Flying Across Canada? Remember These Tips from CATSA

CATSA’s naughty-or-nice list for airport security

If you think Santa’s list is long, you should check out the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) What Can I Bring list. It’s basically a naughty-or-nice list for airport security – a

a searchable database saying what can and cannot pass through airport security in your carry-on or checked luggage. It has hundreds of items, so here’s a seasonal selection of what’s ho-ho-ho and what’s no-no-no.


  • Replica weapons: This shouldn’t be too surprising, but if you’re helping Santa to bring toy guns, replica knives or anything similar this holiday season, you’ll have to mail it to your destination or pack it in your checked baggage.
  • Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in containers of more than 100 ml: Pack your eggnog in your checked bag if the container is larger than 100 ml. Passengers are allowed to bring only as many smaller containers as can fit inside a 1L bag (which is available at the checkpoint). Check CATSA’s website for more info. 
  • Wrapped gifts: Leave your gifts unwrapped when bringing them through the security checkpoint, in case their contents need to be inspected. In some airports, gift wrapping services are available after security during the holiday season.
  • Some items with blades: Knives with a blade longer than 6 cm, box cutters, utility knives and safety razor blades are not permitted in carry-on baggage. Small knives with blades 6cm or less are permitted on domestic and international flights, except for flights to the U.S. Holiday hint: Buy those Swiss Army knife stocking stuffers stateside if you have no checked bags.


  • Electronics: Portable electronic devices are allowed in your carry-on, so feel free to load up your tablet with holiday movies to watch on the plane. However, you may be asked to remove your device’s protectivecase, and to power it up at the checkpoint – including new-in-box items. CATSA’s security-screening page has everything you need to know about screening procedures.
  • Medications: Does it feel like your immune system is already on holiday? Medications, even non-prescription ones like cough syrup, are permitted in your carry-on, and they’re exempt from the 100-ml naughty-list rule. For more info, check out CATSA’s medications page.
  • Inorganic powders (350 ml or less): If Santa brought you bath salts, mineral-powder makeup or gourmet salts (including salty seasoning blends), you can only bring a combined total of 350 ml in your carry-on. That’s an amount about the size of a soda can. Any more than that and you’ll have to put some in your checked bag.
  • Baby food/drinks: We all know the holidays can be hard on parents, but air travel doesn’t have to be. Things like baby food, juice, formula and breast milk for children under two years old are also exempt from the 100-ml rule, and so are ice packs used to keep them cold.

We’ve checked our list more than twice (take that, Santa), but if you still don’t find the item you’re looking for on our What Can I Bring list, you can send a picture or a question to us on Facebook or Twitter. Happy holiday travels!

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