Can You Bring Books On The Plane?


I love to read mysteries novels while I’m flying. But, most travelers still ask if books are allowed on planes.

In this post, we will talk about the various factors that you should consider when it comes to bringing books on board an airplane. In order to allow you to bring books on board, the Transportation Security Administration requires that you check the size and weight of your luggage.

Most airlines allow you to bring a book in your hand, but you will not be counted as part of your allowance. If you bring an umbrella, a jacket, and a book, then you’ll be fine.

Source: TSA official guidelines on Bringing Books on the plane

TSA Book Of Regulations

The good news is that books are allowed to be carried on and checked luggage without specific restrictions.

Usually, after you pass through the security checkpoint, the TSA agent will ask you to remove your books for a manual inspection.

In addition to your personal items, you can also bring additional books into the checkpoint. However, if you have too many books in your bag, the density of these items may prevent the security agent from screening them.

Is It Possible To Bring Books In My Checked Luggage?

Yes, you can bring books in checked baggage when traveling to the US or other international airports. Also, it’s a better idea to carry more books in checked luggage to avoid getting damaged.

Yes, as long as you checked out the books, you can bring them with you on a plane. However, you should make sure that the books are returned within 3 days from the date of their original purchase.

Is It Possible To Read On A Plane?

While most people prefer to watch TV and play games on airplanes, reading books can help keep them occupied and relieve them of their stress.

From healthline, here are several Book Reading Benefits.

  • Stress is lessened.
  • Improves your capacity to empathize with others
  • It expands your vocabulary.
  • Aids in the prevention of age-related cognitive decline
  • It gets you ready for a nice night’s sleep.
  • Aids in the relief of depressive symptoms
  • It’s possible that it’ll even help you live longer.

Prepare yourself to enjoy your travel and reading by bringing your book on the plane and ensuring that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

  • Prepare your book before leaving for the airport; you can either read a paper book (as stated above) or read on your tablet or phone. Books at the airport can be expensive, and you will be confined to specific categories that you may not enjoy.
  • Take a travel pillow with you to help you sleep when you’re exhausted, and you can also use it to support your book. A travel cushion is important not just for reading, but also for making your journey more pleasant.
  • Wear noise-cancelling headphones to help you concentrate more by reducing the noise around you.

Is It Possible To Read EBooks On An Aircraft Without Access To The Internet?

Even if the internet is not working on your phone, you can still read eBooks. If you have the book downloaded, you can open it and read it without any problems.

You can bring along a copy of a self-help book or a novel. I usually take the two books because I get tired of reading the self-help book. If you’re not feeling well, I switch to the novel.

What Is The Best Way To Pack Books For A Flight?

Ideally, pack all of your books in a well-organized manner to ensure that they will arrive in good condition. Doing so will prevent them from getting damaged during the flight.

  • When traveling with a large number of books, a compact box will suffice.
  • Don’t stack your books vertically; they’re more likely to be destroyed if other objects are stacked on top of them; instead, stack them flat.
  • To protect books from the sides, use newspaper or cloths; you may also cover any holes if they are too wide.
  • Last but not least, remember to mark your box; if you’re putting books in your bag, include a luggage tag, as well as another inside with your name and email address.

Why Does The TSA Ask Passengers To Take Books Out Of Carry-On Bags?

The Transportation Security Administration might ask passengers to remove books from their carry-on bags.

Roxane Gay, an author and former editor of The New Yorker, tweeted that she was asked to remove her books from her carry-on bag after going through security.

Over the past week, many people have been sharing their experience regarding the strange request at the airport.

The Transportation Security Administration explained that it is sometimes necessary to ask passengers to remove items from their bags to screen them.

Although the agency doesn’t specifically ask about books, it has in the past caught people using hollowed out books to carry weapons such as knives and narcotics.

When I Fly, How Many Books Should I bring?

One book is ideal for a flight of about three hours. Since most books are light enough to carry on in your carry-on, bring them with you when you arrive at the airport.

For long flights, you will need two average-sized books to hold your attention. If you have a layover, you’ll also need to tack on some pages.

For international flights, bring over 1300 pages. It’s important to bring these in case you have to check in early.

If you’re planning on going to a country where reading material is hard to come by, bring more books than you can carry-on. For instance, I usually bring over a thousand pages of books to Japan in my checked bag.

If you don’t have the space or inclination to bring a small library, consider traveling with one massive book. It can be a personal reading milestone, and it can reduce your luggage.

Is It Reasonable?

The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t have the authority to search bags. Instead, it can only do so for the safety of the airlines and to protect the public.

This policy would lead to more frequent and systematic exposure to passengers’ reading materials, which would inevitably increase the scrutiny of screeners.

It’s true that the Transportation Security Administration has the authority to search carry-on bags if they see an object that’s not identified. However, the exposure of reading materials is also part of the privacy that’s lost when bag searches are conducted.

The threat to aviation is enough of an issue for screeners to examine a passenger’s bag to see if it contains anything that could be used for explosives. It’s also possible that screeners would want to open the book to see if there are anomalies.

The second justification is to check for something called sheet explosives, which are usually thin and flat explosives that can be hidden inside a sheaf of paper. This is the reason why the 9th Circuit agreed to search for sheet explosives after a man was arrested in 2011.

Other Miscellaneous Items Allowed on the Plane

ItemCarry OnBaggageSource
Artificial Skeleton BonesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Baby CarrierYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Baby WipesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Balloons (not inflated)YesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Battery powered wheel chairs and mobility devicesNoYes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Belts, Clothes and ShoesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Billy ClubsNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
BinocularsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Biological specimens, non-infectious, in preservative solutionsYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Black Jacks (Self-Defense Weapons)NoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
BlanketsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Bobby PinsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Body ArmorYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
BooksYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Brass InstrumentsCheck with AirlineYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Brass KnucklesNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Bread MachineYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Camera MonopodYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Car PartsYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
ChapsticksYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Child Car SeatYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
CologneYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Comic BooksYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
ConcealerYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
ConditionerYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Cremated RemainsYes (Special Instructions)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
CymbalsYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Digital CamerasYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Disassembled computer/computer parts/external hard drivesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Drones, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)Check with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
Drum Sticks (instrument drum set)YesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
DrumsticksYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Dry IceCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
Dry Shampoo (aerosol)Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
E-liquidsYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
E-Z Pass TranspondersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Electric BlanketsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping DevicesYes (Special Instructions)NoTSAOpens in a new tab.
Electronic ToothbrushYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Emergency Position-Indicating Radiobeacons (EPIRB)Check with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
Eye Liners (liquid)Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
FertilizerNoNoTSAOpens in a new tab.
FilmYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
FlowersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Foam Toy SwordNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Formaldehyde solution, less than 10 percentYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
FoundationYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Geiger CountersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
GlassYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Glass Picture FrameYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Glass Vase (empty)YesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Glow SticksYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
GuitarYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair ClippersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair DryersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair GelYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair SprayYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair Straightener, flat iron (with cord)Yes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Hair Texturizer (aerosol)Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
HandcuffsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Harry Potter wandYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
HeadphonesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Heated Jackets / SweatersYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
HookahsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
HoverboardsCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
IceYes (Special Instructions)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
JewelryYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Laser Hair RemoverYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Laser PointersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Light SaberYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
LipsticksYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Liquid nitrogen in a dry shipperYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Live CoralYesNoTSAOpens in a new tab.
Live FishYesNoTSAOpens in a new tab.
Luggage Protection CoversYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Makeup RemoverYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Makeup WipesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
MascaraYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Metal DetectorCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
MirrorsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Multi-toolsYes (Special Instructions)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Nail PolishYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Nail Polish RemoverYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Night SticksNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Night Vision GogglesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
PenYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
PerfumeYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Permeation devices for calibrating air qualityNoYes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Planting seedsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
PlantsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Play-dohYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Powder MakeupYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Power ChargerYesNoTSAOpens in a new tab.
Power InvertersYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Putty BallsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Sea ShellsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
SegwaysCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
ShampooYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Shock collarsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Shoe HornYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Shoe InsertsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Shoe TreeYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
SlingshotsNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Small PetsCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
Snow GlobesYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Soap (Bar)YesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Soap (Liquid)Yes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Solar PanelsCheck with AirlineCheck with AirlineTSAOpens in a new tab.
Solid MakeupYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Steel Toe BootsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Stuffed AnimalsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Stun Guns/Shocking DevicesNoYes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
SunscreenYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Tactical PenNoYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Tattoo InksYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
TelevisionYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
TobaccoYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Tobacco PipesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
ToothpasteYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Toy Guns and WeaponsYes (Special Instructions)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Toys (Adult)YesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
ViolinsYes (Special Instructions)Yes (Special Instructions)TSAOpens in a new tab.
Wallet ChainsYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Weather Barometer or Thermometer (Mercury)Yes (Special Instructions)NoTSAOpens in a new tab.
Wet WipesYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.
Wine bottleYes (Less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml allowed)YesTSAOpens in a new tab.
XboxYesYesTSAOpens in a new tab.

Conclusion

Books and other paper goods can require additional screening when they are brought into the airport. The Transportation Security Administration is testing new rules that would require passengers to remove these items from their carry-on bags.

DHS Secretary John Kelly said that the agency might implement the new policy nationwide. Although tests are currently being conducted in a few airports, he noted that the goal is to find the most effective way to implement the new procedure.

There are many special privacy issues that arise when reading books. In the U.S., there is a long history of protecting one’s privacy through various court decisions and state laws.

James Newman

James Newman is an air travel fanatic. From the fear of flying, TSA regulations, and saving money on flights & airlines, James has extensive knowledge when it comes to air travel. He hopes to make your air travel experience a better one with his blog flyingcomfortably.com.

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