Travel Tips

5 min read

TSA Liquid Limits: Fly Through with Your Ounces Intact

Ever been stopped by TSA and felt the liquid blues? Discover how to breeze through security with your favorite drinks intact. Wave goodbye to confiscation despair and hello to hydration happiness!

Tobi Miles
August 25, 2022

Nearly every airport experience involves witnessing someone being told they aren’t allowed to bring their bottle of water through the gates. However, fluids aren’t completely forbidden on airplanes. Passengers can bring small amounts of fluids in their carry-on bags.

TSA rules state that passengers can bring fluids that are 3.4 ounces/100 millimeters in carry-on bags. You can bring multiple types of fluids in your bag as long as each one is travel size, which is 3.4 ounces or less. Liquids in larger containers will need to be packed in a checked bag.

Are you interested in learning more about TSA’s rules regarding carrying fluids on a plane? You’ve come to the right page. Today, we’re going to cover everything a passenger should know before packing fluids in their carry-on bag.

How Many Fluid Ounces Can I Bring On A Plane In Total?

Most passengers are able to bring 23.8 to 27.2 fluid ounces on a plane. That is 7 or 8 travel-size bottles. However, TSA’s rules aren’t specifically targeted to the total amount of fluid ounces or small containers.

The rule TSA has regarding total fluid ounces for a carry-on bag is about the volume. All of the containers must fit in a quart-sized bag. If a passenger is traveling with 1-ounce and 2-ounce containers, they will be allowed to bring more than people with 3.4-ounce bottles.

How Many Fluid Ounces Can I Have Per Bottle?

Each bottle is allowed to have up to 3.4 fluid ounces of product in it. This allows travelers to fill each travel-sized container with the exact amount of product they need for their trip. These bottles hold more fluid than most people need for a one-week vacation.

There is a very specific TSA rule regarding the bottles that every traveler should know. Bottles that are larger than 3.4 ounces aren’t allowed in a carry-on bag. This includes larger bottles that are carrying less than 3.4 fluid ounces.

Some products aren’t able to be put into travel-size bottles, like perfumes, and hairsprays. If you can’t find a specific brand in a travel-size edition, you’re not out of luck. Passengers are allowed to put larger bottles in their carry-on bags.

Luckily, many brands make travel-sized versions of their best-selling products. This makes it easier to bring what you want without having to worry if it’s the right size.

Related Read: What Does 100 ml Look Like?

What Does The TSA Consider To Be A Liquid?

The TSA considers any type of substance that is free-flowing to be a liquid. This doesn’t just include watery items. Many pastes and creams are also considered liquid substances. If the substance is viscous, it’s considered a liquid at the airport.

There are quite a few items that travelers don’t realize are considered liquid by TSA. One of the most surprising items to passengers is toothpaste. However, toothpaste is a similar consistency to lotion.

Many cosmetics fall under this category as well. Items like mascara, lip gloss, and nail polish are all liquids. Luckily, most of these products are already in containers that are smaller than 3.4 fluid ounces.

Aerosols are also considered liquids as well. Items like hairspray and shaving cream will only be allowed in your carry-on if they are travel size. If you don’t have travel-sized aerosol products, you must pack them in your checked luggage.

Another thing to consider is food products. Some foods are considered liquid by TSA’s rules. This includes items like applesauce, yogurt, peanut butter, jello, etc. While they may seem like easy snacks to bring to the airport, you may not be able to bring them past the security check.

Sealed jars that contain sauces, condiments, and dips are also considered liquid, even if they haven't been opened. If you buy some local honey or a homemade sauce from a market while traveling, make sure it goes in your carry-on.

Do You Have To Put Liquids In A Plastic Bag?

All of the liquid items you intend to bring in your carry-on must be in a plastic bag. You will need a quart-sized bag that’s clear and can be sealed closed. Each passenger is allowed to bring one plastic bag with fluids inside.

You will need to supply your own plastic bag. It’s important that you have it ready before you check in at the airport. All of your containers containing fluids in your carry-on need to be placed in this bag.

Luckily, you will not have to buy a specific bag for liquids. You can use any quart-sized plastic bag that is see-through. There may even be a suitable size bag in your pantry, such as a resealable freezer bag.

Related Read: How Big Can My Toiletry Bag Be To Fly?

Can I Bring An 8 oz Water Bottle On The Plane?

You won’t be allowed to bring an 8 oz water bottle on the plane. If you arrive with a water bottle, you will have to throw it away at the security gate.

There is only one way to get away with bringing an 8 oz water bottle through the security gates. That’s if the bottle is fully frozen at the time of your arrival. This is really tricky to accomplish because if the ice is even slightly melted, it will count as a liquid.

Passengers can buy water and other beverages at the airport after passing the security gates. They will be allowed to take these items on the plane.

Related Read: Can You Bring a Hydroflask on a Plane?

How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Carry In Checked Luggage?

Passengers are allowed to bring up to 70 fluid ounces (2 liters) in their checked luggage. Each bottle in your checked luggage with liquid can’t exceed 18 ounces. When people exceed the limit, they have to pay to have the extra items shipped back home.

If a person doesn’t want to pay the extra shipping charges, TSA may confiscate the extra items. This is why it’s very important to limit the number of liquid items you pack. Always try to use travel-size bottles when you can.

One tip we have is to only pack the amount of product you need for your time away. In most cases, it will be less than 3.4 fluid oz per item.

How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Put In Your Carry On Luggage?

The maximum amount of 3.4-ounce bottles that a passenger can fit in a quart-bag is 9. This allows you to pack up to 30.6 fluid ounces. The exception to this is when they use smaller containers, as you could fit more.

Keep in mind that the size and shape of the container play a role in how it will fit in the plastic bag. Some passengers have only been able to fit 6 to 8 containers.

One of the best options for being able to fit more bottles in your bag is to fill your own travel-sized containers. Certain brands have add-ons, like bigger caps, that cause their travel-size bottles to take up more room in the bag.

Related Read: Can You Bring A Water Bottle On A Plane?

What Is The TSA 3-1-1 Liquid Rule?

The TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule was put into place to help passengers remember how much liquid they can bring in their carry-on bags. Each number has a role in making it easier to remember while packing.

  • is for the size of the containers/ bottles. They can be no bigger than 3.4 ounces.
  • is for the plastic bag needed to hold all of the bottles of liquid together.
  • is for the number of plastic bags each passenger is allowed. You may only bring one plastic bag with fluids in your carry-on.

How Many Fluid Ounces Can You Bring On An International Flight?

The same rule for using 3.4 fluid ounce containers applies to international flights. You will still be able to bring liquids in the proper sized containers placed in a plastic bag.

Some passengers worry about duty-free items, especially if they are flying internationally with a connecting flight. In this case, always make sure you have your receipt present to show at the airport. This will prove it was purchased within the last 48 hours.

Always leave the duty-free item in the bag that the retailer packaged it in untouched. As long as there is no tampering with the bag, TSA will allow you to bring it on board.

Which Liquids Are An Exception To The TSA Rules?

Medications are an exception to the TSA liquid rules. Any medication you are prescribed to that is considered a liquid will not have to be in a travel-sized container. Medication doesn’t have to go in the plastic bag, but it will need to be removed for screening.

Infant and child nourishment products are another exception. Traveling with kids is difficult enough, and TSA allows parents to travel with items their kids need. This includes baby formula/ breast milk, baby food, and even juice boxes for small kids.

Which Fluids Are Not Allowed On The Plane?

Toxic liquids are not allowed in your carry-on bag. This includes bleach, pesticides/ insecticides, flammable liquids, and more. You will also not be allowed to bring any aerosol that isn’t a toiletry.

Article updated:
January 5, 2024

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