You’re probably aware that there is a limit to the amount of liquids that you can take on a plane in any one container – 3.4oz/100ml.
But there is also a limit to how many of these 3.4oz containers you bring on a plane, too.
If packed in your carry on, you are only allowed to travel with containers of liquid, gel or aerosol that are no larger than 3.4 ounces and are placed in a 1 quart-sized resalable bag.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Many 3 Oz Bottles (3.4 Oz Containers) Can You Take on a Plane?
- 2 TSA Liquid Rules for Checked Bags
- 3 Liquid Rules for Domestic & International Flights
- 4 Airline Liquids Policy
- 5 Why it is Called the 3-1-1 Rule
- 6 Exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule
- 7 Bringing Containers Larger Than 3.4 Oz/100ml
- 8 A Loophole to Bring More than 3.4Oz/100ml on a Plane
- 9 Liquids That Are Forbidden on Planes
- 10 5 Surprising Items That Qualify As Liquids
- 11 Why You Can Only Take 3.4 Oz Bottles on a Plane
How Many 3 Oz Bottles (3.4 Oz Containers) Can You Take on a Plane?
In total, you can take 32 ounces (or 1 quart of liquids on a plane) in your carry on.
In all likelihood, you won’t be able to take a full 32 ounces on a plane because any liquid, gel or aerosol will be in a container.
In reality, you will be able to bring 25 ounces in total, in 7 or 8 travel-sized 3.4oz/100ml containers onto a plane.
TSA Liquid Rules for Checked Bags
When packing liquids, gels or aerosols in your checked bags, the restrictions are much looser.
Generally, there is no limit to how many ounces of containers of gels, liquids and aerosols you can pack in your checked bags.
However, the TSA state that there is a limit on “the total amount of restricted medicinal and toiletry articles in checked baggage”.
For these items, “the total aggregate quantity per person cannot exceed 2 kg (70 ounces) or 2 L (68 fluid ounces)”.
The capacity of each container must not exceed 0.5 kg (18 ounces) or 500 ml (17 fluid ounces).
Liquid Rules for Domestic & International Flights
Worldwide, it may not be called the 3-1-1 Rule as the TSA defines it, but all aviation authorities are in alignment.
So this means that regardless if you’re flying domestically or internationally, you are only allowed to bring 3.4 ounces of liquid, gels and aerosols in your carry on, and they must be placed in a 1 quart-sized resalable bag.
Again, this means that you will be able to bring 25 ounces in total, in 7 or 8 travel-sized 3.4oz/100ml containers onto a plane.
Airline Liquids Policy
Once you have passed airport security, you will be able to buy and take liquids, gels and aerosols in containers that are larger than 3.4oz/100ml on a plane.
Why it is Called the 3-1-1 Rule
The 3-1-1 Rule stands for 3 ounces, 1 passenger, 1 quart-sized bag.
Each passenger is only allowed to travel with liquids, gels and aerosols in containers that are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml, and they must be placed in a 1 quart-sized bag.
You may have noticed that you are allowed to bring containers that do not exceed 3.4oz, despite the name of the rule.
This is probably because the 3.4-1-1 Rule doesn’t have the same ring to it, and the TSA wanted a mnemonic that was easy to remember.
Exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule
There are several exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule.
The following items, if packed in your carry on bags, are allowed to exceed 3.4 oz/100ml.
- Breast milk and formula
- Baby food
- Liquid medication
- Hand sanitizer
- Jumbo disinfecting wipes
- STEB items (secure, tamper-evident bags purchased at the airport)
- Cough syrup
- Gel-filled bras
- Saline solution
- Ice packs (must be frozen solid)
If you are taking any of the above items, they should be removed from your carry on bags for additional screening.
Bringing Containers Larger Than 3.4 Oz/100ml
If you try and go through airport security with any liquid, gel or aerosol in a container that exceeds 3.4oz/100ml, a security agent will confiscate the item.
A Loophole to Bring More than 3.4Oz/100ml on a Plane
There is a loophole that allows passengers to bring more than 3.4oz/100ml of liquids on a plane – as long as you are traveling with a baby or young child.
You can say that the item you are traveling with is for your baby or child.
Of course, this will only work for very few items like bringing a water bottle on a plane, but it’s useful to know.
Liquids That Are Forbidden on Planes
There are some liquids that, even if under 3.4 oz/100ml, you are forbidden from bringing on a plane.
Liquids that are forbidden include:
- Most flammable liquids (you can bring nail polish on a plane, though)
- Most toxic liquids
- Aerosols that do not qualify as toiletries
- Alcoholic Beverages over 70% ABV (140 proof)
Make sure you leave these at home.
5 Surprising Items That Qualify As Liquids
There are some items that you wouldn’t expect to qualify as liquids, but actually are.
So, keep the following items in minds next time you travel:
- Peanut Butter
- Hair mousse
- Snow globes
- Bear spray
Why You Can Only Take 3.4 Oz Bottles on a Plane
It wasn’t always the case that you could only bring liquids, gels and aerosols that don’t exceed 3.4oz in your carry on.
This rule was implemented after terrorists tried to sneak liquid explosives onto a plane in the UK in August 2006.
3.4oz/100ml is the permitted amount because it is the maximum amount of liquid explosives that pose little to no risk to travelers.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).