Can you take glue on a plane?

Can you take glue on a plane?
By Bill Wyatt
November 6, 2020
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Have you ever wondered if you are allowed to take glue on a plane? The answer isn’t immediately obvious. I’ve been doing some research and found the answer is quite surprising.

Can you take glue on a plane?

Over the last few days, I’ve been looking in to this to see if I could find a definitive answer.

After some research, and reading through TSA guidance, I discovered that you can take some glues on a plane, but it depends on the type of glue, and also the volume of glue you have. Furthermore, some glue is only allowed in checked luggage, while some is permitted in carry on luggage. 

In general, you can take any non-flammable glues on a plane. The FAA defines this as any glue with a flash point of 140°F (60°C) or lower. 

Note that even permitted glues are still subject to the maximum volume requirements and must not exceed 3.4 fluid ounces (100ml).

You can read more about the rules around liquids on the TSA website.

The TSA also allude to another issue you might face, when they make clear that the final word is down to the security agents at the airport. 

OK, so what about airport security?

My personal thoughts on the matter is that just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Although the guidance is very clear, listing specific flashpoints and volume requirements, the security agent may ask you to discard any adhesives anyway.

Even if you bring along a safety data sheet for your adhesive, you have to admit that looks extremely suspicious… You are just begging to be pulled aside for a random search. 

If you have something recognizable like Elmer’s School Glue, the agent will likely know that it’s perfectly safe and non-flammable, but you try to fly with something more questionable like fabric glue or super glue you should expect to be asked to discard it. (Even though fabric glue is often just PVA like Elmer’s)

I’ve compiled a helpful table of permitted glues below, which shows a few different types of glue with their flashpoints however I really recommend you just leave any adhesives at home, even if they are permitted.

Even if a glue technically meets the standards to be permitted, you can not reasonably expect the TSA to look up the safety data sheet themselves.

One final tip – don’t argue with TSA agents at security. They have a tough job as it is, and they have the power to ruin your day, so be nice to them!

What glues ARE allowed on a plane?

According to the FAA, any glue with a flashpoint below 140°F (60°C) is allowed on an airplane.

Additionally, any container of liquid must be 3.4 floz (100ml) or less to be allowed on as hand luggage. 

Flammable liquids are not permitted in either hand luggage or checked luggage, regardless of the volume under any circumstances.

To put this in to real world example, a small bottle of Elmer’s School Glue is non-flammable, so it would be permitted on a plane. However, the smallest bottle of Elmer’s is 118ml, which is over the 100ml limit for hand luggage, therefore it would have to be checked in with your hold luggage.

Non flammable glue is permitted, flammable glue isn’t. (Makes sense, right!)

I have personally looked through the safety data sheets of different glues and made a helpful table for you below. 

Feel free to take a look, and keep in mind that if your container is over 100ml it must be checked in the hold.

Table of allowed and disallowed glues on an airplane:

Super Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Gorilla Super Glue
Flashpoint:177°F / 81°C
Permitted?Permitted
Wood Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Titebond Wood Glue
Flashpoint:n/a (PVA)
Permitted?Permitted
Hot Glue:
Example Product & SDS:3M Scotch-Weld Hot-Melt
Flashpoint:450ºF / 252°C
Permitted?Permitted
Two-Part Epoxy:
Example Product & SDS:JB-Weld
Flashpoint:200°F / 93°C
Permitted?Permitted
Solvent Based Adhesives:
Example Product & SDS:UHU All Purpose Glue
Flashpoint:9°F / -13°C
Permitted?Not Permitted
Contact Adhesive:
Example Product & SDS:Barge Contact Adhesive
Flashpoint:24°F / -4.4°C
Permitted?Not Permitted
Nail Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Impression Beauty Nail Glue
Flashpoint:185°F / 85°C
Permitted?Permitted
Fabric Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Aleene’s Fabric Glue
Flashpoint:n/a (PVA)
Permitted?Permitted
School Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Elmer’s School Glue
Flashpoint:n/a (PVA)
Permitted?Permitted
Modelling Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Hunter Plastics Modelling Glue
Flashpoint:25°F / -4°C
Permitted?Not Permitted
Polyurethane Glue:
Example Product & SDS:Gorilla Glue Original
Flashpoint:199°F / 93°C
Permitted?Permitted
Glue TypeExample Product & SDSFlashpointPermitted?
Super GlueGorilla Super Glue177°F / 81°CPermitted
Wood GlueTitebond Wood Gluen/a (PVA)Permitted
Hot Glue3M Scotch-Weld Hot-Melt450ºF / 252°CPermitted
Two Part EpoxyJB Weld200°F / 93°CPermitted
Solvent Based AdhesivesUHU All Purpose Adhesive9°F / -13°CNot Permitted
Contact AdhesiveBarge Contact Adhesive24°F / -4.4°CNot Permitted
Nail GlueImpression Beauty Nail Glue185°F / 85°CPermitted
Fabric GlueAleene’s Fabric Gluen/a (PVA)Permitted
School GlueElmer’s School Gluen/a (PVA)Permitted
Modelling GlueHunter Plastics Modelling Cement25°F / -4°CNot Permitted
Polyurethane GlueGorilla Glue Original199°F / 93°CPermitted

So I can take any non-flammable glue?

Technically yes, but if you rock up to airport security with a bunch of glue in your hand luggage, they may still ask you to get rid of it. 

Small bottle of nail glue? Probably fine, especially if you have acrylic nails so it doesn’t look suspicious at all. 

Some kind of epoxy or contact cement? You got some explaining to do… fully expect to be questioned about it and possibly asked to discard it, even if it’s allowed by the rules.

You can tell if your glue is flammable or not because it will have a flammable label on the bottle and packaging.

What glue is allowed in Hand Luggage?

As you can see from the table – there are some glue types which are perfectly fine to take on a plane, however most glues are not going to be able to be taken on as hand luggage, purely because of the volume.

Any non-flammable glue is allowed in Hand Luggage, so long as the volume of the container is less than 100ml. 

Any containers larger than 100ml have to be checked in the hold, and any flammable glues are not permitted either as hand luggage or as checked luggage.

After Sept 2001, airport security was increased all over the world, and there are now strict procedures and limits for taking any liquids in to the cabin with you. You are only allowed to take 100ml in any one container (about 3.4 floz) which is smaller than most glues. 

Small bottles of superglue or nail glue are usually okay since they usually come in 25ml bottles.

A small bottle of Elmer’s Glue on the other hand is about 4.5 floz, so it would have to be checked in to the hold, even though it’s safe and non-flammable.

Flammable adhesives are never allowed, either as hand luggage or as checked luggage.

How to find out if a certain glue is allowed or not?

You have two options – check the MSDS yourself for your specific product to see if it’s flammable or not, or ask the TSA before you go.

TSA often have kind of a bad reputation for being a bit mean/grumpy, but they have a very useful website, and a friendly and responsive twitter account specifically for answering questions about allowed items. 

TSA aren’t there to cause you problems, they just want to help you get on your way with as little friction as possible, so please be nice to them!

Check out the TSA “What Can I Bring” website here.

Ask the TSA directly – their twitter is @AskTSA

Even if you already know if your glue is allowed or not – I highly recommend checking out their twitter account for the comedy value! Some people ask about some very strange items indeed….

What glues are NOT allowed on a plane?

Let’s look at some types of glue which are NOT allowed on a plane under any circumstances.

No flammable adhesives are allowed on any plane, either as checked luggage or as hand luggage. The FAA defines a flammable liquid as having a flash point less than or equal to 140° F (60°C).

In addition, even non-flammable glues are not permitted as carry-on luggage if the volume of the container is greater than 100ml. As long as the glue is safe and non-flammable, it can be checked in the hold if it exceeds the 100ml limit.

What glue is not allowed in Hand Luggage?

As you can see from the table above, some glues are allowed on board, but not in your hand luggage.

This includes any glue which is non-flammable, but exceeds the 100ml volume limit for liquids and gels for carry on luggage.

How much glue can you take on a plane?

Ever since 2001, there have been more restrictions on liquids, creams, pastes, and gels.

The TSA website makes it clear the limit for any liquid/gel/cream/paste (which includes adhesives) is 100ml or 3.4 floz. If your container exceeds this volume, it will have to be checked as hold luggage.

FAQs:

Here are some questions about specific glues and other adhesives. 

If you have any more specific questions, I really recommend you check out the TSA on twitter. They are responsive and can answer your questions about specific products before you leave. 

Can you take a hot glue gun on a plane?

I was amazed when I learned this. If you really need your beloved hot glue gun with you, according to the TSA themselves, a hot-glue gun (as well as the glue sticks) are perfectly fine and permitted on a plane, even in your carry-on luggage.

I imagine this will raise some eyebrows at security, but you heard it here straight from the horse’s mouth. 

This is frankly a dumb idea, and even if the rules say it’s allowed, the individual security agent at the airport may disagree and confiscate your items. I can’t see them allowing something like this to be taken on board as hand luggage.

Glue guns are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. Safe travels!

— AskTSA (@AskTSA) May 25, 2018

Can I take Wood Glue on a plane?

Wood glue is just PVA glue. It’s non-flammable so it’s permitted on a plane.

Most wood glue will be in a container that’s too large for hand luggage though. Any containers over 3.4 floz (100ml) will have to be checked in to the hold.

Check the table above for a list of permitted glues.

Can I take Nail Glue on a plane?

Nail Glue is usually CA glue (Cyanoacrylate) which is non-flammable according to the FAA’s definition, having a flashpoint of around 80°C. (Safely above the FAA’s definition of 60°C / 140°F)

Therefore, Nail Glue is permitted on a plane, and it’s usually in a container small enough that it would be allowed as hand luggage too.

Can I take Super Glue on a plane?

Most Superglue is allowed, according to the FAA’s definition of flammable liquids. Super Glue has a flashpoint of around 80°C, 20°C safely above the FAA’s lower limit of 60°C for flammable liquids.

Therefore, Super Glue is usually permitted on a plane, and is usually in a container of less than 100ml which means it can also be carried on as hand luggage.

Can I take Krazy Glue on a plane?

Yes, Krazy Glue is just a brand name of CA / Superglue. Superglue is permitted on a plane as it is not considered a flammable liquid according to the TSA’s definition. 

As long as the container is smaller than 100ml, it is allowed in hand luggage too.

Can I take Elmer’s Glue on a plane?

Elmer’s School Glue is made from PVA, which is not flammable. Therefore, it’s allowed on board an aircraft. 

One thing to keep in mind is that even a tandard bottle of Elmer’s Glue is about 4.5 floz, which exceeds the maximum allowed volume of liquids for hand luggage (3.4 floz) so it would have to be checked in to the hold.

Can I take Gorilla Glue on a plane?

Gorilla Glue is made from Polyurethane, which is considered non-flammable and therefore permitted on a plane. 

Polyurethane based adhesives usually have a flashpoint of around 90°C, which is safely above the FAA’s definition of a flammable liquid (60°C) however please check your container for flammable warnings.

A standard bottle of Gorilla Glue is 8.4 floz (250ml) which is more than double the permitted volume of liquids for hand luggage, so it would have to be checked in to the hold. 

There are some smaller bottles of Gorilla Glue available though, any bottle under 100ml would be allowed as carry-on luggage.

Can I take solid Hot Glue sticks on a plane?

Hot glue is not considered flammable, so it’s allowed on a plane. The TSA have confirmed that solid hot-glue sticks are permitted as carry-on luggage, or as checked luggage.

Can I take Epoxy on a plane?

Epoxy is usually allowed, however you will have to check the flammability of both parts, as flammable liquids are not permitted. So long as both parts (the resin and the hardener) are both non-flammable, epoxy is permitted on a plane. You may have to pack it in the hold, as it will likely exceed the 100ml volume limit for liquids in your carry-on luggage.

Can I take Modelling Glue on a plane?

Most modelling glue is solvent-based, which means it is flammable and therefore not permitted to be taken on board an airplane, either as hand luggage or as checked luggage.

Can I take Glue on a plane in Europe?

The Federal Aviation Authority in the United States usually sets the precedent that the world follows, with a few exceptions.

The volume limits in Europe are the same as in North America (3.4floz / 100ml), and the same rules around flammable liquids exist.

In general, if the glue is non-flammable and in a container less than 100ml, it will be permitted in hand luggage. If it’s over 100ml, it will need to be checked in to the hold, and if it’s flammable, it won’t be permitted either as hand luggage or as checked luggage.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the rules surrounding adhesives are not too hard to understand, so long as you keep in mind the volume limits for hand luggage, and the rules around flammable liquids.

  • Flammable liquids are NEVER allowed on board, either as hand luggage or as checked luggage.
  • Non-Flammable adhesives are permitted on board, but only up to 100ml (3.4 floz) or less is permitted as hand luggage.
  • Any containers over 100ml must be checked in to the hold with your suitcases.

The TSA has confirmed that other adhesive tools like a hot glue gun and solid hot glue glue sticks are permitted, even in your carry-on luggage, however this is an INCREDIBLY dumb thing to bring to an airport. 

I strongly urge you not to try it. It will look suspicious on the x-rays and you will almost certainly be pulled aside, questioned, and possibly searched.

After everything’s said and done, the final decision still rests with the TSA agent at the security gate. 

Even if your glue is fully allowed according to the rules, the security agent may decide at their own discretion whether or not to allow it on board. 

DO NOT ARGUE WITH TSA!!!

Therefore, I would advise against taking any adhesives on board at all. Most glue is cheap enough that you can buy some when you land no problem.

I sincerely hope this article helped you out!

Thanks a lot for reading, and have a safe flight.

-Bill

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