To check…Or not to check – That is a COMMON question!

Airport security screening point. (Jim Wells/Postmedia Network file photo)
Airport security screening point. (Jim Wells/Postmedia Network file photo)

[h1 align=”left”]Carry On or Checked Luggage?[/h1]

You can make your security screening experience quicker and easier by packing your liquids, foods and personal items properly. At the airport, these items are referred to as “liquids, aerosols and gels

Liquids, Food & Personal Items

Examples of Liquids, Foods and Personal Items that are Liquids, Aerosols and Gels:
[tab_item title=”Liquids”]

  • coffee
  • soft drinks
  • juice
  • bottled water
  • maple syrup
  • alcohol
  • shampoos
  • conditioners
  • mouthwash
  • toothpaste
  • perfume
  • cologne
  • liquid soap
  • insect repellent
  • liquid/gel based hand sanitizers
  • creams/lotions
  • hairspray
  • liquid based cosmetics (e.g. mascara, liquid foundation, liquid eyeliner)


[tab_item title=”Gels”]

  • lipgloss
  • hair styling gel
  • jam
  • jelly
  • pudding
  • yogurt
  • gelatin
  • peanut butter
  • chocolate spread
  • cheese spread
  • maple spread
  • shaving gel
  • gel-based deodorant
  • gel-based cosmetics (e.g. gel blush, gel lip products)

[tab_item title=”Aerosols”]

  • deodorant
  • hairspray
  • body spray
  • static remover
  • sunscreen spray
  • shaving cream
  • aerosol deodorant
  • aerosol cheese product


Please note that if an item that is illegal in Canada (e.g. pepper spray) is found at a screening checkpoint, CATSA is required to notify the police.

[h1]How To Pack your Liquids, Foods and Personal Items[/h1]

How to Pack your Liquids, Food and Personal Items

  • Containers of liquids, food and personal items in your carry-on must be 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) or less. All containers must fit in one clear, resealable plastic bag no more than 1L in capacity. The bag must be transparent so screening officers can easily see the contents.
  • Each passenger is allowed a single 1 L bag containing liquids, food and personal items. The approximate dimensions of a 1L bag are 15.24 cm by 22.86 cm (6 in. by 9 in.) or 20 cm by 17.5 cm (8 in. by 7 in.).
  • At the screening point, take your plastic bag out of your carry-on and place it in a bin.
  • Any containers over 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) can be placed in your checked baggage as long as they are not prohibited items. If the container is a food item that you are bringing to another country or into Canada, some restrictions may apply.

Did you know?

Why a 100 ml/100 g (3.4 oz) limit in only one 1L (1-qt) plastic bag?
The Government of Canada set these limits based on national and international consultations and analysis. The 100ml restriction is set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).


  • Beverages: Drink or discard any beverages in containers of more than 100 ml before you get to security screening checkpoint.  This includes water in your personal water bottle. You can refill your container once you pass through security.
  • Duty-Free Alcohol: Be sure you know the rules for bringing duty-free alcohol as part of your carry-on baggage.
  • Food is not exempted from restrictions on liquids, foods and personal items:
    • Non-solid food (e.g. yogurt, pudding, peanut butter, jam) in your carry-on must be in containers of 100 ml or less. All containers must fit in the same clear, closed, resealable 1 L plastic bag, along with all other containers of liquids, food or personal items you are carrying.
    • Food over 100 ml that is normally a liquid or gel but has been frozen solid will not be allowed to pass through security in your carry-on. In order for a food to be considered a solid, it must be solid at room temperature.
    • Solid food with less than 100 ml of liquid: Canned or jarred goods containing both solids and liquid that clearly contain less than 100 ml of liquid (e.g., can of tuna) are allowed. These items must fit in the same clear, closed, resealable 1 L plastic bag with all other containers of liquids, food or personal items you are carrying.
  • Food in checked baggage: Both solid food and non-solid (over 100 ml) can go in your checked baggage; however, some restrictions may apply.

Did you know?

You can bring solid food in both carry-on and checked baggage. Examples of solid food products include meat, bread, fruits, vegetables, sandwiches, chips, cookies, cakes, muffins, granola bars, hard candies, cheese, nuts, crackers, chocolate bars and other similar food items. See Travelling with Food Items for more detail.

[message-box type=”blue” title=”” class=”no-icon”]If you are planning to bring food from a foreign country into Canada, you should check with your airline or Canada Border Services Agency’s website as some restrictions may apply. If you plan to bring food products from Canada into another country, you should contact the appropriate foreign office accredited to Canada or the customs authority of the country of your destination.[/message-box]


Personal Items

Personal Items are allowed in carry-on baggage if they comply with the liquid restrictions. Some restrictions also apply to personal items in checked baggage.

The following aerosol items are allowed in limited quantities in your checked baggage:

  • Toiletry articles (e.g. nail polish remover, hair spray, deodorant)
  • Insect repellent

[message-box type=”blue” title=”” class=”no-icon”]Aerosols are subject to a maximum limit of 500 ml or 500 g per container, with a total net quantity not exceeding 2 L or 2 kg. [/message-box]

Exceptions for Liquids, Food and Personal Items

Some items are exempted from the 100 ml or 100 g (3.4 oz) limit and do not have to be placed in a plastic bag. However, you must declare these items to the screening officer for inspection. The exceptions are:

  • Baby food/drink: If you are travelling with an infant younger than two years of age (0-24 months), baby food, milk, formula, water and juice are allowed.
  • Breast milk: Passengers flying with or without their child can bring breast milk in quantities greater than 100 ml
  • Prescription medicines are allowed.
  • Essential non-prescription medicines, such as homeopathic products, pain relieving medication, cough syrup, decongestant spray, gel-based nutritional supplements, saline solution or eye care products, are allowed.
  • Gel and ice packs are allowed, if they are needed to treat an injury, to refrigerate baby food, milk, breast milk, formula, water and juice for infants younger than two years of age (0-24 months), or to preserve medically necessary items or medication
  • Liquids/gels for diabetes: Juice or gels are allowed if you need them for diabetic or other medical conditions.

[message-box type=”blue” title=”” class=”no-icon”]Documentation to support your medical needs or condition is not required; however, if you feel that it would help ease your screening, it should be presented to the screening officer along with your medically necessary items.[/message-box]

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[button-free href=” to pack”]


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