Aviation Security Service prefers not to remove passenger property and encourages all passengers to ensure they only pack items that are allowed to travel.

Inspection of checked luggage

All bags are subject to security screening, including the use of x-ray. If an item is identified in an x-ray image that is not allowed in the hold of an aircraft an Aviation Security officer:

  • will open and search the bag for the item;
  • inspect the item to determine if it is allowed onto the aircraft;
  • if the item is not allowed on the aircraft the officer will:
    • remove the item;
    • place a notice in the bag advising that item was removed;
    • close the bag; and
    • allow the bag to enter the hold of the aircraft.
  • if the item is allowed on the aircraft the officer will return it to your bag and insert a notice that the bag was searched.

Aviation Security Service does not retain any items removed from passengers checked luggage All items are handed over to your airline to dispose of as per their conditions of carriage.

There are two occasions when Aviation Security Service could require you to relinquish or remove items from your luggage; when you go through security screening (relinquish) and when inspecting your checked luggage (remove).

Use of TSA-approved locks

If an x-ray image identifies an item that may be prohibited the officer must open the bag.

Officers have keys for TSA approved locks. If the bag is secured other than by an approved TSA lock, the officer will open the bag using suitable tools.  Bags, particularly those with integrated locks, may be damaged in this process. Aviation Security Service is not responsible for compensating passengers for any damage to bags.

Items commonly taken from checked luggage

A few items are the main cause of bags being opened and items removed. Avoid this happening by not carrying the following items in your checked luggage:


You can carry up to two powerbanks in your carry-on luggage but these are forbidden in checked luggage.


All parts of an e-cigarette should be in your carry-on bag.

If an e-cigarette is identified in checked luggage, due to the risk it contains a battery it will be removed. It is difficult to tell the difference between ones where the battery has been removed and those with a built-in battery.


You can carry a single dual action medium sized lighter on your person but these are forbidden in checked luggage.

Note: Bic lighters with fuel release button and spark wheel are accepted.

Fuel cylinders for camp stoves

Non-reusable fuel [gas liquid] cylinders are strictly forbidden.

If you are carrying a camp stove and or re-useable gas cylinders it is likely your bag will be opened to check the airline has approved carriage and that they are clean of any free liquid. If you do not have the airline’s approval the stove and cylinder will be removed.

Lead sealed batteries

You are allowed to carry these batteries in checked luggage if installed in equipment and, with the battery, is evidence it complies with Special Provision A67 (tested, and safe to travel by air). Your bag will be opened by an Aviation Security officer to check. If you do not have this evidence do not take the equipment.

Items relinquished from carry-on bags

When you go through security screening Aviation Security officers are checking that you are not in possession of weapons or dangerous goods and, if you are flying on an international flight, that you are not carrying powders, liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of the restrictions.

If an Aviation Security officer identifies an item that is not allowed on the aircraft you must voluntarily relinquish the item. If you fail to relinquish the item when requested you will not be allowed to proceed further and the airline will be advised of your refusal.

Weapons in carry-on bags

You are forbidden from taking weapons or items that could be used as a weapon into the cabin of an aircraft. An Aviation Security officer has the authority to decide if an item can be used as a weapon. For more information go to weapons and other prohibited items.

A few items account for most of the weapons relinquished during security screening. Check before you pack whether they are allowed in your carry-on bag:

Hand tools

Avoid hand tools in your carry-on bag - but if you do, they must be under 20cm in length or have a sharpened metal shaft no longer than 6cm.

Knives and multi-tools

Avoid taking any knives, pocket knives or multi-tools in your carry-on bag - but if you do, make sure the longest blade is no longer than 6cm.

All pocket knives and multi-tools will be measured unopened. Any that are 9.5cm in length or longer will not be allowed to travel in carry–on baggage.


Avoid taking scissors in your carry-on bag - but if you do, make sure the blade, measured from the fulcrum is no longer than 6cm.

Children’s toys

Leave all toy guns at home particularly those that could be mistaken for the real thing. Do not bring children’s plastic or wooden sport toys as they are not allowed.


Avoid taking didgeridoos or boomerangs with you as carry-on luggage - but if you do, make sure they are no longer than 40cm. This also applies to Maori weapons [e.g. patu or mere] - but if you do make sure they are no longer than 20cm.

Dangerous goods in carry-on bags

Most dangerous goods are not permitted in carry-on bags. Any that are permitted are subject to conditions. Only a few items account for the majority of dangerous goods relinquished at security screening. Check before you pack that they comply with the relevant restrictions. For more information go to Dangerous Goods:

Lead sealed batteries

You can take these batteries in carry-on but only if you have evidence they comply with Special Provision A67 (tested, and safe to travel by air).

Lighters and matches

You can carry a single medium sized lighter (or box/book of matches) on your person, other than blue flame or plasma lighters which cannot travel. Any additional lighters and matches must be relinquished.

Powders, liquids, aerosols and gels in carry-on bags

For international flights there are restrictions on the amount of some powders, liquids, aerosols and gels you are allowed in carry-on. For more information go to Powders, liquids, aerosols and gels.

Water and other drinks in disposable containers make the majority of liquid, aerosols ad gels relinquished during security screening and taken to landfill for disposal. Expensive items that are frequently required to be relinquished are:


This includes unopened or partially consumed bottles and flasks of alcohol. Purchase this after security screening at a duty free store.


Honey is permitted only in containers less than 100ml. Honey capsules are also subject to these restrictions and the container holding the capsules must not exceed 100ml.


Butter, margarine, Marmite etc., are permitted only in containers less than 100ml through security screening.


Perfume is permitted only in containers less than 100ml.


Cleaning and grooming products are permitted only in containers less than 100ml.

Illegal items

If Aviation Security officers identify illegal items in your luggage, they will notify the NZ Police.

Ask AvSec

If you have any questions about this topic, use our contact form, or email reception@avsec.govt.nz