Can You Bring an Empty Water Bottle on a Plane: The Dos and Don’t

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The Transportation Security Administration’s liquid regulation is easily the most confusing rule for passengers. The violation of this rule results in the TSA agent confiscating a passenger’s liquids, including bottled water. So the question is can you bring an empty water bottle on a plane?

According to the TSA rule, passengers are only allowed to pass through the security checkpoint if either the water bottle is smaller than 100 ml (3.4 oz) or if the water bottle is empty. The trick here is to bring an empty water bottle and refill it after crossing the checkpoint.

In this article, you will learn about the TSA liquid rule, the types of bottles permitted, and what to do if your water bottle is full. So, let’s find out without any further thoughts!

What’s allowed through TSA and what’s not

Planning ahead and packing properly can facilitate the screening process and ease your travel experience at the airport. The TSA has a very extensive list of items that are restricted on board a plane. Flammable items, firearms, sharp objects, and other items that can pose a security threat are generally not allowed.

As for liquids, passengers may carry duty-free liquids in secure, tamper–evident bags. If the liquid containers are smaller than 100 ml, these will be kept in hand luggage, otherwise in checked bags.

Can You Bring an Empty Water Bottle on a Plane

What about the TSA Liquid Rule?

The Transportation Security Administration’s 3-1-1 liquid rule restricts traveling with liquids exceeding 100 ml. However, personal care products, including lotions, toothpaste, shampoos, sprays, and makeup, are strictly prohibited.

Types Of Bottles Permitted

Can you bring an empty water bottle on a plane. Type of bottles

The TSA imposes no restrictions upon using any certain water bottle materials. To preserve the environment and save money, it is recommended to bring water bottles that are reusable. Passengers generally prefer to carry recyclable plastic water bottles, glass water bottles, or stainless steel water bottles.

Empty Water Bottle

As far as empty water bottles are concerned, there are no restrictions as long as it fits in the hand luggage or the checked bag.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Due to their temperature maintenance property, a lot of passengers prefer either a stainless steel water bottle or a hydro flask, to drink water on the plane.

Glass Water Bottle

Passengers can bring an empty glass water bottle in their hand luggage, irrespective of the glass bottle size.

Exception Of Babies (Baby Milk Feeders or containers)

Passengers traveling with a baby are permitted to carry liquid baby supplies, including sterile water and baby milk formula. These supplies can be carried in more than 100 ml containers.

Exception Of Fishes (Live fish in containers)

There is an exception to the law regarding liquids on board the plane for passengers who are transporting live fish.

At the time of the airport security screening, however, an agent from the Transportation Security Administration will check to ensure that the fish are still alive, actively swimming, and contained in liquid containers resistant to spills.

Take Reusable Water Bottle In Checked Baggage

In compliance with TSA regulations, passengers can choose to bring a reusable bottle in their checked luggage. One can bring empty water bottles when passing through the homeland security checkpoint, refill them from the water fountains, and place them in one’s checked baggage.

Do You Want Water With You On The Plane?

Do You Want Water With You On The Plane

It is strongly advised to stay hydrated at all times. This can be achieved by adopting a low-waste lifestyle and carrying a reusable water bottle. Likewise, passengers are recommended by many airlines to take empty reusable water bottles with them when planning to travel.

After passing through the checkpoint, passengers can refill their empty bottles at water fountains, restaurants, or by making a special request to an air steward while flying.

The passengers do not have to board with an empty reusable bottle but they are required to open it if asked by a security officer at the time of security screening at the airport.

What If My Water Bottle Is Full?

If a passenger is carrying filled water bottles, the TSA security person will have the passenger dump the water from their water bottles. Once the passenger has passed through the airport security checkpoint, they can refill their water bottles from inside the airport or you can get a bottle on the plane.


Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

Can I bring a bottle of water on a plane?

Yes, passengers can bring a water bottle on a plane but the security officer will ensure that the water bottle is completely empty. Passengers can, however, refill their empty bottles later, at the airport and bring it with them on the plane.

What kind of water should I bring on a plane?

Passengers can carry all their liquids in a transparent and reusable quart-sized bag. Any container size within the bag should not be more than 100 ml. This should be kept with the passenger in their carry-on luggage.

Can I bring a 4oz bottle on the plane?

No, only travel-sized containers that have a capacity of 100 ml (3.4 oz) or less per item, are allowed through the security checkpoint.

Can I bring a tobacco water pipe on a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration restricts the transportation of ‘drug’ paraphernalia in accordance with federal law, but the agency officially allows tobacco pipes in carry-on and check-in bags. The final decision shall, however, be as per the updated TSA regulations.

Can I take a metal water bottle on a plane?

The answer to this query is, yes. Passengers can bring a reusable stainless steel water bottle with them on board a plane. This is an attempt to reduce waste by plastic bottles. However, the stainless steel bottle should be completely empty while passing through airport security.

Can you take bottled water or drinks onto an airplane?

Yes, passengers can bring a water bottle on a plane. The water bottle will either have to be bought from inside the airport or the passengers can bring along an empty water bottle and refill it at the airport.

Can you bring a frozen water bottle on the plane?

Yes, passengers are permitted to bring frozen liquid items on a plane. However, upon inspection, they should be in a frozen solid state when crossing the checkpoint.

Even if the frozen liquid is half melted, or any liquid residue is collected inside the container, the TSA’s liquids regulations will apply.

Can you bring liquids in your carry-on luggage?

Passengers are authorized to carry all their liquids in a transparent, reusable, 1-quart bag. The size of any container within the bag should not be more than 100 ml. This should be kept with the passenger in their carry-on baggage.


The TSA regulations are applicable on the amount of liquids that a passenger is carrying their carry-on bag. It does not regulate the size of the containers or the kind of materials a container uses.

The TSA rule allows passengers to bring a water bottle that is empty through the security checkpoint and refill it from within the airport. The TSA protocols govern both domestic and international flights.

What are your thoughts about the TSA’s liquids rule? Share your opinion in the comment section below, as we would love to hear your point of view!

Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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