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  1. #1
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    traveling with liquids

    hi folks,

    i flew through JFK airport in New York for the first time since the restrictions on liquids had started and i ran into something unexpected.

    my understanding had been that you can carry one 1 litre plastic bag filled with liquid containers where each container holds no more than 3 oz of fluids.

    i have flown several times, domestically and internationally since these restrictions were put in place. i have my stuff organized into small containers - shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hand sanitizer, shaving cream - they all are within spec. this time, going through JFK, i ran across a new restriction. i haven't researched to find out if it is new or if this is one of those restrictions that does not get enforced everywhere. but i thought i would share it so that you can plan accordingly to avoid issues.

    i had 2 aveda refillable bottles for my shampoo and conditioner. however, there is nothing printed on those bottles. they are sold as travel sized bottles at the aveda store, and you can fill them with whatever product you use. so i always buy their huge shampoo and conditioner bottles and refill these small bottles. again, i've travelled with these same small bottles several times. i went through security at IAD (Dulles Airport near Washington, DC) the same day without any problems, in fact. however, the security team at JFK would not allow me to take these through. i showed them that these bottles were smaller than other bottles i was carrying that had preprinted product information on them, but that did not matter. i had the option of throwing the bottles away or checking in my bag. i didn't want to check in the bag, so i had to throw them.

    i will shop for refillable bottles that have capacity information pre-printed on them to avoid this situation in the future. i just wanted to make all of you aware so that you can avoid such inconveniences.

    maverick

  2. #2
    TOM BIHN Crew (we work here) Darcy's Avatar
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    maverick,

    I had the same thing happen to me on a recent flight though the security people let me keep my bottles in the end.

    Don't the little sample size Aveda bottles have the ounces printed on them? I have some of those and might use them instead of travel bottles.
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  3. #3
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    Wow, none of my travel bottles have size information on them and I have never had any trouble getting them through. That's a new one to me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy View Post
    maverick,

    I had the same thing happen to me on a recent flight though the security people let me keep my bottles in the end.

    Don't the little sample size Aveda bottles have the ounces printed on them? I have some of those and might use them instead of travel bottles.
    Hey Darcy,

    The sample size Aveda bottles do have the sizes printed. I think I'll end up purchasing the sample size shampoo bottles and refill and reuse them. The bottles I had were sold as part of a refillable kit and came in a travel pouch - so nothing was printed on them other than a blind embossed Aveda logo on the bottle :-(.

    But everything always happens for the best. This incident taught me to manage with less for the first day until I was able to go and buy shampoo and conditioner. I used soap instead of shampoo :-).

    I may try out a shampoo bar also - as they are not liquid, there is no issue taking them through security.

    Maverick

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alicia View Post
    Wow, none of my travel bottles have size information on them and I have never had any trouble getting them through. That's a new one to me.
    Hi Alicia,

    I was reviewing what the TSA has described on their website:

    http://www.tsa.gov/311/311-carry-ons.shtm

    There is no mention of labels. In fact, the picture they have of how your liquids should be packed features bottles with no labels.

    However, I would not recommend bringing up this page and showing it to the security officer as you proceed through a security checkpoint - better to have labeled bottles :-).

    Maverick

  6. #6
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    I have always feared the gray issue of unlabeled containers and have advised my readers not to use them for the reasons outlined by Maverick. I save empty product containers and refill them with what I want to carry. I put hand soap (for laundry) in empty hand sanitizer bottles. I put Febreze (the other ingredient of my travel detergent concoction) in a pump spray bottle that used to hold lens cleaning solution. This is fine as long as you remember what's what and no one else gets a hold of them! An imperfect solution to be sure, but better than the uncertainty of going unlabeled.

  7. #7
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    I travel fairly frequently. The majority of my toiletries are in unmarked Nalgene travel containers. No labels, no brand names, no capacity info. Security's never even blinked at them.

    If security tries to make you check liquids that should be permitted in a carry-on, just calmly say that you checked with the TSA to make sure blank packaging is okay...but you don't want to hold up the line, so you'd be happy to step aside for extra screening.

    Obviously it helps to permit plenty of time before your flight. And follow the rest of the screening requests -- quart-sized bag left out of carry-on, laptop in separate bin, coat off, etc.

  8. #8
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    My wife travels frequently, and me not as much. However, we both take unlabeled containers and have never had a problem. I think I would have politely asked to talk to a supervisor and explained that the TSA does not mention labels anywhere in any of the signs, literature, or their website. In fact, it implys that small refillable bottles are preferred.
    There are only 3 kinds of people in this world -- those who can count, and those who can't.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mruseless View Post
    My wife travels frequently, and me not as much. However, we both take unlabeled containers and have never had a problem. I think I would have politely asked to talk to a supervisor and explained that the TSA does not mention labels anywhere in any of the signs, literature, or their website. In fact, it implys that small refillable bottles are preferred.
    hi,

    i actually did ask to speak with a supervisor right away. the person who initially pointed out the bottles was very rude. i wasn't aware of what was on the TSA website, and after i explained twice that the bottles had a capacity well under 3oz and that i travel with these bottles all the time, i decided it best to not push the issue further.

    maverick

  10. #10
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    I've heard that the unmarked bottles can be a problem but so far I've managed to escape without any issue. We shall see what happens tomorrow. I'd hate to buy some nice ones like the Nalgene and then be told they have to be pitched or checked. But I'd rather lose the bottles then cause any more tension in an airport checkout line.

  11. #11
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    Totally bogus. So I can refill my lens solution bottles with some sort of caustic acid terrorist concoction, but as long as each one labeled as being 3 oz. or under, no one blinks. But UNMARKED 3 oz. or under bottles, now THAT's killing democracy.


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