I am going to fly from Italy (Venice) to the UK (London Heathrow) and back. Just today I started to think about the fact that the restrictions on liquids and "dangerous" materials might impact items that are quite common if taken literally.

I will carry a hand luggage, no checked luggage.

In particular, I was planning to bring my pencil case and I know a question has already been asked about ball pens (which technically do contain liquid):

Is it ok to bring a pen onto an international airplane (US to Pol)?

However, I would like to know about the following items:

  1. Liquid paper / correction fluid (pen shaped) / Tipp Ex / Paper Mate / I do not really know the name in English... It has a label stating its volume (7ml), moreover it shows a warning sign as the liquid is considered flammable.

    liquid paper - correction fluid

    I know the regulations ban "paint" because it's flammable.

  2. Highlighter: technically, this also contains liquid. It doesn't show a label with the volume.


Are these items allowed? Do they count as liquid containers and shall they be put in the transparent plastic bag and accounted for when verifying the volume limit?

Thank you.

  • 1
    Hilighters don't actually contain liquid -- if you crack one open you'll find that the nib extends as a tube of felt-like material that has been soaked in the fluorescent ink. Some does leak out of course, but there's no actual liquid. I've flown with these plenty of times, they're fine. I'm unsure about the white-out, though. Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 2:49
  • I have carried a pack of liquid (water-like) hand sanitizer that is shaped and sized like a pen, and is ejected using a spray mechanism, with no issues when traveling within the United States.
    – gparyani
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 3:24
  • 3
    If you are not sure, perhaps put them in the polythene bags provided for liquids, gels and pastes under 100ml that are screened separate from packed hand luggage. The security people can then let you know if they are allowed or not and you won't be regarded as trying to hide anything. If they are confiscated, you can replace them at your destination.
    – canonacer
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 7:30
  • @canonracer I prefer to prevent confiscation in the first place. A correction fluid pen lasts for years and I just bought a new one. Even if it's cheap it's still a waste to throw an entire one (also, it's not made of organic components so trashing it without reason seems ever more annoying). Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 10:44
  • 1
    @AndreaLazzarotto "It has liquid inside": indeed. So has a piece of bread with mayonnaise on it (and some of the liquid in that is flammable vegetable oil). It's necessary to interpret "has liquid inside" reasonably, and where people disagree about what's reasonable, the ultimate recourse would be to a court. That won't be practical for most travelers, of course, leaving it to the officer's discretion in practice.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 23:32

1 Answer 1


While the official liquids and gels regulations don't specify any minimum sizes, in practice, liquids/gels below 20mL or so tend to get ignored. This includes things like lip balm, travel sized toothpaste and, yes, pens and stationery containing liquids.

Source: I always travel with all the examples above inside my carry-on (that is, not separately in a magic ziplock bag) and it's been a good 10 years since anybody cared. The last to care was a particularly narrow-minded jobsworth at Dublin, who confiscated a terroristic tube of chapstick.

  • 1
    Thanks! In your experience is it an issue if the product shows a "flammable" icon (eg the correction fluid, or something like nail polish which according to sources on the web seems quite common despite being flammable)? Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 11:14
  • It's happened to me at the time they introduced the measures and military personnel had been called to perform additional searches at the gate in the US that they confiscated a travel sized toothpaste tube I had forgotten about. But that was indeed very early on when they introduced those measures (right after the "no hand luggage at all" ban).
    – jcaron
    Commented Mar 1, 2019 at 12:52
  • I am accepting this answer as it is reasonably precise and the only one I got, even though I would have preferred to get some more feedback on the "flammable" icon. I ended up bringing a non-liquid corrector like this one. Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 17:01

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