Slobodanka Graham


Want to know how to fly and travel with carry on only?

Planepack provides advice, tips, interviews and podcasts to fly and travel light.

How to clear security with carry on luggage

How to clear security with carry on luggage

Speed through security safely

Planepack - travel light

It's good to remember that even when flying domestically, you still have to pack for security.

Recently when my sister flew from Melbourne to Canberra, she packed her nail scissors into her carry on bag. When the scissors were confiscated at security, she was quite annoyed.

"They were tiny, blunt-edged nail scissors," she told me. "Why couldn't I have kept them?"

Well rules are rules, and I'd rather fly safe than worry. So here's a list of things I've had confiscated in the past - I'm sure there are many more, but these are things I've overlooked: 

Leave sharp objects at home

Don't take any of the following in your carry on luggage:

  • Scissors - even blunt edged ones
  • Swiss Army knife - Mr PetMan once forgot to remove this from his travel bag, and was annoyed when his knife was confiscated.
  • Nail clippers - these seem like an innocuous weapon, but leave the clippers behind.


  • Wine - don't pack in a bottle of wine as a last-minute gift. But it's permissable to take on board wine that you've bought at duty free.
  • No water through security - I overcome that by flying with refillable bottles: empty the bottle of water before security - and you can fill it again immediately afterwards.
  • Nothing over 100 ml - I've written previously about travelling and packing small quantities of toiletries and cosmetics. Don't be disappointed by having your perfume confiscated.
  • Anything that could leak - this is one of my worst catastrophes: remember that objects can leak in planes - so all the more reason to carry only small quantities.

Knitting needles?

This is an interesting one. I consulted my sister, who is a knitter, and this is her advice:

  • Make sure your knitting needles have knitting displayed on them; show your knitting intent! There are many different kinds of needles (bamboo, plastic, etc.), which might be considered safer. But always check with airlines before flying to make sure you know the rules. There's nothing worse than trying to prove to security staff you are well within your rights by travelling with your knitting.

Clear security quicker

Over the years I've discovered a few things that make going through the security scanners a bit easier - and far quicker as I don't have to undress or unpack my bags. I avoid:

Passport control

Passport control is automated at many airports: you no longer have to front up to a real person. But you are checked via photo recognition so remember to:

  • Take off your hat
  • Take off your sunglasses
  • Match yourself to your passport - if your passport photo was taken five years previously when you still had a moustache, you might want to renew your photo!

Metal body parts

If you've had any body parts replaced - like a hip replacement - you should be aware that your metal prosthesis might beep. It's a good idea to have a suitable statement ready for the security guards, informing them of your internal metal bits.

About the author

Slobodanka - travell light

I'm Slobodanka Graham, digital publisher, content entrepreneur, extreme light traveller and safety conscious commuter. 


How to plan and pack using a flowchart

How to plan and pack using a flowchart

How to look and stay cool on a long haul flight

How to look and stay cool on a long haul flight