so we’ve prepared a quick guide to help you out.

Carry-on baggage

Items that can be used to bludgeon or penetrate the skin, or restrain or threaten someone, are a clear no-no when it comes to airline travel. Items that have the potential to be flammable are also prohibited as carry-on luggage. An item’s designed purpose does not have to be for harm for it to be considered dangerous, meaning things such as crampons, screwdrivers and golf clubs are not allowed. Other items such as knitting needles, allen keys, walking sticks and tennis racquets are also prohibited unless the owner has been granted permission by security. For more information, the TravelSecure website has a list of examples of what can’t be taken as carry-on luggage.

Any grey areas about what’s ‘dangerous’ for the purposes of flying will ultimately come down to security discretion, so if you have a particular item which isn’t listed as a prohibited item but may nonetheless be dangerous, contact TravelSecure or your airline for guidance.

Checked baggage

Pretty much anything is allowed in checked baggage, so long as it’s not considered a ‘dangerous good’. This includes flammable, corrosive, explosive or toxic substances such as gas cylinders, bleach and fertilizer.  Some small electronic items such as batteries, e-cigarettes and portable chargers must be taken on board as carry-on luggage, not checked-in.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has a free web and mobile app that allows passengers to look up what can and can’t be taken on a plane. It’s a work in progress, but it does list most items likely to be the cause of confusion.

Liquids, gels and aerosols on planes

Although some liquid, gels and aerosols are flammable, it would seem strange to completely prohibit things like toothpaste, deodorant and hand sanitizer. Fortunately, they are allowed as both checked and carry-on luggage, subject to quantity limitations.

Example of carry-on luggage toiletries bag


Passengers may fill a single resealable sandwich bag, no more than 80cm in perimeter, with necessary toiletries. Each container must be no larger than 100 millilitres, even if only partially filled. Though this might seem a bit strict, security can ask you to surrender these items if you don’t comply.


Liquids, gels and aerosols can be checked in, but the net quantity must not exceed 2kg or 2L, while the quantity of each article must not exceed 0.5kg or 0.5L. These items must have an appropriate protective cap to ensure they don’t release mid-flight.

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