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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Prohibited Items Intercepted at Airport Screening Checkpoints

Embedded Dataset Excel:

Dataset Excel:

table_02_16_082923.xlsx (25.69 KB)


The large increase in 2005 and decrease in 2007 was primarily due to the prohibition of lighters on board from April 2005 to August 2007. Fluctuations in counts can be attributed to changes in definitions and regulations governing prohibited items, in addition to the proportion of passengers carrying prohibited items and the intensity of search.

Other cutting instruments include scissors, hatchets, swords, sabers, meat cleavers, ice axes, and picks. Effective Dec. 22, 2005, scissors less than 4 inches and tools less than 7 inches were no longer prohibited.

Knives include any length and type except round-bladed, butter, and plastic cutlery.  

Clubs includes martial arts items, baseball bats, night sticks, hammers, pool cues, and billy clubs.

Firearms includes any weapon (including a starter gun) that is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, as well as spear guns, BB guns, flare pistols, compressed air guns, and stunning devices.  

Other refers to tools, self-defense items, compressed gas cylinders, bleach, lighters, and certain sporting goods. Lighters (except for torch lighters and micro torches) were removed from the prohibited items list effective Aug. 4, 2007.


KEY:  N = data do not exist; R = revised.

a All data for 2002, except enplanements, are for April through December.

b Data for 2008 are up to Aug. 8, 2008 with the exception of Firearms and Incendiaries. TSA has stopped the collection of data on all prohibited items except for Firearms and Incendiaries as of Aug. 8, 2008.

c TSA has only published Firearms data from 2010. 


All data, except enplanements:

2002-09: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Performance Measurement Information System (PMIS) and personal communication, November 2010.

2009-22: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Media, available at as of Aug. 18, 2023 .


U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Airline Information, T-100 Domestic Market Data, at as of Aug. 18, 2023.