Since the Transportation Security Administration banned liquids greater than 3.4 ounces from plane cabins in 2006, the agency hasn’t wavered in its decision. Now, in light of COVID-19’s worldwide spread, it’s allowing passengers a bit of leeway – for one thing only. 

Adult squeezing hand sanitizer onto child's hands
The TSA is allowing large bottles of hand sanitizer in carry-ons until further notice © Images By Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images

Effective immediately and until further notice, travelers will be allowed to pack up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer in their carry-on bags, the TSA announced, with the stipulation that larger containers require separate screenings, so anyone packing a jumbo-size bottle should be sure to allow extra time at security. All other liquids, gels, and aerosols need to be kept to the usual 3.4 ounces and fit in a one quart-size bag.

Flammable disinfectant sprays are still verboten in carry-on or checked baggage, but disinfecting wipes are permitted on the plane in any size container, and face masks are allowed as well, though agents may ask anyone wearing one to pull it down temporarily to confirm that their face matches their ID, the TSA explained in a video tweeted on 12 March.  

Passengers can also request that a new pair of nitrile gloves be used during the screening process. (Officers should already be using fresh swabs for each explosive-material test they conduct, per TSA guidelines.) 

Illustration of silhouettes of passengers waiting in line at an airport check-in counter.
Passengers can request that agents don a fresh pair of gloves for their security screening © innovatedcaptures/Getty Images

The transition toward REAL ID-compliant identification is still ongoing, but travelers unable to renew licenses that expired at the beginning of the month are in the clear – for the time being. “TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses a year after the expiration date, plus 60 days after the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency,” the agency’s website currently states. 

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic. Find out what this means for travelers.

Read more: 

Keep your personal items out of airport security bins, TSA warns

Lockdowns and travel bans: which countries have COVID-19 restrictions

How you can help the industries hardest hit by coronavirus

Explore related stories

Dominical, Costa Rica - An aerial view of a car driving along a dirt road surrounded by water on either side.  © Jordan Siemens / Getty Images

Destination Practicalities

Getting around in Costa Rica

Jul 3, 2024 • 6 min read