How much liquid can you bring onboard? What is the millilitre limit for fluids in one’s carry-on bag? 

Navigating aviation security and airport screenings can be a tricky affair if you don’t know the rules and standard procedures. To help make your travel more seamless, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions, like ‘is there a limit to how many 100ml bottles I can carry onboard a plane?’, and other useful travel tips.

What are the basics I should know about carry-on liquids?

First off, what are considered Liquid, Aerosols and Gels (LAGs)? It’s important to note that these fall under the LAGs category: juices, soups, sauces, canned foods with liquid content, and even creams, balms, lotions, mascara, and, yes, even lip glosses.

LAG screening and rules were implemented in airports around the world after British terrorists attempted to bring liquid explosives aboard a plane in 2006. Before checking in for a flight, it is important to make a mental note of the items in your carry-on bag—even products like toothpaste, hairspray, hair gel and contact lens solution are classified by airports as LAGs.

If you go through a security scanner carrying more than 100ml of any of these LAGs, a security officer might ask you to dispose of it, even if it is an important daily essential. Yes, the limit is 100ml, or 100g, per LAG container. However, the maximum number of 100ml LAG bottles allowed in one bag vary for different airports. In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows travellers to carry aboard as many 100ml containers as they can fit in one clear plastic quart-sized bag, which is usually nine or less containers.

Even if a bottle of more than 100ml volume contains less than 100ml of liquid, aviation security will still not allow you to board your plane with it. So, when planning your travels, check your carry-on luggage for liquids and see if these liquids can be packed into your check-in baggage instead. Also, if a container appears more than 100ml in volume but does not have a label indicating its volume, security officers can deny you from bringing it past the checkpoint too.

However, some essential liquids are exempt, but have to be declared at airport security checkpoints. These include medication, baby food and drinks, breastmilk (must travel with infant(s)), liquids or gels for diabetes, and distilled water for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices (with supporting documents).

What about the LAGs I buy from duty-free?

If you can’t carry LAG containers of more than 100ml onboard, then why does the duty-free area sell items that are classifiable as LAGS such as perfumes and toiletries? The difference is, if you purchase LAGs in the transit area after the immigration checkpoint, your purchases will be secured in a resealable plastic bag.

In Changi Airport, these re-sealable bags will be provided by the retailers in Changi Airport. For LAGs bought from iShopChangi or in the transit stores of Changi that are more than 100ml each, retailers will place your purchase in sealed tamper-evident bags (STEB), with the receipt clearly displayed in the sealed bags. 

You should only break or open your STEB after clearing immigration at your destination country. Items like chocolates, apparel, electronics and timepieces are not affected by LAGs restriction. The LAGs policy will only affect your order if you are collecting your order on departure out of Changi Airport. Travellers are advised to do their research in advance if they are unsure about country specific rules regarding LAG purchases.

What can I expect during a security screening?

In Changi Airport’s Terminals 1, 2 and 3, security screening is conducted at the boarding gates. At Terminal 4, the security screening is conducted just after departure immigration. With the introduction of Computed Tomography (CT) security screening at T4, travellers are not require to take their laptops and electronic devices out of their bags.

In a security screening, first prepare your passport and boarding pass for inspection.

Avoid wearing clothes with metal parts and outerwear. If your clothing items like belt buckles and spectacle frames have metal parts, you will be asked to remove these accessories and apparel before stepping through the X-ray or metal detector.

Your belongings will be X-rayed too, so remove LAGs and electronic devices from your bags when it is your turn to be screened. 

After removing metals, outerwear, electronics and LAGs, and placing them in a separate tray or trays, place your bag or trays on the X-ray’s conveyor belt, then step through the X-ray or metal detector. Cooperate with the security officers and remember to collect your belongings, passport and boarding pass after the security screening process.

Any other useful tips?

Here are some useful hacks that will make your security screening and boarding process smoother:

  • Arrive a little earlier at the airport, because you might encounter long queues at security screening checkpoints. 
  • You can also save time by checking in online before going to the airport. 
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and empty it before your security screening. You can refill it using an airport water dispenser after your screening.
  • Pack your LAGs in your check-in baggage. If you have containers that are fragile, wrap them within soft items like clothing. If a LAG’s container might come loose, tape it down or double-seal it in a second water-tight bag.
  • If you need to bring essential LAGs like cosmetics, perfume or toothpaste aboard a flight with you, fill these LAGs into refillable bottles that are less than 100ml in volume. Travel-sized essentials too can usually be purchased in the transit area. Being ‘travel-sized’ means those items have been checked to be compliant with that airport’s specific rules. 
  • Alternatively, you can bring non-LAG essentials instead like solid cosmetics and deodorant sticks.

 

You’re all set! If you’ve followed this checklist, you can now embark on your travels with peace of mind. If you’d like to learn more travel tips and debunk airport myths, read here. We look forward to welcoming you to Changi Airport!

 

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