Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liquids, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

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).


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Sra said...

I was flying out of San Diego, and a TSA agent stole a little tub of my hair product. Do you know how expensive hair product is?

I think you seriously need to stop stealing toiletries from people. Seriously. I mean it. I'd like to know how many of the products you've stolen have tested positive for being an explosive or some other dangerous contraband? My bet is not a single one. You probably don't even test them, but just throw them away or take them for yourselves.

I don't feel safer, I feel more irritated, and like my rights are being taken away one by one.

I like to not check my bags whenever possible, because I don't like to risk them getting lost, but it's either risk losing them, or risk getting stuff taken away from you and being humiliated while some stranger rifles through your private possessions.

I feel personally terrorized by the TSA.

PB said...

From the link, regarding the liquid policy:

"Please keep in mind that these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats."

This is all the rationale given for a policy that is driving millions of travellers nuts. I don't believe for a second the liquid policy is based purely on a rational analysis of threats. Could this "research" be made public? Or will it be kept under wraps out of "national security concerns" or some other BS excuse?

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.

Bloggulator said...

The "binary liquid explosives" scare of two years ago was a classic scam, employed by an administration intent on demonizing a section of society, while simultaneously scaring the public by broadcasting bogus threats and falsehoods via a complicit media. Any qualified chemist must have had an attack of hysterics at the idea of someone manufacturing triacetone triperoxide (TATP) while on a commercial plane! The article on "The Register" is worth a read, for a welcome, and highly appropriate, reality check.

I trust that not being a "weasel" and publishing an unconventional viewpoint in these bizarre Orwellian times doesn't put me on the "no fly" list. Such tactics are used to *squash dissent* rather than for exercising legitimate security matters.

I am just trying to be helpful, for what its worth.

Anonymous said...

Why they have to take my toothpaste is beyond me. All they have to do is one the lid and smell

Anonymous said...

I've been asked to take off my Flip Flops. Please explain what I could possibly hide in those

Barry said...

Here's an idea: why not use the same policy that Israel uses for liquids? They don't care if you have them on the flight, and they seem to know a thing or two about terrorism.

I lost all confidence in the TSA's judgment when the liquids ban was started. It's the most infuriating thing about air travel in the US.

gerrrg said...

Presealed items bought from a store are easily, visually and physically verified against tampering. These items ought to be excluded from the 3 oz. rule.

Anonymous said...

"A" for effort, I hope the blog helps TSA change/shape policy. More communication is always a good thing.

Liquids = possibly bad. Got it.

But to confiscate the liquids, then dump them in a common trash can? It makes no sense.

If a 'bad' person really does find a way to make a compound explosive, and it is confiscated at the airport, and put into the trash can, where it sits, at a major hub for activity....

If causing destruction is the goal, wouldn't blowing up part of an airport be a potential game plan?

I would very much like the TSA to reconsider it's disaster planning, do away with the "theater of security" and implement some serious re-design of effort.

Consider the process in Israel, it works.

Anonymous said...

The liquid ban is arbitrary and not based on any sound science. But adding insult to injury - the liquids aren't even handled like the "security threats" that they are labeled as!

At many airports I've been to - ORD, MDW, DEN, SFO - travelers are forced to give up their water bottles, full sized toothpaste, expensive lotion, etc - which are promptly thrown into an exposed garbage can right next to the passenger line. If these are restricted, dangerous items, shouldn't they be taken away by the bomb squad? Why go through the theatre of taking them away if they're not even considered dangerous by the screeners in the first place?? It seems like a policy designed simply to create ill will and to make life more difficult for passengers, with zero safety benefit.

Anonymous said...

The two types of liquids proposed for use in the London plot are TATP & HMTD. Anyone with college level chemistry knowledge know this is a moronic method. Can’t be done easily. See below:

The explosive is easily made from three colourless liquids- hydrogen peroxide, which is common in antiseptic solutions, acetone, which is commonly used as a paint thinner and nail polish remover, and sulfuric acid, which is available from many sources as a battery electrolyte and drain cleaner.

But let’s be a little bit more critical here. You have to keep all of these three liquids separate from each other until you want to make TATP. You have to use highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide, which is not nice stuff at all- after all, it maimed and killed thousands of people during the Second World War, when the Nazis used it as oxidizer for their A-4 engines. It also gasses off oxygen constantly and reacts aggressively with plastics of all kinds, which makes carrying it anywhere a challenge. You have to use hydrogen peroxide at least a hundred times more concentrated than that which is used as a hair bleach. Oh, and peroxides are already banned in air travel. You have to mix the acetone with the hydrogen peroxide during the reaction, which is actually the hard part. Acetone plus hydrogen peroxide is actually a hypergolic reaction at room temperature. You have to keep the stuff cold to stop it reacting and producing water, carbon dioxide and heat. Oh, and the reaction when you add the sulfuric acid is strongly exothermic.

Then you need to filter and dry the product, and probably use a blasting cap to detonate it. Interestingly, one mole of explosive will produce three moles of cold gas; this means that for a couple of litres of reagent, the most gas that can possibly be produced is just over 75 litres. I can’t see that producing significant overpressure in a modern widebody jet of volume many hundreds of thousands of litres.

Can we please use some SCIENCE, before we make policy!?!?!

Michael said...

Hi TSA. Nice job overall.

My gripe is when you clearly have less than 3 oz. in a container, but the container's marking is over 3 oz, the TSA confiscates it. I have had this with toothpaste (about an ounce left in the tube, a dab of hair conditioner in a 4 oz. bottle, that kind of thing. And it happens to many others in line.

The reason given at one point was that the TSA cannot be responsible for the call. If it is marked more than 3 oz. then they reject it regardless.

My thought is that these capable people can indeed make a call as easy as this and not affect overall saftey.

BTW, I am a million+ miler on Delta alone, so these small difference in the process make a big difference to me as a traveler.

Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I appreciate it greatly.

Good luck,


Rich said...

What is the point of the 3.3oz rule?

I can understand having a total ounce limit, but not the individual container size.

For example, I can fit 5, 3.3oz bottles in my 1 quart baggy. But I cannot take 1, 10oz bottle.

If I wanted to combine the liquids into a larger bottle, I could easily purchase a 20oz bottle of water beyond the security lines, dump it out and combine the little bottles.

Again, I can understand a total ounce limit, but not the individual size rule.

Why is that?

matt_n said...

I agree with pb, this is exactly what I came in here to say. If there is research out there that shows that liquids are a threat, surely this would be the right place to post them.

If these liquids have been researched to be such a threat, why are the confiscated liquids usually thrown into a bin right by where hundreds of people are lining up to go through a security check? Isn't that dangerous?

Water Drinker said...

I would really like the TSA to reconsider its policy on all liquids, but specifically water. I take medication that dehydrates me. It is a constant struggle for me to regulate my water intake. Airline flight is notorious for causing dehydration. The combination of certain medications and flight require many passengers to be extra diligent about hydration.

The airlines are supposed to offer water to passengers. Let's be honest, they offer one six to eight ounce bottle per passenger. That is simply not enough for some people. I have typically consumed the entire bottle before the steward moves on to service the next aisle.

There should be some way for you to allow us to bring our own bottles of water. Test the contests if you have to, but please work it out.

Anonymous said...

The liquids policy as a security measure makes no sense whatsoever.

If the liquids are potentially dangerous then why can anyone walk up to a TSA checkpoint and unload gallons of fluids, pastes, and lotions into bins right by your own staff and equipment?

All the liquids rule has succeeded in doing is increase queue length, massively increase the number of checked bags, and irritated customers.

Anonymous said...

I remember flying out of Burbank and having my toothpaste confiscated it -- a memento from my trip to Tokyo -- and yet the same container made the trip into SFO with no issue.

I flew through Canada, Germany, and Turkey last year with no difficulties carrying liquids; doing the same thing here is usually seen as permission to act like an ogre or treat travelers like cattle.

I understand they're just doing their jobs, but the liquids thing is irritating, invasive, and largely ineffective. In fact, from most accounts I've read, the TSA's record is abysmal and normal passengers end up feeling like criminals or second-class citizens.

Is a little consistency too much to ask for? Is it possible for transportation restrictions to be more well thought out, and less a knee-jerk reaction to every extremist nutcase who couldn't conceal a weapon if his life depended on it?

Anonymous said...

TSA says:

The rule limits the volume of liquids, gels and aerosols to bottles 3 ounces or smaller (or 100 ml), in 1 quart-sized zip top bag, and 1 bag per traveler.

Since when is 3 ounces = 100 milliliters? How about 3.4 ounces.

From "3-1-1 Gains International Acceptance" says that Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom agree to 100 ml liquids.

In the US its 3 oz (or 88 ml).


Maybe the tagline should be 3.4-1-1 instead of 3-1-1.

Anonymous said...

regarding the liquids that get taken away... why does all of that stuff have to be thrown out along with the trash? anyone thinking about the environment? the TSA should think about REUSING these items, ie - donate them to a local homeless shelter. Most of the time I see items that are thrown out are BRAND NEW.
or maybe yet, place them in RECYCLING instead of trash? there are so many different options that can be thought up of...

Anonymous said...

I flew from Seattle to Dallas near the Christmas holiday.

I observed many people having their full bottles of toiletries in sizes as small as 3.5 oz being thrown into the trash, on it's way to a landfill, doing no good & causing harm to the environment & those passenger's pocket-books, having to purchase the products all over again.

I received some great herbal lotion from my mother-in-law for christmas, but thought better of packing it onto my carry-on (no checked baggage for a short trip) & instead, paid twice the cost of the home-made lotion in order to ship the heavy bottle home.

I don't understand how this stops terrorists or crazy people from smuggling bombs onto planes.
I really don't believe that it does. It's just a way to keep the masses in a constant state of fear and dread, testing little by little how much of our civil liberties we will sacrifice in order to travel where we want to go.

Anonymous said...

Preventing me from taking my water bottle through the checkpoint would not be so infuriating if I did not have to pay double or triple the price for the same bottle of water once inside the terminal. It seems to me that the sales of liquids at ridiculously inflated prices once inside is a prime motivator against lifting the ban.

Anonymous said...

Since the TSA has decided not to allow me to bring my own bottled water why don't the airports force the vendors beyond the check point the sell water at street prices. I don't think banning fluids has improved security at all, but I guarantee It has improved profits for the vendors that operate beyond the check-point.

Anonymous said...

If the TSA expects passengers to take the ban on liquids seriously they need to make sure they practice what they preach.
I was flying from Philadelphia to Frankfurt and passing through security I realized I was carrying a full, un-opened, security sealed bottle of water. When I got to the front of the line the TSA agent stuck out his hand and just looked at me. No words, no nothing, just a look.

He took my bottle of water, and upon noticing it was still sealed he set it to the side of the trash can.

I really had to laugh when I looked a few minutes later (it was a long line) as he was DRINKING IT!
Imagine... drinking potentially dangerous water!

Now to be honest, I feel better knowing it was not wasted, but I would much rather have had the opportunity to drink it myself!

Argys said...

Numerous experts have stated that there is little likelihood of a successful bomb being made using liquids or gels on an airplane.

Why does the TSA continue to cling to knee-jerk reactions to sensational news stories when the evidence is against them?

The same thing happened with the "shoe bomb." Now we must remove our shoes even though studies have shown the x-ray machines are not able to detect bombs in our shoes.

I can't help but feel like all of these extra measures are taken on the backs of airline passengers who can only complain ineffectually.

Initiating real reforms, like better training and supervision, better machines, a more accurate and useful terrorist watch lists (rather than the bloated, innacurate and misleading one that we currently have) would require legislation or actual money that neither the TSA nor the airlines want to spend.

Anonymous said...

Seriously... the whole 3 oz thing? Get over it. If someone needs 4.5 oz of something for 'evil' purposes won't people just split it across 2 containers.

Or is the purpose purely phychological?

If there is some serious legit research because this rule, can you at least publish it for peer review instead of pretending it's a state secret?

Anonymous said...

Enough is enough of this 3 oz liquid limit. Its beyond annoying and even more so that the TSA people (who would be flipping burgers at McDonalds if they werent TSA) dont know the difference between fluid ounces and solids. Its a joke and has just become annoying.

whoohoogirl1 said...

When I took my plastic bag with my liquids out of my carry-on for inspection before my flight last week, the TSA agent informed me that I was using a gallon size bag, which was against the rules. She "let me go this time," and gave me a quart size bag, "courtesy of the TSA." Ridiculous.

However, like another poster mentioned: I find that going with the flow, smiling, and trying to make the best of things, is a good policy. Both for your sanity, and others'.

Anonymous said...

I would echo pb's comment, in that my understanding of the underlying science is that it is virtually impossible for a traveler using portable quantities of liquids to effectively fashion an explosive inside the sterile area or on board a plane without easily being detected.

I would be interested to see an scientific and technical explanation of:
(i) the actual likelihood that a traveller could create an explosive in this scenario;
(ii) how that risk is eliminated by allowing passengers to bring nearly 32 ounces of fluids (apprx. 1 quart) through security with no meaningful analysis conducted of those fluids' properties; and
(iii) why the sensitive explosives detection equipment already in use at security checkpoints (or why readily-available equipment sensitive to the chemicals likely to be used in a binary liquid explosive) is not a feasible alternative to the TSA's current policy on liquids.

crys_h said...

Others have failed to mention how ridiculously pointless it is to now allow liquids/gels/aerosols in a quart sized bag. I can get about 10 3oz or less contains in my quart sized bag. Thus, I have 30oz of liquids! How is this better?

I recently flew with 4 travel-sized tooth pastes!

Anonymous said...

What makes the 3oz. rule even more ridiculous is that most of the screeners don't seem to know the difference between liquids, gels, and none of the above. Nor are they able to differentiate between measurements of volume and weight.

Anonymous said...

The liquids policy is inane. Confiscating baby formula and half-used tubes of toothpaste is invasive, ineffective, and it makes TSA look cretinous.
Seriously, after all of the negative feedback, what rationale does the TSA have TODAY for keeping the rule in place? Has anything dangerous been found?

Anonymous said...

Although I'm not entirely convinced about the necessity for the single-baggie rule, it is itself an improvement over the original liquid bans, and at least it is consistent

But, the 3-ounce part isn't entirely logical as other commenters have pointed out, and is tremendously inconvenient.

Some toothpastes come exclusively in 4.6 ounce containers that would fit in the quart bag, and the common European 100ml container is about 3.5 ounces. Some things, like shampoo, are easily poured into smaller containers. Toothpaste? Not so much...

I would love to see a modification of the 3 ounce rule that allowed a larger commercial (that is, lablelled) container that still fits in the quart baggie.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know exactly what the requirements are for a substance to be subject to the 3-1-1 rule.
About a year ago, in Nashville, I had a half full container of crunchy peanut butter confiscated. From what I understand, the issue was because it was in the jar, which was larger than 3.4 oz. If I had spread it between bread or crackers, it would have been acceptable.
Additionally, I have heard others give the advice of putting a too large tube of toothpaste or other item subject to the 3-1-1 rule in your pocket when you go through the metal detector. As long as the item isn't in a metal tube, it would not set off the detector. And, unless you are subjected to extra security screening, the item would not be confiscated. If these items are potentially dangerous, what's to stop a person intent on destruction from just putting these items in their pockets? It seems like a potential security risk.

Anonymous said...

I myself am composed of 50-65% water. Additionally, the human stomach has approximate capacity of 1 us qt. (which is 31.99 fl oz.) which is over 10 times large than the 3 oz. single container rule allows. I can't very well put my stomach in a clear plastic bag either. I only bring this up to illustrate the silliness of the entire affair. The illusion of security.

Anonymous said...

Another reason the liquids policy is asinine is that while law abiding citizens are prohibited from bringing bottled water past security, anyone wanting to blow up the plan could fill certain of their body cavities with enough explosives to down a plane.

Terrorists should float the rumor that they're going to do just that. TSA's reaction would be to do body cavity searches on all travelers.

Millions of americans waiting in line for hours to then be probed by badly trained TSA workers in rubber gloves would be victory for the terrorists.

Then again, so is the current level of security theater.

Anonymous said...

The liquid rule is idiotic, not backed up by science, and not in any way justified or explained by the TSA. It's a hassle for passengers and provides only the illusion of security. Either fully explain why it was implemented or get rid of it.

bingo said...

If TSA is going to assume the right to commit forcible theft in the name of national security, it should at least treat liquids it steals from passengers as if they are a threat. When you're just throwing them away, instead of treating them as a threat, you demonstrate that you don't really believe that they are a threat.

TSA has to understand that a bottle of Aquafina is not a credible threat to security. I suspect that they perpetuate their security theater for no other reason than to make it look like they have some idea how to combat terrorism. However, in doing so, they only prove to the rational thinkers that a) they have no idea how to do so and b) they are willing to hurt innocent people in order to maintain the illusion of safety. That's a pretty sad way to run any organization, especially one tasked with keeping things safer.

If you honestly believe that my bottle of water is a threat to airline security, why don't you treat it as one instead of throwing it into a common garbage can? I suspect the reason is as I stated above: You know it's not a threat.

Buckles Out said...

So this winter my wife, 9 month old daughter and I were traveling across the country to visit some relatives and had with us a small water bottle with enough water in it to make one 4oz bottle and a container with some powdered formula. We thought this would be ok because you can bring liquid formula and breast milk through security. We found out otherwise. The TSA agent was very rude and told us we either had to make the formula here and now, or dump the water and try and get some on the 'secure' side of the lines. As anyone with kids whose ever used formula knows, the stuff only stays good without refrigeration for 30-45 minutes, and at IAD, that's barely enough time to find your gate if you have to take a shuttle. What I don't understand is why I could take that water and make it to formula then, but not bring the water with me. It was the same frigging water. I know terrorists aren't sane, but I doubt they bring their wife and kid with them to try and blow up a farking plane to Oklahoma. That was just ridiculous. Things like this need to be done away with, or they need to treat every single item they confiscate as though it was a 'real' threat, i.e. bomb team or some sort of hazardous waste disposal team.

laureno said...

I agree with most of the comments already posted here:

-Liquids aren't actually dangerous, and the idea of being able to combine them on-board to improvise and explosive is silly
-The reasons for having this policy should be transparent
-It's unclear that TSA has legal authority to ban liquids
-Commercially-sealed items should be considered safe
-"Potentially hazardous" material should not be combined in one large bin, sitting in public together. Moreover, a trash bin is not an acceptable disposal method for "potentially hazardous" material.

Yes, these are all major concerns. Here's one that doesn't affect you everyday but is still a hassle:

When traveling back to the states from abroad, one has the option of buying lots of cheap goods in the Duty Free shop. A popular item is alcohol. Duty Free always delivers purchased goods to your flight or cruise, so if you're traveling directly to your final destination, there's no problem! But if you don't live at port or booked a hopscotch flight, your legal and safe purchases are confiscated. You can see bottle after bottle confiscated in airports near cruise ports, and once I saw a closet full of confiscated Duty Free items near a TSA checkpoint.

I wonder whether those bottles made it to the trash sealed and full.

Anonymous said...

why can we not bring liquids in bottles that are factory sealed? i.e. unopened soda or water.

if you've ever seen the SNL skit about going to school to be an airport security person, they bring out a lot of good points, such as the limit on liquids. if i can bring 3 3-oz. containers, what's keeping me from meeting up with 2 other people on the plane and combining everything? it's silly.

Anonymous said...

Not allowing us to carry liquids, or limiting the amount of liquid, or the type of approved containers for liquids, is all equally ridiculous. Let's start using common sense and stop treating American citizens like we're in prison.

Annoyed Flyer said...

The liquid ban is for no reason. There are no magic MacGuyver liquids that you can mix in the bathroom and blow up the plane. All the binary explosives require heating/cooling and other chemical processing to work. This was shown with a short time after the initial scare, but the TSA keeps the ban. If you dont want us to fly, just tell us, close the airlines, and we'll try something else.

Anonymous said...

As has already been mentioned there has been no evidence shown establishing that liquids are a large enough threat to down a plane. In fact the contrary has been shown, at worst (if they are an extremely skilled chemist) a liquid bomber might injure himself and a couple others but will by no means threaten a plane.

More interesting is the fact that this never was an solid plan it was merely an attempt by some very ignorant individuals to try and figure out how to copy a plot from 10 years earlier that couldn't have possibly worked then.

The only reason I can think of for not repealing the law is that it would require admitting a mistake which the current government is incapable of doing.

Ben said...

I know for a fact that on occasion TSA employs have not "confiscated" but rather stolen some items of mine and my mother. Also, i don't know what the TSA training entails, but they certainly could add manners in there. TSA employees are some of the rudest employees i have encountered.

***Dave said...

Speaking of inconsistency ...

Given the ever-growing number of things that need to be emptied, taken off, rearranged, and wrangled into the x-ray machine, I have more than once forgotten to remove my little ziplock of tiny little liquids. They have sailed through the x-ray machine with nary a peep ...

... except when the crowds are light and the lines are short. Then, with time on their hands, the TSA staff will pull my suit case over and inspect it, finding the bottles and whatever else they choose to poke through.

So either the bottles are clearly visible on the x-ray (in which case why require them to be taken out?), or the agents are amazingly good guessers that they're still in there (but only when the lines are short).

George said...

The old adage "Nevey let logic get in the way of a good argument" certainly holds here.

I was flying recently when I went through security with a 5 oz. tube of factory sealed toothpaste. When the TSA agent wanted to take it away and toss it - I asked if he could just open it and squirt half the tube into the trash - thereby leaving 2.5 oz. left. He just looked at my like I had asked him to do differential equations in his head and said that even if he squirted out half the tube - I could not take it with me because the tube would still be marked as containing 5 oz. After reelling from this absurd counter-point, I acquiesced and left my toothpaste in his care and continued on my trip knowing that the fate of the free world would once again be safe since I could not take my toothpaste with me - - so basically it is not the contents of the tube - it is the marking.

Just waiting for some enterprising company to sell 10 oz tubes marked as 3 oz's ;-). In my opinion this is one of the most ridiculous rules I have ever encountered and makes me actually feel sorry for the USA and what we must now look like to the rest of the world with these ineffective, absurd rules.

aimee said...

In response to:

TSA says:

The rule limits the volume of liquids, gels and aerosols to bottles 3 ounces or smaller (or 100 ml), in 1 quart-sized zip top bag, and 1 bag per traveler.

Since when is 3 ounces = 100 milliliters? How about 3.4 ounces.

From "3-1-1 Gains International Acceptance" says that Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde, China, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Marshall Islands, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom agree to 100 ml liquids.

In the US its 3 oz (or 88 ml).


Maybe the tagline should be 3.4-1-1 instead of 3-1-1.

I'm a TSO in ORD [Chicago O'hare]. The rules for liquids are the same in the US as they are in the various other countries you have listed. The rules are: "Any liquids, gels, creams and aerosols must be 3.4 ounces [100 ml] or smaller in a zip-lock plastic bag. Any liquid, gel, cream or aerosol not fitting this size can be given to family outside of security, mailed to you [if there is a post office available in the terminal], checked in another bag under the plane, or relinquished". I understand that there are inconsistencies between Officers and airports. The slogan "3-1-1" is there as a guideline. Perhaps you could suggest a new slogan that incorporates 3.4 ounces instead of 3?

Anonymous said...

What is up with the liquids rule? In every security test the screeners miss the bomb but are sure to make the person dump out they're water. Mission Acomplished.

Anonymous said...

I (deliberately) don't take my one quart bag out of my carry-on, just to see if the screeners are paying attention. 90+% of the time, it makes it through, in airports all over the country - my liquids/gels are always in a one quart zip bag, so if they noticed it, I would take it out and it would pass inspection - but the point is that 90% of the time no one even notices.

Either it's irrelevant whether it's in hand luggage (in which case TSA could save everyone the time and annoyance of taking their bags out of the luggage), or the screeners don't know what they're looking for.

In either case, TSA is one of the biggest wastes of taxpayer dollars I've ever seen.

As for the "well, there haven't been any more hijackings/bombings", you're right - and there haven't been any stampedes of elephants in New York or UFO abductions from Congress either. I hope that's not the metric we're supposed to use to judge the billions of dollars being wasted.

Anonymous said...

This whole matter of confiscating liquids over 7 oz is preposterous.
The idea that terrorists might try a binary explosive has been completly debunked in the science community and from the average citizens standpoint, the only reason the TSA and other groups are refusing to budge and to allow people to resume normal transport of liquids on planes is out of hubris. You're refusing to back off on this point because you don't want to admit being wrong... even though engineers and scientists world wide have stated you were utterly wrong about the feasibility of anything like a binary explosive.

Show some common sense and stop stonewalling on the liquid issue and just repeal these useless guidelines. Air travel has already become needlessly troublesome and convoluted these days. Your actions on this area of travel are neither wanted or appreciated by the general public.

charlie said...

What about gels that are labeled by weight instead of volume?

Gels are often denser than water, so the rough assumption that 1 fluid ounce is equal to 1 (avoirdupois) ounce does not work.

The TSA cannot hide behind an idiosyncrasy in the English language and be ignorant of the fact that two separate metrics (volume and weight) are overloaded with the same name (ounce).

If you must prohibit gels as well as liquids, please specify a weight limit in addition to the volume limit. Otherwise, the TSA agents' practices when posed with a container labeled by weight will continue to be arbitrary. Also, please use the metric system as that will prevent the TSA agents from getting confused.

Anonymous said...

I recently flew back directly from Belize City, Belize to ATL, my final destination. In the BC airport past security I bought 2 bottles of duty-free rum, put it in my carry-on, and flew back home with it. I deplane, get my checked luggage, recheck it, and go to leave. When the TSA employee checks my carry-on bag he immediately goes to confiscate my rum. When I complain and point out that #1 the bottles haven't been opened yet, #2 the bottles haven't been outside of a secure area since I've had them, and #3 Atlanta is my FINAL DESTINATION and I am LEAVING THE AIRPORT and not flying again, he winks at me and puts back one of the bottles!

What kind of absolutely brainless policy created this pathetic mockery of "security"? DROP THE LIQUIDS BAN. It's ridiculous!

JP said...

I'm glad I finally get to share my gripe with this new "policy" of TSA's.
First, has there ever been any attempt to do damage to a plane with liquids? I certainly haven't heard of any... just because some of your mad scientists are concocting new ways to explode things doesn't mean you should punish the public. We shouldn't have to be forced to make a choice between a) practically dying of thirst -or- b) shelling out a ridiculous amount of money to buy a drink in the terminal.
All your policy is doing is giving airport retailers an excuse to charge passengers an arm and a leg for things. And I'm sure those companies making their "special flight-approved" sized containers are ever-grateful to you.
I was completely upset when I had to shell out FOUR dollars for a puny bottle of Minute Maid Orange Juice in Oakland.
All in all... I vote no for this liquid policy of yours. Please change it... My college student wallet can't take it. And neither can my body. Traveling from CA to DC is long and tiring I shouldn't have to wait till I'm 2000 feet in the air to get some free liquid. Let us bring our beverages on board/in the terminal.


jet-tech said...

I flew out of Bozemon MT last week with some friends, one was stopped by TSA for not having a 1oz bottle of lotion in the zip-lock bag,,TSA agent read her the riot act, then let her throu,,,we arrived home and noticed a 16 oz jar of salsa in the same bag the TSA agent pulled the 1 oz lotion bottle from,,,,great job TSA !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Liquids restricted ... safety ... okay.
I wonder why an airline crew member (pilot and/or flight attendant), who has cleared a ten year background check & is trusted with aircraft and passenger safety can bring liquids unrestricted while in uniform, but has to follow general public rules while not. A uniform does not prove anyone as a 'trusted' party. Yet, a current airline/airport badge does!

Anonymous said...

If my toothpaste is truly a threat to security, why is it placed in a bin that hundreds of other passengers shuffle past? At a minimum you should call the bomb squad. Unless....

muse0fire said...

Further inconsistency in the liquid ban:

While in the airport in Montego Bay, I purchased a bottle of rum. I brought this rum, legally, on the flight back to Atlanta. When I reached Atlanta and got to customs/security, I was told that the bottle of rum could not continue with me through the customs security, and would now have to be placed in my checked baggage.

Please explain to me the reasoning behind this.

Another example of irrationality: my father was traveling back from South America and was very ill, with bad diarrhea. The hotel doctor had PRESCRIBED Gator Ade to him, so he was trying to travel back with two bottles, and was denied, although he had a note from the hotel doctor. Eventually the TSA agent relented and let him bring ONE bottle with him, but not both. Why? This makes no sense. Why not just let him take both? Is he less likely to try to blow up the plane with two bottles of GatorAde versus just one?

I dread having a child and having to try to fly with this inane liquid ban in place. The complications with formula, breast milk, etc. are enough to prompt me to prefer an eight hour car ride to a two hour flight.

And lastly, if I have a small tube of travel-sized toothpaste, why is it only safe if it is inside a zipped quart-size bag? If it's in a gallon-sized zipped bag, is it more likely to blow up? Etc. Etc.

ses said...

Why is it that the size of the liquid/gel container is what matters, not how much is in it?

If I carry a 6 ounce tube of toothpaste that is clearly less than half full, I have less than the 3 ounce limit of toothpaste, but that's still not acceptable. How does that make sense?!?

I'm not expecting them to have a scale or a measuring cup to test every item, but sometimes it's pretty obvious based on the size of the container and the amount that is missing from it that there's less than 3 ounces left. This would save a lot of people a lot of money, because buying travel sized everythings gets pretty expensive pretty quickly.

ang122 said...

What could you hide in your flip flops? A bomb. That's why we ask you to take them off so we can get a better look.

TSA Blogger

ang122 said...

Ben says he knows "for a fact" that our TSA folks have stolen from his mother. A fact huh? Did you file a police report? We'll admit some of our folks have been fired for theft, but theft did not begin at the airport when TSA showed up. If you think you were ripped off at the airport, file a police report... immediately. We don't want thieves in our workforce any more than you do.

TSA Blogger

Anonymous said...

There's only one thing I dislike:

If I have a sealed bottle of wine (or other such things, such as raspberry jam or a bottle of tequila), and it's obvious that the item in question has been sealed by the factory and not by me, I should be able to take it on board.

I say this after a bottle of Patron Silver had mysteriously disappeared from my checked luggage.

ang122 said...

TSA is unable to donate confiscated liquids to local charities because of liability issues. Unfortunately, we do throw them away in many airports (some dfo have recycling bins). If passengers wouldn't bring prohibited liquids to the checkpoint, we would all do the environment a favor because we wouldn't have to confiscate them. Leave the liquids at home, unless they are in 1 quart zip top bag and in containers of three ounces or less.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the comments about security theater, and that the liquid ban is ridiculous.

The only new point I have is that I was in Haneda airport in Tokyo (the usually domestic terminal), with a bottle of water, and they politely asked me to put it in this little tilted tray, pushed a button that lit up green, and gave it back to me. What do they have that we do not?

Jay Maynard said...

ang122: A better answer is for TSA to drop the incredibly silly, totally ineffective security theatrics of the war on moisture. The reason for it has been scientifically demonstrated to be impossible to perform on an airliner (they don't carry enough ice on board to cool the reaction to the point required for it to work).

This is just one more reason that I'm convinced the TSA is not interested in security, but rather in hassling travelers until they feel secure. I don't feel secure. I feel violated by the massive, systematic violations of the civil rights of law-abiding Americans.

Make no mistake: I have no trouble believing that individual screeners at the airports have their hearts in the right place. It's the folks in Washington that have set up a system that spends lots of money and accomplishes nothing meaningful.

I wouldn't mind having to unpack and repack my carryon every time I go through if I had some confidence that it had something to do with actual security...

Anonymous said...

I'm probably one of the few people who actually applauded the liquid ban -- I remember getting on a flight in 1999 (aka: pre-9/11) carrying a bottle of water and thinking, "what if this bottle was filled with kerosene?" Contrary to what many might think, a fuel-aided fire, started in mid-flight would be just as deadly as a bomb.

Still, I think the TSA needs to develop a better strategy for stopping this sort of thing. As it stands now, the 'zip lock bag' rule is both arbitrary in its scope and an excessive hassle for travelers. I travel a lot, so have a toiletries bag for all my bathroom gear. Now I have to remove all that neatly-arranged stuff and put it in a big plastic bag, but I still carry the same stuff. How has this improved safety? I believe the '1 quart zip lock' rule was developed as a 'least common denominator' approach to security: rather than having to train TSA inspectors on the nuances of what to look for, an arbitrary rule was developed so that they wouldn't have to think too much about what was going on -- as long as it fit in the bag, it was OK. Well, I guarantee you that with the right combination of chemicals, a smart bad guy could fit all he needed into that bag.

It is a difficult threat to counter, certainly, and the TSA was going in the right direction with the liquid restrictions, but as it currently stands, the restrictions seem to be aimed at increasing the 'perception' of security rather than the 'reality' of security.

Thomas Jefferson said...

I've quit flying.
Why do you not let my 60-year-old mom carry a bottle of water onto an airplane? It's idiotic. Any inbecile could look at her and tell she's not threat to anybody.

ang122 said...

Matt N -- Great point. 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.
TSA blogger

Nico said...

Michael --
Thanks for the kind words, and you are so right. Our folks do have the authority to clear 2 ounces of a liquid in a 4 ounce container (or similiar situations), though we have found some of them are hesitant to do so. Sorry for the inconveneience, we'll try to make things clearer so our folks use a little more discretion.

Plein_Air_Painter said...

Coming back from a restful vacation on Cape Cod, I spaced and completely forgot the liquids rule when I packed a new bottle of cologne in my carry on. It was just under the TSA limit on volume, but was in its original box instead of a one-quart zip-locked baggie. How much safer I and all my fellow travelers must have been after the screener made me take it out of its original box and zip it in with my antacid and hand lotion! After I passed through the check-point I repacked it back into its well-padded box , because it was much safer there than clanking around with other bottles in a baggie!

Funny, they missed the little spray-bottle of water that I had packed with my art supplies, also in carry-on. And my travel easel, packed in its customized bag, looking every bit like a possible weapon -- they didn't even notice!

I guess the trick is to divert attention away from your gun case or other weapons with a free-roaming bottle of sweet smelling cologne!

Mathman said...

1) You can seat about 150 passengers on an average mid-sized plane
2) Each passenger is allowed at least one 3oz. container of liquid
3) No passenger is allowed more than 3oz liquid per container
4) Any passengers can carry empty containers (water bottles, sports bottles, milk jugs) through security
5) 150 x 3oz. = 450oz. = ~3.5 gallons
6) Why the hell would you limit the amount of fluid per container to 3oz if each plane has at least 3.5 gallons of whatever the passengers want on it??? And these passengers can combine the fluid into larger containers!! OH NOES! This is just feel-good legislation that actually does nothing to prevent a determined group of people getting large amounts of liquid or gel through the security checkpoints. And dont get me started on the hypothetical situation of multiple flights worth of people combining multiple 3oz bottles of liquids into larger containers and then giving them all to people of just one flight...

Anonymous said...

In Puerto Vallarta, at the Delta Ticket Counter Line, there were TSA agents going through every single persons bags that were to be carried on prior to checkin. They took away my sunscreen I purchased that was 4 oz. size and it was half way used. It costs so much and I was frustrated that just because the bottle said 4 oz. they had to take it away.

Another time, I was going on a cruise. The agent forgot to remind me to take out my liquids because we were talking about the new scanning machine and how slow it was. They had to inspect my bag and then test the inside of my baggy. My baggy had items all 3 oz. or less but somethings must of leaked and mixed together because it didn't pass the test and they had to take it away from me. I was so upset because it had my liquid makeup that was $13 plus lotions, hairspray, hair gel and toothpaste. I had to spend a lot to replace it and it cost me alot of money to do so.

Anonymous said...

Flying to Dallas from OK, I had a used tube of toothpaste in my carry on. It only had a bit left ( less than an ounce) in the tube, not near the 3 oz. limit. But, the TSA agent had me discard the toothpaste because the tube was originally a 7.0 oz. tube. I asked him to be realistic, there is an actual "smidgeon" of toothpaste, use some common sense. I was told that he had to go by the packaging label, not the blatantly obvious small amount apparent in the tube.
If we trust these people to be in these positions, why do we not trust them to be trained to make some judgements in the field?
I have to toss out my 3 days worth of toothpaste, and buy a tiny tube when I get to my destination all because we can't expect the TSA employee to think independently. Absolutely brutal, I don't feel any more safe.

Anonymous said...

I have a diabetic condition and require liquids on long flights. In fact, since 2003, if my travel destination is less than a 12 hour drive from me, I no longer fly.

When I do have to fly, I am forced to discard liquids when going through the screening process; I always have to keep additional money on me so I can buy some liquids prior to getting on the plane. The prices for "in terminal" purchases are outrageous ($4 for a bottle of water?!). Worse - the terminal stores aren't always open to sell you back the stuff that was taken away from you.

Some airlines are doing away with the complimentary sodas. Even when complimentary beverages are offered, the airlines don't offer enough water or other liquids for free during the flight. The 4oz plastic cups are useless and many airline employees get upset when you ask for the whole can or bottle saying "there won't be enough for others if I give you a whole can." I understand their frustration, and would like to have just brought enough water for my needs in my backpack.

If you have to take my liquids during the screening process, fine: but please put the following rules into place: 1) Terminals must have at least one vendor open at all times that the security screener is open that sells close-able beverages (e.g. Fountain drinks are easy to spill on bumpy flights, but my 20-oz plastic bottle of coke with its screw-cap works quite well. 2) The prices charged for these beverages should be in line with those prices charged by any convenience store, gas station, or super market near the area of the airport. If they are not, the vendor should be brought up on charges of gouging consumers (like raising the price of bottled water during earthquakes in California). 3) Bar the airlines from canceling the complimentary beverage policy or placing an arbitrary limit on consumption.

All of these changes need to be enacted simultaneously. Just one change won't do it.

Anonymous said...

Hey sra - how about driving then. The liquid ban has been in effect for well over a year and if you can't comply, then you should have it taken away!!! It's not stealing, it's abandonment, you have the choice to not bring it with you in the first place. These people are here to make our flights more safe and I think you should respect that.

Anonymous said...

I feel extremely confused. Why is it TSA cannot find fake bombs when government officials send them through, but they never miss a bottle of water? What's worse is that people need water to stay healty and emotionally sound. Lack of water causes serious health problems and headaches. Several months ago, a government agency tried passing a bill that requires airlines to provide basic survival items to people (water, toilet, etc.) when they sit on the runway for a certain period of time.

I could be sympathetic with TSA confiscating water if they did a good job with finding all the fake bombs. But until then, it seems like the priorities are extremely mixed up. Energy and attention spent confiscating liquids could be better focused elsewhere (unless there's overwhelming evidence that those liquids--ie water--are clearly producing bombs.)

Anonymous said...

When I fly from the US to Canada, I have to take out my zipped up bag of liquids for inspection. When I clear US customs in Canada, then go through security there, I do NOT have to remove my zipped up bag of liquids for inspection. Why? This has happened EVERY time I fly up and back, without fail.

sph-associates said...

On one flight, I forgot to put my deoderant and toothpaste in a plastic bag. My bag went thru the e-ray and near the security exit area, the TSA rep took these items out of my bag.
He then asked if I had a plastic bag for these? I did not - so then he tossed them away.

Think about this for one moment TSA. If someone handed me a bag, I could have then placed them in the bag - and I would have been able to keep these items.

and 3 seconds later, i could toss the bag.

SOOO explain to me why my items were tossed?

They never opened up the toothpaste nor deoderant - could easily have explosive substance in said item

VERY strange TSA very strange. This silliness - allows the terrorists to win.

Hope no one ever has an underware bomb!! think about that one travelers!!!

Anonymous said...

This is another of the restrictions that does NOTHING to protect us. So you determined that 3 oz is safe for us individuals, but not more?

What about a half-dozen terrorists on the same flight who carry on 3 oz each of whatever "threat" your scientists are imagining? Or is that logic unreasonable? you haven't made a dent in the threat but you have inconvenienced millions of travellers.

You need to explain how this individual restriction on fluid quantity protects us from the multiple-terrorist scenario that WE ALREADY SAW on 9/11. I don't see it.

Anonymous said...

I traveled recently and TSA confiscated my small tube of hand cream and a very small tube of lip gloss. If they had been in a plastic bag, I could have kept them. So...on my return flight, I put these types of items in a plastic bag, which was approved and given to me to take on the plane.

What? Unless they hold the plastic bags during the flight, then what is to keep someone from removing the "hazardous material" from the plastic bag? It makes absolutely no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

I was in the Army in the 1970's, and did a lot of work with explosives.

I can tell you that explosives come in every shape and consistency you can imagine. Liquid, putty, jello like, hard plastic like, rope, wet suit material like.

But the TSA saw the Richard Reed attempt and the plot with liquids.

So after the fact they acted with lightening speed!

But for all the other issues, since nothing has happened yet, it can be ignored without any political repercussions.

Anonymous said...

I have heard a rumor that bombers are now smuggling plastic explosives in their rectums.

Next week we will all get cavity searches based on this rumor ... a rumor with as much validity as liquid explosives.

Threat Level search areas:

Low - Your pockets
Guarded - Your nostrils
Elevated - Your mouth and ears
High - All of the above
Severe - Call your Proctologist

Mike-san said...

I went through the Portland International Airport in Oregon, and my 2/3 Empty 4 Oz. tooth paste was confiscated. I was told that it is not the amount of residual content in the 4 OZ tube, which was merely 1.33 Oz., but the print on the tube that said 4 Oz.

Can the terrorists use this TSA Logic and print 3 Oz. on a 5 Oz. bottle filled with explosives and get away with it.

I fly very frequently, and don't mind going through the check for the sake of safety in air travel, but must we put unreasonable people, who are not well trained to screen people and luggage? We can do better.

Anonymous said...

As a airline employee its amusing to read these comments. This rule has been in place for some time now, but you still complain about something being taken. Come on people, follow the rules!

DMentia777 said...


Full sized shampoo is not a terrorist weapon. Full size toothpaste will not hurt anyone on a plane (except those with dirty mouths).

Increase the limit to 6 oz and eliminate that stupid quart-sized zip-top bag. Require that liquids be placed in a transparent plastic bag and be run on the conveyor belt separately. BUT GIVE ME MY FULL-SIZED SHAMPOO WITHOUT HAVING TO CHECK (read: lose) A BAG!

Mike-san said...

I went through the Portland International Airport in Oregon, and my 2/3 Empty 4 Oz. tooth paste was confiscated. I was told that it is not the amount of residual content in the 4 OZ tube, which was merely 1.33 Oz., but the print on the tube that said 4 Oz.

Can the terrorists use this TSA Logic and print 3 Oz. on a 5 Oz. bottle filled with explosives and get away with it. They also need to know the difference between grams, milliliter, etc. and how they relate to 3 Oz.

I fly very frequently, and don't mind going through the check for the sake of safety in air travel, but must we put unreasonable people, who are not well trained to screen people and luggage? We can do better.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with everyone else. This 311 thing is a pain, and I hate paying $5 for a $0.75 bottle of water once I pass through security, but imagine if we couldn't carry anything on the plane? My question is "If a person has been flying from Airport A to Airport B numerous times every year over the past 10-15 years (you know they can track this!), why do I almost have to go through a strip search every time I go through security with my medications (which do not fit in a 1 quart bag)?"

Anonymous said...

Quick video I found on You Tube

cut and paste and watch

Paul said...

If my liquids are so dangerous why do they go in a big garbage can with all the other potentially-explosive liquids. Shouldn't you guys be calling the bomb squad every time you find more than 3 ounces of lethal hair gel?

Anonymous said...

According to, some items are prohibited in liquid or gel form but not in solid form.

Is larger than 3oz ice allowed? Ice is technically solid not liquid.

Anonymous said...

You know what, either let people carry their toiletries or don't. There is no reason the "TSA" cannot simply make you check them. I've given up on carrying things like this and would rather just buy them from a store at my destination

Anonymous said...

So liquid is banned due to it may contain liquid explosives. So why when the water or liquid is taken away it is throw into a garbage can? Wouldn't it explode if it was thrown? Why is the bomb squad not there to correctly dispose of it? Is the liquid ban really just a band aid over the real problem to make fliers "feel" more secure but really it is a pointless exercise.

Anonymous said...

ang122 is a liar. I state this confidently as a PhD physicist, with over 20 years of experience, who works for DHS. A flip-flop CANNOT conceal a bomb. Well, it could be composed entirely of C-4 I suppose, but you wouldn't be able to detect that with an X-ray.

ang122's description of the "sippy cup" bomb is ludicrous. Did you see how the bomb was prepared first? Sure, a cup of nitroglycerine could do some damage (a cup could easily be placed into multiple airtight 3-oz containers and would easily pass through, even the "puffer"), but woe be unto he who tries to carry a cup of nitro through.

ang122 is typical of the TSA cheerleaders that have been planted here to spread disinformation.

The liquid ban makes no sense. It protects us from nothing. It is easily surmountable. It is indefensible of the TSA to continue to enforce it, and it is evil of the TSA employees to go along with it. If you had any tiny shred of decency--any morals, even the tiniest glint of ethics--if you actually loved this country as much as you pretend to--you would quit your jobs immediately.

Anonymous said...

I personally feel the ban on liquids is funded by the bottled water industry -- I can't bring on water in an environmentally friendly, reusable bottle, but once I get past security I can purchase a $.99 bottle for $4.00. I love the fact that the mafia is running our security industry!!!!

Anonymous said...

By the way -- (maybe this should be in the inconsistency section), but I have on several occasions forgotten to remove my liquids for "inspection." Guess what? NO ONE SAID ANYTHING. So I started to play a game, called "How often can I do this before someone says something"? Congrats to Milwaukee, WI -- you caught me & forced me to x-ray my liquid baggy!! This was after about 20 or so odd trips around the country, I feel so incredibly safe by this rule, thanks TSA!!

Integrity Travel said...

I must agree with and must echo the bloggers here that have stated if confiscated liquids are so dangerous, then why are TSA officers in airports nationwide simply putting these potential explosives in garbage cans, on top of screening equipment, and not having the bomb squad dispose of them?

A said...

I flew the day after the liquid ban was in place, and at the time, I could see where the TSA might think it necessary. Even if that might be a most impractical method of blowing something up ever, you'd want a week or so just to make sure that everyone is on the same page as to whether or not the threat is something to really be worried about (and, given the many, many statements from chemists, it certainly doesn't appear to be) and what to do about it, if anything.

However, at this point, it seems a little silly to ban all liquids, nevermind any of the previously allowed liquids at all. Isn't there a way you can test something that looks genuinely suspicious... somehow? Or, if there isn't, perhaps it might be worthwile to sponsor efforts to invent such a thing that could be used in airports, not just in labs. The original ban on EVERYTHING, no matter where you bought it, seems like it exposed everyone to a lot of potential lawsuits after someone nearly keels over from dehydration or from related health conditions. That's not to say that it's entirely better now--I'm not sure if I'm technically allowed to take the things I buy in the terminal on the plane, but I've done so the past five or six times I've flown without having them taken away, so maybe it's all right. It seems utterly ridiculous that I even have to worry about such a thing as to whether or not my unopened, overpriced soda is legit!

Sometimes it seems stupid as to what is small enough and what isn't. It's okay for me to have six tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, in addition to my tiny travel-sized toothpaste and regular-sized deodorant, but a mostly-used regular toothpaste tube is not? I suppose I can see where maybe one might be suspicious of a person stuffing an empty tube (somehow...) when said tube looks obviously tampered with, but when the excuse was "It wasn't originally [whatever the amount is; I forget]" when it pretty obviously has has been used enough that there's only about a third of the allowed amount left is more than a little silly.

A more reasonable approach and consistency would be really nice, at any rate. I really don't feel any safer for all these regulations--I just feel relieved when I make it through the security line without having to be wanded or waiting for someone to make sure that my books and knitting are on the level.

Anonymous said...

The whole terrorist liquid conspiracy is garbage. It was proven to be false shortly after the idea was floated by homeland security. Drop the stupid no-liquid rule before you address anything else.

Shoe's I can understand. Liquids - no way! said...

As a flight attendant, we are not subject to the same level of security screening for liquid as other passengers, in most cases. However, one thing I always don't understand is, we could pack liquid without any restriction in our suitcases and go through crew scanning without problem at most airports, but, holding a cup of coffee in our hand is not allowed. Just a curious thought why such rule is in place. Many of us just pour the coffee into a thermal cup and put it in the suitcase to get through security anyways

Anonymous said...

Just give us a number. Please tell the traveling public how many planes have actually been brought down since 9/11 by committing the sin of carrying a full can of soda or a bottle of water past TSA. Not to many, I'm guessing...I tell you, those airport vendors just love you guys for all the money you're making them. And in the end, it really all just comes down to money, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

What happened to "no matter what, terrorism won't take away my freedom." If going through an airport checkpoint bothers you that much, then they've taken your freedom away from you already. They beat you. That's not acceptable. Man up and go with the flow. You don't have to make sense of all of this. (liquids, shoes, etc.) If there's inconsistency, no one is perfect. Checkout so you know what should be consistent. If you knew why, then they'll know why. Terrorists aren't idiots. They surf the web just like you and me. Now you know what not to bring, next time you'll be wiser. One bad experience weighs heavier than a hundred good ones. Good job TSA. Although I don't agree with some of your rules, I'm glad you're there keeping us safe.

NoConfidence said...

Last year, I passed by a TSA agent on the way to security screening at the Reno airport, who asked me if I had any liquids to inspect. I was anxious about getting to LA on time and having eye surgery the following day, and absent-mindedly replied I did not have anything to inspect, even though I had packed several 3 ounce containers tightly in a quart baggie the night before. It was then that it dawned on me how absolutely useless this procedure is to weed out potential terrorists. It doesn't matter that the bottles in my backpack were x-rayed as they went along the conveyor belt, because they weren't the close inspection they were supposed to get.

Anonymous said...

One question.

If I have an explosive liquid, will the ziploc bag prevent it from doing harm?, are ziplog bags used by bomb squads to "detonate safely" bombs?

a ziploc bag, is just that, a plastic bag, it's not a box of steel, it's just plastic... I've had small bottles of listerine burst and make the ziploc bag drip, so, how can one contain an explosion?

Anonymous said...

TSA doesn't listen to passengers. And even though they went through the effort to create an entire blog, TSA certainly won't start listening now. This website is not about getting input from the public, it is about "explaining" TSA to the public, as if the public were uninformed children.

Well, we are not uninformed children. Scientifically speaking, there are no two chemicals you could mix on a plane in any amount of time without drawing attention to yourself due to the vapors that get emitted during the distillation.

The current TSA policy on liquids is based on fear of SCIENCE FICTION.

Anonymous said...

One simple question. We are limited to 3 ounce size liquid containers. What would keep a terrorist from carrying several 3 oz. containers of the substances you are afraid of and combining them?

I guess a second question would be, if we have a 4 oz. container that is half full, why is it tossed?

Ignacio Escobedo said...

Dear TSA, do you think you are doing your job by pretending that you are enabling a secure and safe environment? Becasue that is what you are doing PRETENDING to avoid media & political attention if you did not.
How is that US planes being board in another countries do not go to the "stupid" scrutiny as in US airports?
And do I feel safer in US airport? NO! I feel more annoyed. And I travel plenty, that I prefer the danger of uncertainty to the fake sense of security that boiled anytime that I see and hear the childish demands of airport security.

Anonymous said...

This is how inane the liquids policy is:

Over Christmas I flew to Jackson Hole, WY for skiing. I grabbed a bottle of water that had been sitting in the rental car throughout my vacation, so it was frozen solid, and took this with me when I was departing JH on my way back home. I was curious what would happen when I took it through security. Naturally the screener did not allow it, even though it was not a liquid. When I questioned this, the screener said that "it was frozen water." I thought to myself that all solids are "frozen" liquids. I did not push the issue but this just reinforced how pointless and illogical these liquid rules are. If I can get any other solid through that is "frozen" liquid, why can't I get ice through which is also a frozen liquid?

Ignacio Escobedo said...

The practice to insert your hands on our clothing and belongings make me feel raped and powerless in the country that I love and respect.

Mr Security big shot, how would you feel that I do insert my hands on your wife's cloth and lingerie?

We are moving to a society that risks becoming a state police such as Cuba and the the old Soviet Union.
No other country, not even China dos what we do here.
We can do better!

Lindsay said...

Why I should have to throw away my expensive Clinique face soap and lotion because it is too big??????

Feef said...

We have all seen or experienced that little tube of mascara or the tiny bottle of lotion being confiscated at the TSA checkpoint. This angers many travelers however there is a solution that may alleviate some of the frustration. Why not have the TSA sell the appropriate sized zip lock bag near the checkpoint area? This would certainly be a win-win situation as the traveler would be allowed to keep his belongings and the TSA could charge $1 per bag which retails for around 8 cents each thereby increasing revenues for TSA which ultimately saves the taxpayers money.

Anonymous said...

Hello TSA! I have a question about liquids! It is a low priority question, please answer the other, more important questions first. My question is, what do you do with confiscated liquids? Do they go to a lab at the end of the day where it is determined whether or not they contain explosives? How are they eventually disposed of? Are they incinerated?

Eric said...

If you want to treat liquids seized at a checkpoint as hazardous materials, you people need to actually start doing so - dispose of each and every item as a separate instance of HAZMAT, with all the hassle and expense that entails.

Contrariwise, if you concede that items like hair gel, toothpaste, and bottles of Dasani (the less- expensive ones from OUTSIDE the checkpoint, that is!) are *NOT* HAZMAT - well, then, there is absolutely no reason for flyers to be prohibited from taking them onboard, now, is there?

Your failure to provide proper screening capabilities and disposal methods does not in any way justify your continued abuse of paying customers and theft of their property.

stressed out mom said...

buckles out, I feel your pain. It's hard enough to travel with a baby or a toddler, but the security checkpoint makes it a total nightmare. Last Thanksgiving my husband, our then 13-month old daughter and I traveled from Seattle to JFK. I knew I'd get some grief about formula so I bought a 6-pack of ready-made cans. Not only did TSA make me take everything resembling a liquid or a gel out of the diaper bag, I had to take out every single can from my carry on as I was trying to get my shoes and coat off, my daughter's shoes and coat as my husband was trying to get her out of her stroller (as she's screaming her lungs out and people are starting to get annoyed with us) while he's trying to get HIS shoes and coat off as well as emptying his pockets. NOTE TO TSA - HUMANS ONLY HAVE 2 ARMS. We finally get everything (including the stroller) through the x-ray machine, then we had to gather everything up and try to get out of the next passenger's way - not as easy as it sounds considering all the crap we had to put back in our bags! I know, some people wonder why we didn't check most of this stuff. Well, you must not have kids. You need the stroller to get through the airport without losing all feeling in your arms, and the baby stuff is, well, non-negotiable. By the time we got to our gate we were completely frazzled and all I really wanted to do was go home. There has GOT to be a better way!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I've read everything posted here and basically everyone is saying the same thing. I too have had things taken from me at the checkpoint and while I do my best to make sure I don't have any liquids in a container marked above 3 oz. it is easy to forget especially if you have a small child and forget their 4 oz tube of sunblock was in your diaper bag. We can complain all we want on this site but I really think it is going to do little good. We need lobbyists and news reporters to put pressure on our government that the liquid rule is ridiculuous needs to be dropped. (And back it up with evididence) Or how about someone representing the environment and the tons of toiletries that are dumped into our landfills each year. And by the way, flip flops and other shoes that didn't have a metal plate in them didn't used to have to be removed when the whole "shoe ban" took place. I used to wear flip flops everywhere so I wouldn't have to take my shoes off and then one day TSA decided those weren't acceptable-but every airport had different policies.

slumlord said...

Now if I have a full bladder before I pass the lines and board a plane, am I breaking the policy. My liquid is not clear, clean nor is sealed.
Or do I need to empty my bladder before I pass the lines and fill it up again in the overpriced airport stores.

Anonymous said...

ang122 said...
What could you hide in your flip flops? A bomb. That's why we ask you to take them off so we can get a better look.

TSA Blogger

here is a prime example of why the TSA is HATED.

what we see in this post is a blatant smug retort full of complete and utter ignorance. We see a disrespect for a different point of view, and we see someone believing they are better than those that are under their authority.

if the TSA wants to improve it's image, it will

1. loose all rules that are based out of ignorance and baseless fear such as the liquid ban, nail clipper ban, etc etc etc

2. 3 strikes and you're fired rule for rude out of control employees.

There is no quicker way to make yourself hated than to act with a smug superior attitude while enforcing rules based on little to no fact.

Holding your power over people and using the fact that you have power as an excuse to be a horrible human being is disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

Before my first trip after the new "liquid policy" was put into place, I was told by co-workers to put my liquids of 3 ounces or less in "ziplocs." So I packed the bottles loosely into three ziplocs, thinking it would be easier for the TSA to check. I got to my destination with no problem, but on the last leg of my trip home, the TSA agent rudely informed me that I was allowed only ONE ziploc, so I said, "Okay, I'll put them into one." Of course I wasn't allowed to touch my own belongings - a HUGE sin in the airport - so I and a huge line of people waiting behind me had to wait while the government agent jammed the little bottles into one ziploc, thereby making us all much safer. Nice to see a government agent saving the day by eliminating those two extra dangerous bags. While molesting my belongings, the government agent also commented, "You use all this stuff?" No, I only take it with me to ruin your day.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know the exact viscosity point that the TSA defines as liquids, having had both lip balm and a gluestick stripped from my person (and not without a public dressing down/semi-abusive lecture about why I did not clear-plastic-baggy my chapstick)

On a recent trip I stood in line behind an elderly lady being verbally abused following having two bottles of very expensive perfume taken from her. Both of these were clearly purchased 60 feet away in the duty free shop. The treatment of this woman left her reduced to tears, and was absolutely shameful.

When I asked to speak to someone about what I had witnessed, the security personnel became hostile, and made it clear that they would not make it possible to talk to anyone, nor could I get their names.

Additionally, on the same trip I traveled with at least a dozen liquid filled pens, which apparently don't count, not beong toiletries. Which is why next time I need to smuggle on board my highly deadly tree frog poison dart ampules, I will be doing so via Bic pen.

Bill said...

I have a question that is somewhat of a corollary to the posts michael and feef made earlier:

If it is "safe" for people to have 3 ounces of liquid in a single container, why doesn't the TSA make 3-ounce containers (in addition to plastic bags) available to people who would otherwise unnecessarily have liquids confiscated? If 3 ounces of liquid is "safe" only so long as it is in a container that can hold no more than 3 ounces, then this would appear to be an acceptable compromise. The people with either too much liquid or too large of a container could retain as much liquid as they can salvage, while the TSA representative could proceed to wave the newly-compliant traveler on through the screening line.

While the cost would certainly be an issue, you could charge a fee for the items as feef suggested (hopefully at the TSA's cost or less, though). While I do not necessarily agree that it is ethically right for the TSA to make travelers pay for these items rather than giving them away, such an arrangement could probably increase the feasibility of this trouble-saving project.

If properly executed, this plan could do something to shore up the tremendous outburst of negative criticism that arose as a result of the liquids policy being instituted. At the very least, it would minimize the inconvenience and financial loss inflicted on travelers by the TSA screenings.

It's also (marginally) good for the environment! Instead of us being required to purchase a new bottle of expensive hand lotion/hair product/beverage, we could continue to use whatever we poured into the 3oz bottle instead, saving at least some small amount of product/packaging material.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...

ang122 replies four times and neglects to address the absolute fact that confiscated liquids are casually tossed into a giant trash bin sitting right next to where travelers pass (a nice choke point at that) and the TSA employees work (I would imagine) 8+ hours a day. Now I don't know about anyone else, but if I even suspected something might be dangerous (whether explosive, toxic, corrosive, etc.) I would not want it sitting next to my while I work. I would want it to be treated like a dangerous device. In the case of a potential explosive that means: evacuate the area, call the bomb squad to dispose of it and re-open the area only after it has been deemed safe. I mean I'm sure that's what they would do if someone tried to bring a couple sticks of TNT or a block of Semtex through. The again, this is the TSA we are talking about, they would probably just throw it in the plastic garbage bin with the toothpaste, shampoo and other potential explosives.

r.pad said...

This is such an idiotic policy. Screening at many American airports is inept and the liquid ban inconveniences a lot of frequent fliers. It's also causing people to waste a lot of money on travel-sized items. Corporations are absolutely gouging people on travel-sized shampoo, saline solution, hair gel, etc. So not only is this inconvenient, it makes traveling more expensive through indirect costs.

Bill said...

I would also like to back pb's earlier post about the TSA asking us to "Please keep in mind that these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats."

Has the result of this extensive research been made public? I recognize that it is entirely possible that the research is readily available and I haven't done due diligence in actually finding it, but literally ALL of the research I have seen has shown the liquids ban to be a completely ineffective countermeasure.

Granted, there could be some language trickery in that the statement above does not necessarily imply that the rules were developed as (A DIRECT RESULT) of the exhaustive research or that the rules were (AN EFFECTIVE COUNTERMEASURE AGAINST TOP EXPERT'S) understanding of current threats. Technically, it only says that (someone) did extensive research (on some topic) and gained an understanding of current threats (to something)...and then proceeded to make a set of rules.

I would definitely rest easier when traveling if I gained some insight as to what kind of information was available to the people who made this set of rules...or even who the people that made the rules WERE, for that matter.

Perhaps the root of the problem here is that people aren't seeing any actual results because the TSA is held to little public level of accountability. Why not implement a networked display at every screening point displaying the number of gallons of liquids destroyed, the approximate cost (out of travelers' pockets) of these liquids, and the number of plausible terrorist actions thwarted as a direct result of the liquids policy. We may as well not bother trying to quantify the damage caused to the environment by the destruction of the liquids and their packaging. I think the information above would serve its purpose without further augmentation.

justin said...

i just don't get it. you can bring many 3oz bottles but not one 16oz bottle? what is to stop a terrorist from filling all those little bottles with explosives and just combining on board?

it is a ridiculous and inane policy.

Anonymous said...

The ban on liquids is based on a physical impossibility (slowly mixing two oxidizers into a powerful explosive without causing a violent reaction or having anyone on the airplane notice while you set up a pipet and ice bath).

And these dangerous oxidizers, which become deadly crowd-killing explosives when mixed, are dumped into a pile right next to slowly moving crowds. Fascinating.

And in a fascinating coincidence, water -- which could be carried into a terminal for for free -- now costs upwards of $5 to purchase in a terminal.

Anonymous said...

I hope nobody tells the TSA that the human body is at least two-thirds liquids.

oops. Wonder if we'll all have to be freeze-dried before we get on a plane now?

Anonymous said...

If liquids are confiscated because they are potentially explosive when mixed (otherwise, why would they be confiscated?), then could somebody please explain the logic of throwing these suspected explosives together in a plastic bin surrounded by innocent civilians?

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, until our government can be bothered securing our borders (FBI and CIA report that potential terrorists cross in large numbers - especially our southern border), they have no business limiting me to 3 oz (or any other arbitary amount) of liquid on a flight.

Anonymous said...

To make this all easy on everyone just ban liquids altogether, period.

Anonymous said...

I flew from Mexico to Baltimore recently. I purchased 5 bottles of very expensive tequila in Mexico - at the AIRPORT. The bottles were sealed in a bag. When I arrived home and opened my suitcase guess what... they opened the most expensive bottle and broke the cork off. It cant be purchased in america. Why would they open a sealed bag? This administration of Bush is making the whole terrorism thing up. Good work TSA.

Anonymous said...

Why is it that I cannot bring liquids past security? There are plenty of liquids in the shops in the terminal. There are O2 tanks inside the aircraft-in unsecured compartments fully accessable to pasengers! There is also thousands of pounds of jet fuel inside the plane iteself. Additionally any civil aviation pilot can simply drop off whatever contraband he wishes inside the airport to be picked up by a bagage handelers. Security is a joke and only ment to appease not solve any problems. How many people have blown up a plane with their shoes? The answer is zero...yet we still take off our shoes! We don't adequately screen private aviation. Why? Because it's too expensive and we are not really concerened about security only the preception of security.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree it does not make sense that these liquids are tossed directly into garbage bins placed right near staff and crowded lines people. If one of those items that is thrown in is an explosive that could set it off! That alone tells me that the policy has nothing to do with safety.

What would make sense would be to use a particulate scanner (the puffers) or use the chemical analyzers that they use on random screenings of luggage to check for explosives or other dangerous items.

Yeah_Right said...

The whole liquid rule is a total farce - Like the people that our out to get us are too stupid to have multiple people sneak "the bad stuff" through security 3.3 oz per person with multiple people and combine it on the other side.

It is a total farce, and nothing more than bad community theater just to make us sheep feel good about travel.

The only way to make airline security safe is to have no carry on bags, but try and do that one...

Anonymous said...

I see lots of posts of people that had to throw away their liquids that were clearly less than 3oz but marked as more than 3oz (when full). They'll harrass you no matter what the quantity is. On the way to a flight, I kept getting harrassed about my cologne bottle. I had to explain 3 times that it's a 1.7oz bottle (it's printed on the bottom of the bottle) and it was half-full at the time. One of the TSA agents that were harrassing me that day said the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. He said that some companies pack more cologne into their bottles than the printed amount. Um...yeah...I'm sure some cologne companies like to sacrifice profit and secretly give more cologne for the money.

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.

3ZKL said...

i recently flew, uncontested, through JFK with a 24 ounce jar of honey in my carry-on baggage. my expectation was to be hassled & forced to give it up. no big deal really, i just wanted to bring it home with me. i felt confident that the peanut butter in my bag would be close enough to solid that it didn't matter, but honey is pretty much a liquid/gel. in fact, according to wikipedia 'Honey is a sweet and viscous fluid produced by honey bees. . .'

my question is 'does the TSA have an offical stance as to whether or not honey & peanut butter are contraband items'?

Anonymous said...

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I wonder if the cosmetics industry is putting pressure on TSA and the administration to keep the liquids ban in place. The market for travel size products boomed while the overall cosmetics market remained steady. And I'm sure the cosmetics industry made capital investments to increase production of travel sizes. Can you say windfall profits?

Anonymous said...

Yeah... I think we all see the fault in the liquids thing. Terrorists don't act alone. If 10 guys, each went through security with their zip lock bags full of 3 oz bottles of undetectable god knows what... it's no different than if ONE person strolled through security with a gallon of the same crap.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the quart Zip-loc bags. On a recient flight, security handed my wife a bag and instructed her to put a 2 oz. bottle of hand lotion in it. It didn't go over too weel when I asked where I could get some of those explosion proof bags.

Anonymous said...

I was flying out of El Paso 2 days after Christmas. I was told by 3 very interested women that 2 of my small (6 oz) see-through lotion bottles would have to be confiscated (they were brand new Victoria Secret lotions, which I am sure they wouldn't mind keeping). I was outraged because my sister had given me these for Christmas! What outraged me even more that is that as a smoker, I had no problems getting 2 lighters through in my backpack. Bottom line, TSA security is NOT effective and randomly decide to confiscate items if they see something they like. I think the liquids rule is absolutely ridiculous. Lets think a little harder here folks.

Leon said...

There's another problem with the liquids ban that few people seem to have commented on; it makes it easier to smuggle dangerous things onto planes. If you get the screeners to start searching for something, they're going to put less of their finite concentration on searching for something else. Since they are bound to encounter loads of liquids every day, they'll be seen to be doing better job if they concentrate on finding loads of liquid, instead of searching for a gun that almost certainly isn't there. The liquid ban reduces the effort spent looking for guns, and so makes them easier to smuggle on.

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing TSA could do to reassure the American people that the TSA has a clue about security is get rid of the liquids ban.

To the average guy on the street, the TSA is trying to protect us from a MacGyver that could create a bomb by mixing chemicals in the bathroom. But MacGyver is a TV show, not real life.

Anonymous said...

Please answer the question!

"So I would like to put this same question to Mr. Hawley again, this time from one blogger to another. Precisely what is to prevent multiple bomb juice-packing terrorists from combining their individually packed bomb juices into a single bomb? Can you enlighten us?"

From this web page:

I look forward to your reply.

(I would be seriously surprised if this post makes it past your censorship!)

Arkham said...

What's with having a limit on liquids at all?
Surely having a liquid allowance is easily side-stepped by simply having two 'terrorists' on the same plane..

If they put together their liquid allowance they get double..

So maybe your going to say it makes it more difficult for 'them.. well guess what.. it makes it entirely more difficult for 'us' too!

Has there been even one liquid-bomb discovered since this rule? I don't think so.

Buckles Out said...

I've noticed how 'TSA Blogger' answers questions with a very defensive slant. Why not provide us with good info, and tell us why we have to go an hour or two (depending upon where you fly out of and what time of day) without a drink. If we can't being a bottle of water/soda with us through security, there is no point to bringing one to the airport, thus making us wait until after we get through security to get a drink. Most airports that I fly to/from on a regular basis have around an hour line to get through TSA's 'security', plus however long it takes to get through check in. If they are going to deny us a basic human right (water), then they should at least provide everyone who goes through security with a $2 off coupon so we don't get jacked on a bottle of water.

Anonymous said...

Since when is a state of matter an indication of a substance's explosive properties? What kind of farce "science" was this asinine prohibition based on? Could someone who supports this ban post a link (or even a title/date) of a peer reviewed paper that describes the risk that a liquid poses compared to a solid or gaseous substance?

Anonymous said...

I think TSA messed up when they started allowing ANY liquids back through. When there was a total ban, planes boarded really fast, there was tons of overhead space. It was much easier when there was a total ban - no squishy room there. Here's a helpful hint for those complaining about the cost of bottled water in airports - you can carry an EMPTY sports water bottle through the checkpoint and fill it up from a fountain once you're past security.

Anonymous said...

How many terrorists has this agency caught in airports in the act of executing their terroristic plans ? By this I mean actual terrorists who walked up to the security stations with their delivery devices with them and, further, how many has it caught simply lurking around airports waiting for an opportunity to execute their designs ?

I do mean this agency, with its screening procedures in airports not any other agency doing anything else.

Second, on what factual basis was the liquid ban implemented in the first place ? Based on what I learned about the UK episode that first prompted it, I would like to hear why this was continued in place once that episode was fully explained and understood.

Andrea said...

Hi guys- great questions and comments about liquids and gels especially about why we ask you to keep your liquids and gels in 3.4 oz or less. So, the big question is why the heck 3.4 oz? Well we have friends overseas who calculate everything via the metric system. 3.4 oz= 100 ml. So our systems are in synch (no, not the boy band) we now allow 3.4 oz. Next question is why do you have to have all that in separate containers? We employ McGyver-like bomb experts who, through their knowledge of liquid explosives and what it takes to mix all of that together, let us know that by separating liquids in small quanities it would be next to impossible to be successful in a liquid explosive attack.

TSA Blog Team Member

Anonymous said...

A blogger over at Ars Technica posted this question to you (TSA). In case you don't read Ars on a regular basis, I thought I would post the question here.

"My experience in airport security line conversations over the years is that everyone who takes a moment to turn three or four neurons' worth of attention to the much-hated liquids policy comes to exactly the same conclusion: if it takes, say, 20 ounces of bomb juice to blow up an airplane, then you can just send two terrorists with 10 ounces of bomb juice each on board, and they can combine their bomb juice to make a 20-ounce bomb. So why the seemingly idiotic limits on the amount of liquids in my carry-on bag? And why, if I'm in the security line with a bottle of water or a cup of coffee, can't I just drink some of it to demonstrate that it is not, in fact, bomb juice?"

haff said...

Am I correct in saying that the entire liquid ban was a direct response to the alleged terrorists in the UK who allegedly were trying to sneak liquid explosives on to a plane to allegedly blow it up? I repeatedly use the word 'allegedly' as the people involved were never charged with anything, there was no proof/evidence to substantiate the allegations. The case was dropped very quietly yet was used to validate the TSA insanity. How has nobody noticed this glaring abuse of power? We are being robbed of our hard earned goods and products and for what? Based on what? No case ever went to trial, no person was convicted... there were no explosive liquids... from my perspective we have been lied to about the justification.

I traveled from Ireland to the US last year. I bought a bottle of whiskey at Shannon airport and was allowed to bring it on a carry on, we had to change flights at NY and the TSA people took my very expensive alcohol and threw it out in front of my eyes. Why couldn't they have told me I should have checked it back in Shannon - there were American TSA staff there and they waved me on through. Incredable waste of my time, their time, my hard earned cash and only contributed to my already vbery low opinion of how the whole 'security' farce is being mishandled.

I don't fly anymore. Its not because I am sacred of being blown up or anything like that. Its directly due to TSA and the negative arrogant attitudes I have encountered in American airports time and again.

This is one more case of civil liberties being stolen and forced away from us a littel bit at a time.

I would be happier to just do away with all this 'security' and just take my chances. If someone wanted to do in a plane they would be able to do it. To assume (and we all know how accurate assumptions can be) that terrorists would be dumb enough to actually try and sneak a liquid based explosive on to a plane with all the restrictions in place is so childish and ill thought out it boggles the mind. Ehm, hello? it is transparently obious they would be trying something far different, something that the TSA drones wouldn't be wasting innocent passengers time about... I could go on and on but this post would sink to new levels of annoyance at the utter waste of cost, time and effort employed in American airports by TSA staff

gregg said...

The USA leads by example with their security policies for good or worse. I travel internationally for my job and on a recent return flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica their security seized an unopen soda that I planned on having during my 2 hour wait for departure! Rather than disposing it in the refuse bin, the guard had me leave on her table, I guess to have for herself. Makes me wonder how often this happens here?

Andrea said...

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

Anonymous said...

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!

stevenstuck said...

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.

Scott C said...

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.

lesliepear said...

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.

mtbcrazy said...

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).

katina said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Ryan said...

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

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Benjamin said...

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?

TSO Tom said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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 …

Sionn said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Bill said...

"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.

mike_m said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

ottnott said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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?

Ken said...

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?

brendan_i said...

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."

Anonymous said...

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.

tsa tso ny said...

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.

ajrmacle said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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!!

Anonymous said...

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.

Heidi said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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?

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

less frequent flyer said...

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.

Alan said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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

Liquids are banned, apparently.

What about ice?

Bill said...

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)

Grungy said...

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?

Isaac said...

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

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