It’s pretty well known that any firearm or knife, including pocket knives and straight razors, can’t be brought onboard an airplane. However, since stepping up security following the September terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration also has listed corkscrews as no-no’s. In addition, metal nail files and nail scissors are verboten in an airplane cabin, and there have been reports that nail clippers are subject to confiscation at security checkpoints, although they’re not specifically prohibited by the government.
There’s also a general ban on bringing onboard athletic equipment “that could be used as a weapon.” The FAA lists baseball bats, golf clubs, pool cues and ski poles as falling in the category, but hasn’t passed official judgment on tennis rackets.
Any flammable liquids are banned, but lighters can still be carried onboard as long as they’re in a pocket — not in a carry-on bag or purse — and don’t have liquid reservoirs. Ditto for matches. But strike-anywhere matches should be left at home.
The FAA also has weighed in on personal-care products. Aerosols, including perfume and hairspray, can be brought on a plane if they aren’t larger than 70 ounces.
As for gifts, don’t wrap them, the FAA warns. Airline security will have to unwrap them if X-ray machines can’t discern their contents.
The government issued this caveat for any items it might not have listed as being banned from being brought onboard: “If in doubt, don’t pack it.”
Meanwhile, travelers will likely see no immediate changes in airport practices following Sunday’s shift of responsibility for security to the Transportation Security Administration — since the government will initially contract out those duties to the private companies that had previously been responsible for security. But executives are still expecting to face long waits.
“We’ve gotten used to it. We just get there a little earlier,” said Kal Ruttenstein, senior vice president for fashion direction at New York-based Bloomingdale’s.
Ruttenstein added that he also plans to bring a smaller entourage of three instead of five when he leaves for Milan and Paris next week because of the abbreviated Paris calendar.
“The fashion people we have [in Paris] in a compressed schedule can cover all of it,” he said.
The State Department this month also reissued a “worldwide caution” for Americans traveling abroad, first posted after the terrorists attacks in September.
Although there are no particular advisories concerning travel to London, Milan or Paris, the State Department asks U.S. travelers to “take all appropriate measures to ensure” their safety while traveling abroad.
“The U.S. government remains deeply concerned about the security of Americans overseas,” the advisory states, citing “a potential for retaliatory actions to be taken against U.S. citizens and their interests throughout the world by terrorists and those who harbor grievances against the United States. These individuals do not distinguish between official and civilian targets.”