General Question

amazonstorm's avatar

What To Bring On A Flight?

Asked by amazonstorm (540points) September 9th, 2010

So, in a couple of weeks, I am heading to San Jose, California with my Dad for a conference and to meet up with a good friend of mine. This is the first time I’ve flown since 2004 and I found the TSA’s guidelines to be a bit too confusing, so I thought i would ask here.

What are the guidelines for what you can and cannot bring in your carry on for a flight on Southwest Airlines? Any advice and suggestions and tips would be greatly appreciated.

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9 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Keep your drivers license (or other government-issued photo id) and your boarding pass on your person at all times. Not in a purse. Not in your bag. On you!

Things you must take out of your carry-on luggage to run thru the x-ray machine directly:
– liquid toiletries (more on these below)
– laptop computer
– video recorder

Things you must take off of your person to run thru the x-ray machine directly:
– most metal, like belts with buckles, jewelry, coins, watches
– cell phone, pager, or any other electronic device
– your shoes
– your jacket

Things you cannot take thru security yourself (but are probably okay in checked luggage, especially if you declare them):
– liquid to drink (water, soda, milk, alcohol, etc.)—although I’ve seen exception made for folks traveling home with sealed bottles of wine from Napa Valley
– knives, razors, box cutters, anything with an edge or point—(not that it matters)
– guns—usually okay in checked luggage, packed in a locked box, unloaded – MUST DECLARE

Things you can never take any time in any way:
– lighters, matches
– fireworks
– flammable, combustible liquids, like turpentine


More on the toiletries and other liquids…

If you’re checking your luggage, just pack your shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, mouthwash, shaving cream, eye drops, and anything else you take on a journey like you normally would.

However, if you’re carrying on your luggage with those items, you must pack them special and be prepared to take them out and run them thru the x-ray machine directly.

Do this:
– Get a quart-sized zip lock bag. No, you cannot use a bigger one.
– All of your liquid items must be in individual containers marked 4oz. or less. No, you cannot bring something in a half-empty 8oz bottle.
– All of your liquid item containers must fit in that quart-sized zip lock bag. No, you cannot have multiple zip lock bags. Just one!
– Exceptions are usually made for medicines.
– Exceptions are usually made for baby food to be eaten on the flight. No, you cannot bring a week’s worth of strained carrots in your carry-on luggage.


Yes, most of this is pure ridiculousness that does nothing at all to make us safer when we fly. It’s all for show.

No, I’m not bitter.

Seaofclouds's avatar

According to this from southwest, you can take one small bag (10×16 x 24) and one personal item (what they consider personal items is on there) as carry on baggage. This discusses what is allowed and prohibited for carry on and checked baggage. It does say that you can take non-flammable liquids and gels as long as it is in 3.4 ounces (100ml) or smaller container.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

A semi-related tip: I’m pretty sure all airports require that you take your shoes off before going through security. I always wear a pair of socks, just so I’m not exposing my feet to what others may have left behind on the floor.

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srmorgan's avatar

My wife keeps ALL of her jewelry, not that any of it is really that valuable, in her carry-on baggage. Similar all valuables, cameras, computers, anything of that ilk goes into your carry-on and not into checked baggage.
If you use medication make sure that you have at least two days worth of pills in your carry-on. I used to regularly travel to Germany and Canada and all of my medication for the entire trip went in the carry-on. Go try and get something filled in a foreign country where your insurance might not cover it.
You are on a cross-country flight. Bring something to read or put some games on your phone on your PC. Some flights have wifi but it can get expensive. Looking out the window gets boring after a while.
Although you will overpay for it, get bottled water at the stand after you have cleared security. It is important to stay hydrated on the flights and the crews sometimes are not all that accomodating, although that is usually not the case on Southwest.
Try to wear slip-on loafers, makes security easier and faster and you can take them on and off on the flight.
Just to be courteous make sure that you can hear your Ipod on your headphones at a low setting. I find other people’s noises to be so annoying and I don’t especially care to use music players myself.

Ben_Dover's avatar

Be sure to bring some excellent snacks, as you will not be getting jack unless you are in 1st class.
Also, grab a meal at one of the airports restaurants for the flight. In-flight meals suck and you will now be paying an extra $5 for them.
Bring your own earphones for the movie and the arm-rest stereo.
Or, bring your own movie for your laptop.
Bring your own blanket and pillow. they now cost around $8 on most flights.

JLeslie's avatar

If you are planning to carry on your luggage, be sure to have some sort of bag to put small valuables in if they make you check your bag, so you can still carry on those things easily.

The ziplock bag for liquids and gels as people said above for carry on luggage, know that it is likely they count makeup like foundation as a liquid typically. You will have to take this ziplock bag out of your luggage for security and place it in the plastic containers they provide at security along with your shoes and outerwear.

They will check your ID when you get your boarding passes and at security. You can actually get boarding passes online now within 24 hours of your flight and avoid that line altogether at the airport if you are not checking a bag. By the way, pretty much you will be expected to use self check-in at their computer kiosk thingies at the airport to get your boarding pass, if you have no preprinted it at home.

perspicacious's avatar

To make it easy on you, just check your bag with all of your toiletries. Carry on a bag with clothes in it. You can carry on a 10×16 x 24 bag (or that was the directive a couple months ago). Be sure you have any prescription meds with you and a change of clothing in case your luggage gets lost. If you have any metal inside your body get to the airport really early. You will get the royal scanning treatment which takes about seven inutes if you don’t have to wait. You can’t take more than a couple of lighters so check your purse. Be sure you don’t have any kind of knife or cutter in your carrry on bags. .

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