USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

3-1-1 Liquid Policy Still In Place

Archived Content

Please note that older content is archived for public record. This page may contain information that is outdated and may not reflect current policy or programs.

If you have questions about policies or procedures, please contact the TSA Contact Center.

Members of the news media may contact TSA Public Affairs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
3-1-1 Baggie

A recent article is leading some to ask whether TSA has lifted the 3-1-1 policy on liquids, aerosols and gels. Not so. While we continue to aggressively work to find a way to relax the 3-1-1 requirements, we know liquid explosives still pose a threat to aviation security. This remains a top priority and TSA is partnering with vendors to find a solution that effectively screens liquids.

Two notable major incidents involving liquid explosives are:

1995 “Bojinka Plot” in Asia where Ramzi Yousef planned to use liquid explosives to bomb 12 passenger carrying aircraft bound for the United States. This was one month after his test on Philippine Airlines Flight 434 where a smaller “liquid” container killed one person.

The 2006 foiled liquid explosives plot in the U.K. This plot demonstrated a real threat and is the catalyst for TSA's liquids restrictions.

So please remember: 3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

3-1-1 Poster

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

lol

just

lol

How timely.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So BB does read FT.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So what the article is really pointing out is the incompetence of TSO's in detecting potentially dangerous objects in passengers carry-on luggage.

Makes me feel safer.....

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Curtis, aka "Blogger Bob", is a member on FT for the sole purpose of invoking the "do not disparage our fellow members" rule. Beyond that he never posts there, and I seriously doubt he even reads there.

By the way, Curtis, I did conclusively debunk your party line about how liquid explosives pose a threat.

You have to produce one of two liquid bombs:
1. It is possible to assemble it on the terminal side of the airport, and every single separate ingredient is considered safe.
2. It is assembled in a chem lab as a liquid, and is safe to transport to the airport, and would be considered safe going through the checkpoint.

Liquid explosives require a full chem lab to produce AND are extremely volatile to transport AND are quite detectable.

Why repeat the lie? Seriously, Curtis, you've lost this one so very long ago.

Submitted by Gunner on

So, I was going through the TSA check point at the LAX international terminal. I went through the family medial line as my entire family (Mrs. Gunner) was with me, and I was carrying our combined meds for a two week trip to Asia in an insulated lunch bag.

As I approached the podium, a TSA operative asked me where my children were. I quietly responded that we didn't have children, we were a family, and we had extensive medications and the sign said family medical, not families with children medical. I was allowed to proceed.

When I got there I showed and opened the lunch bag containing our medications is six very full containers, each holding a day's pills for up to a week. You've all seen them, white, rectangular, with seven compartments and asnap-down lid. Very, very low tech. There was also a two week supply of insulin in pre-loaded injectors, a supply of disposable needles, and a blood test kit (meter, test strips and a finger poker).

The agent of the United States of America then asked if I had "documentation" for my meds.

I then produced a piece of paper on which I had affixed labels for each of the prescriptions. Said list was then studied for a few minutes and I was told I could proceed, but I needed to provide the list to the x-ray screener. I smiled, said thank you, and went on my merry way. I never provided the list to anyone else because no one else asked.

So, good and kind people:

1. Did the agent have the right to ask for my documentation on my medications?
2. Was said agent trained/qualified to examine the prescription labels, determine that they matched my meds? He never attempted to open any of the containers, so he had no idea what was in them

Submitted by Gunner on

Another topic......

While in said LAX international terminal, I noted that the shoe bins that you are not supposed to put shoes in, all had advertising.

Not sure why, but it really irritated me.

Submitted by Gunner on

Finally, while going through the scanning lines at LAX, one of the Agents of the United States fo America was speaking as loud as possible (I personally thought he was shouting at everone in line, and berating one Asian family in particular, but I have been assured that TSA agnets never shout).

The gist of his rant was: if you take empty bins from my line, you have to go through my line.

If the reason for this is not SSI, could someone enlighten me where I can find documentation on the "you taka the basked from my line youse gotta use my line" policy.

Submitted by Isaac Newton on

One more time:

If a large bottle of water or a large bottle of shampoo are potentially so dangerous that they can't be allowed on the flight, why do screeners then throw that bottle in the regular trash can with all the other potentially dangerous liquids? If it's too dangerous to fly, it needs to be treated as HazMat.

I've given up expecting you to be sensible, but at least you could try to be consistent.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Gotta love the TSA. Spending untold millions of my tax dollars to make sure I don't bring in a bottle of water, but they don't check the bottles of water, soda, etc. sold by the vendors on the other side of the checkpoint.

Tell me again how good a job you guys are doing. I need a laugh.

Submitted by Deadpass on

So there have been two times when a liquid bomb was part of a terror plan against aircraft. One six years before 9/11 and one 5 years after. So in the last 15 years this has been planned twice, neither time even made it to an airport, let alone a plane. So why does this matter again?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I NEVER take out my travel toiletries and place them in a plastic baggie, and I NEVER get caught either.

Submitted by Prank Call Of C... on

3-1-1...Because one six-ounce bottle of shampoo can blow up an airplane, but two three-ounce bottles can't. Also, all explosives are liquid.

Security theatre is still theatre.

Submitted by Jim Harris on

The TSA must constantly invent and perpetuate threats in order to retain funding. Kip-Hawley-Is-an-Idiot (KHIAI) bags will never go away.

...unless, of course, you're Britney Spears

Submitted by Anonymous on

Other attempts used solids. Are you going to limit all our solids on board to a single little baggie?

What about the show bomb? How about prohibiting shoes on board unless they are smaller than a size 5? Then you could end the shoe removal madness, right? And I won´t even go into the fact that you can board planes into the US from many countries without ever having to remove your shoes (and none of the exploded)...

Limiting liquids without thinking about what liquids you are limiting or allowing, then leaving a whole bunch of exceptions for medical necessities and the sort makes no sense and is a major inconvenience.

And please explain how you are "aggressively pursuing" alternatives to the liquid ban. I don´t see anything being done.

Submitted by RB on

Why repeat the lie? Seriously, Curtis, you've lost this one so very long ago.

May 11, 2010 7:21 PM
.................
If TSA and its spokespeople could only tell the truth they would have nothing to say.

Submitted by Cat on

Ayn R. Key Said...
"Liquid explosives require a full chem lab to produce AND are extremely volatile to transport AND are quite detectable."

Or, of course, you could steal or buy some of the wonderful commercial packages of binary and/or liquid explosives, which are safe enough to be handled in a mining environment and stored in similar locations.

And I guess a home meth lab counts as a "full chemistry lab", as there have been instances in which certain explosives (by-products of the meth manufacturing process) have been created.

Then, too, there is that video from the BBC that shows an explosives expert re-creating the explosive from the August 2006 liquids plot... standing next to an airplane, with exactly two substances, neither one of which is exceptionally difficult to obtain.

Seriously, it's a shame some of these things can't be tested on Mythbusters... you don't believe the TSA, but maybe you'd believe Adam and Jamie?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Saw a guy carry a full thermos through screening this morning. It got tested and rex-rayed. Was the flight any worse off for this to happen? No.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Shoes in bin, shoes out of bin. When will TSA stop failing to make even the simplest descisions standardardized? Must be intentional so they can always blame the training of the TSO for the agencies failures. Anyone want to bet as to if the guy who missed the pistols and knives in the Egypt-bound luggage gets Peter-panned to some out of the way place?

Submitted by RB on

Seriously, it's a shame some of these things can't be tested on Mythbusters... you don't believe the TSA, but maybe you'd believe Adam and Jamie?

May 12, 2010 11:23 AM

.....................
Well since we know that TSA lies I would believe Adam or Jamie much sooner than a TSA spokesperson.

Oh Bob, that offer to be screened with WBI so we could finally settle the question of just how revealing they really are is still on the table.

Just waiting on TSA to accept my offer.

I can't imagine that TSA wouldn't want to settle this once and for all.

Submitted by Less Frequent Flier on

I give you credit for covering this topic here.

Submitted by Yasmine H on

I wouldn't care so much about the policy if it wasn't for the fact that the airlines capitalize on the policy by hiking the price of water to the point of insanity.

Submitted by TSORon on

Ayn R. Key said...
By the way, Curtis, I did conclusively debunk your party line about how liquid explosives pose a threat.
-------------------------------

Sorry ayn, but your “conclusive” is far from an accurate statement. The facts of liquid explosives have been presented both here and at FT several times. I’m sorry you cant bring yourself to admit your error in this area. Do a google search and read. The facts are plain and plentiful. And a laboratory is not really needed to manufacture these components, just some time. That fact is also available via google.

So basically your entire premise concerning this topic is in error. I know that won’t deter you from making this same error over and over again, but at least someone has tried to educate you on the subject.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Quoth RB:
"Seriously, it's a shame some of these things can't be tested on Mythbusters... you don't believe the TSA, but maybe you'd believe Adam and Jamie?"

Perhaps it's because Adam and Jamie at least use fact somewhere in their experiments, and sometimes even admit when they're wrong.

When the TSA is wrong (which is almost always), some poor schmuck is kidnapped, beaten, tortured, or even killed, all in violation of the constitution.

The TSA has had only one true success, unlike private security of years prior. These are the true terrorists scaring people from flying, not Kumar and Aleksei.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of a specific state of matter. Liquids are not any more dangerous on airplanes than solids or gases.

While your officers are distracted apprehending shampoo, guns and ammunition still go past them undetected...

Submitted by RB on

This exchange was posted on another forum. The discussion was talking about medically exempted items.

The person (TSORon) is saying to check all you want and to use that supply to refill smaller containers is a self proclaimed TSA employee.

Beliefs like this are why TSA checkpoints need to be removed from US airports.

And another demonstration of the lack of high qualiy of TSA training.


Quote:
Blog Participant:

"What if you can't get replacements where you are going and need more than 3oz?"

TSORon:

Ship a gallon, or whatever you need, in your checked baggage. Refill the bottle in your carryon from the bottle in your checked baggage as necessary. If you need more than one 3 ounce bottle during your flight, take several.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"deadpass said...
So there have been two times when a liquid bomb was part of a terror plan against aircraft. One six years before 9/11 and one 5 years after. So in the last 15 years this has been planned twice, neither time even made it to an airport, let alone a plane. So why does this matter again?"

Philippine Airlines Flight 434

Submitted by MarkVII on

Have the Mythbusters take a look at 3-1-1? I'm all for it.

They've got more credibility with me than the DWWTFT crowd.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Cat's not paying much attention.

Liquid explosives are extremely volatile. If you try to transport a pre-mixed one to the airport, and hit a pothole or speedbump, you blow up.

That's why I included "safe to transport".

That applies to the example mixed up by the BBC.

Are you suggesting that I'm denying the existence of liquid explosives? I'm not. I'm denying the existence of the Hogwarts Liquid Explosive that I described.

It has to have ALL of the characteristics of one of the two liquid explosives I describe. Either one, but it has to have ALL of that one's characteristics. Not some, not most. All. Only then does the 3-1-1 rule make any sense as a defense against liquid explosive.

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Blogger Bob, this is such a cute puppy and it is not even Friday yet. ;-)

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

RB said...
Seriously, it's a shame some of these things can't be tested on Mythbusters... you don't believe the TSA, but maybe you'd believe Adam and Jamie?

May 12, 2010 11:23 AM

.....................
Well since we know that TSA lies I would believe Adam or Jamie much sooner than a TSA spokesperson.

Oh Bob, that offer to be screened with WBI so we could finally settle the question of just how revealing they really are is still on the table.

Just waiting on TSA to accept my offer.

I can't imagine that TSA wouldn't want to settle this once and for all.

May 12, 2010 2:16 PM
----------------------

You say you "Know" TSA lies? Please explain with actual proof that TSA has lied to the public about anything. Bring up some instances where TSA flat out told a lie to the public and did something else on purpose. Saying its already on the blog doesn't count and policy changes due to terrorist activity or better intel does not count.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you, TSA, for pointing out that the pre-DHS/TSA USA responded rationally to the 1995 plot. Even though the 1995 plot actually killed a passenger on a test run (Philippine Airlines Flight 434), we did not absurdly over-react and ban an entire state of matter.

But in 2006, after a plot involving morons who never even bought a plane ticket was disrupted, DHS/TSA had to show it was "doing something" to "make us feel safe," so they banned an entire state of matter. Interestingly enough, the threat was greater a week prior to the liquid ban than a week after, because the plotters were still on the loose. DHS/TSA knew about the plot for months but did nothing. Only *after* the threat had been eliminated did TSA put the War on Water into place, by which point the only result is the harassment and inconvenience of innocent travelers.

The War on Water is an absurd charade that continues only for the purpose of saving face within DHS/TSA and continuing to scare the sheeple into submission. Give up the lies and come clean.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob,

On another public forum, a person representing themselves as a TSO has stated that the TSA policy on liquid prescription and OTC medications that is on the website is incorrect and that TSO's have been given different instructions.

In part the website guidance reads:

"You are not limited in the amount or volume of these items you may bring in your carry-on baggage. BUT if the medically necessary items exceed 3 ounces or are not contained in a one-quart, zip-top plastic bag, you MUST declare to one of our Security Officers at the checkpoint for further inspection."

Can you please clarify, especially concerning quantities permitted?

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, good and kind people:

1. Did the agent have the right to ask for my documentation on my medications?
2. Was said agent trained/qualified to examine the prescription labels, determine that they matched my meds? He never attempted to open any of the containers, so he had no idea what was in them
___________________________________
I am a TSO. And it is none of our business what kind of medication you are taking. The only reason that a TSO might ever look twice at a medication is because it is a large liquid. Just looking at a glance at the bottle and seeing that it is a medical liquid is enough. We do not have to see your prescription. As for pills, you do not ever have to declare pills. Like I said before it is not our business what kind of pills you are taking. And as for insulin. Usually it is in such a small container that it is not even looked at twice.
If you have a large liquid bottle or a gel pack/ice pack cooling your meds then I would declare it. Otherwise, no TSO needs to know what kind of medicine you are carrying.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If the reason for this is not SSI, could someone enlighten me where I can find documentation on the "you taka the basked from my line youse gotta use my line" policy.
___________________________________
This is not a policy. But it is an annoyance when people carry bins from one lane to another because then the TSOs have to go to other lanes and restock their bins. No policy, just TSOs not wanting to do a little extra work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Gotta love the TSA. Spending untold millions of my tax dollars to make sure I don't bring in a bottle of water, but they don't check the bottles of water, soda, etc. sold by the vendors on the other side of the checkpoint.
___________________________________
All vendor deliveries go through the checkpoint. Funny how you people assume things as if you actually know what is happening.

Submitted by RB on

Bob, in another blog a person claiming to be a TSA employee has stated that the information in your SOP and the information on TSA's web pages discussing Medically Exempted items disagree.

There is no way for the public to know if this is true, but if so, how can anyone traveling know how to prepare their medically needed items if the provided information is wrong?

The answer given by this supposed employee is to check medical items that exceed 100ml. With the problems of lost baggage not to mention continued theft issues of checked items this solution just doesn't work.

Are we expected to allow TSA to confiscate our medicines? That seems to be the case!

This is a serious health and welfare issue that demands immediate attention.

I would like a clear, concise statement from TSA stating that Medically Exempted items are permitted in larger sizes than 100ml and that TSA has taken the initiative to clear any misunderstanding its employees may have about people with medical needs and their medical supplies.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"What about the show bomb? How about prohibiting shoes on board unless they are smaller than a size 5? Then you could end the shoe removal madness, right? And I won´t even go into the fact that you can board planes into the US from many countries without ever having to remove your shoes (and none of the exploded)..."

Whats a "Show Bomb"?? Shoes go through the X-ray, do they not? Does your father happen to be your uncle also?

----------------------

Saw a guy carry a full thermos through screening this morning. It got tested and rex-rayed. Was the flight any worse off for this to happen? No.

KEY PHRASE - "It got tested and rex-rayed."

Point of your post?

Submitted by Colyn on

Howdy Folx!

The liquids rule remains in place with good cause. While it's easy to look back and think "that was so long ago" and assume it wont happen again, it's still dangerous. See, the enemy doesn't think the same way, they look back and say "it worked" and will not hesitate to use the same strategy again if the opportunity presents itself.

If another country wants to succumb to the jesters and ignorant, that's their business. I for one am glad the TSA stands behind the liquids policy.

Safe travels everyone!! *wave*

Colyn

Submitted by RB on

You say you "Know" TSA lies? Please explain with actual proof that TSA has lied to the public about anything. Bring up some instances where TSA flat out told a lie to the public and did something else on purpose. Saying its already on the blog doesn't count and policy changes due to terrorist activity or better intel does not count.

May 13, 2010 12:10 PM

...........
WBI machines have no network capability.

WBI machines cannot store images.

for starters.

It also seems we have been lied to about medically exempted liquids based on a recent exchange on another blog.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Saw a guy carry a full thermos through screening this morning. It got tested and rex-rayed. Was the flight any worse off for this to happen? No.

KEY PHRASE - "It got tested and rex-rayed."

Point of your post?
__________________________

The ban doesn't apparently get enforced at all TSA checkpoints.

Submitted by Gunner on

A TSA Agent, posting as Anonymous said:

Saw a guy carry a full thermos through screening this morning. It got tested and rex-rayed. Was the flight any worse off for this to happen? No.

KEY PHRASE - "It got tested and rex-rayed."

Point of your post?
-------------------

The point of the post -- even though it was not mine -- was simple. A thermous full of liquid passed security.

Does this mean it is not TSA policy that we can empty our bottled water into a thermous, it can now pass security -- that the inherint risk was not the liquid, but rather the dreaded plastic bottle.

Wow, TSA as Earth First!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Gotta love the TSA. Spending untold millions of my tax dollars to make sure I don't bring in a bottle of water, but they don't check the bottles of water, soda, etc. sold by the vendors on the other side of the checkpoint.
___________________________________
All vendor deliveries go through the checkpoint. Funny how you people assume things as if you actually know what is happening.


-----------------------------

Really? All vendor deliveries go thru the checkpoint? Wow. What do they check exactly? How are the liquids checked for explosives or tampering?

And if all vendor liquids ar checked for explosives why is it my bottle of water isn't?

Funny how some people assume that an entire pallet of sodas being waved thru the checkpoint without any testing does anything for security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSOWilliamReed said...

You say you "Know" TSA lies? Please explain with actual proof that TSA has lied to the public about anything. Bring up some instances where TSA flat out told a lie to the public and did something else on purpose. Saying its already on the blog doesn't count and policy changes due to terrorist activity or better intel does not count.

---------------------------

TSA has claimed that the strip search cannot store images. This lie was discovered when TSA finally admitted that the machines can do just that.

They've also claimed that the images aren't good enough to show anyone's privates, although they have failed to support this with actual pictures of exactly what the operator sees. This lie was busted when a TSA employee assaulted another employee for making fun of his small package after he went thru the machine in training.

And the no-fly list not having any children's names on it even though children have been harassed for years when their names were found on the list.

Care to try again William?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dear RB:

"the information in your SOP and the information on TSA's web pages discussing Medically Exempted items disagree."

Please stop misquoting that poor FT poster, thats not what he said.

Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
Another topic......

While in said LAX international terminal, I noted that the shoe bins that you are not supposed to put shoes in, all had advertising.

Not sure why, but it really irritated me.

I don't know why this is at some airports but LAX is not the only airport. I have seen advertisements in bins when flying through SEA myself.
Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
Gunner said...

Finally, while going through the scanning lines at LAX, one of the Agents of the United States fo America was speaking as loud as possible (I personally thought he was shouting at everone in line, and berating one Asian family in particular, but I have been assured that TSA agnets never shout).

The gist of his rant was: if you take empty bins from my line, you have to go through my line.

If the reason for this is not SSI, could someone enlighten me where I can find documentation on the "you taka the basked from my line youse gotta use my line" policy.

Please know that most of what I read on this blog is not policy issues but more of the person in the uniform. Just because something is different from one airport to the next doesn't mean they are making up rules and changing policy sometimes it means that there is a person in that uniform. That is diversity for you. Every officer will have their quirks because it is human nature.
Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
Isaac Newton said...

One more time:

If a large bottle of water or a large bottle of shampoo are potentially so dangerous that they can't be allowed on the flight, why do screeners then throw that bottle in the regular trash can with all the other potentially dangerous liquids? If it's too dangerous to fly, it needs to be treated as HazMat.

I've given up expecting you to be sensible, but at least you could try to be consistent.

Lighter fluid can be dangerous but when sitting by itself it is pretty much just there.

There are pieces that are needed to set off an explosive and without all the pieces then the explosive is pretty much just there.

It is not that water and shampoos are too dangerous to fly. It is the fact that liquid explosives can be easily disguised as such and have similar properties as common liquids we use in our everyday lives. Yes common liquids can be used to create explosives but officers are not specifically trained in all possible combinations. To differentiate between that many liquids consistently is a risk.

Hope this helps. Tried to explain this as simply as possible.
Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
And please explain how you are "aggressively pursuing" alternatives to the liquid ban. I don´t see anything being done.

It has been said in the past that when all new X-rays are deployed with the software needed then the x-ray machines will determine which are harmless liquids or potentially harmful. Procedures will probably be in place to have threat liquids further screened. We don't know yet because it hasn't happened.
Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
Ayn R. Key said...

Liquid explosives are extremely volatile. If you try to transport a pre-mixed one to the airport, and hit a pothole or speedbump, you blow up.


Ayn.. Please note that Ramsy Yousef succeeded to carry NG explosive which was liquid onto an airplane without it being set off. Yes most are volatile but that doesn't make it impossible. We have seen the success in the past. History repeating itself is bad. We need to learn from mistakes not welcome the same horror.
Submitted by LTSO With Answers on
RB said...

I would like a clear, concise statement from TSA stating that Medically Exempted items are permitted in larger sizes than 100ml and that TSA has taken the initiative to clear any misunderstanding its employees may have about people with medical needs and their medical supplies.


Medical liquids exceeded 100mL can be cleared and permitted past security checkpoints for carry-on.

For the second part maybe Bob can issue something for a nation wide brief to remind officers of this. Recurrent training is always neccessary. It is a lot of stuff to know.

Pages