Please sign in to post.

Another TSA precheck question

I just got TSA Precheck for my upcoming trip. My understanding is that you don't have to take your 3-1-1 bag out of your carryon. So my husband bought me a 4 oz bottle of contact lens solution. Is it foolish of me to try and pass this through precheck? I will need it on the flight. I suppose I could squeeze an ounce of it out before I go. (Sort of joking)

Posted by
7626 posts

Unfortunately, TSA looks at container size, not how much liquid is inside, so a 4 oz. bottle of any liquid is too big. And the Precheck arrangement is that you’re getting preferential treatment because you’ve agreed to abide by the rules.

Will a 3 oz. bottle of lens solution get you through your flight? Are you checking a bag with more solution in it for later, or will you plan to buy more solution at your destination? Do you have back-up glasses that could be worn on the plane, or are you strictly a contact wearer?

Posted by
919 posts

Technically, contact lens solution is in the "medical" category and does not have to adhere to the 3-1-1 rule.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all?page=9

Contact Lens Solution
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare them to security officers at the checkpoint for inspection. Any oversized medically-necessary liquids that alarm during screening, testing positive for certain chemicals, may not be allowed through the screening checkpoint. Some contact lens solutions contain chemicals that typically alarm and may not permitted through the checkpoint. We recommend placing contact lens solutions over 3.4 ounces in your checked baggage.

Posted by
1454 posts

If you pour out an ounce you MIGHT get away with it. But it's a risk. I know someone who travelled for years with partially used bottles that were larger than 3 oz but contained less than 3 oz. Then one day a TSA agent said nope, can't do that. When she objected she lost all of her trusted traveler benefits: precheck and Global Entry. Now had she not objected but let them take it would she still have been booted? Maybe not. But to be safe get a smaller bottle or decant into a smaller bottle.

ETA: Mary's right about contact solution being medical. But as she also noted some solutions, namely hydrogen peroxide based ones, set off alarm bells.

Posted by
2510 posts

TSA information specifically about contact lens solution: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/contact-lens-solution Certain types are not allowed on no matter what size bottle, you'll need to do some research or contact the TSA (they have a helpline that you can ask specific questions https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/all)

As always it is subject to the discretion of the TSA officer about whether to let it through. If you actually need it on the flight, if it is allowed in carry on then find a smaller bottle or decant your solution into a TSA compliant sized bottle. If you are only doing carry on, you can bring multiple small bottles in your 3-1-1 bag as long as everything fits in with the zipper closed.

Posted by
112 posts

I am a super light packer but there's a kind of hand lotion that is the only thing that works for me. Those 3-1-1 leakproof tubes for products aren't big enough for a 3-4 week trip, so I just fill 2.
You could do that, although there's still the good advice/question of the ingredients causing the agents to ask you. I am not sure if you can peel off the label, or, take a pic from online ( if that exists!).

Posted by
5687 posts

Will you be going through security in any countries in Europe? While the U.S. TSA might consider allow it as a medical exemption, some other countries won’t allow it so you may have issues on your return. It would be safer to buy a travel size contact solution (or two) that will fit in the 3-1-1 bag and leave the 4 oz bottle at home.

Posted by
692 posts

Thanks, all, for your replies.
I'm going to England, and on the return trip, I will most likely either put a larger bottle of the liquid in my checked bag, or buy another small size. I'm taking a red-eye flight to and a daytime flight from, so I probably won't need it on the return. I suppose I could just wear my glasses on the red-eye.
Of course I don't want to risk any sort of problem. I hadn't even thought of some of the consequences.

Posted by
23465 posts

Personally I would not take the risk. It is just the hassle. We had a solid stick deodorant taken because it looked too big even with it clearly showing 3 oz on the container and it was well past the midpoint of usage. TSA would have no way of checking to see if you had removed an oz or not. It is arbitrary but it is their game. Find a 3 oz or 2 oz bottle somewhere else for the plane. TSA is one of the hassles of travel you just learn to live with. Remember a lot of what TSA does is for show. And then you read the reports of all of the stuff they miss. Can't win.

Posted by
2511 posts

I don't know what your flight experience is, but I've stopped wearing my contacts on flights. The air on planes tends to be very dry and it's uncomfortable, so no need to carry contact solutions onto the flight.

Posted by
692 posts

LIZinPA, the older I get, the less tolerance I seem to have for contacts. I'm traveling by car to the airport and I'm the copilot, so I will most likely wear them in the car. Then I can remove them in the airport before I check in.

Posted by
858 posts

I think the summary here is yes, you can take a larger amount of contact lens cleaner just tell the TSA officer before going thru scanner. And you need to look at England’s liquid requirements for lens solution if you want to do the same coming home.

EDIT. From Heathrow Airport security “Contact lenses and solutions must also comply with these liquid regulations” (100 ml)

Posted by
453 posts

“Remember a lot of what TSA does is for show. And then you read the reports of all of the stuff they miss. Can't win.….” Once again, wise words from Frank. All part of the security Kabuki that we must endure. Brad

Posted by
18769 posts

I think they do a pretty good job under the circumstances... which include "if they are going to trust me, I can cheat". How many planes have gone boom or been hijacked since this began?

Posted by
14249 posts

I'll just add that I have Global Entry which comes with Precheck and there are times leaving from my home airport that I have been asked to take my liquids out and put them in the bin for the scanner. SO...depending on the day/phase of the moon/what the TSA agent had for breakfast, you may still have to remove your 3-1-1. Do pack so it's handy in case you are asked to take it out. If not you can rearrange things after you get to your gate.

Posted by
674 posts

TSA Precheck is a program designed for use at airports within the United States. In many cases you do not have to remove your 3-1-1 items, shoes, light jackets, etc. However some airports require otherwise.

When encountering security at foreign (non USA) airports TSA Precheck does not exist. One is subjected to that airports’ requirements which may include removing 3-1-1 items, and some of a number of other items such as cameras, iPads, laptops, belts to name a few.

Posted by
15682 posts

When encountering security at foreign (non USA) airports TSA Precheck does not exist

I once witnessed a guy have a temper tantrum at Heathrow trying to find TSA Precheck. His boarding card had it printed on ut. The poor young lady at the entrance to the security area told him there was no Precheck. He was calling her a liar and she was getting an earful from him. He was demanding to know where it was.

I actually walked over to him and explained why it was on his boarding card but there was no Precheck in London. My boarding card had it as well and I showed it to him.

He just walked away.

Posted by
858 posts

I watched something similar to this in Frankfurt with the gentleman shouting that he was an American citizen and the German officer informing him, he was currently in Germany and subject to German law. Sometimes we may need to take a deep breath and realize that when we travel we aren’t necessarily still in Kansas.

Posted by
857 posts

I am a contact lens wearer and have never, ever had TSA complain about my contact lens solution (opti free, or renu) being in a larger than normal bottle. I do pack it in it's own zip loc bag, however.
I've flown - ALB, ORD, JFK, IAD, RSW, DAL, SAN, EWR.

It clearly says there's an exemption, I'd use it (if you're using that weird other solution, it's a different thing, as it can be construed as haz). And don't hesitate to point it out to the TSA officer.

As others have mentioned, coming back from London may be a different story (I heard that ALL airports in England are supposed to get upgraded scanners so NO liquids have to be taken out, but I don't know the status). But contact lenses, solutions, etc., are not exempt from the 3-1-1 so into the bag you'll go - and you'd have to take the bag out, which is a pain. Good luck!

Posted by
504 posts

skunklet1771 - interesting about the London airports. We had been hearing the same thing for Europe in general. We just flew out of Amsterdam, and I realized just before my backpack went into the scanner, that I'd unintentionally left a full waterbottle in the side pocket. They told me not to worry about; that it was fine. So clearly the technology is changing.

But, again, one never knows what the agent will tell you is ok or not.

Posted by
18769 posts

margie I have heard pissed off people at TSA in a number of languages. I only speak American so I can only assume that they were yelling "I am a Greek Citizen and ...... "

Posted by
7 posts

I often travel with the 4 ounce bottle of contact lense solution and haven't had a problem going through the Precheck line.

Posted by
857 posts

@KD - yes! I went through 2B in March at CDG and just accidentally left my 3-1-1 bag in my carry on and they said nothing - and no one had pulled out their bags (nor were there signs to do so).... fingers crossed this becomes the norm!

Posted by
15682 posts

I went through Helsinki airport today. They tell you to take nothing out of your bag and that you can have up to 2 liters of liquids.

If that's the future, I'm all for it.