Rules on carry-on liquids on airplanes

Travel On The Dollar
June 23, 2011  •  3 min(s) read

Bag dimensions
Bag dimensions
As we all know, there are rules for carrying liquids on airplanes and security is very tight. So what kind of every-day use liquids can or cannot be carried inside the airplane. Although most everyday use liquids of any size can be packed in your check-in baggage, TSA website reminds us of the 3-1-1 rule which is “3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.”

Most grocery stores carry travel-sized version of all daily use liquids – hair gel, shampoo, etc. TSA also points out that under the “liquid medication” provision, one can carry more than 3 oz. (ounces) of liquids with them, for example – contact lens solution.

This caveat allows for liquids to be packed in your carry-on bag as long as they are for a medical purpose. You also need to not put them in the usual quart-sized bag and should declare them to the security officer when you go through security.

Here’s the verbiage from the TSA’s policy page:

  • All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;
  • Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;
  • Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
  • Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,
  • Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.

For short trips, as mentioned in our tips, contact lens cases with screw-on lids make great container for small quantities of hair gel, eye make-up remover, or oils for one week’s worth. They’re small and they don’t leak.

TSA 3-1-1 Rule
TSA 3-1-1 Rule

Here’s a list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or just don’t carry them:

  • Cologne and Perfume
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gift baskets with food items
  • Salsa and salad dressings
  • Gravy
  • Jams and Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snowglobes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

For more information see Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions on TSA website.

Travel On The Dollar