If you’ve traveled on a U.S. plane in the last 15 years or so, you’re probably familiar with the “3-1-1” rule: All of your liquids must fit in 3.4-ounce containers, which must all fit in one 1-quart bag, which goes in your one carry-on bag.
Though your 16-ounce iced coffee has no hope of making it through security, there are certain larger containers of liquids, gels, or aerosols that you’re allowed to bring onto the plane. In order to do so, set them apart from the rest of your stuff before you head through screening, and notify the TSA agents that you’re carrying exempted items so they can inspect them separately. (And bear in mind that these rules might differ at international airports.)
See what qualifies below.
Any “medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip” should be fine, according to the TSA. Anything you need to transport those liquids—such as ice or gel packs, IV bags, or syringes—is also OK, though it will need to be inspected.
2. Breast Milk or Formula
Adults traveling with infants or toddlers don’t need to confine breast milk or formula to 3.4.-ounce containers. In fact, juice is fair game, too—but only if you actually do have a little kid in tow. The TSA officer usually X-rays the liquids and might even open the containers, but you can ask them not to.
3. Duty-Free Liquids on International Flights
Liquor, perfume, and other duty-free liquids picked up before your flight back to the U.S. is acceptable as long as it was “purchased internationally” sometime in the previous 48 hours and was “packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and [does] not show signs of tampering.” You also need to have the receipt with you to prove when you purchased it.
4. Hand Sanitizer
Because of the pandemic, the TSA is currently letting each passenger bring up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in their carry-on. The website specifies that the exception is in effect “until further notice,” so be sure to check back right before your next trip for any updates.
5. Water, If There’s a Live Fish in It
Seriously, you can travel with your goldfish “in water and a clear transparent container” that exceeds 3.4 ounces. Dead fish are a little more complicated—last year, for example, a dead baby shark was confiscated because the TSA decided the “liquid chemical preservative” in which it floated was too questionable. But if your fish is swimming happily in regular water, the officers should let it pass.