10 Items That Shouldn't Go in the Cargo Hold

10 Items That Shouldn't Go in the Cargo Hold

For many business professionals, business air travel is an essential part of the job. If your career frequently has you on the go in an airplane, you know how important it is to pack the proper supplies.

When preparing for a business trip, how you carry your work essentials can be as important as what you pack. Most of your supplies can probably go in a plane’s cargo hold, but there are also some items you should carry with you on the plane to keep them accessible and well-protected.

Your Travel Documents

If you’re a seasoned traveler, this may seem obvious. After all, you’ll need travel documents like your passport, ID, or boarding pass just to make it to your destination. If you’re new to business air travel, make sure you don’t forget to pack your travel documents in a carry-on bag. There’s no way to retrieve travel documents from the cargo hold until after the plane lands.

Keeping important documents in your carry-on involves more than the travel documents you need to present. It includes hotel information for your final destination, your travel itinerary, and documents you will need for the business meeting. If your bags happen to get lost, you’ll still have access to all of the essential records you need for the trip.  

Your Business Documents

Airports misplace bags about one percent of the time. However, if you’re a frequent air traveler, your odds of winning this obnoxious lottery increase. This is why it’s best to keep the most important work documents with you when you fly.

Heading overseas to sign a contract with a new client? Keep the contract forms in your business travel case, and don’t let it out of your sight. Even if you’re traveling for a conference, or to train employees at a new location, it’s smart to keep any work-related materials in your carry-on luggage. This way, you can be sure that they arrive at your destination safe and sound.

Cash and Other Valuables

Planning to wear grandma’s pearls to your corporate meeting? What about bringing some extra spending money? If you plan to bring cash or other valuable items, don’t let them head to the plane’s cargo hold.

According to CNN, air travelers lost about $2.5 million in missing valuables from 2010 to 2014, much of it snatched from checked baggage. Airport employees (including TSA agents) have been caught taking cash, jewelry, and more from travelers’ bags.

Most airport employees would never turn checked luggage into their personal shopping spree. But to be absolutely sure your prized possessions make it home, it’s best to keep them in your business travel case.

Your Medication

Again, this may seem like an obvious choice to seasoned vets of business air travel, but it can be critically important to remember. If you need medication to remedy a health condition, never put it in your checked baggage.

Remember: One percent of bags never make it into the cargo hold. If your luggage is lost with your medication inside, you could be in for a trip to the hospital. Take the essential precaution of keeping your medication in carry-on bag.

Extra Clothing

After your bag heads into the cargo hold, accidents could happen. Your toiletry bag could burst from being compressed by other luggage, leaking toothpaste and shampoo everywhere. Or an anxious puppy could chew his way through the bag if it presses to close to the cage.

If your checked luggage experiences one of these travel mishaps, you could end up with nothing else to wear, until you can go shopping at your flight’s destination. One way to avoid the situation during business air travel is to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage.

Extra clothes are useful even useful if your bag makes it to your destination unscathed. Who hasn’t wanted to freshen up after a long flight? Putting on new clothes after you land can help refresh your mood, as you get ready for the next phase of your important business trip.

Red Wine

This one is a little tricky. After all, every business air traveler knows you can’t bring more than a quart-sized bag of liquids onto a plane. What should you do with the souvenir bottle of fine wine you received from the UK office?

If you send it into the cargo hold, you may have a wine-stained wardrobe when you get home. A professional baggage handler explained to Fox News Travel that checked bags always take a beating a side effect of expedited air travel.

Try not to put fragile items (particularly bottles of staining liquids) into your checked bags. If you must, a sturdy business travel case can keep your vino safe from bumps and jolts that air turbulence could throw your way.

Cordless Curling Irons

This tip is mainly for ladies on business air travel. We all want to look our best when we step into the boardroom, but if you’re flying to get there, you may need to adjust your beauty routine.

Cordless curling irons (which use a gas or butane charge) aren’t permitted in your checked luggage. This is because all of the jostling in the cargo hold could ignite the curler and a lit, gas-powered, heated device could cause serious damage.

The TSA prohibits butane curlers from entering the cargo hold, but you can bring a cordless curler on your business trip. Just make sure the item is in your carry on, and that you’ve secured it with a safety cover.

Camera Film

Your air travels shouldn’t be strictly about business! In fact, many business travelers consider their trips an opportunity to get work done and discover new places. If you’re planning to sightsee in your off hours, you’ll want to bring a camera along.

If you’re using a cell phone or digital camera to capture memories, don’t worry about packing it with your checked bags. If you’re using film, however, you may want to think twice. The x-ray machine can damage your camera’s film.

If you’re concerned about protecting your camera film, keep your camera with you and ask the TSA not to put it through the x-ray machine, as you go through security. This way, you’ll be sure to get the perfect picture.

Your House or Car Keys


When you’re preparing for a business trip, a million things can on your mind. Did you bring all of the necessary documents? Are you prepared for your meetings and presentations? How easy will it be to find your way around the new city?

In all the hustle and bustle, one thing is likely to slip your mind: how you’ll get back home. If you toss your house or car keys into your checked baggage, getting home may be harder than anticipated.

Keep your keys in a place where they’re unlikely to get moved. For example, many business travel cases contain zipper pockets. Place your keys safely inside, and you’ll always know where they are. It’s a simple measure that can keep you from calling AAA after your return flight.

Your Laptop (Maybe)

Most of us use computer devices daily. But the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in some of the devices can cause problems when traveling. In fact, the FAA has considered banning certain devices from plane cabins, after hearing stories of cell phones spontaneously combusting.

However, the rules for lithium-ion batteries aren’t consistent everywhere you go. According to the BBC, the UN banned lithium batteries in cargo holds in 2016, after too many batteries that were grouped together ignited, causing devastating fires in several passenger aircrafts.

Before you travel, check the regulations for your airline, your country, and your destination. If you can bring a battery-powered computer with you, be sure to place it in a high-quality carrying case to protect it from bumps and jolts that could happen in the narrow confines of passenger jets.

Pack Smart

Business air travel can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. If you take time to plan carefully, pack smart, and give yourself time to navigate the airport, it can actually be enjoyable.

By keeping the items above out of the cargo hold, you can avoid several scenarios that no air traveler whether traveling for business or pleasure wants to encounter.

If you need business travel cases to start packing for your trip, check out our fine selection of cases for business travelers today.

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