Restrictions on liquid in hand luggage on planes

Written by nicole hunter
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Restrictions on liquid in hand luggage on planes
You are allowed to take some liquids onboard in your hand luggage. (aeroplane image by Clarence Alford from

The problem of carrying liquids aboard aircraft is an issue that all air travellers must confront at some point or another. Although the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has declared that some liquids are safe for travellers to carry on a plane, there are certain regulations that must be followed. Paying attention to these rules can help your trip go as smoothly as possible.

The rule

All carry-on liquids must be in 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) containers or smaller, you may only carry one 20 cm by 20 cm (8 inch by 8 inch) bag of liquids -- a larger, partially-full bag is not allowed. The bag must be a clear, zip-top bag. Be sure that you present your bag of liquids when you go through airport security, rather than waiting for the officers to find it in your carry-on luggage. You will save time for everyone in line and make the process go much more smoothly.

What constitutes a liquid?

Many different things constitute a liquid. In addition to traditional liquids (water, mouthwash, etc.), gels -- such as toothpaste, shampoo, etc. -- are also considered liquids. Aerosols also fall under the classification of liquids; this includes hairspray and deodorants. All of these items must be among the items in your one zip-top bag, and as previously mentioned, they must each be in containers that hold 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) or smaller.

Other acceptable liquids

Exceptions can be made for some liquids. Baby formula, breast milk, and juices for children in containers larger than 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) can be allowed, after screening. Other exceptions to the 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) rule are liquid medications and water or juices for people who require them because of a medical condition. Frozen items are allowed to be carried onto planes, as long as they are frozen solid. If they are slightly melted or slushy, then they must conform to the liquids rule.

Checking Liquids

If you are checking luggage, it might be easier to simply pack your liquids in your checked luggage. Liquids in checked luggage do not have to conform to the rule. Although certain items are forbidden to be taken on planes at all, for the most part you can pack liquids in your checked luggage without fear. Your full-size toiletries and other liquid necessities in your checked luggage can be in whatever size container you need them to be.

Prohibited items

There are some items that are prohibited on planes, regardless of what size container they are in. Aerosols that are not hairspray, deodorant, or other personal care items are not allowed. Also prohibited are any kinds of fuel (cooking fuels, for example), petrol, and lighter fluid. Basically, if you have any liquid in your luggage that is flammable, it will likely not be allowed to accompany you on the plane.

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