Items Sure to Set Off Airport Security

Items Sure to Set Off Airport Security© Photodisc / Thinkstock

As you head off on your summer vacation, do your part to keep security lines moving swiftly by dressing and packing sensibly. While these items probably won’t get you tossed off your flight, they could trigger unnecessary delays and hassle.

Snow globes

Your innocent-looking souvenir snow globe is a possible security threat, given that it contains more than the allowed 3 ounces of liquid. Ensure you don’t lose that pretty treasure by packing it in your checked luggage.

Peanut butter

Don’t think peanut butter is a liquid? Think again. While it may not pour easily from the jar, it is still classified as a substance that “conforms to the shape of its container,” meaning it may alarm security officials. So pack your jars of peanut butter in your luggage—but feel free to carry peanut butter sandwiches on board.

Metal buttons

Even tiny metal buttons on your clothing can set off airport sensors. Make sure to place any jacket with metal buttons on the conveyor belt before walking through.


Many headbands contain metal, which will set off airport sensors. If you must wear one, make sure you take it off and put it through the x-ray machine with the rest of your carry-on luggage.

Body piercings

Your belly button ring is sure to set off alarm bells, so remove any body jewelry before getting on a plane to save yourself the trouble of a body search.


While it’s perfectly legal to carry necessary medications such as inhalers on to your flight, they can still distress security officials because they contain liquid. To avoid hassle, inform officers that you are carrying an inhaler, and make sure it is properly labeled.


Jeans and jackets with rivets are a red flag to security. Avoid wearing jeans to go through the airport security and place jackets onto the belt for x-rays and you’ll be on your way faster.

Chewing gum wrappers

While many gum manufacturers have ditched aluminum foil wrappers for paper wrappers, a few holdouts still wrap gum, candy, and cigarettes in foil. Make sure you empty your pockets of anything wrapped in aluminum!

Retractable keys

These keys often resemble small knives when they are examined in the X-ray machine. To avoid being pulled aside and delaying your trip to the gate, leave retractable keys behind or pack them with checked luggage.

Sources: Budget Travel,,,

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