How to Pack Liquids and Gels for a Plane

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) implemented new rules for carrying liquids onto a plane after finding liquid explosives on a flight. Following these guidelines can make the difference in boarding or missing a flight.

Things You'll Need

  • Quart size zip-seal bag
  • 3 oz. containers
  • Follow the TSA's 3-1-1 rule. This means liquids must be in containers of 3 oz. or smaller, packed in a 1-qt. clear plastic zip seal bag. Only one bag is allowed for each passenger.

  • Know the exceptions to the rule. You can take baby formula, breast milk or baby foods in reasonable quantities over 3 oz.; medications in aerosol, liquid or gel forms; and water, juice or other liquids needed because of a medical condition. However, you must declare your exception to the TSA officer during screening.

  • Leave professionally printed labels on all medications and liquids to avoid suspicion.

  • Package food items, such as jams, sauces and dips, in 3 oz. containers and pack them with your toiletries in the zippered plastic bag.

  • Pack snow globes, lava lamps and other liquid-filled gifts in your checked luggage. Don't wrap gifts prior to screening. These may be unwrapped for inspection by TSA agents.

  • Forget taking flammable liquids, other than hair spray or other personal care items properly packaged in 3 oz. containers inside a sealed plastic bag. Don't pack lighter fluids, paint thinners, gas torches and any flammable liquid fuels in either carry-on or checked luggage.

  • Purchase food and beverage items along with personal care items that you want to take on the plane in the boarding area.

Tips & Warnings

  • Buy travel size toiletries to pack for your plane trip or purchase new supplies when you get to your destination.
  • Don't try to take a partially filled bottle larger than 3 ounces onboard. Ensure any containers are not over 3 oz.
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