Can You Bring Unopened Water On A Plane?

Every minute, approximately one million plastic bottles are bought around the globe, many of which contain water—a testament to its essential role in daily life, including travel. While water is a necessity, the rules governing its presence on a plane are quite stringent and often surprising to passengers. The restrictions on bringing unopened water onto an airplane stem from security concerns that arose in the early 21st century, fundamentally changing the way liquids are handled in air travel.

Current regulations regarding liquids in carry-on luggage were largely put in place after 2006, when a transatlantic aircraft terrorist plot was foiled. This prompted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States, along with other global security agencies, to implement strict rules on carrying liquids, aerosols, and gels aboard flights. These rules significantly impact travelers wishing to bring unopened bottles of water through security checkpoints. Referred to as the “3-1-1 rule,” these restrictions allow passengers to carry liquids in containers holding 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less, all of which must fit into a single quart-sized, clear, resealable plastic bag. Full-sized bottles of water, unopened or otherwise, typically exceed these limitations, effectively banning them from carry-on luggage, a regulation that holds true in many countries worldwide.

Understanding this regulation is critical for travelers who seek to stay hydrated while also navigating the multifaceted security apparatus designed to ensure safety in the skies. With growing awareness and initiatives around environmental sustainability, many airports now offer passengers alternatives like refilling stations post-security, where they can replenish their reusable water containers. Despite the inconvenience it may cause, the policy on transporting unopened water bottles by air illustrates the constantly evolving nature of travel security measures and reflects ongoing global efforts to mitigate security threats.

can you bring unopened bottles of water on a plane

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Can You Take Unopened Water On A Plane?

When traveling by air, passengers often wonder if they can take unopened water bottles on a plane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific regulations regarding liquids in carry-on baggage. Generally, travelers are not allowed to take liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) through the security checkpoint. This rule applies to unopened water bottles as well. However, there are exceptions for items such as medication, baby formula, and breast milk. Once past security, passengers can purchase water or bring empty bottles to fill at water stations inside the terminal. For those looking to stay hydrated without purchasing beverages after security, this can be a convenient and cost-effective solution. In the following section, we’ll delve deeper into the TSA’s liquid rules, explore the reasons behind these restrictions, and provide tips for staying hydrated while complying with airport security measures.

Understanding TSA Liquid Restrictions

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established guidelines known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule, which applies to all liquids a passenger intends to carry in their carry-on baggage. This rule restricts the quantity of liquids, gels, and aerosols that travelers can carry onto the plane.

  • 3 – Liquid containers must hold no more than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) each.
  • 1 – All containers must be placed in a single, transparent, quart-sized plastic bag.
  • 1 – Each passenger is allowed one plastic bag per trip through the security checkpoint.

For more details on these restrictions, please visit the official TSA website page regarding the 3-1-1 liquids rule (TSA’s 3-1-1 Liquids Rule).

Carrying Unopened Water Through Security

When it comes to unopened water bottles, they are subject to these same TSA regulations. This means that carrying unopened water in bottles larger than 3.4 ounces in your carry-on baggage is not permitted as you pass through the security checkpoint.

Options for Travelers with Unopened Water

  • Check Luggage – You can place unopened water bottles in your checked baggage without size restrictions.
  • Purchase After Security – Buy water from shops located beyond the security checkpoint, which are typically allowed onboard since they’re screened separately.
  • Empty Bottles – Bring an empty bottle to fill up at water fountains once you have passed through security.

Exemptions for Special Circumstances

Certain circumstances allow for exceptions to the TSA’s liquid rules. These include medications, baby food, and breast milk. Travelers carrying these items may bring them in larger quantities, but they must be declared for inspection at the security checkpoint.

  • Medication – Liquid medication is allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces and does not need to fit within a plastic bag.
  • Baby Food/Breast Milk – Quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are allowed but must be declared before the screening begins.

Specific information on exemptions and screening procedures can be found by visiting the TSA webpage for travelers with disabilities and medical conditions (TSA’s Special Procedures).

Advice for Carrying Water on Domestic Flights

  • Stay Hydrated – Dehydration can be an issue during flights, so consider purchasing water after security or using a refillable bottle.
  • Plan Ahead – Remember to either check your water bottles or finish them before arriving at security to avoid delays.
✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Ensures access to water in case of a delay Most airports won’t allow unopened water past security checks
Can save money compared to airport prices Must be discarded if found during security screening
Convenience of having personal water supply onboard Extra weight to carry through the airport
Can avoid the need to wait for in-flight service Limited to 100ml/3.4 oz in carry-on bags unless purchased after security

Flying with Unopened Water Internationally

Traveling internationally often involves careful planning, especially when it comes to what you can bring on a flight. One common question travelers have is whether they can fly with unopened bottles of water. Understanding the guidelines set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the specific regulations of the country you are flying to or from is crucial for a hassle-free journey.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

  • IATA sets general guidelines for liquids in carry-on luggage, which typically apply to unopened water bottles.
  • Liquids must be in containers of 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces) or less and must fit in a clear, resealable plastic bag with a total capacity of no more than 1 liter.
  • Exceptions are made for medications, baby food, and special dietary requirements, subject to verification.

For more detailed information, please refer to the IATA guidelines on their official website: IATA Liquids Rule

Country Specific Regulations

While IATA provides general rules, individual countries may have their own regulations regarding the transportation of liquids, including unopened water bottles. It is essential to check the specific rules of your destination or transit country before traveling.

United Kingdom

The UK follows the standard liquid rule for flights, where unopened water must be in containers no larger than 100ml. Larger bottles can be placed in checked luggage.

For more information, visit the UK government website: UK Hand Luggage Restrictions


European Union countries adhere to similar regulations as the UK, with a 100ml limit for liquids in carry-on bags.

For further details, check the European Commission’s page: EU Airport Security Rules.


Canada also enforces the 100ml limit for liquids, gels, and aerosols in carry-on luggage.

Consult the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) for more information: CATSA Liquids, Non-solid Food & Personal Items.


In Australia, the limit for liquids in carry-on bags is 100ml, and all containers must fit comfortably in one transparent, resealable plastic bag.

More details can be found on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs page: TravelSECURE.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority requires liquids in carry-on luggage to be in containers of 100ml or less.

Visit the official site for more information: Aviation Security Service.


Asian countries may vary in their regulations, but many follow the 100ml rule for liquids in carry-on bags.

Check with the specific country’s civil aviation authority for accurate guidelines.


Singapore follows the standard 100ml rule for liquids in carry-on luggage.

For more details, refer to the Changi Airport guidelines: Liquids, Aerosols and Gels.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Unopened Water

Each airline may have its own set of rules and allowances for carrying unopened water on board. It’s important to review your airline’s policy before packing for your flight.

American Airlines

Follows TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule for carry-on bags.  Larger amounts of water can be purchased after the security checkpoint.

For more information, visit American Airlines Baggage Policies.

Delta Air Lines

Adheres to the TSA liquids rule, allowing containers of 100ml or less in a clear bag.  Water bottles can be filled at refill stations after security.

Refer to Delta’s Carry-On Baggage for more details.

United Airlines

Complies with TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for liquids in carry-ons.  Offers the option to purchase water after security or use refill stations.

Check out United’s Baggage Information for specifics.

British Airways

Follows UK’s Department for Transport rules on liquids.  Unopened water must be 100ml or less unless purchased after security.

Visit British Airways Baggage Essentials for further guidance.


Adheres to the European Union’s liquids regulations for carry-ons.  Water can be purchased after passing through security checkpoints.

More information can be found on Lufthansa’s Baggage Policy.

Air Canada

Complies with CATSA’s guidelines for liquids in carry-on luggage.  Water bottles can be filled at water stations after security.

For more details, visit Air Canada’s Baggage Information.


Follows Australia’s Department of Home Affairs regulations for liquids.  Water can be purchased in the secure area of the airport.

Refer to Qantas Carry-On Baggage for specifics.

Air New Zealand

Adheres to New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority’s liquid rules.  Water can be bought after security or filled at designated stations.

Check Air New Zealand’s Baggage for more information.

Singapore Airlines

Complies with Singapore’s Changi Airport security measures for liquids.  Water bottles can be purchased after security checks.

Visit Singapore Airlines Baggage Allowance for further details.

Cathay Pacific

Follows the standard international liquid rules, with a 100ml limit for carry-on.  Water is available for purchase beyond the security checkpoint.

For more information, see Cathay Pacific Baggage Information.

How to Pack an Unopened Water Bottle in Your Luggage

When traveling, it’s essential to stay hydrated, which often means bringing a water bottle along for the journey. Knowing the best practices for packing an unopened water bottle in your luggage can save you from potential spills and security hassles. Here’s how to safely pack your water whether you’re carrying it on or checking it in.

Packing Unopened Water in Carry-On Luggage

Due to security measures, particularly the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines, packing unopened water in carry-on luggage is subject to strict regulations. Liquids over 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) are generally not allowed through airport security checkpoints. Therefore, consider these tips when packing a water bottle in your carry-on:

  • Use a Small Bottle: Pack a small, empty, reusable water bottle that you can fill up after passing through security. Alternatively, if you need to bring water through the checkpoint for special purposes, such as medical needs or infant care, inform a TSA officer before the screening process.
  • Solid Water Equivalents: Consider packing items that aren’t subject to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, such as a frozen water bottle. Remember it must be frozen solid when presented for screening; otherwise, it is subject to the same rules as liquid water.

taking unopened bottles of water through airport security

Packing Unopened Water in Hold Luggage

When it comes to checked baggage, the restrictions are less stringent. You can pack unopened water bottles without worrying about liquid limits. However, to prevent spills, follow these steps:

  • Choose the Right Bottle: Ensure the water bottle is tightly sealed. Opt for factory-sealed bottles as the caps are less likely to leak than reusable water bottle lids.
  • Secure in Plastic: Place the water bottle inside a leak-proof plastic bag. This adds an extra layer of protection against leakage.
  • Wrap in Soft Items: Cushion the water bottle with soft items such as clothing or a towel. This adds padding and can absorb any minor leaks.
  • Strategic Placement: Place the wrapped bottle in the center of your suitcase. Surround it with other items to minimize the chances of the luggage handlers dislodging the tightly packed bottle.
  • Check Baggage Weight: Be mindful of your luggage weight. Water adds extra pounds to your suitcase, so ensure you are within the airline’s weight limits for checked baggage to avoid additional fees.

Packing unopened water in luggage requires attention to regulations and careful packaging to ensure a spill-free and hassle-free travel experience. By following these tips, you can arrive at your destination with your hydration needs covered.

Additional Items to Bring on a Plane

When traveling by air, besides an unopened bottle of water, there are several other essential items you might consider bringing onboard for convenience and comfort. Pack travel-sized hand sanitizers or disinfectant wipes to maintain hygiene in your personal space. Snacks like nuts, granola bars, or fruit can help curb hunger during the flight. A travel pillow and a compact blanket can provide extra comfort, especially on longer trips. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones are great for blocking out cabin noise, and an eye mask can help you catch some sleep. Don’t forget to include any necessary medications, a portable charger for your devices, and a good book or e-reader to stay entertained. Remember to check the airline’s regulations for carry-on items to ensure all your essentials comply with their guidelines.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Unopened Water On A Plane?

Travelling by air comes with its own set of regulations especially when it comes to what you can and cannot bring onboard. Carrying unopened water bottles on planes is a common concern for many travelers as staying hydrated is important. This section addresses frequently asked questions related to bringing unopened water onto airplanes to help you understand the rules and prepare for your journey accordingly.

Can I bring unopened bottled water through airport security?

No, you cannot bring unopened bottled water through TSA checkpoints due to the liquid restrictions. The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule prohibits liquid containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in carry-on bags.

Is there a way to take water past the security checkpoint?

Yes, you can bring a reusable water bottle that is empty when you go through security. Once past the checkpoint, you can fill it up at a water fountain or restaurant in the terminal.

Can I bring unopened water in my checked luggage?

Yes, you can pack unopened water in your checked baggage without any restrictions on quantity, although it might add to the weight of your luggage.

Are there any exceptions for bringing water through security?

Yes, exceptions are made for infant and child nourishment, such as baby formula or breast milk, and for passengers with medical needs. These items must be declared to TSA officers at the checkpoint.

What if I purchased unopened water after the security checkpoint?

Any beverages bought after the security checkpoint can be carried onto the plane, as they are within the secure zone of the airport.

Can I take unopened water on international flights?

Yes, but it must be purchased after the security checkpoint or on the airplane, as the same liquid restrictions apply for international flights departing from the U.S.

Will the TSA confiscate my water bottle if it’s larger than 3.4 ounces?

Only if it’s filled with water. You can bring a larger bottle as long as it’s empty when you go through airport security.

Can I bring water for a medical condition?

Yes, but you will need to notify the TSA officer at the checkpoint and may be subject to additional screening.

Do the water rules differ for flights within the United States versus international departures?

The TSA rules for carrying liquids, including water, are generally the same for both domestic and international departures from the United States.

What happens if I forget and bring a full water bottle to security?

You will need to either consume, discard, or empty the water bottle before going through the security checkpoint, or you may transfer the water into a travel-sized container if it complies with the 3-1-1 rule.

Packing It All Up

In summary, bringing unopened water onto an airplane is subject to airport security regulations, specifically those enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). As a general rule, the TSA does not allow passengers to carry liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) through airport security checkpoints. This limitation effectively applies to unopened water bottles. However, there are exemptions: for instance, if the water is needed for a medical purpose, special accommodation can be requested. Also, after passing through security, passengers are free to purchase water or any other beverage in the secure area of the airport and bring it onto the plane.

Passengers should also be aware that different countries might have varying security protocols, and it’s essential to check the rules of the departure country as well as any specific airline policies before traveling. For those who need to stay hydrated or prefer their own water supply, investing in a refillable water bottle can be an efficient solution. Such bottles can be brought empty through security and filled up at water fountains within the terminal. Ultimately, while it may be inconvenient for passengers to leave their unopened water bottles behind at checkpoints, these regulations aim to ensure aviation security and safety for all travelers.