How Many Ounces Is 100ML? A Special Guide for TSA-Weary Travelers

If you like to travel it really helps to have a good grasp on the conversion between ounces and 100 ml.

Knowing how mass and volume relate to these measurements will help you comply with the TSA liquids rule and just make life easier for everybody.

Below, I’ll walk you through some conversions on ounces to 100 ml and give you some tips for dealing with TSA when deciding to bring through your liquids.

Why travelers need to know ounces to 100ml

If you know your conversions, you’ll be able to:

  • Better shop around for items to take with you on your travels without the risk of having to throw stuff away.
  • Better persuade a TSA agent to refrain from throwing out your items

But most of all, you’ll know the difference between mass and volume.

I know to many people this seems obvious but a lot of us never really got a good grasp of this in school.

Mass is related to weight and can be measured in grams or ounces (among other things).

(I call these type of ounces weight ounces in this article to make things 100% clear).

Volume is related to size and can be measured in liquid/fluid ounces or milliliters.

It’s also popular to measure volume using the household measurement system where one cup equals 8 fluid ounces.

I talk about the TSA liquids rule below but just keep in mind that it applies to volume — not mass.

Now that we got the basics out of the way, let’s start off with a quick refresher of the liquids rule so that things will make a little more sense.

Mass and volume. Simple stuff, right?

TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule 

The TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule states that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 liquid ounces (100 milliliters) and that all of your liquid containers must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart-size bag.

TSA uses 3.4 ounces because it’s easier to remember but really 100 ml comes out to 3.3814 fluid ounces.

Anyway, whenever you’re going through the checkpoint, you’ll have to remove your quart-size bag from your luggage (unless you have TSA Pre-Check) so that your liquids can be screened separately.

TSA has a pretty broad definition of what is considered a “liquid.”

Any types of creams, gels, lotions, etc., are all considered liquids.

Basically anything that is usually poured, pumped, scooped, squeezed, slurped, or mashed will be considered a liquid for TSA purposes. 

The big caveat here is that items that are considered liquids don’t all have the same density.

This means that the net weight that you see on packaging does not need to be 3.4 ounces or under in order for you to transport the contents of that container through TSA.

For example, let’s say that you had a package of toothpaste that was 4.5 ounces in net weight.

Given the density of toothpaste which is 1.3 g/ml, you could fill up a 3.4 fluid ounce container to the brim with your 4.5 weight ounces of toothpaste.

On the flipside, if something is not very dense you might be surprised how quickly it fills up 3.4 fluid ounces.

For example, whipped cream only takes about 1.75 weight ounces to fill up a 3.4 liquid ounce container.

This is because only water and liquids with a similar density have a ratio that works out perfectly to: 1 fluid ounce = 1 weight ounce (28.3495 grams).

Substances with other densities don’t work out like that.

liquids bag with 100ml containers

Ounces to 100ml conversion chart

To help you make easy conversions from weight ounces to 100 ml (or ~3.4 fluid ounces), we’ve put together a helpful chart below.

Keep in mind that sometimes the conversion will differ based on the exact composition of your product. But these numbers should at least be in the ballpark.

Almond Butter3.81 ounces100ml
Almond Milk3.92 ounces100ml
Applesauce3.63 ounces100ml
Beer3.81 ounces100ml
Butter3.21 ounces100ml
Buttermilk3.60 ounces100ml
Chocolate Sauce4.16 ounces100ml
Coconut Oil3.21 ounces100ml
Cooking Oil3.10 ounces100ml
Corn Syrup4.87 ounces100ml
Ghee3.56 ounces100ml
Gravy3.39 ounces100ml
Heavy Cream3.51 ounces100ml
Honey4.87 ounces100ml
Ice Cream1.95 ounces100ml
Jelly4.39 ounces100ml
Lard3.24 ounces100ml
Light Cream3.57 ounces100ml
Liquid Soup2.82 ounces100ml
Maple Syrup4.69 ounces100ml
Margarine3.39 ounces100ml
Mashed Potatoes3.42 ounces100ml
Mayonnaise3.21 ounces100ml
Milk3.63 ounces100ml
Nutella4.44 ounces100ml
Olive Oil3.24 ounces100ml
Peanut Butter3.85 ounces100ml
Petroleum Jelly2.93 ounces100ml
Ranch Dressing3.56 ounces100ml
Salsa3.88 ounces100ml
Sour Cream3.45 ounces100ml
Soy Milk3.63 ounces100ml
Tabasco Sauce3.35 ounces100ml
Tomato Soup2.22 ounces100ml
Vegetable Oil3.25 ounces100ml
Water3.38 ounces100ml
Whipped Cream1.75 ounces100ml
Yogurt3.74 ounces100ml

These calculations are based on an “avoirdupois ounce” which weighs 28.3495 grams. So don’t get that confused with a troy ounce weighs 31.1035 grams. Read more about those here.

Sources for the chart include here and here.

What to do with the information

Knowing how weight ounces translate to liquid ounces and milliliters is really helpful.

Let’s say you wanted to bring a 4 ounce container of 100% Raw Georgia (USA) Wildflower Honey Comb + Honey through airport security.

If you know your conversions then you would know that 4 ounces of honey occupies less than 3.4 liquid ounces and could (possibly) be brought on a plane.

But there are two different routes with TSA that you can go with your knowledge on conversions.

honey with net weight

Safe route

First, you can take the safe route.

The safe route is when you transfer your liquid items out of the original container you purchased it in and into a TSA approved liquid container.

This is very doable for certain types of things like alcohol but less practical with something like toothpaste which you would like to just leave in the original container.

This is the safe option because TSA agents should allow your liquids to go through without an issue: 1) as long as they are in a container 3.4 ounces or smaller and 2) not hazardous.

If you know your conversions, you’ll also be able to plan out how many containers you can fill up and should be able to do so pretty accurately.

The more risky option

The more risky route would be to just leave your liquids in the original container.

Let’s say that you had a container full of that delicious Raw Georgia Honey that weighed 4 ounces.

That amount of honey would be under 100 ml.

Assume the honey is filled to the top of the container, that means that you’d have a TSA compliant liquid container because it would have volume no larger than 100 ml or 3.4 fluid ounces.

If the container stated fluid ounces on the label you could show that to a TSA agent and there probably would be no issue.

The problem is that the packaging for our Raw Georgia Honey just says “NET WT 4oz.”

A TSA agent who is not well-informed on volume versus mass, and who is working in a potentially hectic security line, may not make the connection.

In this case, you could tell them “the container shows ounces in weight but it actually holds less than 3.4 fluid ounces.”

Whether or not that would actually work is another question.

But if you know your conversions at least you can have them in your back pocket in the event you need to clarify why you are compliant with the liquids rule.

Final word

Overall, it’s really helpful to know the relationship between ounces/grams and weight and liquid ounces/milliliters and volume.

This is especially true if you plan on bringing items that fall under the TSA liquids category but are not simply water that has a perfect 1:1 ratio of weight to liquid ounces.

TSA Toothpaste Rules & Size Limits: Brush Up On The Latest Restrictions [2022]

Undoubtedly, one of the most common items to bring along on your travels is toothpaste.

While many hotels will supply you with toothpaste it is not always guaranteed and many times you might receive subpar quality toothpaste.

And unless you are flying first class or business class, chances are you won’t be issued toothpaste during your flight.

So in order to keep your teeth fresh and clean, you’ll probably think about bringing toothpaste with you on a plane.

In this article, I will answer the question of whether or not you can bring toothpaste on the plane and what TSA rules and size limits might apply.

I will also give you a refresher on the liquids rule and provide some clarity about the difference between liquid ounces and solid ounces.

Can you bring toothpaste on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring toothpaste through TSA airport security and onto the plane that you are boarding.

However, when bringing toothpaste as a carry-on it will be subject to the 3-1-1 liquids rule and so you’ll have to abide by those size requirements.

These size limits can get a little bit tricky for toothpaste because of the difference between volume and weight that is used on packaging.

But we will clear this up in this article.

Keep reading below for more details on how to bring toothpaste on a plane!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

TSA Toothpaste Rules & Size Limits

Bringing toothpaste as a carry-on

If you are attempting to bring toothpaste as a carry on then you will need to get your toothpaste through a TSA security checkpoint.

This means dealing with the TSA liquids rule.

The TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule states that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) and that all of your liquid containers must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart-size bag.

(When going through the checkpoint, you’ll have to remove your quart-size bag from your luggage unless you have TSA Pre-Check.)

TSA has a pretty broad definition of what is considered a liquid.

Any types of creams, gels, lotions, etc., are all considered liquids.

Basically anything that is usually poured, scooped, squeezed, slurped, or mashed will be considered a liquid for TSA purposes. 

So TSA will definitely consider your toothpaste a liquid.

(Note: there are some solid tablets you can use to brush your teeth that wouldn’t be subject to the liquids rule, but I am just going to assume that most people are going to use normal toothpaste.)

This means that if you want to bring toothpaste on a plane it needs to be in a 3.4 ounce container and if you have multiple liquid containers they need to fit “comfortably” inside of a quart size bag.

Comfortably just means that the seams are not bursting on your bag. So if you have toothpaste inside of a bag that cannot be zipped shut then that would not pass the standard.

The key thing to note here is that your containers can only be up to 3.4 ounces (100 ml).

The rule does not care about how much substance is inside the container.

So, for example, if you had a six ounce package of toothpaste but it only had one ounce of toothpaste inside it that would still not comply with TSA.

Volume or weight?

The fact that the TSA 3-1-1 rule is focused on liquids and uses milliliters means that they are focused on volume (ml) and not weight (grams).

This gets a bit tricky because a toothpaste package will often list ounces in weight and not volume.

To clear up the confusion, you can use a formula that factors in the density of toothpaste (which should be about 1.3 g/ml).

This would mean that your toothpaste weight in grams (which is usually the measurement shown on the label) would need to be ~130g or less. (130g equals 100 ml for toothpaste.)

But 130g also equals 4.58 (weight) ounces.

This means that you could argue that a filled container with 4.58 ounces of toothpaste or under should be allowed through TSA security. (Packaging can add a little bit of weight.)

Your argument is basically that the toothpaste squeeze bottle is a container of 100 ml of “liquid.”

The problem with that is you would have to bet on a TSA agent: 1) accepting your conversions and 2) appreciating the differences between mass and volume.

When taking all your belongings through a busy security checkpoint, it’s not exactly the ideal time for a lecture on these things….

Therefore, I would recommend for you to treat liquid ounces and weight ounces the same so that you can avoid issues in security.

Related: How Many Ounces Is 100ML? A Special Guide for TSA-Weary Travelers

3.4 ounces Sensodyne

Sometimes you can find a toothpaste brand that sells toothpaste right at 3.4 ounces like the Sensodyne pictured above.

But a standard package of toothpaste (Colgate, Crest, etc.) will be around 4.2 (weight) ounces and a lot of them are even larger.

Here are some standard package sizes for toothpaste brands:

  • Colgate – 4.2oz (119g)
  • Crest – 4.1oz (116g)
  • Sensodyne – 3.4oz (96.4)
  • Aquafresh – 5.6oz (158.7g)
  • Aim – 5.5oz (156g)
  • Arm & Hammer – 6.0oz (170g)

This means that you may not be able to bring a standard package of toothpaste through TSA security unless the agent understands the difference between mass and volume.

Instead, to make life easier you may need to purchase the smaller travel packs of toothpaste.

You can find these packages in various grocery stores, drugstores, and also online. Many of these travel size packages are under 1 ounce so you should have plenty of clearance. 

Also, you might consider buying an entire package of TSA-approved toiletries. In one package you can find things like toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, razors, combs, etc.. Many of these are gender specific. 

Travel toothpaste in liquids bag

Checked baggage

If you are bringing your toothpaste through in your checked baggage, you don’t have to comply with the liquids rule size requirements.

For example, if you wanted to bring a large pack full of five ounce containers of toothpaste that would be totally fine. 

Tip: If you were bringing toothpaste that has already been opened you might consider bagging that package up so that it does not spill or squirt out. There is nothing worse than trying to get toothpaste out of your garments….

Related: Can You Bring a Waterpik or “Water Flosser” on a Plane?

Smuggling toothpaste?

Many travelers have written about how some toothpaste does not show up on standard x-ray machines.

Because of this, some travelers choose to hide their large toothpaste packages inside their bag and get it through security. 

Personally, I would not do this.

First, TSA is moving to a different type of x-ray scanner that I’m guessing will be able to detect toothpaste.

Second, I think it is just a bad idea to try to smuggle toothpaste when there are so many cheap and easy alternatives.

If you get caught, it is only going to slow down your travels and also slowdown the travels for other people. Plus, you will be without toothpaste. 

So my advice would be to just buy some at the store.

Related: Can You Bring Shampoo (Liquid or Dry) On a Plane?

Toothpaste aisle store

Other items

You can bring your toothbrushes including electric toothbrushes through security without any problems. Floss is allowed as well.

If you are attempting to bring mouthwash through the airport security be sure that it complies with the liquid 3.4 ounce rule.

Just like toothpaste, there are a lot of stores that sell travel-sized mouthwash.

You might also be curious about other toiletry items….

For example, many people wonder whether or not they can bring disposable razors through security. The answer to this question is yes, you are allowed to bring disposable razors through. You can read more about other sharp objects like knives here.

Also, if you are wondering about medication there are specific rules and exceptions that apply. For example, you will not have to comply with the liquids rule when bringing in many medications. To find out more about bringing medications through TSA security and through planes click here.  

Other posts you might be interested in:


Does toothpaste count as a liquid for TSA?

Yes, TSA will consider your toothpaste a liquid and it will be subject to the liquids rule when you bring it on as a carry-on item.

Can I brush my teeth on a plane?

Yes, you can brush your teeth on a plane but be sure to do it in a lavatory.

Final word

As you can see, the rules are pretty clear that you are allowed to bring toothpaste onto a plane through TSA.

However, if you are bringing your toothpaste as a carry on then you will need to comply with the liquids 3-1-1 rule. This is very easy to do considering how easy it is to find toothpaste packages that are under 3.4 ounces. And finally, if you are bringing toothpaste through with your checked baggage you don’t have to worry about the size requirements.

TSA Pre-Check Guide (Application Process, Locations, Status) [2022]

TSA Pre-Check is a program that has exploded in popularity over the last few years.

It’s popular because it allows passengers to avoid frustration and save valuable time by avoiding waiting in long security screening lines at airports.

But how exactly does the TSA Pre-Check application process work and what are all of the benefits?

In this comprehensive article, I’ll cover all of the key benefits of TSA Pre-Check and walk you through how to handle the application, appointments, checking your status, and everything else you need to know about.

I’ll also show you how to find which airlines and airport locations offer TSA Pre-Check.

What is TSA Pre-Check?

TSA Pre-Check is a government program that costs $78 to join and allows approved passengers to go through a separate security screening process that is less demanding than the security screening open to the public.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

TSA Pre-Check brief history

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that was created as a response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and its goal is to provide security for the traveling public in the United States (mostly related to air travel).

TSA Pre-Check is a relatively recent program launched by TSA back in 2011 to enhance the pre-boarding security screening process.

It started off as a bit of an experiment found in only a handful of airports and was utilized by only American and Delta Airlines, but in 2013 it opened up to the public so anyone could apply.

Now it’s found at over 200 different airports and involves over 50 different airlines.

What are the TSA Pre-Check benefits?

There are quite a few benefits to the program that allow for more convenient travel through airports.

First, you often only have to pass through a traditional walk-through metal detector (as opposed to the invasive full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

On occasion, if your shoes or belt contains too much metal or your jacket is too bulky, you may have to remove them.

By keeping these objects on your person and in your bag, it makes getting through security much less stressful and also speeds up the process a great deal. So everybody’s sanity remains intact for a little longer.

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 9.24.33 AM

What is the TSA Pre-Check application process?

The TSA Pre-Check application process is pretty simple and straightforward.

  • First, you need to fill out and submit your application online.
  • Second, you’ll need to schedule your in person appointment that includes a background check and fingerprinting/getting a photo taken.
  • Third, you’ll wait to get approved and receive your KTN (Known Traveler Number) and be done with the process.

TSA states that this process will usually take 2 to 3 weeks but in reality it can take as few as 5 to 10 days. So unlike Global Entry, which often takes much longer, the TSA Pre-Check application process is a relatively quick process.

How much does TSA Pre-Check cost?

The application fee for TSA Pre-Check is $78 USD.

Payment methods

They will accept the following payment methods:

  • Credit card
  • Money order
  • Company check
  • Certified/cashier’s check

Keep in mind that you must pay at your appointment so they don’t allow you to use a credit card in someone else’s name.

Get TSA Pre-Check for free

You can easily get this fee covered by using a credit card that offers a complimentary TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry credit.

There are many credit cards that offer this statement credit but some of my favorite are:

  • American Express Platinum Card
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Citi Prestige
  • United MileagePlus Explorer Card

As stated, these cards also offer Global Entry credits so you need to seriously consider if Global Entry might be the better option for you. Keep scrolling down for a TSA Pre-Check vs Global Entry comparison.

TSA Pre-Check application

The application for TSA Pre-Check is very simple to fill out. You can find the application by going to the Pre-Check website here.

I’ll walk you through the information that you’ll need to share in order to complete your application.

Note that you can get through this application very quickly. I timed it and it took me less than two minutes to complete the application and schedule an appointment. 

Step 1 — Biographic Information

The first part of step 1 will just require you to input your basic biographic information, such as:

  • Name
  • DOB
  • Gender
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Country of birth
  • City/State of birth
  • Country of citizenship

Then you will need to answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever used a maiden/previous name?
  • Have you ever used an alias?
  • Is your mailing address the same as your residential address?
  • Have you lived at your current residential address for more than five (5) years?

You’ll then need to input information about your

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color

Then input your address and you’ll move on to the eligibility questions.

Step 2 — Program Eligibility Questions

Here are the questions that you’ll need to answer to make sure that you are eligible for TSA Pre-Check.

  • Are you a U.S. citizen, U.S. National or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR)?
  • Excluding juvenile cases unless convicted as an adult, have you been convicted, pled guilty including “no contest” (nolo contendere), or found not guilty by reason of insanity, of any disqualifying felony listed in TSA Eligibility Requirements, Part A, in any jurisdiction, military or civilian?
  • Excluding juvenile cases unless convicted as an adult, have you been convicted, pled guilty including “no contest” (nolo contendere), or found not guilty by reason of insanity, of any disqualifying felony listed in TSA Eligibility Requirements, Part B, in any jurisdiction, military or civilian, during the 7 years before the date of this application?
  • Have you been released from incarceration in any jurisdiction, military or civilian, for committing any disqualifying felony listed in TSA Eligibility Requirements, Part B, during the 5 years before the date of this application?
  • Are you wanted or under indictment for any disqualifying crime listed in TSA Eligibility Requirements, Parts A or B?
  • Have you ever been found by a court or other lawful authority as lacking mental capacity or involuntarily committed to a mental institution?

Step 3 — Documents Required for Enrollment

You’ll need to choose the type of photo ID you’re going to bring into the enrollment center. You can choose from a lot of different types of ID forms, such as a

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Enhanced Driver’s license
  • Commercial Driver’s license
  • Federal ID card
  • Military ID card
  • State ID card
  • And several other forms of identification

You’ll also need to choose a Citizenship/Immigration document, which could include:

  • Birth Certificate (with seal)
  • FAST Card
  • Enhanced Driver’s license
  • Enhanced ID
  • Passport book

Note that if your first, middle, and/or last names do not match you’ll need additional documentation.

For example, if your name on your ID is different from your birth certificate due to marriage, you’ll need to provide a marriage certificate that links the name on the birth certificate to the name on the driver’s license.

If one ID has your middle name listed and another ID only has your middle initial that is okay. 

In some cases, multiple name change documents are necessary to link identity documents. This could include documents such as divorce decrees if you’ve gone back and forth with your last name.

Once you select the documents you are going to bring, you’ll see a window telling you what documents you have to bring to your TSA appointment.

Make sure to bring these documents!

Step 4 — Create an Appointment

For step 4, you’ll choose an appointment at a TSA enrollment center.

You can find TSA enrollment centers here. However, the application page will allow you to input your Zipcode/City/Airport Code to search for nearby centers.

The great thing about TSA enrollment centers is that there are many more of them compared to Global Entry and the availability is much better for setting up your appointment. 

Many people are able to schedule their appointment for the next day for example.

After selecting a location, click ‘Next’ to continue to the next screen where you will select the date and time of your appointment. You can also choose to walk-in but others with appointments will have priority over you.

Once you input that date, you’ll be able to hit submit and finalize your pre-enrollment application. You should see your confirmation of your application along with your UE (Universal Enroll) ID and the required documents for your appointment.

You should also receive a confirmation email that confirms the price of the enrollment and contains your UE ID which you can use to check your status.

Very important: You’ll need to visit an enrollment center within 120 days to complete your enrollment. 

Note: If you are paying with a credit card, that credit card will likely have to be in your name.

TSA Pre-Check appointments

The TSA Pre-Check appointments are usually very brief and very easy to get through.

In some instances you’ll be met by someone who will simply take down your information, and then take your fingerprints/photo. This can easily take less than five minutes. 

Sometimes you won’t be even asked any questions though some have been asked basic questions like where they plan on traveling and if they plan on traveling for work or pleasure (these are similar questions to Global Entry interviews).

Eligibility email

It’s not uncommon to receive your eligibility email the same or very next day after your appointment. However, some people do have to wait several days or even over a week to receive their eligibility email.

Getting your KTN

The eligibility email might tell you to expect a letter in the mail within 10 days, but you won’t have to wait that long to get approved as you might receive your official approval with your KTN within a couple of days of receiving your eligibility email.

Once you receive that KTN, you can start adding that to your itineraries and frequent flyer profiles and you’ll be able to enjoy the TSA Pre-Check benefits.

Checking your TSA Pre-Check application status

If you need to check your TSA Pre-Check application status you can go to this link.

You can check your status by entering in your personal details such as your name, DOB, and contact information or you can simply enter in your UE ID and DOB.

TSA Pre-Check background check

TSA Pre-Check requires you to pass a background check and a lot of people wonder whether or not they will be able to pass the background check.

Luckily, TSA publishes a list of offenses that will exclude you from being eligible. There are two lists.

One is a list of offenses that will permanently exclude you and the other list is a list of offenses that will temporarily exclude you.

Permanent disqualifying offenses

The list of permanent disqualifying offenses is pretty hardcore and includes offenses such as the following:

  • Espionage or conspiracy to commit espionage.
  • Sedition or conspiracy to commit sedition.
  • Treason or conspiracy to commit treason.
  • A federal crime of terrorism
  • Improper transportation of a hazardous material
  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution, manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, import, export, storage of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive device
  • Murder

Interim disqualifying offenses

The list of interim disqualifying offenses is still full of hard core offenses but it only applies if the applicant was convicted, pled guilty (including ‘no contest’), or found not guilty by reason of insanity within seven years of the date of the application; OR if the applicant was released from incarceration after conviction within five years of the date of the application.

Here are some of the offenses:

  • Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture, purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer, shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon.
  • Extortion.
  • Dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation, including identity fraud and money laundering
  • Bribery.
  • Smuggling.
  • Immigration violations.
  • Distribution, possession w/ intent to distribute, or importation of a controlled substance.
  • Arson.
  • Kidnapping or hostage taking.
  • Rape or aggravated sexual abuse.
  • Assault with intent to kill.
  • Robbery.
  • Fraudulent entry into a seaport as described in 18 U.S.C. 1036, or a comparable State law.
  • Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act under 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq., or a comparable state law, other than any permanently disqualifying offenses.
  • Voluntary manslaughter.

Note that TSA can still disqualify someone if they determine that an applicant is not eligible for the application program based on analyses of the following:

  • Interpol and other international information, as appropriate.
  • Terrorist watchlists, other government databases and related information.
  • Any other information relevant to determining applicant eligibility or an applicant’s identity.

Extensive convictions

TSA may also determine that an applicant is not eligible if the security threat assessment process reveals:

  • Extensive foreign or domestic criminal convictions
  • A conviction for a serious crime not listed (including some lesser included offenses of serious crimes; e.g. murder/voluntary manslaughter), or
  • A period of foreign or domestic imprisonment that exceeds 365 consecutive days.

TSA may also determine that an applicant is not eligible based on analyses of records related to violations of transportation security regulatory requirements.

These include security-related offenses at an airport, on board an aircraft, at a maritime port, in connection with air cargo and other regulatory violations.

Related: Does TSA Check For Arrest Warrants?

Adding TSA Pre-Check

Once you receive your Known Traveler Number, you then need to add it to your frequent flyer profiles with all of your different airlines. This step is key because if you don’t link your account with your KTN, you won’t receive TSA Pre-Check.

If you forget to enter in your KTN into your profile, you can always check with an agent at check-in and they should be able to add your KTN no problem. So always keep your KTN stored somewhere like in your phone!

Related: Can You Get Through TSA and Fly with No ID? 

What airports have TSA Pre-Check?

TSA Pre-Check  is currently available at more than 200 airports. You can search for which airports have TSA Pre-Check here. Simply click on a state and then you’ll see a close-up of that state with all of the airports where Pre-Check is available.

TSA Pre-Check map.

You can also search for the TSA Pre-Check schedule at specific airports.You can see which terminals and checkpoints are open at exact times which can be very helpful for planning your visit through the airport.

Pre-Check Lite

Something you need to know is that just because an airport is listed as a TSA Pre-Check airport, that does not mean that all terminals at that airport will have TSA Pre-Check lines.

In many cases, if they don’t have an official TSA Pre-Check line, they’ll allow you to get by with some of the TSA Pre-Check benefits but you’ll just have to go through the regular line.

They might let you keep your liquids and/or electronics in your bags but take your shoes off or vice versa — it all just depends on the airport.

Tip: Use WalletFlo for all your credit card needs. It’s free and will help you optimize your rewards and savings!

What airlines allow TSA Pre-Check?

You can find the list of participating airlines here.

  • Advanced Air
  • Aerolane Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador
  • AeroMexico
  • Air Canada
  • Air Choice One
  • Air France
  • Air India
  • Air Serbia
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Allegiant Air
  • American Airlines
  • Aruba Airlines
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avelo Airlines
  • Avianca
  • Azul Airlines
  • Boutique Airlines
  • Breeze Airways
  • British Airways
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Cape Air
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • China Airlines
  • Condor Airlines
  • Contour Aviation
  • Copa Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Eastern Airlines
  • Edelweiss Air
  • EL AL Israel
  • Elite Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • Eurowings Discover
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Flycana
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Global Crossing Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • InterCaribbean Airways
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Key Lime Air
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Korean Air
  • LAN Peru S.A.
  • LATAM Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Norwegian Air
  • Omni Air International
  • PAL Express
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Porter Airlines
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Seaborne Airlines
  • Silver Airways
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Southern Airways Express
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • Sunclass
  • Sunwing Airlines
  • Swift Air
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • Swoop
  • TAM-Linhas Aereas S.A.
  • TAP Air Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Ultimate Jet Charters
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Viva Air Colombia
  • VivaAerobus
  • Volaris
  • WestJet
  • World Atlantic

TSA is constantly adding new airlines to this list so always make sure to check on the latest update to the list.

Singapore Airlines A380
Many international airlines now participate in TSA Pre-Check.

TSA Pre-check contact phone numbers

TSA Pre-Check vs Global Entry

Global Entry is a program that allows you expedited entry back into the US through immigration and customs. This can be a life-saver when you arrive back to the US and are faced with those daunting immigration lines.

Global Entry does require you to pass a more rigorous background check and it also has a (slightly) more demanding interview process (the hardest part can be scheduling the interview since there are fewer locations and fewer open slots).

The extra work to get approved for Global Entry is often worth it though because if you are approved for Global Entry, you are automatically given TSA Pre-Check.

This is why if you have a credit card that gives you a statement credit for both of these programs, it can be wiser to just use it for Global Entry.

At the same time, if you don’t ever travel internationally, you may have no use for Global Entry and in that case all the extra work for Global Entry may not be worth it.

There are two other programs similar to Global Entry that also provide you with Pre-Check. These programs are ideal for those who travel between the US and Canada or the US and Mexico.

But note that the statement credits usually don’t apply to the programs below, so you’ll just have to pay out of pocket for them.


NEXUS is a joint program between the US and Canada that will grant pre-approved, low-risk travelers expedited entry into both Canada and the US.

Specifically, membership in the NEXUS program allows you to reduce your wait times at designated ports of entry by:

  • Using dedicated processing lanes at land border crossings
  • Using NEXUS kiosks when entering Canada
  • Using their card in dedicated SENTRI lanes along the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Using Global Entry kiosks when entering the United States, and
  • Calling a marine telephone reporting center to report your arrival into the United States and Canada

You may also be granted access to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) Security Line at some Canadian airports to expedite airport pre-boarding security screening. (This is like a Canadian version of TSA Pre-Check.)

Just like Global Entry, NEXUS will require you to clear a background check.

The difference is that this background check also is submitted to Canadian authorities, such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

One of the major draws to the NEXUS program is that the application fee is only $50. This is surprising since NEXUS comes with both Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check. For people who live near or travel between the US/Canada border, NEXUS is an especially attractive bargain.


The Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI) is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

You can enter the United States by using dedicated primary lanes into the United States at Southern land border ports so this is a program you might be interested in if you’re traveling between the US and Mexico a lot.

TSA Pre-Check vs CLEAR

CLEAR is a privately owned service offered to passengers that allows them to bypass the lines going into airport security, whether you are going into the standard security line or the TSA Pre-Check line.

In order to use it you find the CLEAR line leading to security which should have little to no line and then you simply scan your boarding pass and biometric data and then you’re off to the races and able to skip whatever line you would have been waiting on.

You don’t even have to show your ID.

CLEAR can be great for frequently flyers in busy airports but it’s not cheap at $189 per year (though cheaper promos are often available).

As you can probably tell, CLEAR is something that you’d get that you would use in addition to TSA Pre-Check to help save you even more time by skipping the line.

If you frequent airports when the TSA Pre-Check line gets long or backed up and very slow, then CLEAR could absolutely be worth it.

TSA Pre-Check vs Mobile Passport

Launched in the fall of 2014, Mobile Passport Control is an app, developed by Airside Mobile and Airports Council International-North America in partnerships with CBP, that you can download to use in order to expedite your entry into the US.

It’s available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

It’s free to use and can be just about as good as Global Entry at some airports, though I’d still take Global Entry over Mobile Passport.

That’s because Global Entry gets you Pre-Check and also allows you to get through customs AND immigration while Mobile Passport often only get your priority access through immigration.

Mobile Passport deals with entry back into the US and does NOT come with TSA Pre-Check, so it’s not really a competitor or alternative to TSA Pre-Check in any way.

However, since Mobile Passport is free and doesn’t require the extensive background check, it can be a great alternative to Global Entry.

TSA Pre-Check FAQs

Do you always get TSA Pre-Check with your boarding pass?

No, you won’t always receive TSA Pre-Check on your boarding pass. I’ve been told that you can expect to receive it about 95% of the time. If you don’t see it on your boarding pass don’t assume that you didn’t receive it for your flight.

For whatever reason, TSA Pre-Check is sometimes not included on your boarding pass and you simply need to go to a check-in desk to request your KTN to be added.

Also, note that you might be given TSA Pre-Check on your boarding pass even when it’s not available for an airline, so be on the lookout for that.

How long is TSA Pre-Check good for?

Your membership will be good for five years.

Is there an age limit for kids?

There is no age restriction to apply for TSA Pre-Check. However, family members ages 12 and under traveling with an eligible parent or guardian with a TSA Pre-Check indicator on their boarding pass can participate in expedited screening.

Do I need to be a US citizen?

TSA Pre-Check is only open to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents.

How long does it take to get through security?

In October 2018, 93% of TSA Pre-Check passengers waited less than 5 minutes.

How do I find my TSA Pre-Check number?

You can look up your Pre-Check number (KTN) here.

What is the TSA Pre-Check processing time?

TSA states that it should take about 2 to 3 weeks from the time you apply from the time you receive your KTN. However, there are many reports of applicants getting their applications processed in under 10 days so you could get approved much quicker than 2 to 3 weeks.

Can I get TSA Pre-Check with a misdemeanor?

Yes, while your situation may depend on how many misdemeanors and what type they were, others have been approved for TSA Pre-Check despite having committed a misdemeanor.

Are there TSA Pre-Check military benefits?

Members of the armed forces can take advantage of Pre-Check. They simply need to enter their DoD ID number from the back of their common access card into the “known traveler number” field of their flight reservations or when updating their Defense Travel System profile for official travel.

Do I need a TSA Pre-Check card?

No, you do not need to show a TSA Pre-Check card to use the benefit and you are not issued a card for the program.

Does TSA Pre-Check require a drug test?

No, TSA Pre-Check does not require you to take and/or pass a drug test.

How do I know when my TSA Pre-Check expires?

TSA will send a renewal notification to members who have a valid email and/or phone number on record.
You may check your membership status online.
You can find your KTN expiration date under the field marked “TSA Pre✓®Expiration Date”

You may also contact customer service at 855-347-8371 weekdays between 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET to request your KTN expiration date.

When can I renew my TSA Pre-Check?

You may renew your membership up to six months before the expiration date.

Can I renew Pre-Check online?

Most members will be able renew online here. In order to renew, you will need to enter your name, date of birth, and KTN. But note that some members may be required to renew in person at an enrollment center.

Will I keep the same KTN when I renew?

Yes, most members will keep the same KTN.

Final word

TSA Pre-Check is a great perk. Personally, I recommend getting Global Entry and going with a credit card that covers the enrollment fee but if you don’t travel internationally then you might not need Global Entry. In that case, you can take advantage of the easier enrollment process for TSA Pre-Check.

Global Entry Interview: What to Bring? [2022]

Once you’ve filled out and submitted your Global Entry application you should receive your conditional letter of approval (assuming you didn’t raise any red flags).

After that, it’s time to schedule a Global Entry interview.

Hopefully, it won’t take too long for you to find an open interview slot but before you go in to seal the deal, you need to know what to bring to your Global Entry interview. 

The Global Entry application process.

Global Entry Interview: What to Bring

You will need to bring any documents to the interview that you provided as part of the application.

The following original documents are usually required:

  • The letter inviting you to an interview;
  • A valid passport or permanent resident card.
  • Documents providing evidence of residency. Examples are a drivers license (if the address is current), mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill, etc.

A few things to note:

If you travel using more than one passport, bring them all to the interview so that the information can be added to your file. This will allow you to use either passport at the Global Entry kiosk;

If you are a UK citizen and applied for Global Entry, and you are not a U.S. lawful permanent resident (green card holder) you must bring an original copy of your ACRO Disclosure Certificate (police certificate) to the interview.

To see a list of documents required for the interview, log in to the TTP website, go to your Dashboard, and select the Interview Confirmation link provided.

You will only be able to access this while your application is in the “Interview Scheduled” stage.

Note that the document requirements may be different based upon the program you applied for.

Want to avoid Global Entry fees?

Consider applying for a credit card that comes with a $100 Global Entry credit if you want to avoid paying the enrollment fee. One of my top cards is the for the credit is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which currently offers a $300 travel credit.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Global entry interview center

Conditional letter of approval

If you forget to bring your conditional letter of approval it’s probably not a big deal as there are many reports out there of Global Entry agents just pulling up the applicant’s information online.

In fact, the CPB states:

You will need to bring a copy of your conditional approval letter. To print the letter, log into your TTP account and you will see it under Notifications. If you do not have it, then please write down the PASSID number issued to your application and print out a copy of your interview confirmation.

So the key is to have a way to bring the PASSID number with you (though I think they can still access your number if you don’t have it).

Tip: This PASSID number will end up becoming your “Known Traveler Number” and it will be what you use to trigger TSA Pre-Check on all of your flights so it’s really important that you jot down or memorize this number.

Proving residency

I brought my driver’s license to my Global Entry interview to provide evidence of my residency but you don’t have to bring a driver’s license.

Instead, you can bring items like utility bills, bank statements, payment statements for mortgage/rent, and some have even brought credit card statements. (If your address is not up to date on your license, you’ll have to bring in one of these documents.)

If for some reason you run into an issue during the interview, you could refer to the “etc.” language found in their documents to argue why your documents are valid to prove residency.


You will need to bring all documents that you have used to fill out your application.

This will typically be a passport, driver’s license, machine-readable permanent resident card, or visa based on the program you applied for and your status in the United States.

Documents for changes needed

If anything has changed or you made mistakes on your online application, then be sure to bring in documents to support the changes.

For example, if your address changed but you don’t have your new address on your driver’s license yet then you’ll need to show additional proof of residency like rent statements.

Criminal records

If you are trying to get approved for Global Entry and you have a criminal record, you may need to bring additional documents.

The CPB states that in addition to the standard travel documents and proof of residency, you should bring “Court disposition papers for any prior arrests or convictions.

Prior arrests and convictions can disqualify you from being eligible for Global Entry, so it’s very important that you bring all the documents you can related to your prior criminal record.

Some do get approved despite having a criminal conviction — you can read about those experiences here.

And see what the CPB says about it here.

Global Entry Interview What to bring

Enrollment on arrival interviews

Enrollment on Arrival (EOA) is a program launched in 2017 operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to allow Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved to complete their interviews upon arrival into the United States at many airports.

So you can’t just show up out of the blue to do Enrollment on Arrival — you need to have submitted your application prior to arriving AND be conditionally approved.

I’ve heard somewhat mixed things about enrollment on arrival experiences.

Some have been able to effortlessly make their way through the interview in a matter of minutes and complete their Global Entry process.

In other situations, applicants have had issues finding where to go or finding personnel to tend to their application due to staff shortages or simply because someone was on “break.”

Sometimes the lines can be very long so be sure to budget a lot of extra time if you plan on going this route.

Whenever you arrive in the US you should see signs (like the one seen below) pointing you towards where to go for EOA.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

What to bring to a Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival (EOA) interview?

Initially, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol stated that for EOA, “[y]ou won’t need any additional documents other than the requisite documents for international travel (e.g., your passport).

But later they clarified that you should bring:

  • A valid passport.
  • Documents providing evidence of residency (not required for minors)
  • A permanent resident card (if applicable)

So be sure to bring proof of your residency even when you are doing EOA.

Global Entry interview station.
Global Entry interview station.

What is the Global Entry interview like?

If you’re curious what the Global Entry interview is like then you can read about my experience here.

Overall, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward experience consisting mostly of softball questions.

Basically, you’ll be asked a series of basic questions about your job, travel plans, and a few other things.

For example, I was asked things like:

  • “What’s your occupation?”
  • “Do you travel for business or pleasure?”
  • “Do you travel with a family?”
  • “Have you ever been arrested?”

You’ll also get your fingerprints taken as well as a photo. It’s usually a pretty low-key experience.

Things only get a little bit rough when unexpected things come up or the officer suspects something.

For example, Brad mixed up his travel history with North and South Korea on his latest interview and that ruffled a few feathers.

As far as how long the Global Entry interview should take, it will probably take around 20 minutes. Some have experienced longer interview times closer to 45 minutes but I’ve also had interviews last as short as 10 minutes.

Often, it’s the waiting for your interview to start that takes up most of the time. But sometimes you get lucky and get in and out in a jiffy.

What to wear

You might also be wondering what you should wear to a Global Entry Interview. Thankfully (for some people) your fashion taste will not dictate whether or not you are approved.

My advice would be to be wear something comfortable and casual. Avoid clothing that is extra revealing or that has political statements on it, especially if they could be considered extreme.

Basically, just avoid anything that would draw unnecessary attention to yourself and you will be fine.

And remember, be prepared for your Global Entry photo that will be printed on your Global Entry card.

Renewing Global Entry Interview: what to bring

If you are renewing your Global Entry membership, the same document requirements above will apply in your case.

I recently renewed my membership after moving to a different state and all I had to do was show my new Arizona driver’s license to prove my residency.

I did have a couple of additional documents with me such as new utility bills but they never requested for me to show them.

And remember, an interview for program membership renewal may not be necessary.

Minors in a Global Entry Interview

Minors typically don’t have identification documents nor do they have credit card bills, rent statements, or any of the other joys we experience as adults.

So when it comes to their interview all they need to show is a passport. Some people bring additional documents like birth certificates or documents showing residency but those probably will not be needed.

Minor children do need to have a parent or legal guardian present at the time of the interview.

Global Entry Interview FAQ

What documents do I need to bring to my Global Entry interview?

The letter inviting you to an interview
A valid passport or permanent resident card
Documents providing evidence of residency (Examples are a drivers license (if the address is current), mortgage statement, rental payment statement, utility bill, etc.)

How can I avoid Global Entry fees?

You can avoid Global Entry fees by using the $100 Global Entry credit on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Do I need to bring my conditional letter of approval?

Yes, you need to bring your conditional approval letter. If you do not have it, then write down the PASSID number issued to your application and print out a copy of your interview confirmation.

How long does the interview last?

A Global Entry interview may only last around 20 minutes though some can be shorter or longer.

What do I bring if I have a criminal history?

If you have a criminal history then you should bring court disposition papers for any prior arrests or convictions.

What questions will I be asked during the interview?

You typically will be asked very basic questions which include questions like:

“What’s your occupation?”
“Do you travel for business or pleasure?”
“Do you travel with a family?”

Final word

Global Entry interviews are actually pretty straight forward.

As long as you take a moment to make sure you’re bringing all of the documents requested, you should be good. And even if you do screw up, the agents might allow you to come back within a short amount of time to remedy your application.

Bringing Chocolate Through TSA: What the Fudge? [2022]

If you’re like me, a chocolate lover and frequent traveler, you’ve probably brought your fair share of chocolate back home during your travels.

Or, you might be a first timer and wondering is it that easy to bring chocolate through TSA and onto a plane? And can certain types of chocolate such as fudge be a bit problematic?

Below, I’ll break down everything you need to know about bringing chocolate onto a plane.

Can you bring chocolate through TSA and onto a plane?

Yes, you can bring chocolate through airport security and onto the plane with you. However, if your chocolate is in liquid (or semi-liquid) form it will be subject to the TSA liquids rule.

Also, you should consider that some types of chocolate such as fudge and different powder forms, can trigger enhanced screening.

And finally, be aware that some chocolate-related products may require a permit and must be declared when coming back from international destinations.

Types of chocolate

There are a few different types of chocolate including: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and the recently discovered ruby chocolate (yes, if you don’t know a new type of chocolate was discovered in 2017!).

The type of chocolate you bring is less relevant than the form the chocolate is in when going through TSA airport security. What really matters is whether or not you are bringing in solid or liquid forms of chocolate or some type in-between.

Keep reading below to find out how TSA will handle your chocolate.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Solid chocolate

Good news chocolate lovers: you can bring unlimited amounts of solid chocolate in your carry-on or checked baggage.

This means that you have very little to worry about when bringing things like:

  • Candy bars
  • Chocolate bark/chips
  • Boxes of chocolates
  • Chocolate cookies
  • Chocolate cakes (but see below)

When bringing food through TSA, I always recommend to put it in its own separate packaging and remove it from your carry-on bag when it is screened just to make things as seamless as possible.

chocolate bars

The melting problem

The biggest problem you’ll likely encounter when traveling with chocolate is that it could melt.

Certain types of chocolate melt quicker than others and it depends on the composition of the chocolate. For example, dark chocolate tends to melt faster than milk chocolate.

The consensus seems to be: the higher the percentage of cocoa butter (or fat) that the chocolate item contains, the faster it will melt.

The average melting point of chocolate is between 86º to 90ºF (30º to 32ºC).

However, the composition of chocolate can be quite complex and a lot of different factors can affect the temperature at which it will melt.

So unless you’re an experienced chocolatier, you may not be able to accurately predict the melting point for your chocolate goods.

Because melted, re-hardened chocolate just isn’t the same, a lot of people choose to transport their chocolate in a carry-on where they can better control the temperature.

You could put the chocolate in your actual carry-on bag, inside your personal item such as a backpack, or in some cases bring it in its own separate bag.

Storing it in checked baggage means that it could be exposed to really hot temperatures especially if you’re flying in a hot area during the summer.

In the past, I’ve transported chocolate in my checked bag successfully on a few occasions.

I basically brought back truckloads of Kit Kats from Japan, dozens of Tim Tam boxes from Australia, and bricks of chocolate back from Oaxaca, Mexico.

I never had any issues with melting so I know bringing chocolate in a checked bag can be done.

If you worry about melting, one trick you can do is to freeze your chocolate before you travel and place them in a bag. You can do this regardless of whether you are storing your chocolate in your carry-on or checked bag. Just be aware that cooling chocolate can affect the flavor.

You could also place the chocolate items inside of a container with an ice pack.

Frozen liquid items such as gel packs are allowed through TSA as long as they are frozen solid. (If the pack is partially melted when going through security, it will have to abide by the liquids rule.)

When in the cabin, try to keep your chocolate away from direct light exposure as that could also cause melting issues.

Piece of melted chocolate


If you’re planning on traveling with solid chocolates containing THC then be sure to read our full guide on traveling with marijuana.

In some cases, you might be able to transport your chocolate edibles without any risk of getting into legal trouble but in other situations you could be risking your freedom.

Tip: If putting chocolate in checked baggage, remember to wrap it up safely with clothing or bubble wrap to prevent the chocolate from getting broken up.

Liquid chocolate

If you’re traveling with chocolate in liquid form in your carry-on then you have to abide by the TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule which states that you can only bring liquids in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces and that all of your liquids must fit “comfortably” into one clear, quart size bag.

This rule would apply to things like:

  • Chocolate syrup
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Cocoa butter
  • Chocolate milk
  • Nutella

So if you wanted to bring these things through airport security as a carry-on, you will have to limit them to the small 3.4 ounce containers and only bring enough that can fit in a quart size bag.

But if you placed them in your checked baggage you could go over the size requirements.

Liquid chocolate pouring

TSA considers many “in-between” food items to fall into the liquids category.

These include things like:

  • Creamy dips and spreads
  • Mashed fruits such as applesauce
  • Gravy
  • Honey
  • Jam and jelly
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Peanut butter
  • Wet pet food
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa and sauces
  • Soups
  • Yogurt

Basically anything that is usually poured, pumped, scooped, squeezed, slurped, or mashed will be considered a liquid for TSA purposes.

But what if you’re traveling with something like a cake that mixes a solid (the cake) with a liquid (the frosting).

The official AskTSA Twitter account provided guidance on this in the past and stated that you could bring cupcakes with frosting and that they are NOT restricted by size or quantity.

In other words, the liquids rule will not apply.

There are a few major things to point out about this.

First, this only mentions cupcakes but I would assume the logic would also apply to other similar foods like cakes, pies, donuts, pastries, etc.

Second, if you are bringing frosting by itself that would be considered a liquid and subject to the liquids rule. So a container of frosting would have to be under 3.4 ounces.

Third, there are mixed online reports about TSA agents not following this type of policy. I’ve seen people that reported they were told to throw out cupcakes or donuts because of the “liquid” frosting/filling.

In the end, it probably comes down to the agent’s discretion, so just be prepared to ditch your frosting.

It probably also helps if you limit the quantity of these items you’re trying to bring.

Bringing two cupcakes will probably draw less “liquids attention” than two dozen cupcakes with 5 swirling inches of frosting.

One last thing about frosting.

Frozen frosting is allowed in carry-on bags and can exceed the 3.4 oz per container rule as long as it’s completely frozen solid when presented for screening. In other words, freezing frosting turns it into a solid for TSA purposes.

Chocolate cupcakes

What’s the deal with fudge?

Fudge, including chocolate fudge, could be a problem when going through airport security on occasion.

The issue is that it has a density similar to certain types of explosives, such as C4.

So basically whenever it goes through the x-ray it looks like something that could cause catastrophic damage to something other than your diet.

Airports like Chippewa County International Airport have taken this seriously in the past and even posted signs that read:

“Please remove fudge from your bags.”

Some people claim this is no longer an issue.

However, as recently as the summer of 2022, I’ve been questioned about fudge at a security checkpoint so I know this is still something that goes on, at least in airports close to towns known for their fudge.

The same issue also sometimes happens to people bringing in cheese.

To avoid enhanced screening you could always remove your fudge so that it can be easily viewed and it’s always a good idea to maintain original packaging just to make things easy.

Chocolate fudge bars

Cacao/cocoa powder

If you’re hoping to bring something like cacao or cocoa powder through airport security you should still be okay but there are some things to consider.

Bringing large amounts of powder in your carry-on could increase the chances of you having to go through additional screening.

Because powders are used in explosives, powders can sometimes slow you down through security.

If your cacao powder is in its original packaging, it would likely be easier to get through the screening since you can simply refer them to the packaging’s label.

Worst case scenario is probably that they let you through after taking a small sample to test.

Keep in mind that TSA states:

“Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened.”

To make things easier for yourself, TSA encourages you to “place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags.”

Whether or not your precious cacao powder is “essential” will be up to you.

If your cacao powder is in your checked baggage and TSA wants to take a sample it’s possible that they could poke through the bag which could spill contents out.

So you may consider double bagging your cacao powder or putting it in a hard sided container. Read more about the tips for traveling with protein powder as those can apply to this situation.

cacao powder bowl

Chocolate and international travel

When you come back into the US, you have to declare all foods you are bringing with you when going through customs. This includes chocolate, even if you purchased it at the duty-free shop.

In some cases, you might also need a permit for certain chocolate related products and I’ll hit on those below.

Related: US Customs at the Airport: What You Need to Know

Cacao beans and pods

If you are bringing cacao beans or cacao pods from an international destination then be sure to declare them and apply for any necessary permits.

Some of these items may need a permit depending on where they are coming from and where you are arriving back in the US.

For example, let’s say you wanted to bring cacao pods from Ecuador, you are going to most likely need a permit for that.

But other items like cacao beans may not require a permit.

And just remember, the permit does not guarantee that you will be able to get the items through customs. Customs will have to inspect your items and make a decision on whether or not the items can come through.

Chocolate covered fruits and nuts

Bringing chocolate covered fruits and nuts through an airport on a domestic trip should not be a problem but whenever you are traveling internationally or between the mainland and Hawaii make sure you are aware of potential restrictions.

If you’re bringing chocolate covered items that are already in a sealed package then you likely don’t have much to worry about. Just be sure to declare it.

But if you are dealing with chocolate covered fresh fruits like strawberries then you probably will need a permit for those.

Chocolate covered nuts are often not an issue but some of them like chestnuts or those that come with shells can sometimes be a problem.

The biggest advice I can give is to just contact the USDA if you have questions about chocolate items coming in from international destinations.

The live representatives can be extremely helpful and you can contact USDA’s Plant Import Information Line at 877-770-5990 (Toll-Free) or by email at [email protected].

And of course, if you’re flying into foreign countries from the US always make sure you are aware of their customs laws regarding bringing in food of any type.

Final word

You can bring lots of different types of chocolate with you through TSA security without any problems.

If you are bringing liquid forms of chocolate then be sure you are complying with the liquids rule. If you are flying with fudge or cocoa powder just be prepared for enhanced screening in some cases.

And finally, if you are bringing chocolate products back from an international trip be aware that you might need a permit and that some types of items like fresh fruit or shelled nuts might be problematic.

Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane? [2022]

Just because you are flying, that does not mean that you have to give up your makeup game. But there are some rules and regulations that you need to abide by when bringing your makeup on a plane and through airport security. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about bringing makeup on a plane.

Can you bring makeup on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring makeup on a plane but you need to abide by some TSA regulations such as the liquids 3-1-1 rule and powder restrictions.

I’ll cover these regulations in detail below.

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Solid or powder form makeup

If your makeup is in solid or powder form, the good news is there are no quantity or size limitations. As long as the makeup can fit in your carry-on or checked luggage, you can bring it with you.

This means that for your makeup items like solid eyeliner, lipliner, blush, lip balms, and lipstick, you will be perfectly fine to bring it through airport security.

There is one warning you should know about when it comes to taking powders through airport security.

A lot of times TSA security agents will want to take a close look at your powders when bringing them through the screening process.

This is especially true if you have a large container of powder such as a protein powder container.

Generally, if you are bringing in a powder like substance that is over 12 ounces you can expect for your powder to undergo additional screening.

Here’s what the TSA states:

Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened. For your convenience, we encourage you to place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags.

Sometimes even if your container is under 12 ounces, your powder items will still be subjected to a closer look. (And that is understandable because illegal drugs and other explosive substances could appear very similar to makeup powders.)

TSA treats makeup differently based on the form it takes.

What is additional screening like?

It’s possible that they will pull your powder container aside and inspect it or even take a small sample of it. This process usually does not take very long and an agent can typically rule out any suspicious substances pretty quickly.

So just be prepared to take a moment to verify that your powder substances are legit and not a threat to the safety of other passengers.

It’s possible that you might be flying on an airline that also has restrictions on powder quantities for carry-ons. For that reason, I think the best advice is to avoid bringing makeup quantities over 12 ounces through TSA if possible.

If you have questions about the airline that you are flying you can always check their terms and conditions or simply call up and speak to an agent about bringing powders on board.

Liquid makeup

If your makeup comes in liquid form then it is a very different story.

Liquid for TSA purposes can mean a lot of different things.

Not only does it include obvious liquids but it also includes lotions, gels, pastes, creamy substances, etc.

This means that some of your makeup items like primer, nail polish, liquid foundation, BB cream, liquid mascara, lip gels, eyebrow gel, and others will be subject to the liquids rule.

If your makeup is not in solid or powder form, then you will be subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.

This rule means that you can only bring in liquids that fit in containers that are 3.4 ounces or less. In addition, you can only bring along the number of 3.4 ounce containers that can fit into a quart sized zip-top bag.

Keep in mind that the containers must fit comfortably inside this bag. That basically means that the bag is not bursting at the seams.

If you do try to cram too much makeup into your bag then you will likely have to throw some of it out so you don’t want to have to waste your precious makeup by trying to overstuff the bag.

You will be asked to remove your liquids bag from your carry-on bag as you proceed through screening. However, if you have TSA Pre-Check then you can keep your liquids bag inside your carry-on bag which is pretty convenient.

TSA Pre-Check comes with a number of other benefits that help expedite the security screening process including:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag

In addition to those, you can often avoid the full body scanner and you get access to an expedited screening line so if you like to save time and preserve some of your privacy, I would recommend to check it out.

If you want to carry your liquid makeup materials with you in your checked baggage, there are no limitations on the quantity or size of liquids in checked bags.

Related: Can You Bring Shampoo (Liquid or Dry) On a Plane?

TSA Pre-Check can save you a lot of time!

Other commonly asked about items


Perfume is a liquid and therefore is subject to the same liquids rule. Your bottle must not be larger than 3.4 ounces.

And just remember the liquids rule considers the size of your liquid container not the liquid inside.

This trips a lot of people up.

What it means is that if you had a perfume bottle that was 5 ounces in size but only contained 2 ounces of perfume inside, that bottle would still not be allowed.

Nail clippers

You are allowed to bring nail clippers for both your fingers and toes so there is nothing to worry about.

However, if you have other items that qualify as a sharp item such as scissors they must be under 4 inches from the pivot point.

Here’s a list of sharp items that are allowed or not allowed:

  • Box Cutters = No
  • Cigar Cutters = Yes but not recommended
  • Corkscrews (with blade) = No
  • Crochet Hooks = Yes
  • Darts = No
  • Disposable Razor = Yes
  • Ice Axes/Ice Picks = No
  • Kirpans = No
  • Knitting Needles = Yes
  • Lock Picks = Yes
  • Meat Cleavers = No
  • Nail Clippers = Yes
  • Pencil Sharpeners = Yes
  • Razor-Type Blades = No
  • Sabers = No
  • Safety pin = Yes
  • Safety Razor With Blades (allowed without blade) = No
  • Saws = No
  • Sewing Needles = Yes
  • Swiss Army Knife = No
  • Swords = No
  • Throwing Stars = No
  • Tweezers = Yes 

You can read more about bringing sharp items here.


A lot of people also have questions about bringing deodorant. The rule is very similar to makeup in that it depends on the type of deodorant you are bringing.

There are solid, powder, and liquid forms of deodorant so again the rule applies very similar to makeup. To find out more about restrictions on bringing deodorant on a plane, click here.


If you need to keep your legs or other body parts nice and smooth on your trip, you’ll be relieved to know that you can bring razors on a plane.

But only certain types of razors are allowed and you actually could get in pretty big trouble if you bring the wrong type so make sure you read up on the rules.


Toothpaste is another commonly brought item through airport security.

Generally, if you are going with the small size you have nothing to worry about. But there are some ways to get around the liquids rule with different types of toothpaste so you can read up on those here.


Believe it or not, you actually can bring in all sorts of different types of foods through airport security and onto a plane. Some of these might really surprise you like bringing live lobsters through screening. Read here for the complete details on bringing food on a plane.


TSA is very lenient when it comes to taking medication on a plane. They have special exemptions for liquid medication and don’t even require you to necessarily show your prescription (although you need to abide by state laws). Read here on the rules for bringing medication on a plane.

TSA makeup rules FAQ

Is nail polish allowed on a plane?

Nail polish is allowed but it is subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.

Is mascara allowed on a plane?

Mascara is allowed but if it is in liquid form, it is subject to the TSA liquids 3-1-1 rule.

Can I bring powdered makeup on a plane?

Yes, you are allowed to bring in powdered makeup on a plane. However, your powdered makeup might be subject to additional screening, especially if it is more than 12 ounces.

Can I bring lipstick on a plane?

If your lipstick is in solid form then you can bring it along in unlimited amounts. Other forms of makeup such as lip gloss will likely be considered a liquid and subject to the liquids rule.

What type of makeup is considered a liquid by TSA?

Anything in liquid form or in a non-solid-state such as sprays, creams, pastes, and gels, will be considered a liquid. This could include primer, nail polish, liquid foundation, BB cream, liquid mascara, lip gels, eyebrow gel, and others.

Are makeup brushes allowed?

Yes, there is no restriction on makeup brushes. If the brushes contain noticeable substances on them they may be subject to additional screening, however.

Can I put make up on while flying on the plane?

Yes, you can put make up on while flying in the plane. Try to avoid applying anything with strong scents and be aware that turbulence could affect your ability to apply your make up.

Final word

The TSA rules for bringing makeup on a plane are pretty straightforward. You can bring solid makeup on a plane no problem and powdered makeup is allowed as well but might be subject to additional screening. If your makeup is in liquid form or in a state similar to a liquid such as a cream then it will be subject to the liquids 3-1-1 rule.

CLEAR Airport & Stadium Security Review: Is it worth it? [2022]

Have you ever wanted to shave off time and avoid those long security lines at airports and stadiums? Well, with CLEAR that is now a possibility. CLEAR is a subscription service that replaces your ID with your fingerprints or iris using technology. It works with both TSA Pre-Check and regular TSA security to allow you to cut in front of every person in the TSA ID check line.

But is CLEAR worth it? In this review, I will tell you everything you need to know about CLEAR and then give my impressions and thoughts after using CLEAR. I’ll also show you which airports and stadiums have CLEAR and how to enroll.

What is CLEAR?

CLEAR uses your biometrics to clear you through ID check at airports and stadiums so that you can avoid the lines to get through security in VIP fashion.

At airports, CLEAR works in conjunction with regular TSA lines and TSA Pre-Check lines. So, if you don’t have Pre-Check, you will go through the regular TSA line. If you have Pre-Check, you go through the pre-check lines.

I recommend getting TSA Pre-Check as it makes security easier and you can easily find credit cards that offer TSA Pre-Check credits.

CLEAR is also available at stadiums. CLEAR at stadiums allow you to bypass the ID check line and go straight to the front.

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Image via CLEAR

Which airports have CLEAR?

CLEAR is available at 50+ locations which include the following:

  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
  • Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Nashville International Airport (BNA)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Westchester County Airport (HPN)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  • Ontario International Airport (ONT)
  • Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
  • Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
  • Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
  • Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Which stadiums have CLEAR?

CLEAR can be found at different stadiums across the country.

This means you can avoid the long ID check lines while entering stadiums and also enter in priority lines for concessions. Nothing is worse than missing part of the game while you wait in a long and winding line for some nachos!

You can find CLEAR at these stadiums (most are baseball venues currently):

  • Arlington/Dallas – Globe Life Park
  • Atlanta – Truist Park (No Longer Available)
  • Austin – Darrell K. Royal Stadium
  • Baltimore – Oriole Park at Camden Yards (No Longer Available)
  • Cleveland – Progressive Field (No Longer Available)
  • Denver – Coors Field
  • Detroit – Comerica Park (No Longer Available)
  • Los Angeles – Dodger Stadium (No Longer Available), Arena formerly Staples Center, and Banc of California Stadium
  • Miami – FTX Arena formerly AmericanAirlines Arena and Marlins Park (No Longer Available)
  • Minneapolis – Target Field
  • New York – Citi Field (No Longer Available), Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium
  • Oakland – Alameda County Coliseum (No Longer Available)
  • San Antonio – AT&T Center
  • San Francisco – Oracle Park formerly AT&T Park
  • San Jose – PayPal Park formerly Avaya Stadium
  • Seattle – T-Mobile Park (No Longer Available) and CenturyLink Field (No Longer Available)
  • Washington DC – Capital One Arena

You can view the specific locations for the CLEAR benefits for each stadium on the CLEAR website. For example, here are the entry points for Yankee Stadium in New York.

Stadium with CLEAR

Babe Ruth Plaza

  • CLEAR Lanes open 1.5 hours before game time
  • Located between Gate 4 and Gate 6

Suite Entrance (ticket holders only)

  • CLEAR Lanes open 1.5 hours before game time
  • Located at Gate 4
Enjoy CLEAR at sporting events.

Cool CLEAR services

CLEAR does offer some unique services that make travel or attending sporting events more enjoyable.

Here are some services that have been available in the past:

  • Delta Sky Club members could access Sky Clubs using CLEAR for a one-touch solution at all 50 US Sky Club locations.
  • At Citi Field, you could access the stadium without your phone or stub
  • Concession stands at Seattle stadiums used CLEAR for the age verification instead of pulling out your ID to show to the clerk
Sky Club CLEAR fingerprint scanner. Image via Delta

How much does CLEAR cost?

You can obtain CLEAR in different ways with varying prices.

Standard CLEAR subscription

CLEAR uses the yearly subscription model, and the regular price for CLEAR is $189 a year. You can add up to three adult family members for only $50/year each. Also, kids under 18 are free and don’t need to enroll.

Your CLEAR membership automatically renews each year for an additional 12 month period at the annual full member rate.

Delta SkyMiles discount

If you are a Delta SkyMiles member, you can get CLEAR for $119 a year. If you hold Delta Silver, Gold, or Platinum Medallion status, you can get CLEAR for $109 a year. Delta Diamond Medallion members get CLEAR for free. You can access the exclusive CLEAR rate for SkyMiles members here.

United MileagePlus discount 

If you are a United MileagePlus member, you can get CLEAR for $119 a year. If you hold United Premier Silver, Gold, Platinum, or US United Credit Card, you can get CLEAR for $109 a year. Premier 1K members get CLEAR for free. You can access the exclusive CLEAR rate for United members here.

Amex Green Card

The Amex Green Card offers a $100 annual credit for CLEAR memberships.

CLEAR free trial

CLEAR typically runs free trials. If you end up signing up for CLEAR at the airport as I did, you will likely only get a one-month free trial but other times you can find longer trials. For example, I received an offer for a two-month trial via email

The nice thing about CLEAR is the ability to cancel and get a refund for the remaining months you have left for that subscription year. 

The CLEAR experience

The CLEAR experience begins by you selecting the right line to enter.

Some CLEAR lines feed into both the standard TSA line and TSA Pre-Check but sometimes there is a dedicated CLEAR line for TSA Pre-Check

You’ll enter the CLEAR lane and then CLEAR ambassadors will guide you to the pod to perform the biometric and boarding pass scans.

You can scan your fingerprints or eyes but I always scan my eyes.

It may take you a few reps to get the hang of it but you’ll need to properly distance yourself from the eye scanner until you see the green light.

Using a CLEAR eye scanner

After the pod verifies it’s you with a valid boarding pass, the ambassador will escort you to the TSA officer where you will be able to jump the line.

Some of the ambassadors are a bit indifferent but others are very pleasant to deal with.

CLEAR TSA Pre-Check lane at LGA Terminal C

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Enrolling in CLEAR

There are two different ways to enroll in CLEAR. You can enroll in CLEAR online or at the airport/stadium.

Enrolling via the website

The best way to enroll is via their own website, and the other way is with a recruiter. When you signup for CLEAR online you can use referral codes or get super long free trials that last more than 3-months.

Enrolling online is easy and you can do so here.

Simply follow that link, and input some of your basic personal information such as your name and birthdate. Then, you will be prompted to input your payment information and just like that you will have completed the first step of enrolling.

Once you enroll online, you will mention to the ambassador that you completed the online enrollment and just have to finish the verification process. Once the verification process is done, you will be cleared to go through security.

Image via CLEAR

Enrolling at the airport or stadium

You can also enroll for CLEAR at airports or stadiums.

I ended up signing up for CLEAR through a recruiter at the airport for a month free trial, which is not ideal. However, I was running late for my flight, and the TSA Pre-Check line was too long. Within 2 minutes I enrolled. After enrollment, I went through security. I then later got matched for a 3-month free trial by emailing CLEAR.

In rare cases, CLEAR ambassadors trying to recruit members can be a little too pushy and annoying. I have nothing against them, but I have encountered about two recruiters at DTW that kept pushing the sale on people that said no.

Enrolling for CLEAR at a stadium is similar. You will usually see big banners for CLEAR and recruiters will help you through the enrollment process. Once you are done, you are on your way to grab some drinks, snacks, and relax before the game or event.

Image via CLEAR

Is CLEAR worth it?

CLEAR is worth it for frequent fliers.

However, for others it may not be worth the fee.

When I am in the US, I fly an average of one or two times domestically a month, but I cannot justify the $109 a year fee since I am a medallion member.

I travel with my partner who isn’t a US citizen or a permanent resident so they can’t use CLEAR. (One has to be a US citizen or permanent resident for CLEAR membership.)

CLEAR is also rather limited to which airports services on an international level. CLEAR is a domestic product and isn’t available outside of the US. For me, I cannot see paying the $109 yearly fee for just me and only usable within the US.


How much does CLEAR cost?

The annual subscription price is $189. You can add up to three adult family members for only $50 a year each.

How can I get a discount on CLEAR?

You can get a $100 annual credit with the Amex Green Card.

You can also get discounts when you have elite status with other airlines such as Delta and United.

How do I enroll in CLEAR?

You can enroll at the airport or online. Enrolling online is easy and you can do so here.

Does CLEAR work with TSA Pre-Check?

Yes, you can skip ahead to the TSA Pre-Check line when you have CLEAR.

Final word

When CLEAR works, it’s an excellent service. I love the ambassadors working at the pods. It’s a VIP experience for cutting the line.

Moreover, when CLEAR doesn’t work, it’s a little disappointing. It’s a service that you pay, but you cannot use properly because of inaccurate biometric scanners on the pods that aren’t as good as other biometric scanners on other kiosks.

This article was originally published by Steve Smith.

Bringing an Engagement Ring through TSA While Keeping It a Secret from Your Partner

I’m a huge fan of surprises when traveling and perhaps the biggest surprise of all that you could do with a romantic partner is the surprise proposal.

If you’re planning on proposing at a destination away from home then you may have to go through airport security which means that you’ll run the risk of TSA agents spoiling your surprise by calling attention to the engagement ring.

But there are a few steps you can take so that you can decrease the odds of your surprise getting spoiled.

In this article, I’ll outline several helpful steps so that you can get through TSA security and on to a plane without your future spouse finding out about the engagement ring and your proposal plans.

How to bring an engagement ring on a plane without your partner knowing

Here are the different ways you can bring an engagement ring on a plane without your partner knowing.

  • Hide it in your checked baggage – Risk of theft or getting lost and not recommended.
  • Put it in your pocket – Only recommended if fine jewelry and going through walk-through metal detector; opt out of full body scanner so it doesn’t get detected.
  • Put it in carry-on bag – Remove potentially suspect items from carry-on bag to reduce risk of close inspection; Alternatively, create distance in security line between you and your partner and then request private screening.

Below, I’ll go into much more detail for each of these different routes, so be sure to keep reading to find out how this can work.

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Putting the ring and checked baggage

Many people planning a surprise proposal are tempted to just put the engagement ring in their checked bag.

This will allow you to not have to worry about sneaking the ring through airport security. Plus, it’s easy to hide something small like a ring inside of a sock or some other clothing item that would naturally be found in your checked baggage.

The problem is that it is generally a bad idea to put anything in checked baggage that you could not live without.

There is always the risk of your bag getting lost or your contents getting stolen.

In reality, the odds of something happening are extremely low, so if you do go this route the odds are in your favor.

According to the Air Travel Consumer Report issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, you face less than a 1 percent chance that a major airline will misplace your bags. But there is still the risk of theft which can happen at any stage of the baggage transfer process including baggage pick up.

For many people, even the smallest odds of something happening to their engagement ring are not acceptable.

So for these people, taking the engagement ring with them through airport security is the most comfortable and reasonable route to take.

Related: Can You Wear Jewelry Through Airport Security?

Keeping the ring in your pocket

One way to get your engagement ring through airport security without your future fiancé noticing is to place the ring in your clothing such as in the pocket of your pants.

This should only be attempted if you know for sure that you will be going through a walk through metal detector (WTMD).

When going through a metal detector, small fine jewelry items like diamond rings (10K gold, 14K gold and above or platinum) usually do not trigger the metal detector unless the sensitivity is cranked up crazy high.

But notice I said just the ring. If you also have the case to the ring sometimes even the metal on that case can be enough to set off the metal detector.

Also, be sure that you remove all other metal items such as watches, belt buckles, and all other jewelry items. You want your overall metal load to be as low as possible.

If you are going through a full body scanner which is the tubular machine where you stand with your arms up in the air, that could absolutely detect something in your pocket as small as a ring.

In that case, you would NOT want to keep the ring on your person.

If you find yourself having to go through a full body scanner you can request to opt out.

You might be able to get through a metal detector or they might give you a thorough pat down instead but that could be a way to avoid the full body scanner detecting a small ring in your pocket.

During your alternative screening you could quietly mention to the agent that you have a secret engagement ring on you so that they don’t call further attention to it.

Packing the ring in your carry-on

If you don’t want to put the ring in your pocket you could also place it in an enclosed compartment within your carry-on. Go with a small carry-on that can fit under the seat in the plane.

It would probably be a good idea to put the ring in some type of case or pouch although I would avoid placing it in an obvious ring box just in case TSA pulled it out. (You may want to hide the ring box in your checked bag so that you have it later on when you pop the question.)

If you decide to keep the ring in your carry-on, then it might be a good idea to include a note attached to the ring case.

It could say something like: “engagement ring, please help keep a secret.”

The drawback to this of course is that if your future fiancé takes a look in your bag and finds the note, the surprise is obviously killed.

So you’ll need to be careful that your partner does not access your bag before going through security and remind yourself to destroy the note once you get through security.

You may also want to think about a few other things when bringing the ring through security inside your carry-on.

Decrease the odds of a random search

Sometimes when you go through TSA security, an agent is going to want to inspect your bag extra close. This could be a random thing or it could be triggered by something in your bag.

The key here is try to avoid placing things in your bag that could trigger a closer inspection. These would be the following items:

  • Liquids (remove all liquids including empty bottles; comply with 3-1-1 Rule)
  • Powders (avoid protein powders and other types of powders)
  • Aerosol cans
  • Electronics (avoid having electronics like large cameras, drones, lots of batteries, etc.)
  • Sharp objects (scissors, etc.)
  • Cash (avoid large amounts of cash)
  • Medications
  • Vapes, lighters, etc.

The strategy here is to place all of those potentially suspect items in a separate bin or bag.

Heck, maybe even put them in the bag of your future wife/husband. By doing this, you can greatly reduce the odds of an agent taking a closer look at your bag containing the engagement ring.

The other thing you can do is to sign up for TSA Pre-Check.

You need to do this several months in advance before the trip to make sure that you get approved in time but this will provide you with many benefits that will make security much more of a breeze.

First, you often only have to pass through a traditional metal detector (as opposed to the invasive full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids can stay in bag

By having TSA Pre-Check, you may be once again decreasing the odds of having an agent closely inspect your bag and potentially spoil your proposal.

tsa security entrance

Create space in the security line

There have been plenty of times where Brad and I don’t go through security right after each other. Sometimes we head in separate lines and other times people just get between us. It’s no big deal it happens all the time.

As someone trying to sneak your engagement ring through security, you could just naturally drift apart in the security line so that you and your spouse are not going back to back through the checkpoint. Even better if you end up in different lines.

It’s often easy to create space when you get close to the security checkpoint.

Maybe you need to throw out some water last minute or perhaps you were taking extra time to takeoff your shoes and belt, etc.

Just move at sloth speed and you’ll be surprised how quickly you create some distance.

Being in separate lines will help just in case an agent does perform a close inspection on your belongings and spots the ring, because you will have a buffer zone from your partner.

It could also help you request private screening….

Ask for private screening

It’s possible that when going through airport security you can ask for a private screening. In fact, TSA even states this is a possibility when transporting jewelry:

If you are travelling with valuable items such as jewelry […] You can ask the TSA officer to screen you and your valuables in private to maintain your security.

In this case, you will not undergo the traditional screening and will be removed from the standard line to undergo a closer inspection.

You would presumably have enough private space to communicate to an agent that you are trying to get through security with an engagement ring and hopefully they will be understanding and work with you to help preserve your surprise.

This is something you could discretely request if you had created a buffer zone from your partner, as mentioned above.

After you get taken to the private screening and get done with it, you could just tell your partner that you were subject to some type of random screening. Go on a little TSA rant (“that’s your tax dollars at work, blah, blah”) and then go on with your day. Your partner will not suspect a thing.

The TSA proposal

In a worst case scenario, your engagement surprise could be ruined by TSA agent.

If your partner discovers your intentions to propose to them then maybe it would be worth to do an impromptu airport security proposal.

Some people would embrace the opportunity to just roll with the situation like this while others probably cannot imagine going through with it.

But this could at least be a last-resort option on the table if you wanted to turn lemons into lemonade.

TSA proposal

Final word

Bringing your engagement ring through security at an airport is a little bit risky because there is always a potential that your surprise proposal could get ruined.

But if you take some of the factors above into consideration you can reduce the odds of ruining your surprise by a good degree.

Can You Wear Jewelry Through Airport Security? [2022]

A lot of people are curious about if they can wear their jewelry like watches and rings when going through airport security. They worry that TSA may not allow them to bring these things through or that they will set off the metal detectors.

If you’re not sure what to do then you’re at the right place because in this article we will outline everything you need to know about bringing jewelry through airport security!

Can you wear jewelry through airport security?

Yes, you can wear jewelry through airport security but there are a few key considerations you need to think about to make traveling with your jewelry easier and safer.

For example, small and light jewelry items typically will not set off the metal detector but larger and heavier jewelry items may trigger the alarm, sometimes leading to a more thorough security inspection.

Keep reading below for some specific tips and recommendations that will surely help you out!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

walk through Metal detectors

Should you travel with jewelry?

The first question you should be asking yourself is should you even be traveling with your jewelry?

Jewelry is not only easy to lose when traveling but it can also make you a target in certain destinations.

Thieves may be attracted to your specific jewelry items or simply profile you as someone who is financially loaded or not cautious based on your display of expensive jewelry items.

You’ll then be on their radar for as long as they can hang around and as soon as you put your guard down they may be ready to pounce.

Unless you really feel like it is necessary to travel with expensive jewelry I would recommend leaving it at home as much as you can.

When trying to decide on whether or not you should bring your jewelry consider that about 20 percent of people have experienced loss or theft of fine jewelry when traveling. That’s one in five people!

Related: Can You Bring Makeup on a Plane?

Bringing jewelry in your checked baggage

TSA recommends against bringing your jewelry in your checked baggage.

This is for a couple of reasons.

First, your checked baggage could get lost permanently and you will never be reunited with your valuable jewelry items again.

Second, it’s possible that someone could tamper with your checked baggage when you are not around and steal your jewelry.

I’m with the TSA on this one — it’s best to avoid putting jewelry in your checked baggage. In fact, you should always strive to avoid putting anything in your checked baggage that you can’t imagine living without.

Related: Checked Baggage Ultimate Guide

wedding ring

Bringing jewelry in your carry-on

The best way to bring jewelry through airport security is to either wear it or place it in your carry-on.

I have a small compartment in my backpack where I place all of my valuables like my Apple Watch, phone, wallet, and any other little thing I need to retrieve. I place these objects in the compartment just before going through security.

As soon as I exit security, I find a bench or table to put my bag on and take a second to first breathe and then check on all of those items to make sure that they are there. It’s an easy way to keep up with all my valuables.

You only have to take your eyes off of your bag for a few seconds when getting screened and so this could be the optimal way to get special high-valuable jewelry items through.

If you’re worried about a TSA agent inspecting your bag with your valuable jewelry in it I don’t think you should be too paranoid.

For one, they typically do these heightened screenings right in front of you so you can always see what they are doing.

Plus, if you’re worried about other people seeing your valuables, you can ask the TSA officer to screen you and your valuables in private to maintain your security.

Consider putting a TSA lock on your bag to essentially force the TSA agent to only view your items in front of you after you unlock the bag.

Tip: One way to cut down on enhanced screening of your bag is to make sure you don’t have any electronics or potentially suspect items in it such as powders, liquids, drugs, cash, etc.

Related: How Much Cash Can You Travel With?

Bringing jewelry on your person (wearing it through security)

When you go through a TSA security checkpoint, you will be going through a full body scanner or possibly a walk-through metal detector.

You can opt out of the full body scanner if you would like.

Also, if you have TSA Pre-Check you can pass through a traditional metal detector while getting to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

Let’s first talk about the walk-through metal detector experience.

Walk Through Metal Detector (WTMD)

Most of the airports are going to be using walk through metal detectors which rely on pulse induction technology.

Without getting too technical, basically coils in the metal detectors send short pulses of current which generate a magnetic field within the “arch” of the WTMD.

When you step through this magnetic field with certain metal objects they disrupt the field enough to send a signal back to the receiver coil and trigger the alarm.

Some more sophisticated walk through metal detectors can even locate where within the magnetic field the metal object is located. For example, it might be able to indicate if you have an object in your left hip area.

Image via BeSafe.

Different sensitivity levels

One of the most important things to be aware of is that walk through metal detectors at airports have different levels of sensitivity.

This is something that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of and it is something that adds to a lot of frustration.

If you’ve done enough traveling you probably already noticed or experienced this before.

Sometimes your watch or shoes set off the metal detector but other times they don’t.

The sensitivity levels of airport metal detectors could even vary within the same airport. So a security checkpoint at one terminal could have a more sensitive metal detector than a terminal right next-door.

It’s also reported that the metal detectors used for TSA Pre-Check screenings are less sensitive than the metal detectors used for the general public. I’ve had difficulty verifying this officially but based on my personal experience it seems very possible this could be the case.

So the take away here is that you can’t always predict what the metal detector will pick up. For that reason it’s usually best to reduce the chances of a metal detector picking up on your jewelry by simply removing all or most of it.

Electromagnetic field

Metal detectors and different elements

It’s also worth pointing out that some materials get picked up better by metal detectors than others.

Generally, ferrous (iron containing) metals are the easiest for metal detectors to find due to their magnetic properties. But even non-ferrous metals can be picked up and these include:

  • aluminium
  • copper
  • lead
  • nickel
  • tin
  • titanium
  • copper alloys
  • gold
  • silver
  • platinum
  • cobalt
  • mercury
  • tungsten

Stainless steel is difficult for metal detectors to pick up because of its low magnetic permeability. This also applies to gemstones, bones, and stone figures.

Just keep in mind that while some of these non-ferrous materials may be harder for some metal detectors to detect, these materials can still be picked up by security in airports.

Full body scanners

There are different types of full body scanners TSA has used but now they pretty much rely on Millimeter Wave AIT scanners exclusively, which are designed to peer through clothing to look for both metal and non-metal objects.

These scanners utilize microwaves and can pick up even the smallest items, including small drugs. So there is no doubt in my mind that the full body scanners can detect most or all of your large and small jewelry items, regardless of material.

The question is what does the agent working with the software do with that information?

For example, if he or she recognizes a signal on your wrist but sees that you’re just wearing a watch they could possibly ignore it and allow you to get through a full body scanner with a watch on.

Or they could determine that you need to be inspected closer which could slow down your time getting through security.

So for that reason, when dealing with full body scanners, I would recommend that you simply remove all or most of your jewelry items. It leaves no room for agent discretion to slow down your travels.

Your overall metal load

When going through a metal detector, you need to think about the overall amount of metals on your person that you are bringing through the scanner.

You may have a metal watch that by itself would not set off the metal detector but because you also have metal on your belt buckle, that might put you over the threshold.

Remember, some metal detectors pick up the amount of electromagnetic fields coming from certain regions of your body. Your watch may be hanging near your belt which could create a stronger electromagnetic signal within that mid torso range.

Brown leather belt with metal buckle

Below, I’ll talk about some items that may commonly trigger metal detectors.

Beyond thinking about the overall amount of metals you have you also have to consider the composition of those metals.

Some types of jewelry will be more likely to be detected by metal detectors if they have certain types of metals.

It’s definitely possible to get through airport security metal detectors without setting off the alarm if you have gold, silver, platinum, etc. Even steel and titanium jewelry objects can get through okay. But again, it often comes down to size and quantity.

At the end of the day the rule of thumb for bringing jewelry through airport security is that if the items are light and small they won’t trigger the alarm but if they are large and heavy you probably want to take them off before going through.


TSA Pre-Check allows you to keep your belt on so I usually proceed through security with my belt on. There have been times when my belt triggers the metal detector and other times it has not, so belts can be hit or miss.

If you don’t have Pre-Check then you will have to remove your belt so this may never be an issue for you.


Glasses can also trip the metal detector.

Typically, if you are wearing prescription glasses the default is to keep them on and many people have metal frames that do not ever trip the metal detector so it is not always an issue.

Even if you do trip the alarm, the agent may be able to tell that the alarm is coming from your head and if all they see is a pair of glasses on your head, they may just waive you forward.

Sunglasses can be a little bit more tricky. Sometimes they want you to put them in a bin but other times you can get through with them on your head.


Although I usually remove all of my jewelry items, I’ve had success bringing my Apple Watch through metal detectors without a problem.

One caveat is that I have a sport band which does not contain metal so that brings down the total metal content.

If you have a full-sized metal watch, that can definitely be enough to set off the metal detector at some airports but at the end of the day it probably comes down to the sensitivity of that specific machine.

Necklaces and bracelets

A normal sized necklace should not be enough to trigger the metal detector so you don’t always have to take these off. The same thing should also apply to bracelets, anklets, etc., although thicker articles like bangles may trigger the alarm.


Earrings and nose rings can usually stay in when going through airport security and many times they don’t cause any problems with the metal detector. This is true even for people that have multiple piercings.

If you have exceptionally large or heavy earrings you might trip the alarm, though. In that case, an agent might still allow you to pass through once they realize it is just your earrings tripping the alarm.

But it is also possible that they might want to pull you aside for a closer inspection. For example, they may run the wand around your body to eliminate any other potential sources for the metal.

Based on all of my research and personal experiences it seems very rare or nonexistent for an agent to ask you to remove earrings.


Just like earrings, rings such as wedding bands can usually always stay on without a problem. In fact, many travelers never take off their wedding rings when in the airport (or anywhere).

The same logic would apply to toe rings which should not be enough to set off the alarm by themselves.

Check out: Bringing an Engagement Ring through TSA While Keeping It a Secret from Your Partner

Final word

For the most part you can wear small jewelry items through airport security without having to take them off.

With that said, you can guarantee a smooth ride through airport security by simply taking off all or most of your jewelry items and placing them in your carry-on bag as you go through security.

Bulkier jewelry items and certain accessories like watches and belts are more likely to trip the metal detector alarm and make you have to go through additional screening so at the very least removing those is usually a good idea.

TSA Pre-Check Line Closed? You Still Have Hope w/Pre-Check Lite

TSA Pre-Check can make your travels a lot more efficient and stress-free but sometimes you are forced to deal with the disappointment of finding the TSA Pre-Check line closed.

But you might still have hope of getting through security relatively stress-free with some of your Pre-Check benefits via Pre-Check Lite and in this article I’ll explain how it works. I’ll also give you some alternatives to consider to better deal with line closures.

TSA Pre-Check refresher

Just in case you need a quick refresher on what TSA Pre-Check is and what the benefits are, here you go.

TSA Pre-Check is a program that costs $78 to join and allows approved passengers to go through a separate security screening process that is less demanding than the security screening open to the public.

Once you pass the background check and are approved, your membership will be good for five years.

TSA Pre-Check allows you to pass through a traditional metal detector (as opposed to the invasive full-body scanners) and you also get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids (3-1-1 Rule) can stay in bag

When security lines are backed up the program can save you a good amount of time. (However, sometimes the TSA Pre-Check can also get backed up which can cause delays.)

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Why do TSA Pre-Check lines close?

There are a couple of reasons why the TSA Pre-Check lines might close.

If you are headed to the airport very early in the morning (before the airport truly opens) or late in the evening, there may not be TSA Pre-Check lines open.

This is because they sometimes shut down when there is very little traffic at the airport which happens when the first/last flights are going out or taking off.

Sometimes the lines can be closed at random times. This could be due to some type of shortage of staff members or some other type of operational issue.

You can always check the online schedule to see what TSA Pre-Check checkpoints are open. The problem is that sometimes this website does not accurately show the hours and there is even a disclaimer for that.

The TSA website states:

TSA PreCheck® hours are subject to change based on operational needs. TSA incorporates unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no passenger is guaranteed expedited screening.

Related: How Early Should You Get to the Airport?

What happens when TSA Pre-Check lines close?

If a dedicated line for TSA Pre-Check is not open then there are probably two different outcomes you can expect.

TSA Pre-Check Lite

TSA Pre-Check Lite is a term used to describe when you get some or all of the TSA Pre-Check privileges but you still go through the standard security line.

How it works is that when you show your TSA Pre-Check marked boarding pass to the TSA agent, the agent will hear a special trio of beeps or simply see Pre-Check marked on your airline ticket.

At that point they should issue you some sort of laminated piece of paper or a card that shows that you are TSA Pre-Check (some airports even use little dividers for your luggage like at grocery stores).

Note that sometimes the agent may not be paying close attention to your boarding pass and not issue you what you need for TSA Pre-Check Lite.

If you do not receive any type of document indicating your TSA Pre-Check status, try to quickly mention that you have TSA Pre-Check to the screening agent.

Once you make your way through security, you will hand over your card/paper.

This card does NOT typically give you priority in the security line, so you will not hop to the front of the line. At least not in my experience. (Some travelers have been escorted to the front of the line in the past.)

TSA Pre-Check Lite allows you to retain some (or all) of the TSA Pre-Check benefits. Often, the benefits that you get to retain are listed on the piece of paper you receive, perhaps in some type of checklist format.

Once again here are the benefits to look out for:

  • Shoes can stay on
  • Belt can stay on
  • Light jackets can stay on
  • Laptops allowed to stay in bag
  • Liquids can stay in bag

If your benefits are not spelled out for you then you can ask the TSA agent what rules apply or simply just assume that you have the normal TSA Pre-Check benefits (it’s much better to ask for clarification, IMO).

When going through the standard security line you may have to go through the full body scanner instead of a metal detector although often the standard line also has a metal detector open for TSA Pre-Check Lite.

It’s worth pointing out some report that the metal detectors are more sensitive for the general security line.

This means that your watch or shoes may NOT set off a metal detector when going through TSA Pre-Check but that they WILL set off the metal detector when going through the standard security line.

This might be true based on my experience because my belt has set off the metal detector during TSA Pre-Check Lite and it never goes off for TSA Pre-Check.

As for what benefits you can expect to retain, it varies.

In some situations in the past, I was only allowed to keep my shoes, belt, and jacket on but still had to remove my electronics and liquids.

One time I only had to remove my liquids. And other times, I’ve received all of the TSA Pre-Check benefits.

The inconsistencies can make things pretty confusing and to make matters worse the TSA agents can be impatient and act as if you should know this stuff.

I’m not sure who makes the call or if there will ever be a universal approach to this procedure so just be ready for anything and pay close attention to what your card says.

Go through normal security

Sometimes you won’t be issued TSA Pre-Check Lite and you will simply have to go through security just like everybody else. In my experience, this is a pretty rare occurrence but it does still happen from time to time.

TSA Pre-Check Lite card

Alternatives when the TSA Pre-Check line is closed

If the TSA Pre-Check line is closed you have a couple of different solutions that can help you out.

The CLEAR solution

It can really help to have CLEAR in situations where you get stuck in the standard security line.

CLEAR is a special service available at 50+ airports nationwide that allows you to jump ahead of the line whether you are in the standard TSA security checkpoint line or if you have TSA Pre-Check.

It works by obtaining your biometric data such as scans of your fingerprint, eyes, or facial features and storing them in an encrypted manner. It then verifies your identity by matching your biometrics with its database every time you visit the airport.

It’s one of the best ways to save a lot of time when flying on busy days since even the TSA Pre-Check line can get long. CLEAR also offers expedited entry into select stadiums around the US. You can read more about CLEAR here.

The alternative terminal solution

Another solution is to simply go through a different airport terminal.

This may require you to do a fair amount of walking or perhaps figuring out your logistics on the fly so it’s not for everybody. In some cases, it may just be easier to go through the standard security line.

But if you are familiar with an airport, then a lot of times it’s pretty easy to just enter through a different terminal and connect to the terminal you need to get through.

Final word

Arriving at the airport only to find the TSA Pre-Check lines closed can be pretty frustrating. Luckily, in a lot of cases you can still get the TSA Pre-Check benefits by receiving a card that grants you TSA Pre-Check Lite. You may or may not receive the full privileges you would be entitled to but you should still receive enough to help you get through security.

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