Learn the TSA regulations for packing sunscreen in a carry-on bag and navigating TSA checks for aerosols and liquids ✈️Stay prepared for hassle-free fly
Can I Bring Full Size Sunscreen on a Plane?
Whether jetting off to a tropical destination or simply traveling domestically, passengers often wonder if they can bring full size sunscreen containers in their carry-on luggage. With sun protection essential during summer sunny travel, what exactly are the rules regarding sunscreen and other liquids as carry-on items?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently updated its guidance to allow medically necessary liquids, including sunscreen, in quantities greater than the standard 3.4 ounce limit permitted in carry-on baggage. However, travelers must properly declare these items to TSA officers during screening to facilitate inspection. Understanding the latest regulations can ensure vacationers fly equipped with adequate sun protection.
TSA Carry-On Rules: The Liquid 3-1-1 Policy
For carry-on luggage, the TSA’s long-standing 3-1-1 policy still predominantly applies regarding liquids and gels. This rule states that liquid containers must be 3.4 ounces (100 ml) or less and all bottles fitting these size requirements must consolidate into one quart-sized clear plastic bag per passenger in the screening bin.
The 3.4 ounce sizing includes sunscreen lotions, sprays, gels and creams. Bringing full size sunscreen bottles in carry-on bags typically violates the liquid rules.
Can You Bring Aerosol Sunscreen Sprays in Carry-On Bags?
Frequent flyers also wonder if they can bring aerosol spray sunscreens in their carry-on luggage. The answer is yes, but the same 3.4 ounce rule still applies to sunscreen sprays.
The TSA allows aerosol sprays for medical or cosmetic purposes in carry-on bags as long as they adhere to the 3-1-1 liquid requirements and are no larger than 18 ounces per container.
Tips for Successfully Bringing Sunscreen Sprays in Carry-Ons:
- Verify individual aerosol spray containers contain no more than 3.4 ounces
- Confirm spray nozzles have protective caps to prevent accidental discharge
- Place sunscreen sprays together in a separate sealable plastic bag for easier inspection access
- Understand that sunscreen sprays face an increased risk of confiscation compared to lotions and gels
For worry-free travels, some travelers opt to simply check their sunscreen sprays in baggage rather than risk carry-on confiscation by TSA officers. Using lotions or creams in small bottles also minimizes this screening hassle.
Can You Bring Sunscreen Over 3.4 Ounces in Carry-On Bags?
While the general 3-4 ounce carry-on limit still stands for most liquids, the TSA recently updated guidance to allow medically necessary liquids, including sunscreens, in larger quantities within carry-on luggage.
Sunscreen now falls under the TSA’s medical liquid exception policy. But travelers must navigate specific screening protocols.
Here is what to know about bringing sunscreen larger than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on bag:
- Sunscreen over 3.4 ounces must be declared as medically necessary by passengers as they enter the TSA screening checkpoint
- Travelers should alert TSA officers that they have medically necessary sunscreen in their carry-on bags and that it requires inspection
- Sunscreens over 3.4 ounces should consolidate together in a separate plastic bag from other 3-1-1 liquids
- Additional screening time may be required for sunscreens over 3.4 ounces
The final decision on whether you can bring larger sunscreen bottles rests with TSA officers at the checkpoint. Be patient and prepared to briefly explain your need for extra sunscreen.
Checking Sunscreen in Luggage – Any Restrictions?
For checked baggage loaded underneath the plane, there are no TSA restrictions on sunscreen quantities. Travelers can pack as many large bottles or cans of sunscreen as needed for their vacation without worrying about size limitations when bags get checked.
However, given most passengers’ fears regarding lost luggage, checking bags containing only sunscreen may not make the most sense in many cases. Travelers should balance necessity with practicality if considering checking their sunscreen.
Why Sunscreen Matters Even on Short Flights
Did you know UV ray exposure actually increases at higher altitudes? And with airplane windows lacking UV light protection, diligent sunscreen application becomes vital for passengers, even on short or cloudy-day flights.
The American Academy of Dermatology officially recommends reapplying broad spectrum sunscreen every 2 hours whenever outside. For travelers, utilizing the TSA’s medical liquids exception to carry adequate sunscreen supplies supports proper sun safety.
Key Takeaways – Air Travel with Sunscreen Made Simple
To recap TSA guidance for hassle-free travels with sunscreen:
- Carry-on luggage still follows the 3-1-1 rule for liquids, limiting containers to 3.4 ounces
- Travelers can bring medically necessary sunscreen over 3.4 ounces if properly declared for inspection
- No size restrictions for sunscreens in checked baggage
- Sprays permitted if 3.4 ounces or less and capped in carry-ons
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours when flying to prevent UV damage
Vacationers deserve to soak up the sun without burn worries. By understanding the latest TSA regulations for flying with sunscreen, passengers can declaration exceptions to ensure adequate sun protection no matter how they pack.
Safe and healthy travels!