How to carry on

If deciding what to pack wasn’t daunting enough already, the new (and constantly changing) restrictions on what’s allowed in carry-on luggage have many travellers scratching their heads. Adding to the confusion, these new rules are seemingly applied differently in every country.

The Canadian Press recently consulted officials from Transport Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to answer questions about the new rules at Canadian airports:

Q: What can’t I bring in my carry-on luggage?
A: Liquids, gels and aerosols are forbidden from carry-on bags. That includes items such as beverages, shampoo, sunscreen, skin creams, toothpaste, hair gel and liquid makeup. Basically, anything that has a liquid or gel-like consistency is banned. There are plenty of things that fall into this category that travellers may not consider. For example, shoe insoles that are filled with gel, bras with gel inserts and over-the-counter gel tablets are all banned items. Lighters are also forbidden because they contain liquid.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the rules?
A: Yes. If you are tavelling with a baby or a small child, formula and breast milk are permitted. Prescription medication with a name that matches the name on the passenger’s ticket or boarding pass, a limited amount of insulin and other essential non- prescription medication are also allowed.

Q: What about duty free?
A: Transport Canada announced Friday that the sale of liquids, gels and aerosols at duty-free stores is being restored for passengers on most international flights. In some cases these items will have to be put into checked baggage. Check the department’s website ( for details on the policy.

Q: Does the ban on liquids, gels and aerosols from carry-on luggage apply to all flights leaving Canadian airports?
A: Yes. Whether you’re flying from Toronto to Ottawa or Toronto to Paris, the new rules apply.

Q: If I’m not sure about an item, how can I find out if it’s allowed in my carry-on baggage?
A: The Internet is a helpful resource. Both the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority ( and Transport Canada have detailed info about what is and isn’t permitted. CATSA has also has a toll-free number (1-888-294-2202) to help passengers with their questions. Travel agents and your airline can also provide answers. If you’re travelling outside Canada, be sure to check if different rules apply in the country to which you’re travelling. The U.S. Transportation Security Administration ( and Britain’s Department for Transport ( can provide up-to-date information.

Q: If I’m flying out of Canada but catching a connection through London, do I need to abide by British rules?
A: Yes. According to Britain’s Department for Transport, British restrictions apply to passengers connecting to flights through a British airport. Under those rules, each passenger is permitted one piece of hand luggage up to a maximum length of 45 cm, width of 35 cm and depth of 16 cm.

Q: Are laptops, cell phones, iPods and other electronics allowed in carry-on luggage in Canada?
A: Yes. They were never included on Canada’s list of banned items. There had been restrictions on electronics last week in Britain and the U.S., but they have since been lifted.

Q: Can I purchase a drink at an airport restaurant or newsstand after I go through security and bring it onto the plane?
A: No. You can buy a beverage but it will be served to you in a cup and you must drink it before boarding the plane.

Q: If a liquid, gel or aerosol is confiscated by security officials from my carry-on luggage, can I get it back?
A: That depends. At some airports, there may be the option to mail the item to yourself. If you’re flying out of a smaller airport, you may be able to put the item in your checked luggage.

Q: What can I do to make boarding easier?
A: Transport Canada advises passengers to give themselves plenty of time before their flight, check with their airline to make sure their flight is on time and pack as much in checked baggage as possible.

Q: Is shoe removal mandatory at Canadian airports?
A: No. But according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, all travellers flying out of the U.S. must remove their shoes and have them X-rayed by security.

Q: How long will the new rules be in place?
A: It’s hard to say. Transport Canada says it doesn’t have a “clear view of when or if they’ll be lifted.”

Source: The Canadian Press

For more information, please contact the Canadian Air Transport Security Agency (CATSA) at or 1-888-294-2202 or Transport Canada at