New Australian airport security rules restrict travelling with powder

25 Jun 2018

Passengers departing from Australian international airports will soon be subjected to new security screening rules, restricting powdered items in carry-on baggage on all flights from June 30.

Under the new policy, all powders must be presented separately for inspection at the international security checkpoint. This includes everything from cosmetics – such as powdered foundation, blush and other similar items – through to baby formula, ground or powdered coffee, sugar, spices and more.

Further restrictions apply to ‘inorganic powders’, which the Australian Government defines as “a powder not consisting of, or derived from, living matter”, like salt, sand, talcum powder, powdered deodorant, foot powder, detergents and cleaning products.

These inorganic powered items will only be permitted through the checkpoint from June 30 if carried in a container no larger than 350 millilitres or 350 grams.

The total volume of inorganic powder each passenger can carry is also capped at 350 millilitres or 350 grams, so while there’s no restriction on the number of containers of inorganic powder per person, the total volume of all the containers must be 350ml/g or less.

Advice from the Australian Government is that “passengers cannot tip (inorganic) powders out to fall under the 350ml threshold, as the restriction is calculated on total container volume”, not how much inorganic powder is inside each container.

Passengers carrying inorganic powders in excess of this limit are advised to place them in their checked bag, as these restrictions only apply to cabin baggage.

The new ‘350ml/g rule’ will also not apply to organic powders – such as cosmetics, food, baby formula, coffee, protein powder, flour, spices and sugar. You’ll still need to present these items separately at the checkpoint, but that’s it.

Unlike liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) which are also subject to restrictions on international flights – and this remains so – powders do not need to be carried in a clear resealable plastic bag: just place the containers directly onto the X-ray tray, just as you’d do with your laptop and ‘LAG bag’.

These rules all come into play on June 30, affecting all passengers departing from all Australian international airports, bound for any destination with any airline.

Passengers travelling on domestic legs of international flights are also subject to the new powder rules, as are passengers transiting Australia internationally when clearing transit security in Australia.

Security screening requirements on Australian domestic flights departing from domestic terminals remain unchanged, with no restrictions on the types or volumes of powder that travellers can bring with them.

The United States is also adopting powder restrictions at its own TSA security screening points from June 30 – affecting both domestic and international flights from the US, including international flights to Australia – with passengers permitted up to 12 ounces (340g/354ml) of powder per person in carry-on baggage.

Examples of powders

Inorganic powders
(restrictions apply)
Organic powders
(not restricted)
All powders must be separately presented for screening. The total volume of inorganic powders must not exceed 350 millilitres (volume), 350 grams (weight) in total container (based on container volume/weight).
  • Salt
  • Salt scrub
  • Sand
  • Some talcum powders
  • Some powdered deodorant
  • Certain foot powders
  • Powdered detergent and cleaning products
  • Powdered baby formula
  • Powdered food
  • Coffee
  • Protein powder
  • Flour, spices, sugar
  • Most cosmetics
  • Epsom salt

For more information, visit the Australian Government's TravelSECURE website.