Spending a few minutes to check your luggage for hazardous materials gets us all there safer. To read more about hazardous material, click here: PACK SAFE.
What is a Hazardous Material? – From lithium batteries to aerosol whipped cream, many items used every day at home or work are regulated as hazardous materials (a.k.a. “hazmat” and “dangerous goods”). These products may seem harmless; however, when transported by air they can be very dangerous. Vibrations, static electricity, and temperature and pressure variations can cause items to leak, generate toxic fumes, start a fire, or even explode. Hazardous materials include, but are not limited to: Explosives, Gases, Flammable Liquids and Solids, Oxidizers, Toxic and Infectious Materials, Radioactive Materials, Corrosives and many other items that can endanger the traveling public when not handled correctly. The good news is that many of the hazardous materials we can’t live without are allowed in our baggage, but only if we follow the rules.
For a Safe Start, Check the Chart! – Most hazardous materials are forbidden in carry-on and checked baggage. There are a few exceptions for some personal items such as toiletries, medicines, battery powered electronics and assistive devices. The chart below lists common hazardous materials often found in the home and office or used when traveling (the chart also includes some items that are not hazardous materials but the FAA gets lot of questions on them). Check to see which ones are allowed in checked and/or carry-on baggage and which ones cannot be carried at all. The checked baggage rules also apply to carry-on bags that are checked at the gate or at planeside. When using the chart, it’s very important to read the “Details” section for important information such as packaging requirements and quantity limits. You can use the “Search” box to look up a particular item by name within the active tab.
Remember, this is just a listing of common hazardous materials; if you don’t see your item here it doesn’t mean it’s allowed in baggage. When in doubt, leave it out!
Hazmat Questions? For questions about hazardous materials (chemicals, batteries, battery-powered devices, gases, aerosols, flammables, etc.) you may contact the FAA Office of Hazardous Materials Safety via e-mail at HazMatInfo@faa.gov. Please allow 1-2 business days for answers to e-mail questions.
Security Screening Questions? For questions on the rules for liquids in carry-on, sharp objects, weapons, tools, medicines and medical devices, food, “prohibited items,” and general security screening questions, see the TSA’s security rules and guidance. You may also contact the TSA via phone, e-mail or Tweet.
- There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your luggage and certain smoking materials carried on your person. For further information contact your airline representative.
- Note: The Transportation Security Administration also has rules on “prohibited items” that pose a security threat. Though they sometimes overlap, the TSA security rules are separate from the FAA hazmat safety rules discussed here. For the TSA rules on weapons, sharp objects, the “3-1-1” rule on liquids, gels, and aerosols, etc.; go to the TSA Prohibited Items web page.
- The Hazmat Rules – The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) are federal transportation safety rules found in 49 CFR, parts 171-180. The FAA enforces the HMR in aviation. Passengers violating the HMR can be fined from $250 to $50,000. Those who intentionally violate the regulations are subject to a criminal penalty of up to $500,000 and/or five years imprisonment. So, it is important to know what items are hazardous materials and whether or not they are allowed in the aircraft cabin or in checked baggage.
- Federal law forbids the carriage of hazardous materials aboard aircraft in your luggage or on your person. A violation can result in five years’ imprisonment and penalties of $250,000 or more (49 U.S.C. 5124). Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Examples: Paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, tear gases, oxygen bottles, and radio-pharmaceuticals.