Packing for a trip and not sure what to do with your bottles of Lotion, Shampoo, and the like? Should you load them in your checked luggage, or can you take them in your carry-on? And how much liquid can you bring on a plane? or how many ounces can you carry on the plane anyway?
You’re at the right place if you’ve got all these questions. We’re here to help you learn and understand all about packing liquids for your trip.
In general, all you need to remember is the 3-1-1 Rule, which means you can bring 3.4 fl ounces (100 milliliters) or less for each container in one quart-sized bag, and only one bag is allowed per person.
We break it down further in this blog post.
How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Carry On A Plane?
Who Sets The Rules For How Much Liquids To Bring On A Plane?
In 2022, the number of passengers traveled through US airports reached 853 million, which is an increase of 30% compared to 2021.
And do you know who is in charge to ensure all these passengers are safe and fly with ease?
Yes it is the TSA ( The Transportation Security Administration ).
They are responsible for making sure it’s safe for people to travel on commercial flights—whether they are passengers or crew members.
They also set the rules for what you can and cannot bring on a plane including liquids.
What Are the TSA Liquid Rules?
As you might know, liquids are VIPs at the security checkpoint. The TSA has a dedicated rule for them, it is called the TSA 3-1-1 liquids rule.
The 3-1-1 Rule
The TSA Liquid Rule, also known as the 3-1-1 Rule, allows each passenger to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 fl ounces (100 milliliters) or less.
Liquids, gels, pasts and aerosols you pack must go in one clear, plastic, quart-sized bag, which you can load in your carry-on ( limited to one quart sized bag per passenger ).
So it’s easy to take note of what 3-1-1 means remember:
- 3.4– fluid ounce containers in
- 1 clear, plastic, quart-sized bag
- 1 bag per person
What Liquids Are Under the 3-1-1 Rule?
The following liquids are considered liquids under the TSA Rules, meaning you need to pack them according to the 3-1-1 Rule:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Shaving cream
- Perfume and cologne
- Contact lens solution
- Liquid or gel-filled capsules (such as medicine or dietary supplements)
- Liquid or aerosol deodorant
- Beverages (water, juices, etc.)
- Liquid food like soups and sauces
- Jam and jelly
You can always ind a list of the liquids in the TSA official website, if you don’t find the item you can snap a quick pic for it and Tweet it with your question on X (formerly Titter ) to AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger and they will respond as long as fast as they can.
You can also call the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673.
Are There Any Exceptions To The 3-1-1 Rule?
While the TSA 3-1-1 Liquid rule limits you to 3.4 fl ounces of liquids, there are always some exceptions, which allows you to bring quantities larger than 3.4 ounces, such as the following:
- Medications ( prescription, over-the-counter medications, medical devices )
- Baby formula and food (formula, breast milk, baby food)
- Duty-free items (liquids, gels, aerosols purchased in the duty-free shops after the security checkpoint)
If you have a TSA PreCheck you don’t need to remove your liquids from your carry-on bags and place them in a separate tray to go through the x-ray screeningTSA
How Are These Items Handled at Security Checkpoints?
When you go to the airport carrying items that are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule -especially mediations and baby formula-, you will need to inform the TSA officer, that you are taking these liquid.
The TSA clerks will typically screen them using the X-ray, but TSA officers may also test them separately for added security measures.
Tips for Packing Liquids When Flying on an Airplane
Worried about getting the 3-1-1 Rule right when packing? Here are some tips to help:
How to Pack Your Liquids According to the TSA Rules
- Use travel-sized containers. If your liquids originally belong in a large container, buy smaller, travel-sized containers that comply with TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule and transfer them there.
- Seal containers tightly. The last thing you want happening is all your liquids spilling out and creating one giant, sticky mess in your bag. Consider wrapping each item in extra plastic, ziplock, or cling wrap to protect your things better.
- Separate your liquids for inspection. If ever you may have to undergo additional checks, it will be hard to rummage around your bag to look for your pack of liquids. Keep them in an accessible part of your bag so they’re easy to remove.
How to Minimize Bringing Liquids While Traveling
You can also try to minimize the amount of liquids you take with you by doing any of the following:
- Use solid alternatives. Consider bringing solid toiletries, like a shampoo bar or solid deodorant instead of liquid ones.
- Purchase items at your destination. You can also avoid packing liquids altogether by purchasing toiletries, like shampoo, sunscreen, and lotion, when you arrive at your destination.
What Happens If You Don’t Follow the TSA Liquid Rules?
If you don’t follow the TSA liquid rules, your items may be confiscated at the security checkpoint.
You’ll likely have to dispose of your items or place them in your checked luggage. If you don’t have checked bags, you may have to throw them away.
In some cases, you may even be subject to additional screening, which is a hassle and could cause delays. You may even end up being late for your flight.
Additionally, if you’re bringing prohibited items, you could face fines or even arrest, depending on the severity of your violation.
It’s best to familiarize yourself with TSA’s liquid rules before you go on your trip.
Pack your liquids in compliance with those rules. If you are unsure if an item is allowed, it’s best to pack it in your checked luggage or leave it at home.
1: When packed in a carry-on bag, liquid items must be 3.4 ounces or less. The containers must fit comfortably in a single, quart-sized resealable bag containing your other travel-sized liquids, gels and aerosols. You may pack as many liquid items…— AskTSA (@AskTSA) July 5, 2023
What If I Need to Bring More Than the Allowed Amount of TSA’s Liquid Rules?
If you need to bring more than the allowed amount, here are some things you can do.
- Pack them in your checked luggage. There are no restrictions on liquids in checked bags, so you can pack your liquids there if they exceed the 3-1-1 Rule. Pack them securely so they don’t spill and make a mess of your things.
- Ship them ahead of time. You can consider shipping your liquids to your destination ahead of time. It may be more expensive than checking them in your luggage, but it can be more convenient, especially if you are bringing plenty of liquids.
- Request a medical exception. If you have a medical condition that requires you to carry more than the allowed amount of liquid, you can request a medical exception. You will need to provide documentation from a medical professional to support your request.
Final Thoughts: Why We Need to Follow TSA’s Liquid Rules
TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule exists for safety reasons.
It’s best to comply with them to avoid issues when you go through the security checkpoint. They aren’t hard to remember and follow. Just remember the 3-1-1 Rule!
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