Health experts have said that only hand sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60% has a chance of being effective against COVID-19. However, items with such a high alcohol content pose a fire risk and are therefore restricted by airlines.
Virgin Australia is warning passengers, for example, that:
Many hand sanitisers contain flammable liquids as the antiseptic which means there are restrictions on the quantity permitted to be carried onboard.
A single item must not exceed 500ml with the total of all toiletry articles, including aerosols and perfumes, not exceeding 2 litres.
See the Virgin Australia website for more information about the airline’s restrictions on dangerous goods.
Hand sanitiser is generally classified as a toiletry and/or medicinal item, and is therefore subject to the restrictions that apply to this category. This is also the case with Qantas, which also places a limit of 500mL per item and 2L in total for all toiletries, including hand sanitiser. For domestic flights, this combined limit applies to both carry-on and checked luggage.
For international flights, hand sanitisers in carry-on luggage are additionally subject to Powders, Liquids, Aerosols and Gels (PLAGs) restrictions. This also applies to domestic flights that depart from international terminals, such as Qantas flight QF9 from Melbourne to Perth.
According to PLAGs regulations, no single liquid, aerosol or gel brought on board an international flight to or from Australia can exceed 100mL in quantity. Containers that hold greater than 100mL will be confiscated at the security checkpoint, even if half-empty. (Additionally, since 2018, powders cannot exceed 350mL.) Hand sanitisers are classified as a gel.
Jetstar and Tigerair have the same restrictions.
Many other countries and airlines also have similar restrictions that apply to hand sanitisers in carry-on and checked luggage. For example, TAP Air Portugal has exactly the same limit for alcohol-based hand sanitisers as Qantas and Virgin Australia. If in doubt, check with your airline.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Can you take the alcohol-based hand sanitiser on planes?
Airlines reassure travelling public on health & safety measures
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, airlines have been quick to reassure passengers of the health and safety measures being taken to ensure aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and flying is safe.
Qantas, for example, says it is stepping up its aircraft cleaning routine and that COVID-19 cannot be spread through the cabin conditioning system. Virgin Australia provided similar assurances in a recent blog post.
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