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Duty-Free Travel Information

Travel Assistant

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  • Click here the May 1, 2008 press release on use of tamper-evident bags for duty-free liquids for flights leaving the U.S.

The European Union, Iceland, Norway, Singapore, Australia and other countries have implemented new regulations regarding liquids in carry on bags. As a result, there are potential implications for passengers who purchase liquid duty-free items (e.g. perfume and liquor) while traveling to and from international destinations.

Because many duty-free shops in other countries are located before the security checkpoint, all liquid duty-free items purchased in those airports will be placed in special sealed tamper-evident bags in order to be permitted through those countries’ security checkpoints. The tamper-evident bag is not currently accepted through U.S. checkpoints.

To avoid the risk of having to abandon your liquid duty free items in the U.S. and abroad, please follow the guidelines below.

Please note: these security measures only apply to liquid, gel, and aerosol duty free items.

For Passengers Traveling to an International Destination from the United States

If you have a non-stop flight to an international destination, duty-free liquid purchases of any size from shops in the US are permitted on the plane.

Photo of a sealed, tamper-evident bagIf you have a connecting flight in Europe, Asia or another international destination, duty-free liquids are required to be put in an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) sealed, tamper-evident bag in order to go through the security checkpoint. Because passengers departing from the US will not be reunited with their checked bags when they change planes and go through customs, they will not have the opportunity to place their liquid duty-free items in their checked bags or in the tamper-evident bags. If the liquid, aerosol or gel items in excess of 3-1-1 rules aren't in the tamper-evident bags, they will not be permitted through the checkpoint.

Effective May 1, 2008, TSA has given duty-free stores in U.S. airports the ability to put liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces/100ml) in the ICAO-approved tamper-evident bags for those passengers traveling overseas. This is not a requirement, so all stores may not have the bags. If you are traveling internationally with connecting flights and must purchase duty-free liquids in the US, make sure that the vendor has the tamper-evident bags and places it in the bag in the store. You will not be able to obtain a tamper-evident bag at the checkpoint or on an airplane.

While tamper-evident bags to offer a temporary solution, the best way to make sure to avoid any problems at the checkpoint is to wait until you reach your destination to purchase your duty-free liquids.

* Travelers Note: Japan does not use or accept the ICAO tamper-evident duty-free bag, so travelers transiting through Japan to other international destinations should wait to purchase any liquid, aerosol or gel duty-free items in excess of 3.4 ounces AFTER they change planes in Japan. Passengers who have liquid duty-free items in containers larger than 3.4 ounces will not be allowed to take them through the checkpoint during the security re-check process in Japan.

Did You Know?

When you travel to the U.S. from an international destination, you are reunited with your checked bags prior to going through customs.

When you travel to Europe, Asia and other international destinations, you are not reunited with your checked bags.

For Passengers Returning to the United States from an International Destination

On nonstop flights bound for the US, passengers carrying duty-free liquids purchased at an international airport will not have any problems.

If you are flying to the US and have a connecting flight in the US, oversized duty-free liquids will NOT be permitted through US security checkpoints, even if they are in a tamper-evident bag. The United States still abides solely by the 3-1-1 policy in regards to liquids and does not accept any liquids at the checkpoint unless they are three ounces or less and can fit in one quart-sized zip top bag. If you have a connecting flight in the United States, liquid duty-free purchases must be placed in your checked baggage. Because you will be required to reclaim your checked bags prior to passing through customs inspection, you will have the opportunity to place duty-free liquids in your bags before rechecking them for your connection. If you fail to check your oversized duty-free liquids, they will not be permitted through the US checkpoint.

TSA Travel Tips

Liquid, aerosol and gel items available at duty-free stores that fall under 3-1-1 rules include:

  • Liquor
  • Wine
  • Perfume and body sprays
  • Facial cleansers and creams
  • Body or hand lotions
  • Liquid make-up