Eight Surprising Reasons Why You Could Be Detained at the Airport

When packing for a trip, it's important to check the travel rules. Thus, you can avoid some inconveniences caused by carelessness. Here are some reasons why you can be detained at the airport, reports the BBC.

Each country has a list of prohibited items in luggage. Photo shutterstock (Archive)

Expired or damaged travel documents

Travel document rules vary by company and country. In order to board the plane without problems, the travel documents must not be expired and in many cases they must be valid for a certain period before they expire. The rationale behind these regulations is that if the flight back to your home country happens to be delayed, you can board the plane. For example, countries such as Thailand, Nepal and Turkey require passport validity of six months from entry into the country, while most European Union countries require three months and New Zealand requires one month from the intended date of departure.

Also, don't forget to check that the photo and data are visible and clear. Any tear or damage caused by water could prevent you from boarding the plane until other documents are issued.

Travel documents can be worth more than a passport. Some countries require additional documents regarding previous travel, parental consent (when traveling with a minor), vaccination documents or proof of accommodation during the stay.

Items prohibited in baggage

Many travelers may think that as long as they are not traveling with illegal substances, their luggage is fine. It's not like that. Prohibited items can range from obscene objects to firearms. Every country has a list of prohibited items, and some of them may surprise you.

India prohibits “the maps and books in which the external boundaries of India are shown incorrectlyt”, while Japan prohibits “books, drawings, sculptures and any other article likely to be prejudicial to public safety or moral conduct“.

Large amounts of cash or undeclared valuables

In most countries, including the US, you must declare or notify government officials when you enter or leave the country with large amounts of money, often over $10,000, or valuables worth more than this the amount. Jewelry, luxury clothing, and even electronic devices could also fall into this category.

Prescription drugs

In 2022, the International Narcotics Control Board published a list of travel rules related to drugs containing controlled substances, but it is by no means complete. If you plan to travel with medication, you will need to confirm that the ingredients are permitted in the country you are traveling to.

Some are allowed with a medical prescription, but others are completely prohibited. For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in over-the-counter Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico.

Failure to comply with the laws of the destination country can have serious consequences.

Undeclared plants, pets or exotic animals

Quite simply, there are restrictions on bringing any living thing into another country. Plants, pets, and other animals fall into this category.

When it comes to pets, rules and regulations vary by airline, country and even time of year.

Anything flammable or explosive

Things that burn – cigarettes, lighters and vaping devices – are generally restricted on most airlines, which provide instructions on how to carry them safely if you do.

Also, fireworks, even the smallest firecrackers, are not allowed on planes.

Flying under the influence of alcohol

If ground staff or cabin crew believe you have had too much to drink and are a danger, then you may be denied boarding.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “boarding a passenger who appears to be intoxicated is a violation of Section 121.575 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR)This makes ground staff responsible for stopping anyone who may have had too much to drink before take off.

On board, according to US federal law, passengers are prohibited from consuming alcoholic beverages that have not been served by a flight attendant.

Remember, alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited in some countries, where you can be detained or arrested if you are under the influence of alcoholic beverages or have them in your luggage.

Unpaid fines, arrest warrants, or unpaid child support

Although every case is different, unresolved legal issues could derail your travel plans. In many countries, airport security and immigration officials can access various databases to identify people with criminal records and arrest warrants.