Since the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has been consistent with enforcing a policy called “3-1-1 for carry-ons.”
Airplane passengers are allowed to carry lotions through airport checkpoints in containers of 100 ml (3.4 ounces) or less. This policy is set by TSA and the lotion container must fit perfectly into one quart-size transparent plastic zip-top bag.
This is easily a source of frustration for travelers with a personal rule to have everything they need with them for at least 24 hours.
If your lotion is an essential item for your travel – for medical purposes, cold, or any other reason – you will want to fully understand TSA policies when it comes to carry-ons.
While TSA will most likely confiscate items that you cannot bring on the plane through a carry-on, there are still a couple of exceptions. We’ll discuss that further in this article.
Ignoring the 3-1-1 rule, as well as other TSA carry-on rules can prevent you from getting on your flight. And it might take hours before you’re allowed to travel.
That said, when it comes to bringing lotion on an airplane, TSA allows lotion in carry-on bags as long as it is less than 3.4oz/100 ml.
If you want to carry more than that size of lotion, you’ll have to put it into your checked bag.
So, if your lotion is more than 3.40z/100 ml, they’ll ask you to put in one of your checked bags or leave it behind.
There’s no particular restriction to how much lotion you can bring in a checked bag. But is there a way around bringing lotion on the plane? Why are we even not allowed to?
Reasons for Limitation on Lotion
The lotion is allowed on airplanes, but the only disclosed reason liquids, such as lotions, gels, and other similar items are not fully allowed is due to enhanced security measures.
As earlier mentioned, they are only allowed, without limit, on carry-on baggage because of personal safety.
Since TSA can’t tell who is allergic to whatnot, they keep coming up with enhanced policies to ensure the health and welfare of travelers are protected.
Their objectives reflect in not only their 3-1-1 policy but also other TSA carry-on policies.
Also, note that liquids bought beyond the security checkpoint must be disposed of before you board the plane.
However, you’re allowed to board the aircraft with personal hygiene and solid cosmetic items such as lip balm, lipstick, and other similar solid items.
If you’re carrying lotion and aren’t sure of the exact weight, you can place it in your checked bag to avoid being told to repackage.
How Many 3.4oz Size Bottles is Allowed
Yes, 3.4oz/100 ml is the permitted weight for lotion, but there’s no disclosed limit to the number of 100 ml bottles you’re allowed on an aircraft.
One thing is certain though, all liquids, including lotions, you bring on the plane must fit in one transparent toiletries bag.
The toiletries bag shouldn’t be over a one-quart size bag. With that, you can put as many 3.4oz lotions as you can into the bag.
But since one quart is about 33oz, it won’t contain that many lotion containers of the permitted size. So, what do you do?
Since there is no strict rule on the size of clear bag you can use, it’s safe to go for a bag up to 50oz. The more depth, the more lotion, and toiletries you can carry.
50oz is slightly oversized, but it’s a better way to get on board with more lotion than to carry lotion over 3.4oz. But going for a bigger bag than 50oz is inviting trouble.
When packing the clear carry-on bag, you’ll likely be able to get only five to six travel bottles into it. But that’s only if you go for a flat 6 x 9 inches quart size bag.
Exemptions to the 3.4oz Rule
While the rule covers more than lotions, there are exemptions that TSA allows. These exemptions also cover gels, gels, aerosols, and water.
Exemptions for Liquid Medication
TSA allows for three exemptions from the limit on liquids in checked bags.
The first exemption is for liquid medication. So, if your lotion, as well as every other liquid, is a medically necessary item, you’re allowed to bring quantities larger than the limit.
All you have to do is remove the medication lotion from your baggage and be ready for the possibility of extra screening.
Traveling with Kids
If you’re boarding a flight with kids, you’re permitted to bring along ‘reasonable’ quantities of formula, including lotions, milk, jarred food, and juice through the screening checkpoint.
These items don’t count among your one-quart bag limit for general liquid items.
However, they’ll all be X-rayed as additional screening. And they might also have to open the containers.
The last exception for the 3.4oz limit is for duty-free items purchased at an international airport on the way back to the U.S.
You’re allowed to bring more than 100 ml / 3.4 ounces of these duty-free items in your carry-on bag.
But they are only allowed if you bought them in the last 48 hours and if they remain sealed in tamper-proof packaging until you get to your final destination.
Liquid Items in Your Checked Bag
As earlier mentioned, and as a general rule, you can pack any size of liquid items in your checked luggage.
However, it must no be flammable and must be over 140 proof.
And to save yourself the frustration of having a lotion or other toiletries spilled all over a checked bag, you should put all of them in a sealed bag.
You can even double-bag your toiletries in a zip-close bag for more safety.
Tips for Bringing Lotion on an Airplane
According to TSA, the ultimate rule for lotion on airplanes as carry-on is that it must not be over 3.4 ounces.
Nevertheless, you should know everything about flying with lotions, with ease.
Allow for easy access to everything.
Among some other items, Liquids are subject to a separate screening process before they are allowed as carry-on.
You’ll have to remove any liquid item from your bag at the airport checkpoint. So, to avoid wasting time, you should put your lotion at the top, so you don’t have to unpack everything.
Be at the Airport on Time
TSA agents can engage in verbal inquiry into your container, especially if you changed containers. Or if your lotion has no label on it.
This process seldom takes much time, but when it does when you’re already late for your flight, you miss your flight.
TSA is more concerned about ensuring passengers follow their protocol and instructions.
So, even if you’re about to miss your flight, they won’t hesitate to search your baggage with due process.
Respect TSA’s Decisions
Some decisions from TSA agents might lead to some level of inconvenience, and while they might seem frustrating sometimes.
However, you should try as much as possible to cooperate with their agents. You don’t have to get in an argument with them. Besides, TSA doesn’t compromise on its flight policies.
Put Lotions in Checked Baggage
It always best to have your lotion in checked baggage since you won’t be bothered with the 3-1-1 liquid requirement.
You also won’t have to worry about unpacking for screening at the security checkpoint. The only reason not to have your lotion in your checked baggage is to use it during the flight.
International Flight with Lotion
If you’re taking an international flight, buy a lotion that doesn’t weigh over 3.4 ounces/100 ml. Also, keep the lotion in the original container.
Often, when traveling internationally, customs frown at unlabeled products. They want to see each product container with labels to tell what is inside without asking.
People often try to sneak fake or banned substances into countries by removing the label. So, if you have a lotion without a label, it’ll most likely raise questions on international flights.
Even if TSA advises that passengers change their containers to use the require 3.4 ounces, they also state that the final decision is with the agent at the checkpoint.
Is lotion allowed in carry on?
Each passenger may carry liquids, gel or aerosols in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or more. 3 – All of your products should be in a container that’s 3.4 ounces or less.
One of the reasons why traveling with a flight can be stressful is because of all the rules that come with flight travel.
There’s always an update to both TSA and airline policies, so a rule you know today could easily the next day.
When it comes to bringing lotion on a plane, as long as it’s nothing more than 3.4oz / 100 ml, you’re good to go.
How do you travel with lotion?
To pack anything that falls in the “liquids, creams, and gel” category, invest in travel-sized bottles. These bottles are small enough to fit in carry-on luggage. Since toothpaste is grouped in the same category as liquid, you’re limited to a size that’s as big as your toothpaste choice.
What size lotion can you fly with?
You are allowed to carry a quart-sized bag of liquid products, aerosols, and gels, as well as certain pastes and creams, through the checkpoint. Any substance that’s free-flowing or viscous is used to make products that are liquid is considered a liquid according to the TSA.
Can I take full-size shampoo in my checked luggage?
Individuals who want to pack a large bottle of shampoo or toothpaste should check their bags. These are either disposable or cartridge-less. The former is suitable for carry-on luggage, while the latter is for use with replacement cartridges.
Can you carry glass on an airplane?
Unfortunately, it’s illegal to carry glass on a plane. However, if you have a spare glass item in your hand luggage, you can still use it on a plane. If the blades are over 6 cm long, they should be carried inside your checked bag.
What is not allowed on a airplane?
These items are prohibited in all types of establishments, including schools, churches, and festivals. If you have disposable or replacement blades, they can be carried in either carry-on or checked bags. However, they must be removed first and bundled in one of the checked bags.
Does a purse count as a carry-on?
On an airplane, any piece of luggage that’s labeled as a carry-on bag is considered a carry-on bag. Contrary to popular belief, flying with an empty stomach can not only combat air sickness, it can also worsen it. Instead, try consuming a light meal instead of a full one.