Carry on Liquids on Airplanes | TSA Carryon Ruls for Liquids

Liquids in Your Carry-On: Everything You Need to Know

August 9, 2013

So you’re going on a trip? Whether you find packing a joy or a tedious displeasure of a task that you are forced to partake in, at the end of the day, before you step on that plane, we all must do it. After you’ve overcome the problem of what shoes to take comes the big one… Liquids in your carry-on. You know the basic idea, but what really are all the rules? We’re here to help you out.

311liquidsThe 3-1-1 Rule
We’ve all heard of this rule or read something about it while going through security, but you probably don’t know what it is exactly. Well, for starters, it’s a bit of false advertising. The 3-1-1 rule is actually the 3.4-1-1 rule. This rule describes what liquids (including aerosols, gels, creams, etc.) you’re allowed to bring in your carry-on.

  • 3.4 = bottles must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less
  • 1 = 1 quart size transparent plastic sealable bag
  • 1 = 1 bag per passenger


Exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule
There are a few exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule. If you have a medical condition or are a parent of a baby or small child you are allowed to bring certain items in excess of the 3.4 oz.

Medical Conditions and Prescriptions
There are a wide variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, aerosols, etc.) that can be brought in a carry-on that are not limited to 3.4 oz containers, however, if the item is larger and not in your quart sized bag it must be declared for inspection. TSA says these are allowed in reasonable quantities, so if you are going on a long trip and have packed medications in excess, save yourself the trouble and check it.

travel-blog-traveling-baby-plane-3Parents of Babies and Small Children
TSA has recently recognized and put into effect extra measures to help parents better care for their children while flying. They are allowed to bring baby formula/food (in jars or cans), milk and juice in quantities greater than 3.4 oz as long as it isn’t in excess. They can carry gel or liquid-filled teethers for babies. Also allowed are creams, medicines, or other essential items for your children. Although they don’t need to fit in the single quart sized bag, they do need to be declared for inspection. You can read more in detail about traveling with children at TSA’s website.

What is considered a liquid?
This is a complicated question because in TSA’s world, they are now considering cream, and sprays and peanut butter as a liquid. Watch out for those gel inserts too! I’ll give you a quick rundown of what to watch out for, but when in doubt, put it in your checked bag. If you’re not checking a bag and you can’t live without it, consider sending it home. It’ll save you a headache.

Here’s a list of food items not allowed (unless under 3.4 oz):

  • Creamy dips & spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • banned-peanut-butterCranberry sauce
  • Salsa
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oils and Vinegars
  • Salad Dressing
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Wine, Liquor, Beer

For a complete list of foods (and gift items) not allowed, check out TSA’s website.

Snow Globes
Snow globes are a pesky souvenir. Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful, and give you great memories, but quite difficult to deal with in travel. You can read many different things online trying to figure out how to deal with them in your carry-on. Some places say if that if the snow globe is under a certain size and can fit in your quart sized bag you can carry it on, but I say check it or leave it. In case you didn’t know, the liquid in snow globes can’t be trusted by TSA, and you are almost guaranteed to get it confiscated at the airport. Too many people end up having to part with these memories at security because there’s no way to measure the exact size of the liquid inside. Like I said: pesky. It’s better to play it safe.

You are allowed to bring food through security. Airport food is expensive. Save your money and pick up something before you get there or make and bring food to have on the plane. Also, you can’t bring a water bottle – with water – through security, but I don’t suggest buying one once you get through. TSA has no problem with empty water bottles, so bring one and fill it up at one of the many water fountains you’ll find. Be practical and save your money for your destination.

Insider Tip
Spend a few dollars and buy a TSA compliant zippered carry on for liquids (ex. made by Travelon for under $10). These hold up better to the wear and tear of travel than 1 quart zip-lock bags. Plus, they seem to hold more containers and liquids.

While TSA seems to be loosening their restrictions a bit, their still are many we must follow. To find out more information about the prohibited items of both carry-on and check bags, feel free to visit TSA’s website. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or to talk to one of our flight specialists about booking your trip today.

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