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U.S. Travel Information

3-1-1 Carry-on luggage rules / Packaging Guidelines for your baggage

Air travelers may now carry liquids, gels and aerosols in their carry-on bag when going through security checkpoints.
The following rules apply to all liquids, gels, and aerosols carried through security checkpoints.
  • 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.
There are exceptions for baby formula, breast milk, and other essential liquids, gels, and aerosols, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Please keep in mind that these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats. They are intended to help air travelers bring essential toiletries and other liquids, gels and aerosols for short trips. 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.
To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):
  • Baby formula, breast milk, and juice 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 allowed reasonable amounts over 3 ounces of the items above in your carry-on baggage, but you will need to perform the following:
  • Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
  • Declare you have the items to one of our Security Officers at the security checkpoint.
  • Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray. These items are subject to additional screening.
We have also taken steps to ensure the security of the boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints. Therefore, any liquid, gel or aerosol, such as coffee or soda, purchased in the secure area beyond the security checkpoint is allowed aboard your plane. Please note that if you have a layover and are re-screened at your connecting airport the current rules (see above) for carry-ons apply.

You are permitted to bring solid cosmetics and personal hygiene items as such lipstick, lip balm and similar solids.

3-1-1 for Carry-on luggage

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3 ounce bottle or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3 oz. container size is a security measure. Consolidate bottles into one bag and X-ray separately to speed screening. Be prepared. Each time TSA searches a carry-on it slows down the line. Practicing 3-1-1 will ensure a faster and easier checkpoint experience. 3-1-1 is for short trips. If in doubt, put your liquids in checked luggage. Declare larger liquids. Prescription medications, baby formula, juice and milk (when traveling with an infant or toddler) are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint. Come early and be patient. Heavy travel volumes and the enhanced security process may mean longer lines at security checkpoints.

Please check the TSA Website, see link further below, for all details.

More Information

As of August 4, 2007, in an effort to concentrate resources on detecting explosive threats, TSA will no longer ban common lighters in carry-on luggage. Torch lighters remain banned in carry-ons.
Lighters without fuel are permitted in checked baggage. Lighters with fuel are prohibited in checked baggage, unless they adhere to the Department of Transportation (DOT) exemption, which allows up to two fueled lighters if properly enclosed in a DOT approved case. If you are uncertain as to whether your lighter is prohibited, please leave it at home.

Source TSA, April 10, 2008

You may not bring matches in your checked baggage because of safety regulations. You may, however, bring one book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches in your carry-on baggage or on your person. For safety reasons, you may not bring "strike anywhere" matches at all.

Source TSA, April 10, 2008
Please find following the Link to the Official TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Website where you also find an extensive, up-to-date list of allowed & prohibited items (for carry-on as well as check baggage).

TSA Info: pack for short trips.
TSA Info: pack for short trips.

3-1-1 rule for carry-on baggage
3-1-1 rule for carry-on baggage


Short Summary: How to pack...
(not only for foreign travelers, same baggage checking procedures do apply to domestic flights)
  • no food or beverages in checked bags
  • don’t over pack
  • put footwear on top of other contents
  • place personal belongings in clear plastic bags
  • don’t stack books in luggage - instead, spread them out. 
  • don't put film material in checked bags
  • don't wrap gifts
  • put scissors, pocket knives and other sharp items in checked bags, never in carry-on. 
  More Information
If your luggage has been hand-searched you will find a note inside of your luggage.
A list what you may take with you, either in checked or carry-on baggage, can you find when visiting the website of TSA, see our WebLink
  Background of...
New Security Measures at U.S. Airports 

The Transportation Security Administration is screening all checked baggage since Jan 1st, 2003, as Congress mandated in the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
President Bush signed legislation creating the TSA on Nov. 19, 2001, in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  Before Sept. 11, 2001, only 5 percent of bags were being checked.

Document Information
Source: TSA - Transportation Security Administration, July 2007
Last modified: 20080410
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