What Can I Carry On A Plane?

Liquids, Gels & Lotions

The Transportation Security Administration has a 3 -1-1 rule you can use to help you remember what you can bring in your carry-on luggage onboard an aircraft.

3 – Liquids, gels, and lotions must be in a container that is 3.4 ounces (100ml) or less (by volume).

1 – All of your items should fit into a 1-quart clear, plastic, zip top bag.

1 – Each passenger is allowed one bag. This must be taken out of your carry-on luggage, and placed on a bin to pass through the screening machine.

Food and Gifts

The 3-1-1 rule can also apply to foods you might not consider a liquid. The TSA states on its website:

"Food items such as jams, salsas, sauces, syrups and dips will not be allowed through the checkpoint unless they are in containers three ounces or less and in the passenger's one quart zip-top bag. This applies to gift items including lotions, creams, scented oil, liquid soaps, perfumes, and even snow globes that are in excess of three ounces - even if they are in sealed gift packs."

To make the security checkpoint screening process smoother for everyone (including those in line behind you!), the TSA recommends that you pack the items below in your checked luggage, ship them ahead or leave them at home:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cologne
  • Creamy dips and spreads - cheeses, peanut butter, etc.
  • Gift baskets with food items - salsa, jams and salad dressings
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Perfume
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snowglobes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

Pies and cakes are subject to additional screening.

While you can bring wrapped gifts through the checkpoint, TSA officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. It’s recommended that you wrap gifts after your flight or ship them ahead of time. Although beverages are generally not permitted through Security checkpoints, you may purchase food and drink to take with you on the plane once you have cleared security.

According to the TSA, it’s important to know that even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with the TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane. Also, some dangerous items below are illegal in certain states and passengers will be subject to state law. For a list of items, consult the TSA website.

Exceptions to the 3-1-1 Rule

Every rule has its exceptions and the following items do not apply to the 3-1-1 rule:

  • Baby Formula
  • Baby Food
  • Breast Milk

If you need to pack these items, you may pack them with your regular items and in quantities greater than three ounces. Be prepared to declare them at the security checkpoint for inspection. There are additional allowances for other children’s essentials which you can read more about on the TSA Site.

Prescriptions and over-the–counter medicines in liquid, gel and aerosol form can also be carried onto airplanes and may not be subject to the 3-1-1 rule.

Prior to travel, remember to check the TSA website at for updates to the 3-1-1 rules.

Strictly Prohibited

The following is a list of sharp objects, sporting equipment, and tools which the TSA prohibits you from carrying aboard an aircraft. These items may be transported in checked luggage.

Guns and Firearms

  • Sharp Objects
  • Box Cutters
  • Ice Axes/Ice Picks
  • Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives
  • Meat Cleavers
  • Razor-Type Blades - such as box cutters, utility knives, and safety razor blades (disposable razors and their cartridges are permitted)
  • Sabers
  • Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches
  • Swords - cutting or thrusting weapons, including fencing foils
  • Sporting Equipment
  • Baseball Bats
  • Bows & Arrows
  • Cricket Bats
  • Golf Clubs
  • Hockey Sticks
  • Lacrosse Sticks
  • Pool Cues
  • Ski Poles
  • Spear Guns
  • Tools
  • Axes and Hatchets
  • Cattle Prods
  • Crowbars
  • Hammers
  • Drills and drill bits (including cordless portable power drills)
  • Saws (including cordless portable power saws)
  • Tools (greater than seven inches in length)
  • Tools (seven inches or less in length)
  • Screwdrivers (seven inches or less in length)
  • Wrenches and Pliers (seven inches or less in length)

For a complete list of all items and whether they are permitted for carry-on or checked luggage, please visit the TSA website.

Note: There is a Smartphone App that provides 24/7 access to helpful TSA information on the go: My TSA mobile app


US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.