Travel like a pro with these airline packing tips

Travel like a pro with these airline packing tips

You can never be too careful when you're packing for a plane trip. As it turns out, some of the most common household items that you'd never think twice about are on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) list of restricted items, and aerosols fall squarely into that category. So whether you're planning to travel with your favorite hair spray or a can of whipped cream, it's wise to know the rules prior to check-in.

Aerosol Toiletry TSA Rules

Not all aerosol cans are treated the same by the TSA. Some items are prohibited, while others are permitted in limited quantities, as long as they are contained within a quart-sized bag. Aerosols that are categorized as toiletries are allowed in your carry-on baggage, as long as they conform to the 3-1-1 rule. These include aerosols in the following forms:

  • Deodorant
  • Antiperspirant
  • Hair spray or hair mousse
  • Dry shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Perfume
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Sunscreen

To comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule, make sure all liquid, aerosol products and gel toiletries in your carry-on luggage are travel-size or in containers no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces each, and bring no more than can fit inside a sealed 1-quart, resealable clear plastic bag. You can pack full-size toiletries in your checked luggage only.

TSA Prohibited Types of Aerosol

The TSA prohibits you to pack aerosols that are flammable or otherwise hazardous. These include spray paint, cooking spray, WD-40, self-defense sprays like pepper spray, aerosol laundry products, and all insecticides or insect repellants except those that are applied directly to the skin. These materials are completely prohibited from carry-on bags as well as checked luggage. You can face a hefty fine and possibly even jail time for not following this rule, so if you're not sure about something, it's best leave it at home. The security screening during airport security will catch any aerosols sprays that aren’t allowed, whether it’s in your hand luggage or in your checked baggage.

Non-flammable aerosols are permitted in checked luggage only. Very few aerosols are non-flammable, but a few examples include certain electronics cleaners and flat-tire fixers, whipped cream, and perhaps mankind's greatest invention – aerosol cheese.

Aerosol Dangers

Aerosol cans are considered hazardous for a few reasons. Anything flammable is carefully regulated, of course, and almost all aerosols are flammable, if only because of the propellant gases used in the cans. The changes in pressure and temperature on an airplane can cause aerosols to leak, ignite or even explode, in rare cases.

Pack Safe

In addition to the rules put in place by the TSA, the FAA has a few guidelines of its own when packing aerosols in your checked luggage. Aerosols (including toiletries) in your checked bags must be in containers no larger than 18 ounces, and you are permitted to pack a total of no more than 70 ounces. Aerosol containers in your checked luggage must be protected by a cap, and you should always pack them in plastic zip-top bags, if for no other reason than to prevent a mess should one start to leak.

What will fly when it comes to aerosols

Convenient aerosol sprays can make traveling life easier, providing everything from sunblock to hair care in a no-fuss container. When you're packing them for a plane trip, regulations can seem complicated. Here's what you need to know in a nutshell.

What flies

TSA limits the amount of flammable products each passenger can carry on a plane. Although many aerosols are flammable, TSA makes exceptions for limited amounts of aerosol toiletries.

TSA's 3-1-1 rule lets you bring aerosol toiletry products in your carry-on in containers up to 3.4 ounces. Your aerosol items and other non-solid items must fit together in one quart-sized plastic bag.

Aerosol products in your checked luggage can be up to 17 ounces, but you can only bring a total of 68 ounces of flammable liquids and aerosol in your checked bags. Go ahead and include these items in your checked bags or carry-on in the appropriate sizes.

  • Aerosol sun block, tanning spray and sunburn treatments
  • Bug-repellent spray
  • Shaving cream
  • Hair spray
  • Spray deodorant
  • Spray nail polish

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