Can You Take a Deck of Cards on a Plane? Your Ultimate Guide

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Can You Take a Deck of Cards on a Plane? Your Ultimate GuidePicture this: you’re all set for a long flight, and you realize you’ve forgotten your trusty deck of cards to help pass the time. Panic sets in, but before you start frantically searching for answers, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll explore if you can take a deck of cards on a plane and share some tips to make your flight experience as smooth as possible.


  • Yes, you can take a deck of cards on a plane, according to TSA guidelines.
  • Playing cards are great for passing the time on long flights.
  • Only 26 decks of playing cards were confiscated by TSA in 2019.
  • Learn some unique card games to keep you entertained.
  • Pack smart and keep your cards accessible.

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TSA Rules: Can You Bring Cards on a Plane?

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), playing cards are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage. This means you can easily bring your favorite deck of cards on your next flight without any issues. As travel expert Johnny Jet says, “Playing cards are a great way to pass the time on a long flight, and luckily they’re allowed on planes.”

Card Confiscations: A Rare Occurrence

In 2019, TSA officers screened approximately 813 million passengers and found over 4,000 firearms in carry-on bags. However, only 26 decks of playing cards were confiscated. This statistic demonstrates that carrying cards on planes is generally hassle-free, and you shouldn’t worry about your deck being taken away.

Unique Card Games to Keep You Entertained

Now that you know you can bring cards on a plane, why not learn some new games to keep you entertained during your flight? Here are a few lesser-known card games to try out:

  • Cribbage
  • Skat
  • Piquet
  • Durak

Pack Smart and Keep Your Cards Accessible

When packing for your flight, make sure to keep your deck of cards easily accessible. This will save you the hassle of digging through your carry-on in search of entertainment. Consider placing them in a small zippered pouch or the front pocket of your carry-on bag.

Kevin’s Insider Tips

As an experienced travel journalist, I’ve spent countless hours on planes and know a thing or two about making flights more enjoyable. Here are some of my insider tips:

  • Bring a travel-sized card mat or tray to keep cards from sliding around during play.
  • Invest in a durable, high-quality deck of cards that can withstand frequent use and potential spills.
  • Practice card games solo or with a travel companion before your flight to make the most of your in-flight entertainment.
  • Consider downloading card game apps on your phone or tablet as a backup option.
  • Experiment with different card decks, such as ones featuring unique artwork or themes, to keep things interesting.
  • If you’re flying with children, bring age-appropriate card games to keep them entertained.
  • Make friends with fellow passengers by inviting them to join in a card game or teaching them a new one.
  • Learn some card tricks or magic to impress your fellow travelers and pass the time.

Why Card Games are a Travel Essential

Card games are a travel essential for many reasons. They’re lightweight, portable, and offer endless entertainment possibilities. Here are some of the benefits of bringing a deck of cards on your travels:

  • Compact and lightweight: A deck of cards takes up minimal space and adds virtually no weight to your luggage.
  • Versatile: With just one deck of cards, you can play countless games, suitable for all ages and skill levels.
  • Social: Card games are a great way to bond with travel companions or make new friends on your journey.
  • Unplugged entertainment: Playing cards provide a break from screens and help you stay present in the moment.
  • Budget-friendly: A deck of cards is a low-cost investment that can provide hours of entertainment.

The History of Playing Cards in Air Travel

Playing cards have a long history in air travel. In the early days of commercial aviation, airlines often provided passengers with complimentary decks of cards to keep them entertained during flights. These branded decks often featured the airline’s logo or other promotional material, making them collectible items for aviation enthusiasts. Today, while complimentary playing cards are less common, many travelers continue to bring their own decks to pass the time on flights.


1. Can I bring other board games or card games on a plane?

Yes, most board games and card games are allowed on planes in both carry-on and checked luggage. However, always check the TSA guidelines for specific items and any restrictions.

2. Are there any restrictions on the type of playing cards I can bring on a plane?

There are no specific restrictions on the type of playing cards you can bring on a plane. However, avoid bringing any items that could be seen as potentially harmful or offensive.

3. Can I play card games with other passengers on the plane?

Yes, you can play card games with other passengers, as long as you’re not disturbing others or breaking any airline rules. Always be mindful of the people around you and the space you have available.

4. Can I bring poker chips or other card game accessories on a plane?

Yes, poker chips and other card game accessories are generally allowed on planes in both carry-on and checked luggage. However, always check the TSA guidelines for specific items and any restrictions.

5. How can I keep my cards in good condition while traveling?

To keep your cards in good condition, consider investing in a sturdy card case or box, and store them in a safe, easily accessible location in your carry-on bag.

6. Can I bring a travel-sized chess or checkers set on a plane?

Yes, travel-sized chess or checkers sets are typically allowed on planes in both carry-on and checked luggage. However, always check the TSA guidelines for specific items and any restrictions.

7. Are there any card games specifically designed for air travel?

While there aren’t card games explicitly designed for air travel, many compact and portable card games are well-suited for playing on planes. Look for games with minimal components and straightforward rules for easy in-flight play.


In summary, yes, you can take a deck of cards on a plane without any issues. Just remember to pack smart, keep your cards accessible, and learn some unique card games to make your flight more enjoyable. 

Bringing a deck of cards on a plane is not only allowed but also highly recommended for a more enjoyable flight experience. Take advantage of this versatile, lightweight, and social form of entertainment during your next trip. With countless games to learn and play, your flight will be over before you know it! Happy travels!

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