What happens to items confiscated from passengers at the airport?

What happens to items that are confiscated during security checks? Is there a way to recover confiscated items?

Objects with sharp edges and cosmetics are typically confiscated [WCIV]

Scissors, files, pocket knives, matches, shampoos, jams and yoghurts, and even construction tools or car parts - you cannot take these items with you on board the plane.

Anyone who has ever been to an airport has seen large containers full of scissors, files and other sharp tools.

Why do scissors and cosmetics end up in these containers after baggage inspection? It's about the safety and comfort of all people on board the plane. Have you ever wondered what happens to them later?


Airport employees confiscate all objects with sharp edges (penknives, knives, scissors, tweezers with sharp tips, corkscrews and files), magnets and batteries, explosive, flammable and toxic substances. You cannot have sticks, weapons (firearms and long weapons) and large items, e.g. construction tools or car parts, in your hand luggage.

Containers with gels, liquids and aerosols with a capacity exceeding 100 ml cannot be brought on board the plane (a total of 1 litre of liquids can be carried in hand luggage). The exceptions are medicines, fluids for children and the elderly, e.g. formula, and products purchased in the duty-free zone (with a receipt). Beverage bottles and open, opaque cosmetic containers can end up in the trash.

The same will happen with yoghurts, jams, etc., but chocolate, meats and cheeses, sweets, sandwiches, vegetables and fruit are allowed as long as they come from EU countries. Meanwhile, in the USA and Australia, it is completely forbidden to bring most vegetables, fruits, seeds and animal products in luggage.


Prohibited items are confiscated during inspection of hand luggage. Each piece of luggage is x-rayed and checked by security control operators. If a prohibited item is found in your baggage, you must decide what to do with it before you can board the plane.

The operator presents the traveller with several options to choose from. The first one is free item deposit for up to 24 hours at the airport point. The item can be collected from such a point either by the passenger or by the person indicated by him in the deposit protocol.

The second option is to check in the items in checked baggage. The third option is to give the item to the people escorting you to the flight, says Tomasz Lenart, passenger service manager at Wrocław Airport, in an interview with Onet.

The fourth option is to throw the prohibited item into a special basket located at the checkpoint.

"This basket is specially constructed, i.e. an item can only be thrown into it, and it is closed. When the contents of the bin are full, it is emptied by commission," explains Lenart.


What happens to banned items after they end up in the trash? It depends on the country we are in. Within the European Union, all confiscated items are placed in special containers. When the bins are full, everything is disposed of.

Different rules apply, for example, in New Zealand , where some confiscated items can be reused. The New Zealand Aviation Security Service donates items such as scissors, camping tools and equipment to charities, care homes and schools. Batteries, lighters, food and cosmetics - i.e. items that cannot be recycled - are disposed of.

According to Lenart, only a small proportion of items are thrown away by passengers.

"At our airport, according to information from the Airport Security Guard, there are few items to be disposed of, because passengers decide on other options, e.g. handing over or sending the item," he says.



This article was originally published on Onet Travel.


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