Last Updated on October 12, 2022
- You cannot bring a full water bottle larger than 3.4 oz through airport security in your carry-on luggage
- You can bring a very small bottle of water less than or equal to 3.4 oz in your one quart size bag
- Empty water bottles are permitted through airport security and can be refilled at airport water fountains
- You can pack water bottles in checked luggage without restriction but be aware that airlines have maximum checked luggage weights for checked bags
It’s important to drink water and stay hydrated.
Not everyone likes drinking water from plastic water bottles, and increasingly people are trying to live a low waste lifestyle.
So can you bring a reusable water bottle on a plane through airport security?
Let’s find out.
The TSA Regulations For Water Bottles
The Transportation Security Administration doesn’t allow passengers to pack large amounts of liquids in hand luggage.
They have two rules about bringing water bottles on to planes. Because of the TSA liquids rule, everything depends whether your water bottle is empty or not at the moment you go through the airport security checkpoint.
The problem is not bringing water or any other liquids on to the plane. The problem is bringing water through the airport security checkpoint.
You cannot bring filled bottled water or indeed any liquid past security in containers larger than 3.4 oz.
All your 3.4 oz travel size containers need to be packed in one quart sized bag. The quart size bag does not need to be clear or plastic but it does need to be resealable.
In theory you can bring up to one quart of water (32 FL OZ) through airport security. To do this you’d need to fill up lots of little travel size bottles and pack them in your toiletries bag.
But you wouldn’t have any space left for shampoo or shower gel. That’s not necessarily a problem if you know the smart way to pack toiletries but for most travelers it’s not practical to bring water through airport security.
It’s makes more sense to bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after you have cleared the checkpoint.
Empty water bottles don’t pose any security concerns for the TSA so you can pack them in your carry-on bag or your checked bag.
Empty reusable water bottles like a glass water bottle or a stainless steel water bottle will be allowed through the security checkpoint if they don’t contain any liquid.
Once you’ve cleared security simply find a water fountain to fill up your reusable bottle. That will save you from buying bottled water either at the airport or on the plane.
One exemption that allows you to bring water through airport security is if you are traveling with an infant. You can bring water, baby formula, juice, or expressed breast milk for infants in containers larger than 3.4 oz in reasonable quantities. Just let a TSA agent know that you are traveling with an infant and remove your infant water bottles from your hand luggage for additional screening.
You can pack as many full or empty water bottles as you like in checked luggage.
However it will be stored in the aircraft hold and you won’t be able to drink it when you fly. But if you want to bring home some exotic mineral water and you don’t mind paying the checked baggage fees then this is the way to do it. Just watch out for airline checked luggage weight limits!
If you are wondering, read this post to find out why water is considered to be a security threat.
2 TSA Hacks For Bringing More Than 3.4 Ounces Of Water On A Plane In Carry-on Luggage
It’s only liquids that are restricted when going through the security checkpoint.
You can bring solid water on a plane in unlimited quantities.
That’s right. You can bring ice on a plane.
The challenge with this hack is getting the ice to the airport without it melting. If you have a large block of ice, some if it will melt and you can simply discard the melted water at security. The remaining solid ice should be allowed through security but the TSA security person might give you a funny look.
You ice will continue to melt during your flight and you’ll have nice cool water to drink!
This second hack will probably appeal to nobody.
You can bring more than 3.4 oz of water through airport security if you have a live fish swimming in the water.
The TSA security agent will inspect your container of water and as long as the fish is swimming you’ll be permitted to bring the water through the checkpoint.
The water must be in a clear container that is spill proof.
But I wouldn’t recommend drinking that water…
And what will you do with the poor fish!
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