Reimagine Everything: TSA Expects Busiest Travel Season Ever: What Can I Bring

By July 9, 2019No Comments

Ron Mori

Are you traveling to Salt Lake City this year for the JACL National Convention? If so, you’ll be in good company with a record number of summer travelers. One key is planning ahead and packing properly, which will facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at any airport.

Know what you can pack in your carry-on and what goes in your checked baggage before arriving at the airport by reviewing the lists below.

Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with or poses other security concerns. Getting through a security checkpoint is easier if you know what you may and may not take through the scanners.

The Transportation Security Administration offers a database, “What Can I Bring?” where travelers can search for any item they wish to take on the airplane to determine if it can be packed in a carry-on or must be in a checked bag. If a specific item is not addressed in the database, travelers can tweet their question to @AskTSA or message AskTSA on Facebook.

The Most Common Queries, Categorized by How They Can Be Transported:

Permitted as carry-on or checked:

  • Canes: Must undergo X-ray screening — a TSA officer will inspect the item if it cannot fit through a machine.
  • Umbrellas: Allowed in carry-on bags.
  • Insulin and insulin supplies: Notify TSA officer of your condition and that you are carrying supplies. Any forms or dispensers must be clearly identified.
  • Liquid medications: Liquids, gels or aerosol medications greater than 3.4 ounces must be declared to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection.
  • Medical marijuana/CBD: Not searched for but if illegal substance is discovered, TSA will refer to law enforcement.
  • Dry batteries: AA, AAA, C and D are allowed, but not lithium varieties.

Other Advice:

  • Don’t forget the 3-1-1 liquid rule, and pack your liquids in the front pocket on your carry-on for accessibility. Liquids, gels and aerosols must be stored in 3.4-ounce containers or less, as well as fit in a quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag, one per passenger.
  • Tape a card with your name and contact info to your electronics.
  • Pack items in layers (shoes one layer, clothes one layer, electronics one layer, etc.)
  • Don’t forget your money at the checkpoint. In fiscal year 2018, travelers left behind over $960,000. (The TSA plans to use the unclaimed money toward checkpoint training requirements.)

Benefits of Screenings for Passengers 75 and Older:

  • You may leave on your shoes and light jacket during screening.
  • If you set off an alarm during the security screening, you may be required to remove your shoes for further screening or undergo a pat-down. You can request to be seated during this portion of the screening.
  • Passengers 75 and older who are unable to stand for screening will be screened through other security methods.
  • Should you travel with medical devices and/or implants, other screening procedures may apply.

Remember, if you have any questions on an item, simply snap a picture or send a question to AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter. Another great resource for travel ideas and money saving tips is the AARP Travel page at

Ron Mori is a member of the Washington, D.C., JACL chapter and manager of community, states and national affairs — multicultural leadership for AARP.