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Liquids, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008
Liquids cover 70% of the earth and they also make up a good percentage of our comments from the traveling public. Post all of your suggestions and concerns about liquids in this blog post. Refresh your knowledge of traveling with liquids .

So, how much damage could a liquid explosive cause? See for yourself from the Myth Busters page on

» Click here to see our video (wmv, streaming).


Submitted by Andrea on

So, you ask what TSA has done with all the liquids? Believe it or not we are not hydrated from all the water we drink left at the checkpoint nor moisturized from all the creams you leave behind.We actually have to throw away all liquids and gels... no one keeps it, it is tossed in airport trash cans. So, if you want to Go Green and put less trash in our landfills, leave all that stuff at home or put it in your checked baggage.
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like there to be consideration for nursing mothers that are traveling without their baby. Right now, I can travel with my pump, but I have to check any milk that I pump before I reach security. This makes 1 day travel horribly difficult. Why would I pack breastmilk if I was traveling with my child? I would just nurse the infant!

Submitted by Stevenstuck on

I have worked for TSA for the last 5.5 years. This is why this stuff gets confusing.

As an officer, I am being told that we let 3.4 oz/100 ml go. Then we have this Blog, which many of us disagree with, and it is saying 3 oz.

Not only does this confuse the passenger, but the officers are now reading this and going "What?" another policy change without telling us.

Please get this straightened out and edited before posting more policy compared to what we are practicing.

Submitted by Scott C on

Recently, my wife traveled on business through ORD and realized that she had a 2.5 oz bottle of nail polish in her purse. She put it seperately in the bin (she hadn't brought a ziploc with her because she didn't think she had any liquids with her).

It was then confiscated, because the single item (that fit the requirements wasn't contained in a quart-size ziploc bag. My wife asked if they had a ziploc bag that she could place the single item in for the 5 seconds that it takes to get it scanned. The airport said that they no longer have the bags available.

Despite the fact that the single item would clearly fit in a 1-quart bag and the bag's only purpose is to limit the number of 3-oz items, the nail polish was confiscated.

Submitted by Lesliepear on

It would be nice to be able to take store bought juice boxes on a plane. I returned from a trip a while ago and had to check all my leftover ones. I was afraid they'd be crushed and spill inside my luggage as luggage handlers can be careless.

Submitted by Mtbcrazy on

OH MY GOD!!! I've been reading the blog and it is nothing but complaining. The rule is no liquids over 3oz. Follow the rule or check your bags. Is it that hard to understand. You follow the rules and nobody can mess with you. I travel frequently and I check my bag. All my liquids make it to where ever I'm going with no hassles. As far as bringing water onto an airplane, nobody siad that you can't, you just have to pay the huge prices from the shops AFTER the security checkpoint. You want the rules to change, don't complain to the TSA thugs, take it up with your lawmakers. Have some respect for fellow travelers and follow the rules so everyone can move along as hassle free as possible. Why make a bad situation worse? The TSA personnel are not intelligent enough to step outside thier box and exercise any common sense, so why don't we as travelers keep our eyes on the prize (getting to our destinations).

Submitted by Katina on

Honestly, I just always figured that the 3.3 oz bottle rule (and the water bottle rule) was a way to boost the economy since you obviously have to go out of your way to buy (or re-buy) the stuff...

And I agree that clear, sealable, plastic, quart-sized bags should be made available at every TSA line.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How about this.... fill up the quart size ziplock with water, it is contained in the approved storage bag, yet capable of quenching our thirst. problem solved.

Submitted by Ryan on

Whenever a little old lady has to throw her shampoo away going through security, a terrorist gets his wings.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why does the TSA so underestimate the America public? The international limit of liquids is 100 mL. I know how dearly the federal government clings to standard measures, but the rest of the world works in the metric system.

100mL is 3.4 ounces, not 3 ounces. The limit of liquids is 3.4 ounces, yet TSA continues to advertise it at 3. Does TSA believe that Americans cant' A. remember the number 3.4 and/or B. convert between milliliters and ounces?

I find it highly insulting and egocentric that TSA cannot adapt to the global system and cannot put any confidence in its travelers.

I will continue to carry on my 100 mL liquid products and scoff at your recorded announcements that note 3 fluid ounces as the limit.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Has the TSA realized that taking small bottles of liquids and sticking them in a plastic ZipLock bag would actually allow someone to just empty out all the liquids into the bag and have the same effect as a large bottle of liquid?

Submitted by Benjamin on

I brought peanut butter, bananas, honey, and bread to airport to make an (elvis) sandwich. The TSA agent took away my peanut butter and honey, claiming they were liquids.

Ok, one, they're not.

Two, shouldn't the regulations be about protecting passengers, not about some arbitrary rule of thumb? You have chromatographs for luggage. Can't you scan my peanut butter or honey as well?

Three, is there any objective scientific evidence that having your liquids in less than 3oz containers in a 1 quart zippable plastic bag is somehow more secure than just have a quart of shampoo or pop or something? It defies logic

Four, I've read around and I don't know anyone who says liquid explosives is even feasible

Five, I think the TSA needs to take a post-9/11 mindset. Passengers won't let terrorists get away with that stuff anymore. When people were just hijacking, sure, but now they know the new rules, it just won't happen. Plus, shouldn't the cockpit be secured by now?

Six, Israeli intelligence has been doing this successfully for years. They use intelligence and psychological profiling rather than stupid rules. Why are we trying to reinvent the rule?

Lastly, as some comments mention, the items being taken can have sentimental value or be expensive. My wife got me a special cologne that was taken away. It made me very sad and I don't think it made anyone safer. I'm also a Dr. Pepper addict and I've had a couple of those in my bag taken away. How is a sealed commercial product a problem?

Submitted by TSO Tom on

mike_s said...
Under what legal basis does the TSA deny travellers the right to carry liquids?

The basis under which the TSA restricts carry-on items is 49USC44935, which prohibits weapons. It also covers "dual use" items, but that "means an item that may seem harmless but that may be used as a weapon." It does _not_ cover harmless "look alikes," such as may be the case with water and a liquid chemical component of an explosive.

That law is implemented via regulations, the relevant being 49CFR1540.111, which states "an individual may not have a weapon, explosive, or incendiary..." Nothing there which prohibits water or or other non-dangerous liquids, and by law, the TSA has no authority to prohibit non-weapon items.

Furthermore, by law and regulation the only exception for prohibited items is one which allows law enforcement or authorized personnel to carry "firearms or weapons." If water were a legally prohibited item, it would be illegal for _anyone_ to possess it within an airport "sterile area." The same applies for many other items - if a traveller is prohibited from carrying a screwdriver on a plane, then airline mechanics are also prohibited from possessing screwdrivers.

January 31, 2008 3:51 PM
TSA was given full authority to determine what goes on its prohibited items list. Based on current intel, and the threat posed by liquid explosives, all liquids, gels, lotions creams and arosols in excess of 3.4 ounces are prohibited. The exception is for medical purposes, infants, small children, etc. And these items are still subject to further inspection before being allowed on the plane. Anything that is travel size (3.4 oz or less) must be packaged in a 1 quart size plastic zip lock bag. It also has to be x-rayed separately from your carry on to avoid a bag search. Keep in mind that it is clearly explained that the prohibited items list is not all inclusive and other items may be deemed inappropriate for air travel by a Screening supervisor. Again, when you submit your items for screening you have implied consent to any search that is deemed necessary. Don't want to take your liquids out? That's okay, you'll be subject to search.

Submitted by Anonymous on

All of the postings point to the same: ban on liquids makes no sense, serves no purpose, doesn't improve security.
I remain amazed that my mother's tiny manicure scissors are a huge threat comparing to the one litre glass bottle which I am allowed to purchase past security and very generously delivered to me by duty free personnel to the door of the airplane.
Now, thanks to one of the bloggers I realize that I can inflame this alcohol which is apart from drinking is another way of making 40% proof drink deadly
I’m afraid I forgot that I can NOT carry this duty free staff thru my layover connection even if I don’t leave the secure area. But hey I’m not only one who forgot. Duty free personnel didn’t mention it. The airline personnel doesn’t remind me though it is clearly visible. Immigration or customs seem not to notice either. So I guess it is my fault that it is confiscated by TSA and surprisingly not thrown in the garbage with other items but taken to unknown destination to be properly dispose of. We were told because it is a big volume. As others pointed this doesn’t prevent to toss bottled water into the trash can. TSA left me with a very distinctive feeling that this bottle will not be wasted or lost. Anyway I’ve learned something and usually I don’t repeat my mistake.
Still a thought of a broken large glass bottle used as weapon or as a version of Molotov cocktail by some determined and deranged individual bothers me …

Submitted by Sionn on

The last time I flew somewhere, an employee in the security checkpoint line was shouting out, "Get rid of your bottled water!"

The fact that we've actually arrived at the place where human beings are forbidden water is despicable. Way to completely strip us of our last shreds of dignity! And you wonder why airlines are losing money!! We're all treated like potential criminals for having a beverage or some lotion. Give me a break! I used to just love traveling, but now it's such a headache.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have read many posts in which people describe how "since 9-11 passengers wont let the terrorists get away with it, they will beat them up." Why in the world would you even CONSIDER letting it come to that point? Would you really want to be on a plane where passengers have to confront terrorists? Come on people think about it before you post it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA has this rule to give the illusion that it is doing something to keep us safe. A sad comment on this administration.

Submitted by Bill on

"ang122 said...

I'm a liar? No, I really did see it, what would I have to gain from lying? Kind of harsh words. Glad you believe in the work you do, Mr. DHS physicist. We'll try to get that video declassified and get it posted so you can eat crow. "

A) You are a very rude person. Not that most people who have dealt with the TSA should be surprised, if you are indeed a TSA agent. I hope that if anyone with authority within the TSA reads this blog, they see your comments, and decide to trace your IP so that they can fire you so that you stop sullying their already tarnished image.

B) You stated in a prior post that"We will try to get some video up on this blog soon of a small liquid bomb exploding. I saw it firsthand last year and became a quick believer when a sippy cup blew up a plane seat."
It's a plane seat, not a whole plane. How much else did it take out? Probably not much. I've had a little bit of an education with explosives (My uncle was a Marine and taught me a few fun things), not to mention some other work that I've done/seen done for my job. Unless someone could sneak a 100ml bottle of sodium nitrate or nitroglycerin, plus the detonators for it with them onto a plane, I'm calling shenanigans that a sippy cup of explosives would do enough damage to crash an airplane unless it was placed in a very strategic place.

Now then, 'TSA Blogger', I want to see this video by tomorrow afternoon before I go to work. I would also like it if you went away and we had some sort of moderator/TSA poster who wasn't a rude child. Thank you. You may go back to working at McDonald's, the world is safe from any threat you could possibly prevent.

Submitted by Mike_m on

Banning an entire state of matter is completely ridiculous. Will a future incident cause solids to be banned? Will we be forced to vaporize our carry-on luggage and bring it in gaseous form? Why not ban flammable or explosive substances whether solid, liquid, or gas? If you can't discern the difference between a bottle of water and a security threat, you aren't doing much for our safety.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As an extensive traveler myself, my experiences with TSA have been on the overall bad. One incident that comes to mind was at LAX. As I'm going through and have all of my 100 ml liquids and prescriptions in the proper bags, the "agent" takes away one of my clearly labeled prescriptions and tries to throw it away. I objected stating that it was clearly a labeled liquid prescription...needless, to say I had to complain to the onsite TSA manager who said he would let it pass this time (?huh?).

I then said that I wanted names to file a complaint, but that was not happening either as almost all the employees there had their name tags covered up including the supervisor (convenient that), and I was told that filing a complaint was not a good idea.

So, not wanting to get put on one of the list I let it pass...though flying through LAX will never happen again because of this.

Submitted by Ottnott on

The TSA regulations and practices are such an infuriating waste of money, effort, time, and goodwill for such a small improvement in safety that I can't decide whether to cry or scream.

The waste is a national embarrassment and a genuine risk to our security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is time to review the policy on both LIQUIDS and SHOES. These were put into place as knee-jerk reactions to events that happened in the news. One mentally-retarded moron tried making a "shoe bomb" (whatever that is) and from that day on everyone had to take off their shoes. And, the liquids rule is idiotic. Did you ever consider that if someone was really motivated they could do anything. Trying to come up with "one-size-fits-all" solutions to problems is wrong. Just because one idiot did something doesn't mean that you have to make 300+ million people suffer. If you want to make things safer then how about no hiring idiots to work at the airport?! The people who clean the planes, load the food, the luggage, and clean the bathrooms scare me more than my fellow passengers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, 3oz of shampoo is not dangerous, right? But 4oz is? So what's to stop me from bringing 3oz of shampoo and somebody else bringing 3oz more of shampoo, and then combining them together once we pass security?

Submitted by Anonymous on

July 2007 flying from Athens Greece to Philli, went through Greek security, no shoe exam, no restriction of liquids, sharp, friendly and really excellent experience. Went to our gate AND then the 4.5 hour hell started. We had secondary screening because we were flying into the USA. Poof went the liquids and greek yogurt. We sat there waiting for a delayed plane where we found out that there were NO concession services inside security as the civilized GREEKS do not restrict liquids. NO food or water inside security for nearly 5 hours. THANKS TSA for ruining a wonderful Holiday.

As for TSA theft from passenders.... KIRO investigated this very issue...

Theft From Luggage Rampant At Sea-Tac Airport

As a healthcare professional, the liquid ban which is NOT based in science but can put passengers at risk. Passengers with chronic health issues, medication requirements and children who need nutrition now are risk.

The funniest part of the TSA violation of my 4th Amendment rights is asking.... "Can I search your bag?"... what is my choice? Say Yes or NOT FLY?

Submitted by Ken on

One other question: TSA gives out MILLIONS of plastic baggies to passengers. All of these eventually end of in landfills. Have you ever considered handing out bags made from corn or some other bio-degradable substance?

Submitted by Brendan_i on

My primary problem with the ban/limitation on liquids is that no coherent justification for the policy is cited.

Shortly after the ban was enacted, it was discussed in terms of preventing binary explosives from being assembled in flight. Scientists familiar with such processes rapidly pointed out that it would be nearly impossible to provide enough coolant to contain such an exothermic reaction in an airplane lavatory. Indeed, this closely parallels the TSA's explanation for while 100ml containers are acceptable.

Not long after that, it was revealed that the participants in the "thwarted plot" who were intended to fly with the bombs had not yet completed the basic step of acquiring passports.

With neither the plot nor the plotters appearing credible, as a scientist I'd ask for more justification than the statement "these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats."

Submitted by Anonymous on

Agree with the sentiment expressed in the vast majority of these comments. The rule is ludicrous; some TSA people will acknowledge it. It truly is Orwellian - in its application and in the fact that we go along with it. Bottom line is the costs - in terms of time, hassle, money, etc - of all of these "security" measure far and away outweigh the benefits. Unfortunately, now that they have been implemented, they can never be rescinded because Americans always need to blame (and sue) someone, so if they were rescinded and something then happened, there would have to be someone to blame.
People automatically assume that since there hasn't been an attack since 9/11 its because of "evolved security" and other steps. It is as if not more likely that the first attackers got lucky and we have all been lucky since then. Those in power always assume they have more power and control than they really do, and that there actions are more efficacious than they really are.

Submitted by Tsa Tso Ny on

If anyone hasn't figured it out yet, If you are traveling with a small child simply say the water is "Flouride water", it's allowed.

If you want to bring soda or juice, or peanut butter or whatever food, simply say "I'm diabetic". We aren't allowed to ask for a Dr.'s note.

Submitted by Ajrmacle on

This liquifying of our liquids is a horrible example of reactive thinking. I'm sorry, but someone bringing a half ounce of toothpaste onto a plane is not looking to hijack anything. My sunscreen will not explode, nor will my contact solution. And confiscating water??? That's just mental.

As an international traveler I can tell you that I now go out of my way to avoid flying to/through the US because of the hassle involved. It's not worth it. Your policies don't make anyone feel one bit safer, they only serve to infuriate us all.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is "ang122" really a TSA employee? I doubt it, but the TSA seems so monumentally incompetent that I have to wonder if he/she might be an employee after all.

So, TSA, can you tell us what "ang122"'s employement status is? I would hope that you wouldn't have your bloggers hiding behind anonymous handles like this, and I would hope you wouldn't have hired somebody so obviously incompetent at public relations. But unfortunately, my experience with TSA rules and personnel gives me no confidence in the TSA's ability to do anything right.

I understand that you want to save face and are digging in your heels about the liquids rule, and the shoes -- but in the long run it's just causing you to lose all credibility. Every ounce, you might say. You would actually gain face and credibility by admitting you were wrong and changing the rules. That would show maturity on your part. And if "ang122" is an employee, you should dump him/her also.

Submitted by Anonymous on

All I hear is a lot of whining! Maybe the liquid policy is "silly", or maybe there is a reason for concern. It seems that TSA is taking a pro-active role in the prevention of terroristic acts. Maybe a liquid explosive wouldn't be big enough to take down an airplane full of people, but it could blow up a row of seats, and kill a few people. Do you want your loved one to be the "one" person killed by a liquid explosive? Then who are you going to blame? The government? Though a small risk it may be, it is a risk. The 9/11 terrorists made it through security with razor blades shoved in their pants, and you are going to complain about TSA screening too vigorously? Are you willing to wait for something to happen in order for you to accept the TSA policies? I will agree, the liquid policy is a pain in the butt! But, if I get to my destination safely, compliance is a small price to pay. The people who whine, are the ones who don't want to comply. They are creating their own headaches. The liquid policy will probably never completely go away. As technology changes and different screening equipment becomes available I am sure it will ease up. Also, I am sure some variation of the policy will always be in effect. So, stop your whining and get used to it!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Completely disagree with Anonymous @ 7:44 pm 2/1. Zero tolerance approaches are ludicrous. You want to take that to its logical conclusion? There's a very tiny risk that someone could secret a plastic or ceramic composite weapon inside their body cavity and sneak it through since it wouldn't be detected by the metal detector. Therefore, all passengers should be given body cavity searches. I mean, sure it's painful and degrading, but it's worth it to eliminate that risk right? You wouldn't want your loved one to be the one cut with a weapon hidden inside a terrorist, would you?

You have to balance the cost of doing something (which includes inconvenience to the passenger, violation of rights) with the payoff. In the case of the liquid ban, the cost is severe inconvenience, and the payoff is zero.

You call it whining. You probably would have called the Boston Tea Party or the Declaration of Independence whining too. Wake up. Your rights are disappearing.

Submitted by Heidi on

So if I freeze my water what will happen, cause in chemistry I learned it changes to a solid. Also I had a chocolate mousse yogurt taken our because of the liquids thing and seriously do you even know of its a liquid. Yogurt has living organisms in it would I have to bring it through customs?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I understand why many people don't want to check bags; on my last four flights, my bags were lost twice. Still, I don't find any pressing need to take toothpaste on the plane; I can always buy it at my destination.

But water - here's a simple solution. Ask us to drink some in front of you, and then smell the bottle. If there's a colourless, odourless explosive that you can safely drink, I'm not aware of it. It's simple, it's effective, and it won't make so many people so angry. Please give me one good reason why your agency won't implement this common sense solution.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I like the fact that the pilots can go through with the bottle of water strapped to their bags - definitely double standards for the crew - but hey they couldn't be the bad guys in disguise. And I can put solid deodorant in my carry on, but a gel has to be in a baggie? Oh and if I have .5 oz container of anything not in a baggy, you throw it away, but if I can show the baggy drop it in, and rescreen it is now magically OK. The truth is I can put these things in my pocket and go through without a hassle.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have to echo others' sentiments - show us the science!

If there's legitimate and rational reasons liquids are dangerous, explain it. If not, can the policy, not my carry-ons.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I once traveled with an unopened jar of specialty grape jam, and one of those desk ornaments with a viscous blue liquid that oozes from one side to the other.

The TSA agent looked at my desk ornament filled with unidentifiable blue liquid, and put it back in my bag.

The TSA agent then looked at my jam, and decided it was a threat, and that it had to be confiscated. I said, "it's jam". But she was not to be convinced. I either had to relinquish the jam, or check my bag.

I ended up checking my bag, which of course required that I sit through the security line *again*.

My theory is that the agent just wanted the jam, after all, it was good stuff.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The idiocy about liquids is very much like the idiocy of this country's entire reaction to 9/11. We're doing more damage to ourselves than the 9/11 terrorists ever did to us. All this silliness about throwing away your shampoo is just an example of security theater:
People's chances of getting killed by terrorists are less than their chances of drowning in the bathtub. I remember when flying was fun. I remember flying SF->NY and back without even carrying ID, much less having to present it. Is anyone really under the illusion that this Kabuki theater ceremony of taking off your shoes and brandishing ziplock bags has made us safer?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently went through a TSA screening in Puerto Rico. I forgot to put a sample bottle of rum (one ounce) -- a gift from the rum distillers organization in San Juan -- in my checked luggage. The screener was concerned, took the bottle out of my carry-on and said I could take it on board if I put it in a one quart plastic bag. I had to do all I could to keep from laughing, which probably would have gotten me stripped-searched. Why would putting it in a plastic bag make a difference? I didn't have a baggie, so the bottle was taken and put aside, not thrown out, mind you, but put aside. I wonder where it ended up?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The funniest thing I've heard about the liquids policy is this:

"If the liquids that are being confiscated are presumed to be dangerous, why are they have you throw them away in a tub, right next to all the passengers, presumably mixing with other dangerous liquids?"

The answer is, of course, they're not dangerous.

Another one: "Couldn't a single terrorist put a bunch of explosives in separate little containers? Or, even, multiple terrorists combine their small amounts?"

The answer is, of course, but no one would do this. Just like how liquids are really no more dangerous than other possibly explosive things.

"Would they notice if I simply straight a gatorade bottle to my body, under my shirt? I've been sneaking bottled water into the movie theatre like that for years."

No, they wouldn't notice, you just got through a metal detector.

Stupid nonsense policies designed to make people think the TSA is doing something valuable. That's the bottomline, trying to make people feel better, possibly making the terrorists more paranoid about trying something, but it's not actually about catching someone with liquids.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can someone please show the public that making a bomb out of small amounts of liquids is possible? The whole hydrogen peroxide/acetone myth has been disproved. I have never heard of a real way that this can even be done. So why can I not take shampoo or water on an airplane? You know that they make plastic explosives so does that mean that plastics are going to be banned next?

Maybe it is to scare the public. What happened to leaders making people feel safe and secure not trying to terrorize their own people?

Submitted by Anonymous on

They censored out my original post, even though it clearly was not a violation of their comment policy. I guess they don't want the facts posted. The fact is that the liquid ban in not physically enforceable with the tools and technology currently in use, only enforceable against those who choose to participate in the ban, the average traveler. The ban has no effect on someone intentionally trying to smuggle dangerous liquids onboard.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The liquids policy is stupid. Unlike on "teevee" where villains can make miraculous weapons from Evian, the truth is that Americans are not put at risk when other passengers carry-on liquids.

Enough already. Try common sense instead of Hollywood to inform these decisions.

Submitted by Less Frequent Flyer on

If we have to live with this silly 3oz rule, can we make it definitive. The Alaska Air site states a max of 3.4oz (or 100ml), the TSA site says 3oz. I have several 3.25oz containers. I check a full size bag just so I can take a couple 3.25oz contained because they do cost me money and I've lost them before to TSA screeners.

Submitted by Alan on

I think this belongs in the liquids category, even if only tangentially related..

I understand the thoughts behind limiting the volume and quantity of types of liquids. Fine. But what I really get urked about is the REQUIREMENT for ALL SUCH ITEMS to be within a plastic bag. Obviously, when there are a number of items, having a plastic bag can help easily separate them... but:

I have had times where I have had a *single* tube of chapstick or a *single* tube of lotion (both obviously smaller than any ounce or bag type restrictions). Since I did not have a plastic bag to put them in, I was forced to surrender them. This clearly does not make any sense. The *primary* objectives of the plastic bag are to 1) limit volume and 2) ease removal for secondary screening. One or two items which are clearly smaller and are clearly easy to rescan - they easily pass the primary objectives of without plastic bags.

So then. Can you give us a good *logical* reason? Answers that are not logical include:
1) for ease of scanning (it's 1 or two small tubes.. you have 2 hands)
2) to protect the scanners (wear gloves)
3) to keep your carryon clutter-free (you mean the "clutter" in the smaller-than-a-ziplock-bag front pocket of a bag?)

I cannot come up with any logical reasoning. It's easy to come up with the types of responses that I completely expect to receive (if any at all).. None of them truly make good sense - all they do is make me feel like TSA and/or the agents are intellectually inept, or that someone rather enjoys a more authoritarian-like set of rules!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Do you realize how many people commenting on this blog have said that they have had their carry on bags checked for liquids, gels, creams, lotions or paste. Many of them say they can get it through some airports but not others. They will knowingly test security on this. It has become a game with some. Can you all see what this does to the security lines. This explains why the lines can be long. This also can explain why TSO’s always seem to be yelling out orders “Remove all your liquids from your Bags” “Place them in the quart size clear plastic bag” “Place them separate from your carry on” blah, blah, blah. I work for TSA and have since the roll out in 2002. If every one of these people that has had their bag checked would have taken the time to read signs, listen to the news reports, and check out the rules on, and apply those rules, they would get it right. Although some still want to test the system, and others just don’t pay attention. All this does is slow everybody down and cause frustration. Most of the frequent flyers know the rules and get through okay, except, they have to wait behind those who don’t know or don’t want to go by the rules.

Honestly, we really don’t enjoy having to check bags anymore than you like it. The x-ray operators don’t like to have to call the bag checks either. Literally, almost every bag that goes through the x-ray could become a bag check because liquids remain inside the bags. People forget about hand sanitizer, eye drops, nasal sprays, lip gloss, mascara, foundation, etc…. the list goes on. People will even forget they put bottled water in their bags, or at least that’s what they say when we stop their bags. At some point the x-ray operator is forced to decide which of these bags to call bag checks on. This is why you have so many inconsistencies from one airport to the next. The main thing here is if you know the rules and apply them consistently, than you shouldn’t have trouble getting through security.

For those who are not sure about the liquid restrictions please take the time to view the web site before you pack your bags. Pack the liquids in your checked bags. If you must take some liquids with you in the cabin of the aircraft be sure that they are 3.4 oz/100ml or less container sizes, unless they are exempt like liquid meds or infant formula (see tsa web site for exceptions). Most importantly you must display all liquids, gels, creams, lotions and paste, outside of your carry on through the x-ray. We understand that this policy can be confusing, and there can be many misconceptions about liquids. Remember though, the screeners at the checkpoint don’t create the SOP’s but they are held responsible to perform their duties per the SOP’s and are continually tested on these procedures.

One more thing, please be sure to let the supervisors at the checkpoint know when you feel a security officer is not performing their duties in a professional manner. Many of us feel we get a bad rap for the actions of others. On the other side, positive reinforcement is appreciated as well, please inform supervisors or fill out those comment cards on exceptional performances of security officers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's a question I have never been able to get a response to:

Liquids are banned, apparently.

What about ice?

Submitted by Bill on

To the comment about no breast milk... I'm no genius, nor do I work for TSA, but they pretty damn clearly state that you can bring breast milk with you on the flight.

I'd still like to know why my baggie of liquids has to be set outside my carry on bag (same goes for my laptop, that's a bit of an annoyance in and of itself, but I digress)

Submitted by Grungy on

If I put my 70oz Camelbak in my carry-on, empty, and then fill it from a water fountain in the terminal on the secure side of things, can I take it on the plane, or would this violate the rule about having to pay to drink something when I'd like? What about an empty water bottle, the same way? Does the rule prohibit the container or the container+contents?

Submitted by Isaac on

Dear TSA,

Why are liquids banned from flights in the USA, while on a return flight from Mexico no check for liquids was made. I only noticed after bringing back 8 x 250ml glass bottles of vanilla in my carry on.


Isaac Underhill