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Carry-on Liquids: What Can You Carry in Your Hand Luggage?

To help make packing for your next trip a little easier, here is a guide to what liquids you can bring in your carry-on luggage on flights to and from airports in Canada.

When it comes to keeping all your baggage on hand while flying, there are a number of requirements on how much you can bring on-board. The trickiest requirements and carry-on standards often involved travelling with liquids in your hand luggage. As airlines continue to raise their rates for checking in luggage, more and more travellers are opting to go carry-on only. Find out what you can and can’t bring onboard your carry-on luggage with you on your next trip!

toiletries in travel-sized containers sealed in a see-through travel bag
Carry-on Liquids: What Can You Carry in Your Hand Luggage? | Skyscanner Canada

How Big Can Carry-on Luggage Be?

An standard sized carry-on luggage is 55 cm x 23 cm x 40 cm (21.5 in x 9 in x 15.5 in) along with one personal item that is 33 cm x 16 cm x 43 cm (13 in x 6 in x 17 in). This size includes wheels and handles and must be light enough that you can place it in the overhead bin without the need of assistance.

However, the rules will vary based on airlines and aircraft. Many low-cost airlines only allow one personal item like a small backpack or purse and will charge extra for overhead and checked luggage.

What Counts as a Liquid?

Any liquid, gel or aerosol counts as towards the allotted amount permitted on board. ‘Gels’ include any non-solid food items such as jam, pudding, yogurt, and personal care products such as deodorants and hair gels. ‘Aerosols’ are any hairspray or shaving creams in a spray container and count towards your carry-on liquids. But be sure none of the items fall into the restricted or prohibited items category.

How much liquid are you allowed in your carry-on luggage?

In your carry-on luggage, you are only allowed liquids, gels, and aerosols in a container that’s 100 ml (100 grams / 3.4 oz) or less. Otherwise, they should be packed with your checked luggage. You are only allowed one quart/litre-sized bag (single, clear, closed and resealable) containing your liquids, food, and personal items in your carry-on baggage.

This type of bag is distributed at the security area of most major airports, for your reference and convenience. If you are packing at home, note that the approximate dimensions of a one litre/quart bag are 15.24 cm by 22.86 cm (6 in. by 9 in.) or 20 cm by 17.5 cm (8 in. by 7 in.). Use this as your standard clear plastic bag to fill with your allowed carry-on liquids!

bottles of travel-sized liquid items in a plastic bag
Carry-on Liquids: What Can You Carry in Your Hand Luggage? | Skyscanner Canada

Does the amount of liquid that you are allowed vary by country?

Yes, be sure to consult the local regulations to the country you are travelling to or from. There are often rules that will limit the number of carry-on liquids permitted on board, the type of liquids permitted (for example, many countries have regulations for food that is allowed to be transported across the border) and the regulations of the amount of alcohol permitted depending on the regulations and length of travel abroad.

Can you bring food from outside the airport on the plane?

Yes, but the same regulations apply for the number of liquids allowed which includes liquid food. You can bring solid food items when travelling throughout Canada without restrictions and often include items like fruit, snack bars, and sandwiches. However, if you are travelling outside of Canada be sure to double check the rules from the country you are visiting that may apply to any food not consumed in-air.

Suitcase in an overhead locker
Carry-on Liquids: What Can You Carry in Your Hand Luggage? | Skyscanner Canada

Allowed in Your Carry-On Luggage: Exceptions

Are you allowed medication in your carry-on luggage?

Prescription and essential non-prescription medicines are allowed on board, as well as liquids and gels to for diabetes or other medical conditions. Distilled water for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are also allowed on board.

Can you bring baby food on a plane?

If you are travelling with an infant under two years of age (0-24 months), you are allowed to bring baby food, milk, formula water and juice over 100 ml. In addition, you are allowed to bring breast milk on board if you are flying with or without your child.

Gels and ice packs are also permitted to treat an injury, preserve medication or refrigerate baby food and do not count towards your carry-on liquids.

Be sure to declare these items at security screening so that your baggage is not flagged.

How Much Can You Buy from Duty-Free?

Duty-free items purchased at the airport that are properly sealed in official security bags and accompanied by a receipt are allowed onboard the plane. These items do not count towards your carry-on liquids allowance. Duty-free items that have been purchased more than 48 hours before your trip may be confiscated or if they are not properly packaged in an official security bag.

Can you bring alcohol through security?

You can bring back any amount of beverages with 24% of alcohol by volume or less or five litres per person of alcoholic beverages with 24% and 70% alcohol by volume. However, if you’re flying within Canada, all alcohol must be in your checked baggage.

If you are flying to or from an international destination including the United States, check the regulations of your destination country for the permitted amount of alcohol you can bring back with you. This can be based on the length of time you are travelling and each country has its individual liquids regulations and rules for both alcohol in your checked-baggage or bought through duty-free.

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Disclaimer: Information correct as of February 10, 2019, obtained from travel.gc.ca. Always check the latest guidance from your airline before booking a trip.