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10 things you can’t pack in your carry-on luggage

With airline restrictions on cabin baggage increasing every year, figuring out what you can pack in your carry-on bag can be a real challenge. Luckily, we’re here to help you sort out which items airlines prohibit on board that you definitely can’t bring in your hand luggage. Warning: some of these might surprise you!

1. Hoverboards

You might be able to cruise around town on your hoverboard, but they’re certainly not welcome in the sky. Most airlines, including Malindo Air and Malaysia Airlines, have banned hoverboards from flights because they pose a fire hazard. The ban extends to all “personal movement devices”, meaning that electric scooters, electric bicycles and Segways are also out of the question. Guess you’ll just have to go old school and rely on your own two feet at your destination!

2. Golf clubs

If you were hoping to indulge in a round of golf during your layover, then you’re out of luck. All sporting equipment is banned on board – so don’t even think about packing racquets, hockey sticks or ski poles in your carry-on bag. Just remember to stash your golf clubs in your checked baggage and you’ll be good to go.

3. Souvenir knives

Traditional Southeast Asian knives – or any knife for that matter – may make pretty souvenirs, but they definitely won’t be allowed past the airport security checkpoint. So whether you’ve purchased a Balinese kris dagger or a pocket knife from Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Market, these items all need to go in the hold to avoid being confiscated.

4. Toy guns

It’s always a challenge to keep kids entertained on flights, but bringing a toy gun on board is simply not an option. Toy guns and all gun-shaped items are strictly prohibited, so you’ll have to leave that Nerf gun at home. Luckily, there’s nothing like a trusty iPad or in-flight entertainment to keep your kids happily occupied.

5. Nunchakus

Sorry, aspiring ninjas: you can’t practice your latest tricks on the plane. The Malaysian authorities won’t take it kindly if you try to bring martial arts equipment on board, which includes anything from nunchakus, which is a traditional Okinawan martial arts weapon, to batons. All these items are classified as weapons, with no exceptions allowed – even if you happen to be a martial arts expert.

6. Nail clippers

Get that manicure done before your flight: according to AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, nail clippers are banned from the carry-on luggage. Considering that the list of prohibited items includes obvious no-nos like ice picks and flammable liquids, this comes as a bit of a surprise; but rules are rules.

7. Party poppers

So you’re flying on your birthday, and you want to celebrate with some party poppers? Think again. Party poppers are strictly banned from hand luggage – which is probably for the best, since you wouldn’t want to startle your fellow passengers. Just order a glass of bubbly instead, and everyone wins.

8. Pepper spray

Pepper spray can be a useful item for solo female travellers, but don’t pack it in your carry-on luggage. And yes, that includes those handy pepper spray keychains. You’re better off purchasing pepper spray once you step off the plane – just make sure that it’s legal in the country you’re travelling to.

9. Corkscrews

Corkscrews and beach holidays make a fine pairing – unless you’re only travelling with a carry-on bag. A corkscrew might seem like a pretty harmless item to slip into your hand luggage, but the ones with a blade fall under the “sharp and/or pointed objects” category, so it’s a safe bet that you won’t be allowed to bring it on board. Besides, airplanes are basically bars in the sky, so who needs corkscrews on board anyway?

10. Full-sized baby strollers

Actually, there is no hard and fast rule here, since it really depends on the airline. AirAsia does not allow baby strollers on board, except for the foldable types, while Malaysia Airlines accepts them as cabin items on a first-come, first-served basis. Malindo Air allows only collapsible “umbrella-type baby strollers”, which need to be stored in the Business Class coat closet. With so many different rules concerning strollers, it’s best to always check the airline’s website before travelling.

Now that you know all the items you shouldn’t pack in your carry-on bags, it’s time to start preparing for your next trip! Book cheap flights, hotels and car rental via Skyscanner today, or download our free mobile app for easy browsing and booking on the go.


Originally published on 29 January 2016 and updated in February 2020. Any prices are lowest estimated prices only at the time of publication and are subject to change and/or availability.