Hazardous materials forbidden on airplanes

If you have even been on a plane, then you know how restrictive they can be about the things you can carry in. There are many reasons for it – the first one, obviously, is the safety of you and all the other passengers on the plane. Then, there are various rules that countries enforce, as well as limits that the company itself will put on you. The same rules apply when you are shipping items, really. There are a lot of restrictions in air cargo that you need to be aware of if you want to ship something by plane. From the dangerous items to the hazardous materials, some things you just will not be allowed to store in a plane. Others you might be able to pack in smaller amounts. But what are those things? Well, read the article to find out.

Hazardous materials and items containing them

There cannot really be one comprehensive list that will tell you what you can and cannot ship on an airplane. This is because there are various variables involved in every move. The shipping depends on its starting and ending destination, on the company you are using for flight, as well as the air freight forwarders that are taking care of your shipment. However, there are some items and groups of items, that are usually banned or restricted in every shipment. These include:

  • alcoholic beverages,
  • breakable items,
  • computers and electronics (and the hazardous materials they have within them) and
  • firearms.

Let us examine each of these in greater detail, and see why they are forbidden, and what you are expected to do when handling them.

Companies usually apply many restrictions to alcoholic beverages

If you ever had a wish of sharing some home-made alcoholic beverage with your friends or family, then you know that you cannot ship it through the USPS internationally. So, you can imagine how hard it can become to ship these by plane. First, you will need to get a special license, if you want to ship it through FedEx, for example. UPS, on the other hand, will ship alcohol – but not to the consumers.

Bottles of alcohol - hazardous materials or not?
You cannot transport more than a few bottles of alcohol.

This is because not only alcohol is illegal to minors in the United States, but because it can get very flammable, thus it is considered among the hazardous materials. If you do manage to ship it, you will need to pack it really well. Wrap it with multiple layers so the package doesn’t break. Then, you will also need the Adult Signature Required option on the package in order to send it anywhere. What this means is that the person accepting the item will need to show their ID in order to get the package. Finally, you should not ship more than a few bottles of alcohol per shipment. This is because there are some volume-related requirements that you need to be careful about breaking. You will also need to think about the costs of shipping by air, too.

Breakables are considered hazardous materials too!

This might seem funny, but some moving experts will consider breakable items to be hazardous materials too. This is because said items can break off and then damage other items with their sharp shards. Even worse, they can damage the workers moving the package, or the person opening it, as well.

A box that says fragile.
Be careful with fragile things.

However, you can ship these items via plane. The things you need to worry about, though, is to properly pack them. Get a box that is a couple of inches wider than the item. You will fill up this space with packing peanuts and other materials that will secure your item and cushion it during the travel. You might even consider getting an insurance policy, in case something happens during the transport. Even though cargo export experts are careful with your items, you can never be too safe, right?

Take care of computer and electronics

Now, computers and other, similar electronics are notoriously hard to ship. This is because they have lithium or ion batteries which are hazardous materials by themselves. Add to that other component of these items, and you have yourself a pretty delicate package to ship. As far as the restrictions go on these items, things vary quite a bit. It really all depends on who is your shipping company, and the number of items you are shipping. You need to check these out before every shipment.

A laptop.
Your laptop has dangerous items in it.

As a general guideline, you should leave the batteries inside the device you are shipping. This way, the item itself protects them from some of the outside factors, like bumps or vibrations during travel. However, it is a smart idea to take some insurance for these items nevertheless. Because of this, make sure you talk to your moving company before shipping any electronics.

Firearms and similar items

Just like alcohol, you cannot ship a firearm with the United States Postal Service. However, if you are using another freight forwarder, you will need to look into some special rules and restrictions. The United States Gun Control Act of 1968 controls the shipment of a firearm. This is why FedEx, for example, will ship these between licensed importers. You can, however, ship a gun to an importer which can then ship it to another individual.

If you are moving overseas and what to take your firearm with you, you will not only need to look into the freight forwarders, though. Keep in mind that you will be living in another country, which might have completely different rules and regulations about owning and carrying a weapon, or other hazardous materials. Because of this, you need to do thorough research of the laws in the country before moving.

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