Carry-On Luggage: What's Allowed

This is from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

While we try to keep this up to date, go to the TSA site for an up-to-date and full list of permitted and prohibited items (medications, electronics, weapons, etc.).

Air travelers may now carry (in certain amounts) liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on bags. Here's a good page for info on the how-to on containers, 3 ounces, and those little plastic bags.

With certain exceptions for prescription and over-the-counter medicines, baby formula and breast milk, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, the following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols you want to carry through a security checkpoint.

  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be in three-ounce or smaller containers. Larger containers that are half-full or toothpaste tubes rolled up are not allowed. Each container must be three ounces or smaller.
  • All liquids, gels and aerosols must be placed in a single, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag. Gallon size bags or bags that are not zip-top such as fold-over sandwich bags are not allowed. Each traveler can use only one, quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag.
  • Each traveler must remove their quart-sized plastic, zip-top bag from their carry-on and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt for X-ray screening. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

If you need larger amounts of liquids, gels and aerosols such as toothpaste or shampoo, please place them in your luggage and check them with your airline.

Liquids, Gels and Aerosols With No Limits

To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers there are no limits on the amounts of the following liquids, gels and aerosols you may carry through a security checkpoint:

  • Baby formula and breast milk if a baby or small child is traveling;
  • All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including KY 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,
  • Gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items used by persons with disabilities or medical conditions.

You are not limited in the amount or volume of these above items you may bring in your carry-on baggage. However, if these items are in containers larger than three ounces, please perform the following:

  1. Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
  2. Declare you have the items to one of the TSA Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
  3. Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.

Want more? Go to tips from frequent fliers and travel experts:

Updated: 3/2010