A Better Flight Plan

Travel Tips

Solids, Liquids and Gels – Oh My!

Having trouble discerning what is and is not considered a liquid? Wonder if you can bring that sandwich with you through the security line? Air travel is fun and takes you to new places, but packing should not be as difficult as the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, so we pulled together this guide with some common items in question.

This one is a bit tricky because it depends on the type – solid (yes!), gel or spray (both must be less than 3.4 ounces to carry on).

Sorry, but unless that bottle of bubbly was purchased at Duty-Free, it has to go in your checked bag. Also note that even if you purchased it in Duty-Free, you’re not able to consume it on the flight.

In general, solid food items can be carried on, but foods in liquid or gel form must follow the 3-1-1 rule. So you can bring your sandwich and chips, but not your jar of salsa.

We all should know by now that a bottle of water is not permitted through security. You can, however, bring an empty bottle through and fill it up at a water fountain on the other side of security.

Pies and cakes are allowed in carry-ons but may be subject to additional screening. So if you’re traveling for the holidays and don’t want Aunt Bessie’s fruit cake yet again, volunteer to bring your dessert of choice.

Medical Liquids
Passengers are allowed to carry baby food or formula, breast milk, a prescription cream or other medical liquid in excess of the allowed 3.4 ounces.

Matches and Lighters (with fuel)
One book of safety matches or one standard lighter per passenger is allowed in the cabin. Matches are not allowed in checked baggage. Lighters are restricted to two and only if packaged according to the approved standards.

Self Defense Objects
All of these must be placed in checked baggage, with the exception of mace or pepper spray, which can be carried on in the form of one 4 oz. container.

Still not sure about something you want to bring on your flight? Read more about the liquids rule and search the prohibited and permitted items list from the top right corner, visit the “Can I Bring?” web app from your phone or download the My TSA app to your mobile device for information from restricted items to security wait times.

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