It’s become pretty clear that you can no longer show up at the airport less than an hour before your flight and expect a smooth process. 

During busy travel seasons, most airports suggest arriving 90 minutes before your flight is scheduled to board if you have a ride to the airport. Self-parking? Plan on two hours.

They also suggest checking the TSA “What Can I Bring” page to make sure that you’re not packing prohibited items. Most travelers are familiar with the rules for carry-ons or will check that page beforehand to ensure they’re not the reason a security line slows down. Sometimes, they overlook or are confused about what can or cannot be put in a checked bag. 

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We experienced this last year. The gate agent for my airline told us we couldn’t pack our full-size (7 oz) aerosol hairspray in our checked luggage. We’d flown with a similar can of hairspray dozens of times and it was never a problem. Not wanting to miss out flight, we threw it out because we didn’t have time to argue with them even though that size can is fully admissible under TSA guidance.

Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
Photo by Tuva Mathilde Løland on Unsplash
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Upon our arrival, we looked to see if the hairspray was against a policy the airline had. The gate agent was wrong, but at least it was just a $7 can of hairspray from Walmart and not some fancy, overpriced salon brand!

That said, there are certain things that are absolutely banned from traveling in your checked luggage. If you pack them, you will absolutely lose the argument with a gate agent. If your bag makes its way to TSA inspection with one of these items in it, you could be subject to fines or be arrested, depending on what the item is. Fines can range from $390 all the way up to $14,950. That’s a quick way to ruin your vacation. 

We pulled 19 of the items prohibited from checked luggage off the TSA’s website, but there are well over 50 items in total. You can check the full list here. Take a peek at it so that your next trip is an easy one! 

19 Items Absolutely Banned from Checked Bags at the Airport

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