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TSA eases carry-on rules for liquids

Effective yesterday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration eased its ban on liquids and gels in carry-on baggage. Travelers may now carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less each) that fit "comfortably" in one quart-size clear plastic zip-top bag. At the checkpoint, travelers will be asked to remove the zip-top bag of liquids and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt so it can be X-rayed.

Also, once they have cleared security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board.

Larger amounts of prescription liquid medications, baby formula and diabetic glucose treatments must be declared at the checkpoint for additional screening.

TSA said that it was "unlikely" that any further changes in its liquid, aerosol and gel policy would be forthcoming.

The ban on hand-carried liquids and gels came last month after British authorities foiled an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives on to U.S.-bound aircraft.

For the latest developments, visit the TSA Web site at


Transport Canada, Canada's official travel bureau, on Monday issued guidelines that are similar to the new carry-on rules in the U.S.

Passengers may carry through pre-board security screening liquids, gels or aerosols in containers 90 milliliters/90 grams (about 3 ounces) or less. These containers must be placed in one clear, closed and re-sealable plastic bag no larger than 1 liter (about 1 quart); passengers are limited to one bag per person.

Unsealed, open or opaque plastic bags of any size with liquids, gels or aerosols in any size container are not permitted, nor are liquids, gels or aerosols in containers larger than 90 milliliters/90 grams.

Passengers must declare all such items to security screening authorities. Additional screening could be required.

The following items are exempt from these requirements, but they must be declared and may have to go through screening:

Baby formula, baby food and milk for passengers traveling with children 2 years of age and under.

Prescription and essential non-prescription medicines.

No bag is required for exempt items.

For more information, visit Transport Canada at


On Friday, the U.K. Department for Transport increased the size of carry-on baggage to 56 centimeters long by 45 centimeters wide and 25 centimeters deep (about 22 by 17 by 10 inches), including wheels, handles and side pockets. Other bags--such as handbags--may be carried within the single item of cabin baggage. All items will be X-rayed.

However, no liquids of any type are permitted through the airport security search point, other than:

  • Essential medicines in liquid form sufficient and essential for the flight (e.g., diabetic kit), as long as it is verified as authentic. Medicines in solid form continue to be permitted.
  • Baby milk and liquid baby food (the contents of each bottle or jar must be tasted by the accompanying passenger).
The definition of liquids includes gels, pastes, lotions, liquid/solid mixtures and the contents of pressurised containers, e.g., toothpaste, hair gel, drinks, soups, syrups, perfume, deodorant, shaving foam, aerosols, etc.

Laptops and other large electrical items (e.g., a large hairdryer) have to be removed from cabin baggage and screened separately. (Note: A laptop bag will be regarded as the one item that is allowed in the cabin).

Musical instruments that do not fit in the permitted cabin baggage size are allowed as a second item of cabin baggage, but will need to be screened. Larger instruments (e.g., cellos) are also permitted into the cabin following screening. However, passengers should check with their airlines if special arrangements (e.g., purchasing an extra seat) for these large instruments need to be made.

Passengers boarding flights to the U.S. and items they are carrying, including those acquired after the central screening point, will be subjected to secondary search at the gate. Any liquids discovered will be removed from the passenger. For the latest information, visit the Department for Transport Web site at

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