What you should know before you pack your perfume — Photo courtesy of iStock / visoook
Airplane travel has become complicated in recent years and it’s important to know the Transportation Security Administration's rules and regulations regarding what you’re allowed to bring with you on a flight. This especially applies to perfumes and colognes, which come in different forms, including liquids, gels and aerosols.
Good news for travelers! You’re allowed to bring perfume and cologne on your next flight, but it’s essential to know the facts and follow the TSA rules when packing for your trip.
Whether you're flying domestic or international, this is what you need to know if you wish to bring perfume or cologne on an airplane.
Perfume rules for carry-on bags
The TSA’s “3-1-1 rule” clearly states that passengers can only travel with liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage in small containers that do not exceed 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters).
It’s important to note that each passenger can only bring liquids that fit together into one clear, quart-sized bag. This means that your cologne or perfume must be placed in this clear bag, along with any other liquids or gels you are bringing with you on the flight.
Usually, as you go through security, the TSA agent will ask passengers to remove the bags of liquids for inspection, so have them easily accessible and be prepared to quickly remove them from your bag and place on the conveyor belt.
Perfume rules for checked luggage
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) restricts the number of liquids (including aerosols) in checked luggage. If you’re checking a bag on your flight, the rules for perfume and cologne are a bit different than the rules for perfume and cologne in your carry-on bags.
For checked bags, travelers are allowed to bring liquids in larger containers, but keep in mind that there are limits. Per person, the bottles or containers can’t exceed 70 ounces (2 kilograms) or 68 fluid ounces (2 liters). In addition, the capacity of the containers can’t exceed 18 ounces (0.5 kilograms) or 17 fluid ounces (500 milliliters).
If your bottle of perfume or cologne is glass, be extra careful when packing and make sure the container is placed in a resealable, plastic bag, surrounded by bubble wrap (or enough cushioning around it) to avoid breakage and potentially soaking your clothes.
Rules for bringing duty-free perfume on an airplane
When walking past those airport duty-free shops, you may get a sweet whiff of the scents wafting from perfumes sold there. If you decide to purchase perfume or cologne at a duty-free shop, these are the rules for taking these products on the airplane.
If you buy perfume or cologne from a duty-free stop after you’ve passed through security, you can bring your bottle on the plane with you. Yes, this applies even if your perfume is larger than the 3.4 ounces.
These purchases are not restricted to the TSA 3-1-1 rule. The perfume sold in the airport’s duty-free stores is classified as “STEB” (secure, tamper-evident bags) because they are liquids purchased after security. If asked, you also must show the receipt that the item was purchased within the past 48 hours.
Other tips for bringing perfume or cologne on an airplane
- If your perfume or cologne is an aerosol, you are required to have a protective lid that fits securely on top.
- After you’ve passed through security, you are allowed to remove your perfume or cologne from your quart-sized bag and place it in your handbag or purse, if desired.
- Don’t spray your perfume during the fight, as an airplane is an enclosed space, and some passengers may be allergic or not appreciate the scent. If you wish to apply the perfume (lightly) before the flight, please use the airport’s restroom before boarding.