When you’re flying, it can be hard to remember all of the rules associated with checked bags, especially when it comes to objects like liquids, gels, and aerosols.
So, you should know that there is no limit on how much liquid you can put in your checked bags. However, your carry-on bags may only contain up to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of these items.
Transportation Security Administration Guidelines
As stated above, there is no limit to the amount of liquids, gels, and aerosols you can have in your checked luggage. However, the rules for hand luggage are different, and you cannot have more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of liquid in these bags.
The TSA provides a 3-1-1 rule for liquids in carry-on luggage, which states that each passenger can carry up to 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of liquid as long as they fit into a single one quart-sized bag. You also can only bring one of these quart-sized containers to carry liquid, even if it is less than the allowable amount.
Also, liquids such as aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes less than 100 ml won’t be subject to further inspection at the security checkpoint.
Allowable Liquids in Checked Luggage
You can pack all your toiletries that are liquids, gels, and aerosols inside your checked bag, including other vital items.
You can bring the following common liquids inside your checked bag:
- Cosmetics – such as concealer or lip gloss
- Pressurized deodorants, foams, or sprays
- Toothpaste or mouthwash
- Lotions and sunscreens
- Hair and shower gel
- Liquid form food
Additionally, alcoholic beverages are allowed in checked bags as long as they are less than 70% alcohol by volume (ABV) or below 140 proof. Just remember that alcohol must be in its original unopened retail packaging, or it won’t make it through the TSA’s screening process.
The same rules concerning other liquids apply to alcohol, so you can bring as much as you want in your checked bag, but only a single one-quart size bag is allowed in checked luggage. Also, you can not bring alcohol above 24% ABV in your carry-on bag.
The TSA also allows rubbing alcohol in checked bags, but it can only be up to 18 oz based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s liquid limit for this material.
Furthermore, at the security checkpoint, you will need to separate your liquids from your other belongings and put them in another tray for checking in the x-ray machines.
Prohibited Liquids for Checked Luggage
According to TSA liquids rules, passengers cannot carry flammable liquids or any hazardous materials, such as liquid explosives, inside their checked luggage.
The following items are prohibited liquids with some specific restrictions:
- Alcohol exceeding 70% ABV
- Flammable liquids
- Lighter fluid and lighter gases
- Lysol Spray
- Aerosol paints and thinners
How About Medication and Necessities for Infants?
The TSA limits medication to pill or solid forms. So, if you have medically necessary liquids in your checked baggage, you have to tell security officers about them so they can go through the required screening process.
Overall, the TSA will typically recommend packing your medications in your carry-on bags and in one container for convenience.
Other items such as a freezer or ice packs and gel packs must be preserved in a frozen solid or partially-frozen state for screening at the security checkpoint.
For infants’ needs, TSA’s rules are different for children 12 years old and younger. For example, breast milk, formula, baby food, and juice are allowed in carry-on luggage and do not count towards the 3.4-ounce rule as long as you pack them in reasonable quantities. Also, passengers cannot bring baby formula or infant products for other people.
If you bring breast milk or any liquids that exceed the liquid limits allowed in carry-ons, you need to separate them from the rest of your carry-on baggage for additional screening.
You can also bring solid food items for your children in any of your bags if you wish.
Tips for Packing Liquids in Checked Bags
- Pack your liquids carefully and securely in your checked baggage. When you pack liquids, make sure to use transparent travel-size containers. If possible, pack each container in a plastic bag, like a Ziplock.
- If you decide to use bottles to pack liquids, wrap the lids to prevent leakage. Then, secure the bottle with bubble wrap to keep the liquid from staining the items you packed in your baggage.
- On some flights, you have to place both travel-size containers and wrapped bottles in a resealable bag, so make sure to use a tamper-evident bag to ensure that the liquids are safe when they reach security.
- For breakables such as wine bottles, you should pack them using bubble wrap or styrofoam. The safest way to pack liquids in checked baggage is to use sealable padded bags together with the wrap to prevent spillage and breakage.
- You should carefully pack items in your carry-on bags and checked baggage because spills can damage other items.
- You should also know that carrying colored liquids, like nail polish, can pose a problem because they can cause damage to other items inside your checked baggage. It might be a good idea to refrain from bringing colored liquids to avoid staining your belongings and bags.
International Flight Travel Tips
TSA rules state that passengers can bring duty-free liquids in their carry-ons as long as they are within the 3.4 oz liquid limit and packed securely, like in a wrapped bottle. For checked bags, there are no limits as long as the contents do not contain any hazardous material.
Additional rules for duty-free liquids in carry-on bags include:
- When delivered to TSA for screening, you have to place the liquids in a transparent, safe, tamper-evident bag that shows no signs of tampering.
- According to the original receipt, you have to have purchased the liquids within the last 48 hours.
Other Items that Fall Within the 3-1-1 Rule
Some people might be confused about what qualifies as a liquid under the 3-1-1 rule.
Any liquid substance that can be spread, smeared, or sprayed, such as peanut butter, moisturizers, and hairspray, is subject to the rules for liquids in checked luggage.
TSA rules are also applicable to things like toiletry aerosols, hand sanitizer, liquid vitamins, and cartridges for e-cigarettes.
Liquids that fall into these categories must follow the 3-1-1 rule.
Bringing liquids during travel doesn’t have to be a problem as long as you narrow your carry-on choices to the most urgent needs.
Check with the Airline or Embassy
Even though the Transportation Security Administration provides guidelines on the amount of liquid that passengers can bring in their luggage, it’s still essential to check the airline’s particular rules on liquids in checked baggage and carry-on luggage.
Furthermore, different countries have varying rules for liquids on international flights. So, check the airline regulations of your destination to make sure you will encounter no problems with the liquids in checked baggage.
You should also be careful with planning what liquids to bring in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage because countries like the USA have liquor import regulations and others, like Saudi Arabia, have a complete ban on alcoholic beverages.
These are the quick tips for traveling with liquids that will make your trips a bit easier. However, it will be helpful to conduct additional research since rules change from time to time.
You should also think about buying travel-sized containers that abide by TSA criteria for your carry-on bags. Additionally, carry liquids in reasonable quantities in your carry-on and checked luggage and wrap them securely to ensure none spill in your bag.
Observing utmost care when packing liquids for your checked baggage is also a great idea because there are different rules for each kind of liquid. For example, medications and infant needs are special categories with unique guidelines. Therefore, it always helps to make a list beforehand so you can add or reduce the liquid items you’ll be bringing as you see fit.
Table of Contents
- Transportation Security Administration Guidelines
- Allowable Liquids in Checked Luggage
- Prohibited Liquids for Checked Luggage
- How About Medication and Necessities for Infants?
- Tips for Packing Liquids in Checked Bags
- International Flight Travel Tips
- Other Items that Fall Within the 3-1-1 Rule
- Check with the Airline or Embassy