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TSA security checkpoint guidelines

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens all airline passengers and baggage prior to boarding commercial aircraft.

Checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

The TSA will allow passengers to leave their laptop computers in bags that meet “checkpoint-friendly” standards. For a bag to be considered checkpoint-friendly, it should meet the following standards:

  • A designated laptop-only section that completely unfolds to lie flat on the X-ray belt
  • No metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section
  • No pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section
  • Nothing packed in the laptop-only section other than the computer

For details of checkpoint-friendly designs and guidance on use, go to www.tsa.gov. The TSA uses random screening protocols and reserves the right to re-screen any bag or laptop regardless of the bag’s design.

Knives

Most knives are not allowed past the security checkpoint (including, but not limited to, pocket knives, folding or retractable blades regardless of blade length or composition, box cutters, X-ACTO® knives, scissors with a pointed tip, straight razors, and Leatherman® or Victorinox Swiss Army® knives). Plastic knives and round-bladed butter knives are permitted in carry-on baggage.

Traveling with liquids, gels and aerosol items

When traveling with any liquid, gel or aerosol items in your carry-on bag, follow these guidelines:

  • Customers departing from U.S. airports on any flight may bring carry-on bags through security and board the aircraft with trial-size toiletries (each 3.4 ounces or less).
  • Toiletries must fit comfortably in one quart-size (liter-size) clear, sealable bag.
  • The zip-top bag may need to be removed from your carry-on bag and presented separately at airport security.

Additionally, beverages or toiletries purchased inside the airport beyond the security checkpoints will be allowed on board the aircraft in most cases. However, if you are connecting to another flight and are required to reenter through a security checkpoint, the regulations outlined above will apply, and no exemption will be made for items you purchased in the boarding area of your originating airport.

Some items greater than 3.4 ounces and/or not contained in a zip-top bag may be allowed on board but must be declared to the TSA at the security checkpoint for screening. These items include baby formula, milk (including breast milk), baby food, juice, medications and liquids/gels that are needed for diabetic or other medical conditions.

As of January 31, 2014, passengers traveling internationally into the U.S. and connecting to another flight are allowed to have in their carry-on baggage liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces (100 mL) that were purchased as duty-free merchandise. This only applies to products purchased in duty-free stores, placed in an intact designated secure, tamper-evident bag, and successfully screened and cleared by TSA officers. Scanning may not be effective for liquids in opaque, ceramic, or metallic bottles, or other containers. Liquids that cannot be screened and cleared will not be allowed to remain in carry-on baggage. Customers may choose to place these items into checked baggage or throw them away.

Additional carry-on screening information

Gifts and packages are subject to the same inspection as your carry-on baggage. We recommend that you travel with your packages unwrapped to allow for easy inspection, if necessary.

Travelers should check with non-U.S. departure airport locations for specific security restrictions.

Customers are prohibited from bringing on board any device to alter or limit the functionality (permanently or temporarily) of any aircraft structure, seat assembly, tray table, etc. Visit the TSA website for additional references with detailed information and examples of allowable items.

For more information about the one carry-on bag and one personal item allowed on board, read our guidelines on the Carry-on Baggage page.