Get Ready to Fly with Full-Size Bottles Again!

The TSA says it will lift its 3.4-ounce liquids rule. Here’s what you need to know.

Imagine getting on a flight without having to buy GoToobs, quart-size baggies, or solid deodorant in advance. This pre-aughts memory may soon be a reality.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the TSA is working on nixing its ban on bottles of liquid greater than 3.4-ounces on flights. Appearing before the Tribune Editorial Board, TSA Administrator John Pistole said the restriction will be eased, starting with pre-cleared PreCheck travels. Pistole said the agency will eventually totally lift its large-size liquids restrictions. No word on whether “eventually” means this decade or this lifetime. No timeline has been offered.

Holding up a small plastic bottle, Pistole reminded the board why the TSA created this rule in the first place: “The challenge is that we have seen continued interest and the ability for the terrorist to be innovative in their design, construction and concealment in what we call nonmetallic improvised explosive devices. Just like this bottle of water; you could go through a walk-through metal detector [with it], which is the common airport security feature around the world, and never set it off.”

Years ago, officials from the European Union said they hoped to phase out the liquid ban by 2013; that hasn’t happened, clearly. Other promises of allowing full-size Elnett onto planes have been made and then broken over the years. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel: The European Commission says the E.U. has already entered phase one of the eased restrictions, as officers are now using liquid-explosive detection equipment during the screening process in Europe. (The ban will be phased out in gradual stages.) It won’t be long before passengers can travel with larger liquid-filled containers on the Continent.

As for U.S. travelers, time will tell. We’ll keep you posted.

What’s the first bottle you’ll bring onboard once the ban is lifted? I think I will bring a good eight ounces of sunblock. And some wine.

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By Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today, the Boston Globe,,, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and, among other publications.

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