Can You Carry Liquids on Airplanes? A Guide To Canada Liquid Carry-On Allowance

To ease your anxiety and let you have a hassle-free security check, we put together this guide on the Canada liquid carry on allowance.  There are few things in life more stressful than packing for a flight trip and getting through airport security. Because what if you accidentally packed something that’s prohibited on airplanes? After all, you don’t want the security side-eyeing you and asking you to step aside, right?

Can You Carry Liquids on Airplanes in Canada?

Yes, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) does allow you to carry liquids, gels, and aerosols in your carry-on as well as checked baggage. However, there are certain airline liquid limits. 

Before we go into more detail, let’s see what comes under the definition of liquids. 

Definition of Liquids on Airplanes Canada

According to CATSA:

  • Liquids: Beverages, water, soft drinks, liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner, cologne, lotions, and liquid-based cosmetics. 
  • Aerosols: Hairspray, deodorant, shaving cream.
  • Gels: Lip gloss, hair gel, jam, jelly, mashed potatoes, pudding, yogurt, spreads, gel-based cosmetics. 

It’s worth noting that frozen non-solid food that becomes liquid at room temperature also comes under the definition of liquids. For example, ice cream. Food items that are a mixture of solid and liquid (such as canned or jarred goods) also count towards your carry-on liquid allowance, and the same rules apply to them as well. 

For a more detailed list, check out the CATSA website and ensure that you’re not carrying any prohibited items such as pepper spray. 

Carry-On Liquid Allowance in Canadian Flights

Canada liquid carry-on rules allow you to carry liquids on your carry-on luggage as long as they weigh 100 ml/ 100 g (3.4 ounces) or less. Avoid carrying more than one container of the same liquid and don’t keep any liquid-based gifts in your carry-on. 

You must pack all the liquid containers together inside a clear and transparent resealable plastic bag. This helps the screening officers check the contents of the bag easily. The bag’s maximum capacity should be 1L and each passenger is allowed to carry only one such bag. Typically, these bags are either 6” x 9” or 8” x 7”.

If you carry any opaque plastic bag or leave your plastic bag unsealed and open, you won’t be allowed to carry them.

Once you reach the security officer, take out your plastic bag and place it on the bin tray for inspection. 

Canada liquid carry on limit

As part of your Canada liquid carry-on allowance, all liquids must be in containers less than 100 ml.
Photo by Alexandra Tran on Unsplash.

Exceptions To The Carry-On Liquid Limit

Some essential items are exempted from the Canada liquid carry-on allowance. This means you can pack them in your carry-on luggage even if they are more than 100 ml/ 100 g, and you don’t need to place them inside the 1L plastic bag. 

They also don’t count towards the airline’s liquid limits. However, you must notify the screening officer about these additional items. 

Here are the items exempt from the carry-on liquid limit:

  • Baby food/ drink such as milk, formula, juice, and water if you’re traveling with an infant that’s 2 years old or younger. 
  • Breast milk even if you’re flying without your child. 
  • Prescription medicines and essential non-prescription medicines. The latter includes eye medication, saline solution for contact lenses, pain medication, nutritional supplements, and so on.
  • Liquids/ gels for medical conditions such as diabetes. This may include juices or jellies.
  • Distilled water for CPAP devices.
  • COVID-19 test kits.
  • Gel/ ice packs if you need them to freeze your infant’s food, keep medicines/ medical devices cool, or treat an injury.

You don’t need to carry documentation from your doctor proving you have medical conditions. However, you can choose to carry them if you feel that they would make your security check easier.

Canada Liquid Carry-On Rules for Checked-In Baggage

Any liquids, gels, or aerosols over 100 ml go inside your checked-in baggage. This includes non-solid food as well. 

The items in your checked-in baggage are not subject to the airline’s liquid limits for carry-on baggage. But, to make things easier, pack them in clear plastic bags with properly-labeled containers. This way, your security inspection will be much smoother and faster!

Can You Carry Alcohol on Canadian Flights?

Yes, you can carry alcohol on Canadian flights – both in your carry-on luggage and checked-in baggage. But, again, there are certain rules and restrictions that you must follow. 

You can carry alcohol as part of your Canada liquid carry-on allowance in your hand luggage as long as it’s under 100 ml. 

As for your checked-in baggage, you can carry containers of alcohol – both homemade and commercial as well as rubbing alcohol – if they are more than 100 ml. However:

  • The percentage of alcohol by volume should be 70% (140 proof) or less.
  • If your beverage has an alcohol percentage that falls between 24% to 70%, you can only carry a maximum of 5 liters of alcohol.
  • If the alcohol percentage is less than 24%, no restrictions apply, meaning you can carry as many liters as you want. 

Rules for Duty-Free Carry-On Liquids Canada

Planning to buy some duty-free liquids, gels, or aerosols at the airport? Good news! You can carry them with you in your hand baggage and they won’t count as part of your Canada liquid carry-on allowance! 

And yes, this includes duty-free alcohol as well. 

However, the caveat is that your duty-free liquids must pass screening.

  • You must have an itemized bill for your purchase. 
  • The items must be sealed properly in an official security bag. 
  • You must have purchased the items less than 48 hours before screening because official security bags are valid only for a maximum of 2 days. 
  • You should not unseal/ open the bag after making your purchase but before the screening. 

What To Do if My Items Don’t Comply With Airline Liquid Limits?

  • Keep them inside your checked-in baggage. 
  • Ask the airport authorities to rebook you on a later flight so you can make the necessary arrangements.
  • Empty your beverage, carry the bottle, and refill it later. 
  • Hand it over to a loved one who isn’t traveling with you. 
  • Ship it to your destination separately. 
  • Discard it.

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