An exciting journey is coming close, but you are also confused about the regulations. The hardest question possibly comes from the quart bag you want to carry.
A quick Google search and you probably already know the TSA-approved quart-size bag dimensions. However, what if it enlarges a little after you put some bottles in? Would it still be allowed if yours is 6.5x9 inches? How in the world can you find a bag with that dimension?
As the title indicates, we guarantee that this article is the only article you need to read further regarding this bland phrase of your journey.
Understanding the TSA approved quart size bag dimensions
If you do some research, you will likely stumble upon the 6 inches x 9 inches allowed size. However, some articles mention different dimensions, such as 7 inches x 8 inches. The information is all over the place.
But what we found on the official Twitter page of the TSA – AskTSA - is 6 inches x 9 inches. So, if possible, we will recommend following that size.
An official tweet from TSA’s Twitter account. Photo taken from TSA’s Twitter account
You might have noticed that the dimensions only have two factors, length and width but no depth. For that reason, in many cases, a lot of bags with the dimension of 6 inches x 9 inches actually have a volume exceeding 1 quart (or 0.946 litres).
It would be easier if we have an example. For instance, a popular quart-size bag on Amazon comes with a dimension of 7.7 x 5.9 x 2.8 inches.
To calculate the volume of this bag, you just need to multiply all the numbers together. For this particular one, the volume would be 7.7 x 5.9 x 2.8 = 127.204 cubic inches. Compared with 1 quart (57.75 cubic inches), our bag is not even close.
However, people still have no trouble using bags of similar sizes. Why is that?
Since the TSA has been known to be not too strict on these regulations, don’t be stressed too much. TSA officers often check the dimensions by eyes without actually measuring the bag. Thus, as long as you can fit the bag in your carry-ons reasonably, it is acceptable.
Depending on your airline, the allowed size for carry-on baggage will differ. Make sure to check the policy to purchase suitable cabin bags for your airline. Hence, we highly recommend checking with the TSA before packing.
CabinZero tips: Make sure to keep this calculation in mind so that your actual bag will be a suitable one.
- Your bag should be within 6″ x 9″’ to be TSA-approved
- Multiply all three dimensions of the bag to see how close it is to one quart (57.75 cubic inches).
To make the process less intolerable, it is a good idea to shed some light on the history of the regulations.
Back in 2006, there was a failed attempt to blow up several commercial airplanes from the United Kingdom to the United States. Basically, these terrorists carried liquid explosives using common household goods such as sports drinks. Fortunately, their plan was discovered and stopped without causing any significant damage.
In response to this, the TSA soon after introduced the regulations of quart-size bags as part of its 3-1-1 liquids rule.
As the name implies, each passenger can carry 3.4 ounces (or 100 milliers) of either liquid, gels, or aerosols per item. And all of these items must be placed in one single, clear, plastic, and resealable quart-size bag. And each person can carry only one such bag.
For people who plan to carry or have already packed more than this, don’t worry. The mentioned regulations are only applied to stuff you put in your carry-on baggage.
Bigger containers of the same liquids can be packed in checked baggage without any problem since they are not obligated to the same screening process.
This regulation not only helps to prevent terrorism but also helps the TSA officers quickly inspect the types of liquid being brought on board. It is troublesome if you want to carry multiple types of liquid, but it is for safety reasons.
Choosing the bags
There are various brands on the market right now for you to choose from, and it can be tricky to choose the right one. Here are some examples that we find that you can rely on.
1. Ziploc Quart Size Bags
A simple search on Amazon will bring numerous options for you. Photo by happycreator - stock.adobe.com
Yes, it is just a Ziploc part, but it will do the job. You can probably find it in any supermarket in your area. Of course, the ideal size to choose is 6 inches x 9 inches. However, if you can not find an exact one, a slightly bigger option would not cause any issues.
- Widely available and affordable
- Easy to find in most stores and online
- Comes with a secure zip-lock closure
- May not be as durable as other brands
- Can be prone to tearing or leaking
- Not environmentally friendly.
The discreet design that you don’t see that often. Photo was taken from Travelon’s official website
Nice design and high-quality material are strong points of this bag. It is clear enough for the TSA officers to check the content, but the discreet design will stop other people’s curious eyes.
- Made of high-quality, durable plastic
- Clear front and back panels make it easy to see the contents
- Designed to fit comfortably in a carry-on bag
- Comes with a removable strap that allows you to hang the bag in the bathroom or shower.
- More expensive than other options
- May not be as widely available.
A simple yet reliable option. Photo taken from cableinthebay.com
Even though this bag does not look fancy, it is one of the most reliable options. Plus, they have some recommendations for packing for men, women, and kids on their website using this bag.
- Durable, clear PVC material
- Easy to clean
- Comes in a pack of two, making it a good value for the money
- Some customers receive faulty products
- Zippers do not last too long
- Clear PVC material may not be as environmentally friendly as other options.
Different enough to be an attractive option. Photo taken from lermende.com
Very similar to the previous option is the Lermende Clear Makeup bag. The reviews on this bag are very good as well. Also, it comes in a pack of 3, so it would be very convenient if you are travelling in groups with your friends or families.
- Multiple colours to choose from
- Made of durable and water-resistant material
- Hanging straps for convenience
- Comes in a pack of 3 for added value
- May be too small for longer trips or for carrying larger toiletries
- Zippers can be difficult to use or break with frequent use.
The Consequences Of Not Following The Regulations
Even though the TSA is not too strict about the size of the bag, they usually check the content carefully. Make sure to pack the liquids in 3.4oz containers and bring no prohibited items. In either case, if the regulations are violated, you will have 2 options.
You can either put them in your checked baggage or, regrettably dispose of them. Depending on the types of your liquids, it might be a huge waste of investment.
Also, it can be a major problem if you need some liquids available due to personal reasons.
Even if a bag is the right size, if you pack it too full or unreasonably, security may not let it through. That is why it is essential to pack carefully or use proper bags to avoid any problems.
Tips for packing liquids
1. Use travel-sized containers
Since they are designed to fit in quart-size bags, the process becomes much easier. First, no measure is needed. You just pour your liquids in, and the amount will be suitable. Second, no extra space means no wasted place. Using travel-sized containers always means you can bring more liquids.
The downside? Pricy, pricy, pricy. You will find, for almost every product, that travel-size containers are more expensive (per unit) than full-sized options.
2. Plan ahead
A small list will help save big space. Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash
Making plans in advance allows you to pack lighter and avoid taking extra goods. Creating a packing list, not only for liquids, is also a good idea so that nothing important would be left behind.
However, it can be a time-consuming process without any help. Especially, for people who do not travel that much, knowing what you need beforehand might be difficult. So do your homework or call a friend for help. It’s a fun pre-trip activity that you can both enjoy.
3. Consider alternatives
It would be great if you could find alternatives in solid or powder versions of the liquids you need. This can significantly help you to save space in your quart-size bag. And they do not have to follow the regulations for liquids. Some possible alternatives for you to consider: Toothpaste tablets, sunscreen sticks, solid perfume, etc.
That said, not everything is available in different forms. In addition, due to the habits we have developed using liquid-form products, using alternatives might not be comfortable and easy.
4. Use vacuum-sealed bags
Vacuum-sealed bags can save a lot of space between containers. If you're traveling and don't have access to a specific vacuum or gear to remove the air from some vacuum-sealed bags, it might be a hassle.
Sure, they can pack a lot more, but that is not always a good thing; especially when things get heavy. Remember, you have to carry them in your carry-on baggage.
5. Use packing cubes
Another alternative is to utilize liquid-specific packing cubes. These cubes are leak-proof to protect your other items from any accidents. Even though these cubes are not entirely transparent, the mesh design allows visibility and privacy at the same time. Equipped with grab handles and Okoban’s global luggage trackers, they can work more than just normal packing cubes.
Have We Resolved The Confusion?
It is true that packing for a trip requires a lot of work, but it is crucial to avoid problems. And that is exactly the purpose of this article. We can confidently say that the question about the TSA-approved quart-size bag dimensions is solved.
But what about other ones? Any questions you want us to answer? Leave it down below, we will try our best to help you! Lovely travel!
Bui Hoang Hai