TSA Carry On Liquid Size Rules, TSA 3-1-1 Rules

TSA Carry On Liquid Size Rules, TSA 3-1-1 Rules

The safety of passengers is the utmost concern of aviation authorities, and that’s where the role of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) comes into the picture. Passengers are not allowed to take everything on a plane due to security issues. In fact, there are certain guidelines associated with most of the items that are allowed.

What are the Carry On Liquid Size Rules Defined by TSA?

So, are you too fed up with leaving your favorite cosmetics and toiletries at home when you travel? Although the TSA guidelines on liquid size limits can be confusing and unpleasant, you can make the most of your carry-on liquids while still adhering to the restrictions by staying cautious.

This guide will give you all the advice you need to make the most of your carry-on liquids, from selecting the appropriate containers to packing thoughtfully. You can surely travel without any difficulty as you bid farewell to the burden of leaving your favorite things behind.

What Size Liquid Can You Carry on a Plane?

According to the TSA, the size of liquid carry on must be as per the 3-1-1 rule. If you wish to pack a liquid, gel, or aerosol item in your carry-on bag, you need to bring it within the defined limit.

  1. First of all, you must pour the item into a container whose capacity must be less than or up to 3.4 ounces, which means 100 ml. Well, you can also pour the liquid item into more than one container, but the total capacity of those containers must not exceed 3.4 ounces. This is the limit defined for the capacity of containers, no matter whether you pour 2.8 ounces or 3.2 ounces of liquid in them. This is on the basis of one liquid item. You can bring more than one liquid item on board.
  2. Then the containers must be packed in a single transparent quart-sized bag with a zip lock. The size is usually 6X9 inches.
  3. Now the quart-sized bag will go in your carry-on bag or hand luggage.

Decoding the TSA 3-1-1 Liquid Rule

Many of you must be wondering why is it called the 3-1-1 rule. Let’s decode the same.

  1. At first, 3 means the total capacity limit defined for containers i.e., 3.4 ounces.
  2. The first 1 denotes one quart-sized bag in which you need to pack the containers.
  3. The second 1 in 3-1-1 defines the number of quart-sized bags allowed to be taken, which is only 1 bag permitted in your carry-on luggage.

Liquid and Gel Items Allowed on a Plane

The TSA liquid limit is in effect for all liquids and gel-based items, which may also contain aerosol. This includes toiletries, personal care items, and makeup products.

Some of the items are given below:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Lotion
  • Moisturizer
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen (maybe in spray form)
  • Hairspray
  • Hair gel
  • Foundation
  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner
  • Nail polish
  • Perfume
  • Cologne

Note: Medications, including liquid, gel, and aerosol inhalers, are allowed in larger quantities, but they must be declared at the security checkpoint.

Food Items Allowed on a Plane

Food Items Allowed on a Plane

Take a look at some of the liquid or gel-based food items below, allowed by the TSA within defined limits, in the case of carry-on bags.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Liquid coffee
  • Creamy dips and spreads
  • Hummus
  • Gravy items
  • Honey
  • Ice cream
  • Creamy cheese
  • Jam and jelly
  • Soup
  • Yogurt
  • Juices
  • Maple syrup
  • Salsa and sauces
  • Oil and vinegar
  • Peanut butter
  • Salad dressing
  • Pet food in wet form
  • Soda

Important: Exemptions to TSA 3-1-1 Liquid Rule

The TSA understands the needs of travelers in certain scenarios wherein they have to carry medicines and other items, as suggested by medical experts. Hence, there are two situations when passengers are allowed to take liquids without following the 3-1-1 rule.

Let’s take a look.

Case 1: Liquid Medications or Medically Necessary Liquids

You can pack liquid medicines and other liquid products to be used for skin care, hair care, etc., in containers weighing more than 3.4 ounces, only if you have been prescribed the same by a medical expert or your doctor. These are called “Medically Necessary Liquids” by the TSA and need not be packed in a quart-sized bag.

You must report any medication or medical supplies that weigh more than 3.4 ounces at the security checkpoint. To prove that the things are necessary, you can be asked for more evidence, like a doctor’s note or a prescription. To prevent any confusion during security screening, it is advised to carry these products separately from your other liquids and label them for clear identification.

Additionally, if you are sure that you will require the liquid medication before take-off, during the trip, or after arriving at your destination, you will be excluded from adhering to the 3-1-1 regulation.

You will not be required to abide by the TSA’s liquids regulation, even if you are unable to find this medication in the sterile area of the airport or you are aware that it is also not available where you are travelling to.

Case 2: Infant Food

The TSA classifies baby food, toddler drinks, formula milk, breast milk, etc., also as medically required liquids. You may also bring any of their cooling accessories, such as gel or freezer packs. You are still allowed to bring these items if your child is not travelling with you.

However, you must let the TSA officer know about the same before the checking process starts and remove them for a separate screening. It is recommended to bring them in clear transparent bottles so that verification is simple.

Please be aware that you may need to open the items and that the TSA officials may need to test the liquids. They’ll do this to make sure the objects are devoid of explosives and other things that are strictly not allowed on airplanes.

Are there Similar Rules for Hand Sanitizer?

In the wake of COVID-19, the TSA permits one carry-on bag per passenger to hold up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer container. This is until further notice is issued. So, you must follow the regulation as long as it is in place. You must confirm the same before going on your next air trip, as it may change.

Liquid Regulations for Inbound International Flights

More than 3.4 ounces of duty-free liquids in tamper-evident pouches are permitted in carry-on bags if:

  1. You made the duty-free liquid purchases abroad, and now you’re on a connecting trip to the US.
  2. When you show the liquid item to the TSA officer, it should not seem to have been tampered with. It must have been packaged by the retailer in a transparent, tamper-evident bag and must not exhibit any signs of manipulation.
  3. The liquids were bought within 48 hours, and the original receipt for the purchase must be available with you.

What is the Purpose of TSA Liquid Limit?

Liquid size restrictions have been put in place by the TSA to improve airport security and lower the possibility of explosives being transported onboard aircraft. The regulations cover all liquids, gels, and aerosols brought on board as well as those that are checked. To prevent delays and possible item confiscation, it is crucial to adhere to these rules.

The TSA liquid limit rule is applicable to all liquids, gels, and aerosols that are packed in carry-on bags and checked baggage. Items that are larger than the defined limit must be packed in checked luggage. Both domestic and foreign flights are subject to this restriction. It is crucial to review the specific airport regulations because some airports may have additional limits.

Also, the TSA liquid size limit guideline only applies to the size of the container, not the volume of liquid inside. In other words, even if your container is only filled half, it cannot be taken in your carry-on bag if it is more than 3.4 ounces.

What is Considered a Liquid by TSA?

The TSA provides a straightforward guideline for figuring out what qualifies as a liquid. An item is liquid if it can spray, spread, pour, or spill. Some things might be less clear, such as peanut butter, which is thought of as a gel, or something else, which includes water.

If you are unsure, it is always preferable to stay alert and pack the things in your checked luggage. It is advised to use travel-sized containers that adhere to the TSA liquid size limit requirement to make packing your liquids easier.

The majority of supermarkets, drugstores, and online shops carry these containers. Also, it is advised to label your containers so as to prevent any confusion during security inspection.

Packing Tips for Liquids

Apart from your query on what size liquid can I carry on a plane, we have got you covered with some useful tips to pack your liquid items. Effectively packing your liquids can free up space in your carry-on bag and guarantee that you have all you need for your trip.

The following are some tips for packaging liquids:

  1. Purchase travel-sized containers that adhere to the TSA’s liquid limit. To save space, store your items in these containers.
  2. Consider combining your products rather than packaging each one individually. For instance, you may use a 2-in-1 product to save space rather than packing shampoo and conditioner separately.
  3. Use solid items to save space because they don’t fall under the TSA’s liquid size limit. Examples of solid products are shampoo bars, soap bars etc.
  4. Pack thoughtfully by putting your liquids in a bag or container that can be quickly removed for security inspection. Make sure your liquid items are accessible and easy to find in your bag. Otherwise, it may create a hassle at the security checkpoint and lead to delays.
  5. Your containers should be wrapped in plastic wrap or put in a ziplock bag to prevent spills.
  6. You can use a spray bottle to reduce space and prevent spills. Your liquid product can be taken in a spray bottle.

What to do if TSA Confiscates Your Liquid Item?

It’s critical to keep in mind that the TSA is merely carrying out its mandate to guarantee the safety of all travellers. It’s advisable to adhere to the recommendations and pack your liquids properly to prevent any problems with security screening.

Don’t freak out if your liquid item gets taken away during security screening. You have the following choices:

  1. You can put the item in your checked suitcase if you have the same at that time.
  2. If you have time, send the item via mail to your destination or home.
  3. If everything else fails, you need to throw the item away by placing it in a garbage bin.


That was an all-inclusive guide on what is the liquid size for carry on, curated specially for a smooth travel experience for you. The TSA’s liquid restrictions and regulations might be challenging to understand, but with some awareness and advance planning, you can maximize your carry-on liquids while still adhering to the requirements.

Some flammable and dangerous items in liquid form are prohibited to be brought. You must always check everything on the website of the TSA. You may travel without fuss and efficiently by using the advice provided in this guide.

We also suggest you to always verify the specific regulations for items with the airline you are traveling with. There may also be different rules defined by the state or country you are traveling to. So, collect complete information before you travel.

For any queries, you may also connect with the TSA team through their website or post your question in a tweet, tag the TSA handle @AskTSA to seek quick response. Have a safe journey!

TSA Carry On Liquid Size Rules (FAQs)

Take a look at the following questions based on the Carry On Liquid Size rules defined by the TSA.

What size liquid for carry on is allowed?

As per the TSA, one or more containers of less than or up to 3.4 ounces in total, can be used to hold liquid item. Containers need to be put in a quart-sized, clear plastic bag that can fit in your carry-on bag.

Is 100ml okay for TSA?

Yes, you can pour a liquid item in one or more containers of less than or up to 100 ml or 3.4 ounces (total capacity). This limit is applicable in case you pack liquid items in your cabin baggage.

How can I carry more than 100ml on a plane?

If you wish to take more than 100 ml of a liquid item, you need to pack it in your checked baggage. This is because, in the case of hand luggage, you can pack a liquid item in containers whose capacity does not exceed 100 ml or 3.4 ounces.

Can you bring 150ml on plane?

Yes, you can bring 150ml of a liquid item on a plane, but in your checked luggage. This is due to the fact that liquid items can be packed in hand luggage in containers with a maximum capacity of 100 ml (3.4 oz).

What is the 3-1-1 rule?

As per the 3-1-1 rule by the TSA, you can pour a liquid item into a container or more whose total capacity must be less than or up to 3.4 ounces, which means 100 ml. The containers must be packed in a single transparent quart-sized bag, which will go in your carry-on bag. If you have containers larger than this, you need to pack them in your checked luggage.


    Allie Brueniet
  • Frequent flyers, help a newbie out! I've read conflicting info on whether makeup counts as a liquid in carry-ons. Can someone clarify? Also, any favourite makeup brands with travel-friendly sizes?
  • Guy Michael
  • I'm planning a trip and wanted to know if there are any exceptions to the liquid limit rule for prescription medications in carry-on bags?

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