A friend of mine reached out with an unusual question: is a cast iron skillet an approved carry-on item? The answer is technically no, but it does not hurt to ask.
Cast Iron Skillet In Carry-On Bag – Allowed?
He texted me as he was heading to the airport, wondering if the pans (there were multiple) could travel in his carry-on bag or would need to be checked. He was flying Southwest Airlines. A quick search on the TSA and Southwest Airlines website revealed no answer and I advised him that it appeared to be a gray area and to allow extra time in case he had to check it in.
A bit later, he texted me back:
I got through security. However, they noticed it and had a little side huddle. But they let me through. It really helps to have kids with you. I think it made a difference.
He was traveling with his two young sons. I guess having a couple sweet kids can help to smooth over a situation and instantly makes you look less suspicious (unless…).
While preparing this story, however, I found information on the TSA website suggesting the bags should not have been let through:
Pots and pans are generally allowed in both carry-on and checked bags. However, cast iron skillets are prohibited in carry-on bags and must be placed in checked baggage.
It makes sense, though. Cast iron skillets are literal weapons that can do some serious, even lethal damage.
While I’m glad my friend did not have to check a bag, I’m not sure whether to be pleased or mortified the TSA chooses to overlook some rules if you ask nicely. But I won’t lose sleep over this…the trip home went without a hitch and it’s nice to bypass the baggage claim and head right to the car.
Three lessons. First, cast irons skillets are not permitted carry-on items according to the TSA website. Second, though, is that it doesn’t hurt to ask because agents do have some discretion in what they allow through. Third, let’s hope a frying pan never winds up in the hands of a drunk and disorderly passenger!
I get that cast iron pans have a higher density, but I would probably go with anodized aluminum pans as my swing of choice. The higher velocity from the lower weight will more than offset the loss of mass. Copper would bend too easily.
Good to know ;-). I’m set with my Calpalon
Several years ago a neighbor friend did wack an intruder with a frying pan but it was what was at hand
I had a visitor who placed three of the cast iron skillets on the corner of the stove and the weight literally ended made the stove sort of collapse in the corner. They are heavy and can rather easily cause an injury but they aren’t as dense as tungsten cubes.
I think this suggests a larger problem: TSA agents obviously are not familiar with TSA rules…
This would be a useful reoccurring series. Follow up posts could be:
– Can you bring a sodastream canister on board?
– Can you bring an office chair with a gas lift canister (disassembled of course) in your checked bag?
Having a TSA agent anonymously write the post would be awesome.
I knew the answer after reading just the headlines!
The risk of improperly letting some on board with a cast iron frying pan is not that great.
I knew someone with a plug in hair curler. The male security man didn’t know what it was. He called a female who knew exactly what it was. She said “it’s for the hair”. That someone had to bite their tongue not to joke “it’s a weapon…you plug it in, it gets hot…you put it next to your bed….If there’s a burglar, you grab it and touch their skin with it….ooooowww!”
A long time ago I had a run in with TSA at Kansas City because the small rock in my hand luggage was classified as a deadly weapon. By the time the run-in ended I understood why.
Almost every trip I see someone carrying a skateboard around the airport. No clue why these would be allowed as a carryon. Certainly more dangerous than a frying pan. Sometimes TSA makes zero sense.
Now that’s an idiotic comparison. Let’s see – skateboard, less dense, made of wood, no easy way to hold it and swing, decently easy to break…yeah a lot more dangerous than a heavy, easily swingable skillet. #logic
With 4 wheels that will mess you up. Let’s go Brandon. FJB. SFKITUANYC
Hopefully you can figure out but “In Taiwan is part of it.
Keep stalking me pervert. Free Kyle Rittenhouse!
You are truly a despicable human being
I thought everyone should get the memo about these ‘items’ when PUBG was a thing few years ago.
These items are lethal and bulletproof.
I never thought I’d be able to comment on this topic and say “I did that also!” It was the family heirloom griddle and I was returning home from my mother’s funeral with it in my carry on bag in Dayton Ohio. When it went through the metal detector everyone crowded around the screen and then looked at the griddle. I explained that my carry on was the only bag I had and they let me carry it on the plane.
Still have it and use it at least once a week. It is now at least 80 years old but has never flown since.
A shark’s tooth necklace and my hair-chop sticks almost did not make it as I was exiting an Island country..
Anything can be a weapon…
And it doesn’t have to be in your carry on luggage.
I flew on y with a cast iron skillet about almost 5 years ago. No issues. My bag was checked but not because of the skillet it was because of a half full bottle of mousse for my hair. I have been allowed to do that before because technically the bottle had around 3 ounces but they made me throw it away.
I did it 2yrs ago. A friend gifted me his vintage cast iron frying pan. It did cross my mind if it was allowed but no one stopped me. Now I’ll know better.
On a related note, rolling pins are also a grey area. I was able to take it in the carryon but there was so controversy over whether it was a weapon.
So… the TSA failed in their job, yet again?