Genius Hack To Get Full Sized Liquid Bottles Past Airport Security

by SharonKurheg

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been enforcing what is known as “3-1-1 for carry-ons” for years. With that rule, travelers are allowed to carry liquids through security checkpoints in containers of 3.4 ounces (metric 100 mL) or less that fit comfortably in one quart-size (metric 1 liter) clear plastic zip-top bag. This rule has been pretty standard all around the world ever since the August 2006 terrorist plot to detonate liquid explosives on planes.

In March, 2022, the first airport was able to do away with the rules, thanks to their investment in better technology. The second airport to allow more liquids began doing so a few months later. By the end of 2022, a whole country announced they would soon no longer limit liquids. It’s been suggested that more and more countries will be using the same technology, and therefore allow more liquids through their respective checkpoints.

Unfortunately, the U.S. isn’t on that list of countries yet. In fact, here’s what we were told when we asked them about it.

There is this neat little hack to get around the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquid rule. But a woman just revealed her method to get full-sized liquid bottles past airport security which I think is just genius.

Emma Mahonn, a resident of Scotland, says that she refuses to pay for hold luggage (U.K.-speak for “checking her bag”). But she wanted to bring more than 100 mL of her favorite (well, favourite) liquids when she traveled.

See, in the U.K., Boots is a very popular health and beauty retailer. They’ve got something like 2,500 shops across the United Kingdom and Ireland. They’re very similar to CVS or Walgreens (actually, Walgreens has owned Boots since 2014, although they’re currently trying to sell the company).

Anyway, one cool thing about Boots is you can find them in some of the airports in the U.K. and Ireland, specifically:

  • Birmingham (195-198 Departure Lounge)
  • Edinburgh (Departure Lounge)
  • Bradford (after security)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Manchester (Terminal Three Airside)
  • London City
  • Dublin (Terminal 1)
  • Liverpool John Lennon
  • London Luton
  • London Heathrow (Terminal 5, Satellite C Terminal 5 Airside)
  • London Stansted (Airside Terminal)

Most, if not all of them are past the security checkpoint.

Of course, the prices at the Boots inside the airport have the same problem as any airport establishment – they’re inflated (AHEM…but soon not the restaurants at JFK, EWR and LGA! Here’s why!).

But Mahonn got around that.

Know how you can order stuff from stores ahead of time and then pick it up? It was already a “thing” in past years but really took off with COVID. Anyway, Boots offers that service (they call it “click and collect”), and apparently they include airport locations as potential pickup locations.

So Mahonn ordered her full-sized suntan spray, shower gel, moisturizer, etc., and selected to pick them up at her local airport’s Boots on her day of departure. So she managed to get them for normal prices, and past security.


can always trust me to find the cheapest way to travel ! xo #travel #josemourinho #cheaptravel #trending

♬ original sound – george

Edinburgh Airport even suggests doing this on their website!

Of course, neither the airport nor Mahonn explained how to get these full-sized toiletries BACK without checking luggage (well, unless she’s flying from this airport and then she could). But if the goal was simply to get full-sized liquid bottles past security, and without airport prices to boot, then mission accomplished.

Now if only there were some Walgreens or CVS past security in the U.S., huh? Then we could do that too.

Feature Photo (cropped): SlimVirgin / Wikimedia / CC by 3.0

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DaninMCI June 3, 2022 - 5:30 am

It doesn’t make that much sense if you travel often. Most people don’t buy full size products every time they travel so although it makes it possible to get a full size product bottle on a plane it really didn’t accomplish that much unless you needed to buy it anyway and/or the travel 311 size items are much higher in comparison.

Breebz91 June 6, 2022 - 1:37 pm

You could also just order them for pick up at your destination and save yourself the hassle of carrying them throughout your flight, layovers, and/or connections. Also, some airlines have free checked bags programs that only need a name and an email to sign up and you can just check it.

Luke June 5, 2022 - 3:54 pm

My “hack” is forgetting to remove large containers of liquids and security just didn’t stop me. I’ve left a protein shake and large canister of water in my carry on and not a peep from TSA. Transportation “Security” Administration…

SharonKurheg June 5, 2022 - 4:09 pm

That’s fine but that’s not really a hack. For every time you’ve been lucky like that, many others have been “not so much.”

Teri September 24, 2023 - 12:04 am

How would you get your items back home again? You would need to go though TSA again to get home .

Donald Hansen June 6, 2022 - 7:38 am

Works great until you realize the store isn’t in the same terminal, and they’re not interconnected.

SharonKurheg June 6, 2022 - 9:02 am

If she’s a regular visitor to that airport, I suspect she’s aware of where in the airport the Boots is and whether or not she’d be able to access it. 😉

JohnB June 6, 2022 - 8:57 pm

I think you can bring anything frozen solid thru security. So just freeze everything!

Jason S September 17, 2023 - 4:44 pm

Pittsburgh has a Rite Aid in the concourse. It also used to have a full service post office inside too. Made it great to connect through!

Kaneesha Johnson Washington September 17, 2023 - 6:11 pm

Pay more than Double the price!

Martha September 23, 2023 - 11:37 am

Unless you are planning to stay at a destination for a long time, why would you need full sized bottles of stuff? Then take a chance to get them back through TSA when you leave.

Sirwynston September 18, 2023 - 1:42 am

Go to walgreens get the empty tiny 3.4 oz clear bottles. Cheap. Squeeze in your favorite lotion toothpaste etc. Can have as many if those you can place in a 1 quart zip bag. Or your choices are take back to car, check your bag,or trash it. Period… usa

David Wilson September 18, 2023 - 7:31 am

Brit here. I travel regularly and the prices of things in airport Boots (at least at the airports I fly from) are exactly the same as in regular stores so this is a bit on a non-story really…

David Roberts September 21, 2023 - 7:41 pm

I went through the Heathrow international terminal in June and you could get a tasty sandwich, crisps and a drink for £5 at either of the drug stores in the waiting area after security.

Gayle September 22, 2023 - 10:03 am

Good info

Brandon September 22, 2023 - 11:41 am

I once went on a dive vacation and totally forgot about by 8” dive knife I had rolled into my dive bag. Well, TSA never detected it but the destination airport did. Kinda scary to think they miss a lot.

Mary September 26, 2023 - 1:55 pm

My frozen Glucerna drink did not make it through TSA in El Salvador because I didn’t have my doctor’s note at hand to prove that I should have it.


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