Rules for what’s allowed in 1-liter plastic bag always changing

February 7, 2009

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 7, 2010/ Troy Media/ 2010/ — With the increased security we are encountering at airports these days, it’s time to revisit packing that one liter plastic bag that you’re allowed in your carry-on.

Remember it’s one a quart plastic bag in the United States, but it’s a one liter plastic bag in most of the rest of the world. It’s amazing to us how many people still don’t understand what they are allowed.

Security regulations for what you can carry in a one liter plastic bag have been in effect for several years now, and with ongoing terrorist threats the rules are not going to be loosened anytime soon. In fact, from time to time they become more stringent.

Liquid restrictions

You are greatly restricted to the amounts of liquids, creams, and gels you can carry with you on the plane. So what do you have to do to carry your shampoo and toothpaste in a carryon bag? Let’s go over the basics:

You don’t have too many options as to what type of bag or container can you use. No cute little plastic carrying case. What you need is mandated. You must use a clear, zip-top plastic bag.

While those plastic bags are sold by several companies and they come in a variety of sizes. Can you choose the size that works best for you? No! You must use a one liter or one quart size, not one of those two liter or gallon size bags loosely filled.

If your bottle or tube fits in that small bag, can you take it? Can you take a half full 6 oz (or 200ml) container? Not necessarily and no.

You must use small containers that hold only three oz or 100 ml when full. Three ounces is approximately equal to 90 ml, but the rule in countries that use metric is that you can carry 100 ml bottles. In the U.S. if you have 100 ml bottles, they will usually be allowed.

So if all of your items don’t fit in one bag, can you use a second plastic bag? NO!

You must use only one bag per traveler. If you are traveling with a friend or loved one, you can “share the space” in the two bags the two of you will be carrying.

Some countries allow lipstick and chap sticks outside of the plastic bag, some places don’t.

The rules will change

You may carry larger amounts of necessary medications, and they don’t have to go into your one liter plastic bag, but you must declare them at security. Currently things like eye drops and sterile solution are included. Baby foods may also be carried if declared.

Be prepared for the rules to change when there are terrorist attempts. You may run into different rules at different airports and the rules can change depending on your destination. What you carried on last time may no longer be allowed. We’ve seen this happen recently, and it will probably happen in the future.

If you can’t live without larger amounts of liquids, creams, and gels, then check your luggage. You can carry as much as you want and not worry about that one liter plastic bag.

Yes, it can be frustrating, and yes, it may try your patience, but there is no use fighting it. Pack your carry-on liquids, creams, and gels in a one liter plastic bag (or one quart plastic bag) for now, and remember how much fun you’re going to have on your holiday.

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