Keep on carrying on: Air travellers get (a little) relief on carry-on ban

Air travellers are now allowed to carry small amounts of liquids, aerosols and gels in their carry-on bags, according to Transport Canada.

Passengers can bring travel-sized shampoo, mouthwash and other toiletries through security screening at Canadian airports, as long as the items are no larger than 90 ml or 90 grams (3 oz.). And all products must be placed in a clear, closed and resealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than one litre (1 quart). Only one bag per passenger will be allowed.

The United States has announced a similar partial lifting of carry-on restrictions.

"We now know enough to say that a total ban is no longer needed from a security point of view," Kip Hawley, head of the Transportation Security Administration, told a news conference at Reagan National Airport.

The relaxed ban is part of an effort to reduce some of the inconveniences air travellers have faced since August 10 when the government prohibited passengers from carrying on liquids, gels and aerosols on airplanes. The new security regulations were in response to an alleged terror plot in the United Kingdom to blow up commercia airliners using liquid explosives.

"While this move will reduce inconveniences for some passengers, our enforcement and intelligence agencies remain vigilant in the face of the threat of terrorism," said Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety. "The Government of Canada is committed to keeping Canadians safe from the threat of terror and continues to work closely with our allies to guard against terrorism."

Permitted carry-on items
• Liquids, gels and aerosols packaged in containers no larger than 90 ml / 90 grams (3 oz.). The containers must fit comfortably in one clear, closed and resealable plastic bag with a capacity of no more than 1 litre (1 quart). Only one bag per passenger will be permitted.

• Baby formula, baby food or milk if a child aged two years or under is travelling. These items, as well as essential non-prescription and prescription medicines, are exempt from container size restrictions and are not required to be placed in a plastic bag. However, these items must be declared to screening authorities. Passengers may be subject to additional screening.

• Prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger’s ticket, insulin and other essential non-prescription medicines will continue to be permitted. To speed up the screening process, passengers should be prepared to present documentation supporting a medical condition, i.e., a doctor’s note.

Prohibited carry-on items
• Unsealed, open or opaque plastic bags of any size with liquids, gels or aerosols in any size container.

• Liquids, gels or aerosols in containers larger than 90 ml / 90 g (3oz.).

Passengers who are carrying forbidden items have the option of leaving them behind or going back into the public area to pack them in their checked baggage. For more information on the new list of permitted and prohibited liquids, gels and aerosols, click here.

While passengers are being asked to provide their own plastic bags, the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority will temporarily provide a short-term supply of the plastic bags for passengers not aware of the new rules during the transition period.

The sale of liquids, gels and aerosols at all retailers, both duty free and non-duty free, located in secure areas of Canadian airports, continues to be permitted.

Passengers, including those travelling to the United States, who purchase liquids at airport stores after passing through security checkpoints can take the items on to their planes. Those connecting through or departing from the United Kingdom, however, should be aware that these items continue to be prohibited from flights departing from the United Kingdom.

For further information, visit Transport Canada’s website at or the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) website at Travellers who have questions about packing their bags in preparation for a trip can also contact CATSA toll free at 1-888-294-2202.