Packing for a trip can be stressful, especially since there are a lot of restrictions on what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on luggage. One of the biggest unknowns can be how much liquid you can bring in a single product. If it’s not clearly marked or you don’t have a scale, it can be difficult to know if it’s small enough to fit.

As a general rule, you can bring 3.4 ounces or less of liquids on a plane thanks to the 3-1-1 rule. Any bigger and you risk getting your liquid items confiscated by airport security. Let’s explore more about the liquid limits to help make packing a breeze.

What are the Liquid Limits on Planes?

How much liquid you can bring on a plane depends on what you plan on doing with your luggage.

If you are checking your bag, there are no liquid limits you need to adhere to. This is because your luggage isn’t easily accessible to you during the flight, so there are no security risks. You’ll still want to pack carefully to make sure nothing spills, especially since you have larger quantities available in your bag. There’s no risk that they could leak and damage your items.

If you are carrying on your back, this is where it gets tricky. You need to follow the 3-1-1 rule, which means that:

  • Your liquids must be 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less.
  • All of your liquids must fit in a one-quart-sized bag.
  • You are allowed one bag per person.

There are exceptions for nursing mothers and medical necessities; however, you’ll need to disclose this to an airport security agent prior to passing through security. In some cases, you’ll be able to carry more liquid ounces, though there are no specifications on what qualifies as a reasonable amount.

What Qualifies as Liquid?

According to airport security, liquid means more than just a bottle of water. It can be extended to include gels, creams, pastes, aerosols, and more. So that includes makeup or skincare products, hairspray, toothpaste, and other personal care items. Anything that’s not solid should be considered a liquid when it comes to airport security.

What Happens if my Items are Confiscated?

If you bring items that are bigger than 3.4 ounces, they will likely get taken by the airport security, though make sure to check local restrictions before traveling as they could vary. Unless you have a medical exception, your items will be taken and discarded.

Afterward, you’ll need to purchase new items if they are necessary, so you want to be extra careful as you travel. There are shops within the airport that carry most personal care items, while you can always stop by the store closer to your destination. Hotels may also have a small selection in their lobby shop, and some may even comp a bottle of toothpaste if you ask.

It is better to adhere to the 3-1-1 rule than risk losing your items.

So, How Many Ounces are Allowed on Planes?

According to the 3-1-1 rule, 3.4 ounces is the maximum amount of ounces that you can bring on a plane in a carry-on bag. It does not matter if the items are unopened and sealed. They will still be confiscated by airport security unless they are medically necessary.

If you have any items that could be deemed a medical exemption, it is important to disclose this prior to going through security so your items can be handled with care. You are allowed more than 3.4 ounces, as long as it’s considered a reasonable amount by airport security.