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Flying with Aerosols

Planning a much-needed holiday abroad, or flying internationally for business? You may be confused about what you can and can’t pack in your carry on and checked baggage.

With the increased vigilance on terrorism and the need to comply with international protocols on ‘Dangerous Goods’, airlines have imposed restrictions on what common household and personal care products you can fly with … but a bit of research beforehand can help ensure that you aren’t without your favourite aerosols like hairspray, insect repellent and deodorant when you get to your destination.

As a rule of thumb, aerosols that are personal, medicinal, and toilet items are those that are sprayed on your body. These can safely be carried on board or in checked baggage, within quantity limitations.

While we are now restricted to carrying 100 ml or smaller containers in our carry on baggage, many aerosol toiletries now come in handy travel packs under this limit. Any larger aerosols will need to be packed in your checked baggage.

It’s best to check with your airline or with the Australian Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development website before flying, but use the drop down menus below to see the rules*.

The Australian Government's Civil Aviation Safety Authority also offers some useful information for passengers on its website here and in its 'Can I pack that?' web app.

What aerosols can I take in my 'carry on' baggage?
  • Personal care aerosols of 100 ml (100 g) or less in size.

Handy tip: Remember, the container itself must not be able to carry any more than 100 ml, so you won’t get away with taking a larger aerosol on board and claiming it is only part full.

  • These aerosols must be carried along with other liquids and gels in one transparent, re-sealable plastic bag. A sandwich or freezer bag is perfect. The four sides of the bag's sealed area must add up to no more than 80 centimetres (e.g. 20x20 cm or 15x25 cm). Only one bag is allowed per passenger, with exceptions for carers who may carry the bag/s of the people in their care, including children. All containers must fit comfortably into the plastic bag and the bag must be sealed. 
  • Medicines, medicinal or therapeutic products, and medicinal devices are excluded from these rules, but be prepared to prove that you need them.
What can I pack in my 'checked' baggage?
  • Most airlines allow you to carry up to two litres of personal care aerosols in your checked baggage but note that different airlines (and check-in staff!) may interpret the policy differently, so make sure you check your airline’s website before you pack. See Virgin Australia’s and Qantas’ baggage policies.
  • Some household or sporting aerosols are also permitted in checked baggage if they are non-flammable. Any household (i.e. non personal care) aerosols with a red diamond (flammable symbol) may not be packed. Other banned items include pesticides, petrol, paint, mineral turpentine, gas cylinders, oven and drain cleaners, bleach, and glues – so leave these at home.
  • You cannot pack more than a total of 2 kg or 2 litres of aerosols in your checked baggage.

Handy tip: Remember to make sure the aerosol cap is secure and can’t come off during the flight. A piece of sticky tape is a good solution to make sure this doesn’t happen. If your aerosol has a locking actuator, make sure that it is in the ‘locked’ position before packing it in your baggage.

 

* Disclaimer: This information was drawn from Australian Government and travel websites and was accurate at time of publication. Always double-check with your airline.