Can You Bring Cologne On A Plane?

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Flying has become a lot more strict in recent years in a lot of ways. Before you could go up front, talk to the pilot, bring on booze and even dangerous tools without security so much as batting an eye.

That has changed in the last few years for good reason, after all you should never be allowed to bring a potentially dangerous implement onto an airplane in the first place.

Can You Bring Cologne On A Plane

But that has also left a lot of passengers stumped, as they struggle to understand what they can and can’t bring on a flight, especially when it comes to toiletries. Some toiletries are allowed, others are allowed in certain forms, and others still are outright banned.

So, where does cologne fit in? Can you bring it on an airplane? That is what we are here today to find out.

Why Might Cologne Be Banned From Flights?

The cologne ban has nothing to do with the scent itself, rather, it is due to the mixture of liquid in many of the colognes on the market today. The composition of cologne is a mix of solvents, essential oils, water, and most importantly ethanol.

This is really where the problem lies, as ethanol is simply pure, untainted alcohol, normally between 80% to 100% proof.

Alcohol is a very necessary part of making colognes and perfumes, because of its ability to soften and meld different substances together, thus creating pleasant aromas.

Alcohol’s role as a dissolving and preserving agent in making perfume and cologne is so important, that it is very hard to do otherwise and there are only a handful of colognes that do not have a trace of alcohol in them.

This may be good for scent production, but it also makes the cologne highly flammable and combustible. That’s right, the scent you spray on your face could quite easily be set alight.

In a contained aircraft that is flying 30,000 feet above the ground where things have to function perfectly, having a combustible, flammable object that could potentially turn your aircraft into a burning wreckage is not ideal.

So, Can You Bring Cologne On An Airplane?

Surprisingly, yes, you can. Cologne is not seen as a huge threat to the aircraft, and in fact many toiletries that are a little dangerous or flammable can be brought on an aircraft. This is mainly because they cannot be used as an immediate weapon.

When you bring a knife on a plane, that can be drawn and used to commit crimes immediately with its sharp edge. While cologne is dangerous, it is not an immediate threat to the plane or its passengers.

Even with spray deodorant and a lighter, you can project a fireball at someone, meaning it can be a weapon on short notice and these are allowed on, because of the rules in place, and they are not an immediate threat.

These rules are the reason that you can bring cologne on a flight, as they restrict what you can bring to a safe degree. Firstly, any liquid – any at all – that you bring onto a plane is restricted in how much you can bring.

The maximum amount of any one liquid that you can bring onto an aircraft is 3.4 fluid ounces, or 100 milliliters. This is not an amount that can really do anything, except make you smell nice.

Secondly, the liquid has to be able to fit into one clear quart bag with a seal, often provided by the airport. This is so that the liquid is sealed away, even if the case gets broken, and so it won’t get into any equipment. You do not want a leak to cause an engine malfunction up in the air.

This clear bag is so the TSA agents can see what you are carrying. If you come into the airport with something you say is perfume, but when they look in the bag it has the consistency of kerosene, they are not about to wave you through.

Now, it is important to note that the size of the container your cologne is in will be scrutinized. See, the 3.4 fluid ounces or 100 milliliters applies to the container, not the actual liquid inside.

So, if you have less than 100 milliliters in your cologne bottle, but your bottle can hold up to 8 ounces, you probably won’t be let through.

Rules For Duty-Free Cologne

If you have passed security and are browsing through the duty-free shopping aisles while waiting for your flight, you may see a bunch of colognes for sale, with many of their bottles being over 3.4 fluid ounces.

This might be a tad confusing, especially if you have had your cologne confiscated at security. Not to worry though, these colognes you can definitely take on your flight and the reason is that they have been vetted.

If you bring cologne to the airport, no matter how much you say it is cologne, it cannot really be proven to be cologne without testing it. Considering that airports get thousands of visitors per day, this is not feasible.

As such, strict security is implemented to make sure that no problematic substances get through. However, the duty-free area is a place where all the things for sale have already been vetted by the airport.

This means that they are unlikely to cause problems on the flight and since you have also been vetted by security, it is trusted that you are simply looking to buy cologne for yourself and not for nefarious purposes.

Still, there are some rules for duty-free cologne. They must be purchased in the duty-free and taken to the destination of your flight. Beyond this destination, you are subject to the standard rules.

The liquid must also be packaged in a transparent, safe, and tamper-display bag that is packaged by the retailer. This bag also has to show no signs of tampering when shown to the TSA.

Lastly, the receipt and purchase must have been produced and made within the last 48 hours.


So, you can bring cologne on an airplane, but there are rules that must be followed and adhered to. Make sure you follow the rules or be prepared to lose your expensive cologne.

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