Can You Get Through TSA and Fly with No ID? [2023]

Okay, so you messed up and don’t have an ID but you need to catch a flight. What can you do? Well, you might be surprised to find out that you still might actually be able to board the plane even without an ID.

In this article, I will break down everything you need to know about getting through TSA without an ID. I’ll talk about both domestic and international flights and explain what the process is like for verifying your identity.

Can you get through TSA with no ID?

Yes, you can get through a TSA security checkpoint and board your plane without an ID. However, you will be subject to an identity verification process and also likely subjected to a heightened security screening. Keep reading below and I will break it all down for you.

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IDs accepted by TSA

Before jumping in to the steps of what to do when you don’t have a standard ID (e.g., a driver’s license), first you should make sure that you don’t have an alternative form of ID that is accepted by TSA. TSA accepts over a dozen different types of identification.

Below is a list of IDs accepted by TSA:

  • Driver’s licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent)
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. passport card
  • DHS trusted traveler cards (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)
  • U.S. Department of Defense ID, including IDs issued to dependents
  • Permanent resident card
  • Border crossing card
  • State-issued Enhanced Driver’s License
  • Federally recognized, tribal-issued photo ID
  • HSPD-12 PIV card
  • Foreign government-issued passport
  • Canadian provincial driver’s license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada card
  • Transportation worker identification credential
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
  • U.S. Merchant Mariner Credential
  • Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)

Make sure that your name used for your booking matches your ID since changing your name on a ticket can be a challenge.

If you’ve gone through all of those possibilities and you still do not have any qualifying form of identification then it is time to go through the identity verification process with TSA. Don’t worry — it’s usually not that bad!

TSA accepts a lot of different forms of ID.

TSA Identification verification process

If you have not arrived to the airport yet, do your best to arrive to the airport extra early because the verification process could take a long time.

The standard recommended time for arriving before a domestic flight is two hours so logically you would want to arrive at least two hours prior to your departure. (I would shoot for 2.5 to 3 hours prior to the flight.)

But the time required might also depend on the type of airport you are at.

If you are at a well-equipped, larger airport with lots of resources the agents there probably have more experience with this identity verification process and so the process could be much more streamlined.

That may not be the case at a much smaller, regional airport. You could imagine how long the process described below could take if you are dealing with a TSA agent who has never had to deal with the verification process before.

If you are already at the airport and just realized that you do not have your ID, hopefully you are not in a rush. If you have very limited time (30 minutes to get to boarding) there’s a chance that there will not be enough time for them to verify your identity and you may want to go ahead and just reschedule your flight if possible.

But if you do have time to spare then it could be worth it to go through the identity verification process.

Related: TSA Checklist (Tips & PDF)

Identity Verification Call Center (IVCC)

If you realize that you do not have an ID your first step is to approach a TSA agent and let them know that you do not have an ID and that you would like to go through the verification process so that you can still board your flight.

They are likely going to ask you for the following:

  • Name
  • A photo
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of birth

They will also request for you to supply two forms of secondary ID. The secondary form of ID can take a lot of different forms and these include:

  • Library card
  • Business card
  • Social Security card
  • Student ID
  • Mail
  • Credit cards
  • Photo of an ID
  • Voter registration card
  • Prescription with your name on the label

If your wallet or ID was stolen then it would be very helpful for you to have a police report to back up your claim. If you are traveling with family members who do have an ID and you have photos of you together with them that can also help bolster your case.

The more documents you can supply, the better.

In some cases, showing some of the above documents may be enough for your identity to be verified but in other cases it might not be enough.

TSA states that, “If your identity cannot be verified with the provided documentation, you may be required to go through an alternative identity verification process, which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information, and asking personal questions to help confirm your identity.”

You may also be asked to fill out a special form.

If your identity cannot be verified then a TSA agent may resort to the Identity Verification Call Center (IVCC).

In this situation, an agent on the other side of the phone will attempt to verify your identity and possibly ask you some personal questions. They will accomplish this by running your name against a database and looking for you to confirm answers to questions.

These questions could be similar to those identity verification questions that pop up when you attempt to do something like check your credit score on Credit Karma. But they also could be more random or a little bit deeper so be prepared to jog your memory as best you can.

If you are not able to answer the questions accurately or if you simply refuse to then you will not be able to proceed through the TSA security checkpoint and therefore you will not board your flight.

It’s worth pointing out that if you are traveling with an outstanding arrest warrant and you have to go through the identification verification process there is a good chance your warrant will be discovered and you could be arrested.

Get through security

After you have verified your identity, your journey is not complete. You will still need to go through the airport security checkpoint but you can expect to have to go through heightened security.

Most likely, a TSA agent will ask you to step aside while they go through the extra security steps with you. The exact process that you will have to go through will depend on the discretion of the TSA agents but some things that you can expect to encounter include:

  • Invasive pat down
  • Thorough search of all your belongings which means you will likely have to remove objects from your luggage
  • Extra x-ray scans
  • Swabs

The process will likely be similar to what you would experience if you were to have SSSS on your boarding pass.

I’m not sure what happens if you don’t have an ID but you have TSA Pre-Check, which normally allows you to bypass the main security line. I highly doubt that they would allow you to get in the Pre-Check line but stranger things have probably happened.

Related: TSA No Fly List Explained 

TSA agent searching a man
Expect a more invasive search if you do not have an ID.

Boarding the plane

Once you get through the security checkpoint, you can finally make your way to the gate for boarding. Your boarding pass should have a note that you do not have an ID on you and that should be enough to substitute for your ID to get you on a plane.

If you want to visit an airport lounge like a Centurion Lounge typically they will ask to see your identification. It’s not clear to me if airport lounges will allow you to enter without a valid ID. But you would think that if your TSA authenticated identity is good enough for boarding an airplane, it should be good enough to stroll into a lounge.

Once you arrive at the gate area, I would recommend to quickly check in with an agent at the gate and let them know that you have a boarding pass with no ID but that you have been verified by TSA.

That should help prevent any confusion at the time of boarding just in case the agents are not familiar with how to deal with the process.

Don’t try anything “funny”

If you don’t have your ID with you or any other secondary forms of ID, you might be tempted to try to sneak your way through security or try some other type of “funny business.”

This is a very bad idea because in addition to a potential criminal violation, you could also get hit with a civil fine from TSA.

So even if you are under stress trying to figure things out, don’t make any false statements or do anything that could be construed as you trying to circumvent security.

International flights

The situation is much different for international flights. You must have a passport to leave the country in almost every circumstance. Therefore, if you do not have a passport then you will almost certainly be grounded.

If you are currently abroad and you do not have a passport you should contact the local embassy or consulate and they will be able to help you based on your needs.

In some cases, they can issue you a limited-validity passport that allows you to gain entry back into the US but does not come with full travel privileges to visit other countries. If you don’t have an ID and there is an urgent emergency you should be able to get your request expedited.


Can you get a refund if you forget your ID?

Unfortunately, most airlines will not refund your ticket if you simply lost your ID. You may be able to negotiate with them so that you can board a later flight.

What age is required to have an ID to fly?

TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling with a companion that has acceptable identification.

Can I travel with an expired ID?

Acceptable forms of ID cannot be more than 12 months past the identified expiration date. (Due to the coronavirus pandemic, agents are currently being lenient.)

What counts as a secondary form of ID?

There are a lot of different types of documents that can qualify as a secondary form of ID and some of these include:

Library card
Business card
Social Security card
Student ID
Credit cards
Photo of an ID
Prescription with your name on the label

Final word

Getting through TSA without an ID requires you to jump through a few extra hoops. As long as you give yourself enough time and comply with the process, you should still be able to board your plane without major issues. However, if you are departing on an international flight you likely will not be able to board your plane without a valid passport.

What Does the TSA Do With Confiscated Items?

Every day, thousands of items don’t make it through TSA security checkpoints. Whether these are liquids or dangerous weapons, many travelers say goodbye to items for good after going through a screening.

But where exactly do these items end up that TSA confiscates? And also, is there any chance that you could be reunited with an item taken by TSA?

In this post, we will breakdown where these items and up and explore the options that you have to try to get your item back.

What does the TSA do with confiscated items?

If TSA decides to take possession of your item at a security checkpoint, they could hand the item over to the state who could then decide to donate the item, throw it away, or sell it on an online surplus auction or physical retail store.

TSA does not “confiscate” items

TSA does not “confiscate” items. Instead, they get passengers to “voluntarily abandon” property at the security checkpoints.

This is likely because TSA does not have police powers and there would be constitutional issues if they actively seized property from passengers.

So when you go through security and are found with an object that is not allowed through, there are a few different outcomes you can expect.

If you’re dealing with some type of liquid or aerosol that is not allowed then TSA will likely tell you to discard it or get you to agree to discarding it.

If you get caught with something dangerous or illegal then, depending on the severity of the infraction, TSA could refer your item and yourself to law-enforcement.

If it is just an everyday item that is not allowed but does not present a threat, then TSA should give you the ability to exit the security line and then figure out a solution.

I have seen some reports of people feeling like they don’t have the option to exit security so sometimes this option may not be presented to you as clearly as it should.

When you’re trying to figure out what to do with your object after exiting security, there are several different routes you can take including:

  • Putting the item in checked baggage
  • Delivering it to your home or a hotel via rideshare
  • Putting it back in your vehicle or giving it to a friend
  • Utilizing an airside lost and found
  • Mail it back to your house
  • Utilize an airport locker

We did an article on how to handle these situations so be sure to check out that article for more.

Common items handed over to TSA

The most common item surrendered to TSA is probably an oversized liquid.

David Holbrook, a TSA supervisor, said “the most common prohibited items seen are ‘oversized liquids,’ such as bottles of soda, water, bug spray and sunscreen.” I’d venture to guess that other toiletries like toothpaste are commonly taken as well.

Pocket knives and other small knives are also one of the most common items that are handed over (and kept). Many people just forget that they have them in their bags or they think that small knives are allowed (it’s common for other countries to allow blades under 2.3 inches).

Sharp objects like corkscrews and other prohibited tools and multi-tools are also common. Pepper spray is another pretty common object that gets taken although sometimes it gets through and was even once released in the cabin!

Where the items go after they are in TSA’s possession

So what happens to all of the objects that are voluntarily abandoned to TSA? Where exactly do they end up?

Well, first let’s be clear that these items do not end up with TSA officers.

TSA has a strict policy against allowing agents to take these objects home and TSA is not allowed to profit off of them.

Instead, TSA will collect all of the items that are surrendered and and then probably ship them to a warehouse where the ownership is transferred to the state. (Unclaimed Lost and Found items may be included in the shipment as well.)

The state can then choose to do whatever it wants with them. Typically, this would mean donating the items or putting them in some type of surplus auction, where they could be sold at a fraction of the price of their value.

Sometimes, the items to be donated go to a local county police department. For example, things like knives, guns, gun parts, ammunition, tasers, etc. could be given to a local police force or even the military.

I’ve heard that pepper spray could also be given to police but others report that these items are disposed of along with other flammable items, such as hairspray.

Sometimes schools could be in the running to receive certain items like scissors or other supplies that they could put to use.

When donating is not an option or not desired, the object will be sent to a state agency as surplus property and then could end up on one of the auction websites like:

On the Public Surplus website, you can use the category filter for airports to see items taken from airports. You could also use the select region filter to filter down your results to whichever airport you were traveling through. (The few times I’ve checked the website for airport listings, it’s been a pretty short list.)

GSA Auctions also has a similar feature so that you can filter results down by state but note some only use GSA Auctions for federal personal property.

On GovDeals you can search by location or by category including for specific items like knives.

GovDeals screen

Different states may have specific eBay accounts that they use to sell the items. So, for example in the past if you were looking for an item taken from an Oregon airport, the eBay seller account was: oregontrail2000.

Other times, a seller may have purchased items from TSA and could be reselling (flipping) the items so the seller could be just your average eBay user. If that’s the case, then chances are you may not be getting as good of a deal as you could find when buying directly from a surplus account.

To find items on eBay search for things like “TSA confiscated knives” and you should see a lot of different results pop up. Like the other auction sites, lots of times you will find items sold in bulk but you can also find individual items or smaller group listings.

ebay listings

Is it possible to track down your item on an auction site?

These auctions mean that in theory you could check these websites after you have surrendered an item to TSA and possibly retrieve it.

However, I would not count on this working because of a few reasons.

First, as already mentioned, it’s possible your item could be donated to any number of agencies, including the military or different police forces. If that happens, the only way you’re getting that item back as if you have some serious connections and inside knowledge.

Second, it’s possible that the TSA or state agency just doesn’t see value in your item and could have chosen to throw it away. Or, it could’ve just got lost in the process somewhere.

Third, as evidenced by the photos seen above your item could also be sold in “bulk.”

So your single pocket knife could be dropped in a lot of 30+ other small knives. The auction sites usually have photos but your knife may not even be featured (or visible) in the photo of the bulk listing. Or worse, the auction site might just be using a generic photo of knives for that listing.

Sometimes the surplus items could end up offline and in a surplus retail store and in that case, you would have to know what retail stores to look for.

A cluster of airports in a given state may all use the same surplus retail store so you could narrow down your search to a single physical store. But because items can be consolidated to one shop that means you could be forced to drive several hours to get to that store.

For example, in Texas surplus items could end up at a retail store in Austin even if those objects were taken from airports in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. Unless they have inventory available on a real time basis on their website, you could be driving several hours only to waste your time!

How do I know TSA agents are not stealing my item?

In the past, TSA agents have been busted for stealing items.

As disappointing as that is, it should not be a shock given the size of the TSA organization and how many interactions they have on a daily basis. In short, there are always going to be some bad apples.

However, when it comes to items “confiscated” by TSA, I do think that the odds of TSA agents stealing something are probably pretty low. This is mostly because the value of the items taken by TSA security checkpoints is typically not going to be very high.

So the risk to reward ratio would not be worth it for a lot of TSA agents. I mean, I could see someone stealing an iPad for a quick win but risking a job for a $15 pocket knife? That wouldn’t make as much sense. Could it still happen? Of course, but I don’t think it would be very common.

Final word

TSA does not have police powers which prevents them from being able to seize property in the same way that law-enforcement could.

For this reason, they get passengers to voluntarily abandon their property at security checkpoints when the item is not allowed through or the passenger does not have an alternative.

Once the property is in TSA’s possession, they hand it over to the state who then can donate it, dispose of it, or sell it at a retail surplus store or online auction.

While it is technically possible to track down your item after it is confiscated, your odds of successfully doing this are probably very low due to a multitude of factors.

What Happens if Your Item Is Not Allowed Through TSA Security? Can You Get It Back?

Even experienced travelers sometimes find themselves about to go through airport security with something that is not allowed.

If this ever happens to you, you may be wondering what your options are. Is there any way for you to get reunited with your item or will you have to say goodbye to the item for good?

Below, we will break down a few different options that you have whenever you can’t get an item through airport security.

What happens if your item is not allowed through TSA security?

Typically, unless you proactively hand something over, the way you get caught with an item that is not allowed is when your baggage goes through the x-ray scanner or you walk through the full body scanner or metal detector.

If something is flagged, an agent will then search your bags or your person for the prohibited items and if your item is not allowed through TSA security, a TSA agent may take the following actions:

  • Refer the item and possibly yourself to law enforcement (for some dangerous or illegal items)
  • Allow you to discard or surrender the item
  • Allow you to exit the security line with your item and figure something out

There are some reports of TSA agents forcibly making people give things up and not giving them the third option (to exit security). But unless there is something dangerous or illegal about the item, that should not happen in most cases.

Your options for keeping your item

There are different methods that you can use to keep your item or get reunited with it later on.

These methods include:

  • Handing the item over to TSA and then hunting it down on an auction website
  • Sending the item off in checked baggage
  • Returning home or placing the item in your vehicle or in another person’s vehicle
  • Using a rideshare service to deliver your item
  • Turning in your item into the lost and found and hoping for the best
  • Putting your item in an airport locker
  • Mailing the item back to yourself

All of these come with their own pros and cons and we will dive into the risks of each of these below!

Note: The options available to you will depend on the airport you’re at and the type of item you are trying to save but it’s good to be aware of all of these different routes, even if some of them are a bit more risky (and unconventional) than others.

Hand over your item to TSA and then try to hunt it down

Unlike law-enforcement, TSA does not really have the authority to confiscate an item. Instead, when they take (or receive) an item from a passenger they refer to it as “voluntarily abandoned property.”

In reality, the passenger may not have any other choice than to hand over the items so “voluntarily” is a bit of a misleading term in a lot of cases.

But often the only option you will have when an item cannot get through airport security with you is to simply hand it over to TSA.

Once it is in TSA’s possession, they will take different actions depending on the type of substance.

If it’s a prohibited liquid they will probably just instantly dispose of it. If it’s a weapon or some other type of illegal object, it could be referred to law-enforcement (along with yourself).

But if it is just your every day item that is not illegal, TSA will hand it over to a state surplus and it could eventually end up on one of the auction sites like GovDeals.

This means that in theory you could track down your item by browsing new items that fall under that specific category. I wouldn’t count on this working though and would consider this more of a Hail Mary attempt.

Head back to the check-in counter

Another option you have is to head back over to the baggage check-in counter to send your item via checked baggage.

First, you need to make sure that you have enough time to actually get back over to the counter, wait in line, and then go back through security.

Second, you need to think about baggage fees. If you have status or certain credit cards, you may be able to check a bag for free so this may not be an issue but you’ll definitely want to be aware of the prices.

Most likely you will just be asking them to check your carry-on or personal item bag which means that you will want to remove certain items like laptops or other valuables from your carry-on when you do this. You will then just take those items with you through the security checkpoint.

You might be wondering if you can check your item without having to hand over your carry-on bag. In other words, what happens when you don’t have a bag to put your item in?

Let’s say that you had a bottle of contact solution not allowed in your carry-on, could you simply check that bottle by itself?

This actually introduces a pretty interesting question that we don’t necessarily know the answer to because there is not a lot of information published on this question.

There are examples out there of people checking very small items like a single shoe so it does seem possible.

However, if you’re trying to check a single item that could potentially cause damage like a pocket knife or something that could come apart like a blender then that is probably a very different story.

Some airlines may be willing to work with you, especially if they have materials (tape, etc.) that can make it practical to send your item off.

Others might just look at you like you are crazy, though.

Head back home or to a vehicle

Another option is to head back home if you have enough time or just head back to your vehicle or a friend’s car and place the item in a vehicle.

For example, you can have the person dropping you off at the airport simply hang out in the cell phone parking lot waiting for you to successfully get through security.

If you’re not cutting things close with time this is definitely a good option to think about.

Use a ride share service

If you have enough time you could go to the pick up area of the airport and request a rideshare such as an Uber or Lyft.

Sometimes you may have access to something like Uber Connect which is specifically designed for deliveries but you could possibly even use the standard Uber service for this.

Basically what you would do is request a driver and then tell them that you have a package that needs to be delivered back to your home or to another person’s house.

If you were staying at a nearby hotel, especially a quality hotel with good service, you could arrange for it to be delivered to the hotel and they will likely take care of it until you get back. Or, they could even mail it to you.

When using a rideshare for a delivery, you might be able to convince the driver to just leave the item in a mailbox or on the doorstep but it’s probably better to have someone designated to pick up the package.

It’s possible that an Uber driver may not be comfortable doing this, may not know what to do, if it is allowed, etc.

So be prepared to potentially meet some resistance if you try to go this route. The promise of a good tip can work wonders.

Give it to the lost and found

This option is definitely a bit risky and falls into a gray area but it’s pretty clever.

After you are told you can’t bring your item through security, you could exit the airport security area and head over to the airport lost and found and submit the item as lost.

Obviously, if this item is very valuable to you, you may not want to do this method because you may never see the object again.

And if the item is a dangerous prohibited item like a weapon, you almost certainly will not see that object again.

But if you don’t have any other options then this could give you a chance to get reunited with something like a prohibited battery or certain toiletries.

Basically, after you submit the item to Lost and Found then you would contact the airport and tell them that you lost that specific item and file a claim.

If you’re doing a roundtrip then on your way back through the airport you could simply stop by the lost and found and hopefully pick it up free of charge. Other times, you could get the airport to send you the item but you will probably have to pay for shipping.

To increase your odds of being successful you may want to try the lost and found at an airport lounge if you have access to one because they may be looking out for their guests better than the standard airport lost and found.

Related: TSA Lost and Found Guide: (How to Get Your Items Back)

Put it in an airport locker

Some airports have lockers that you can store items in.

Typically, these are for people who are exiting the airport on a layover but I would guess that you may be able to do overnight storage for multiple days.

Even if you only can store an object for a few hours, that could give you enough time to ask someone to come by and pick up the item. These rates can be expensive sometimes so you may only want to go this route for items that are truly valuable.

Mail the item back to yourself

Some airports have a service you can find called Airport Mailers. This allows you to mail items back to your home for only a small-fish postage fee.

Basically, you just fill out a form with your contact and shipping information, provide credit card details, and then submit the form along with your item in a package to be mailed.

There are a few caveats, though.

One, your item is probably going to have to be pretty small and fit within a 6″ by 9″ pouch. So this isn’t going be the time to mail video game systems, blenders, etc.

Certain items are not allowed in postage and these can include things like weapons, ammunition, batteries, flammable liquids, and explosives.

So typically if you use the service you would be mailing things back like:

  • Knives
  • Scissors
  • Leatherman Tools
  • Lighters
  • Liquids

The price for each item is going to change depending on what type of item it is.

The fees for shipping start around eight dollars but can be much higher for liquids which could be around $20. You will be able to send certain items to international destinations but be prepared for higher fees.

Final word

Finding out that you cannot get your item through airport security can be a frustrating and stressful experience. But, you might have hope of getting reunited with that item if you try out some of the methods above.

Some of these will be worth it based on the value of your item but other times it may just be worth departing from your item and paying for a new replacement.

Bringing Lotion on a Plane: TSA’s Rules for Staying Moisturized

It’s not uncommon to get pretty dehydrated when traveling.

It could be because you have limited water intake or because you are traveling into dry environments like the cabin of a plane or perhaps to a low humidity destination like the desert.

Either way, you likely will want to travel with some lotion to keep your skin in good condition.

But is it possible to bring lotion on a plane and are there any risks of things happening like the bottle exploding?

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at traveling with lotion and give some insight into how TSA deals with it.

Can you bring lotion on the plane?

Yes, you can bring lotion on a plane.

If you plan on bringing lotion in your carry-on, you need to abide by the TSA liquids rule. Also, whether you are bringing lotion in your carry-on or checked bag you should take steps to prevent spills in the event your bottles of lotion explode.

Keep reading below for some tips and insight into how to avoid exploding lotion and how to keep the passengers nearby happy!

Someone dispensing lotion from bottle

Important: Getting through airport security with lotion

Before we get into taking lotion bottles through airport security, we should mention something very important about wearing lotion when traveling to the airport.

It’s a good idea to not apply any lotion before you head to the airport. In fact, if you can, try to wait until after you get through airport security to apply lotion on the day of your travel.

The reason for this is that lots of lotions contain glycerin which is one of the chemicals that can set off the alarms whenever you get “swabbed.”

What does it mean to get swabbed?

One way that TSA agents try to keep passengers safe is by detecting whether or not passengers have come into contact with explosive materials. And one of the ways that they do this is by taking samples from the hands of passengers as well as their luggage contents.

If that sample contains traces of explosives, then the passenger will likely be subject to questioning and perhaps even a much more invasive search. That invasive search could involve a pat down and more swabbing which could take an extra 20 minutes or longer.

When going through airport security, you don’t always get swabbed but if you applied lotion containing glycerin on the day of your travels, there is a chance you would test positive if you got swabbed!

You can read more about what it’s like to get swabbed at the airport here.

If you’re curious about what type of brands may contain glycerin, here are some examples:

  • Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion
  • Neutrogena The Transparent Facial Bar
  • Raw + Rare Vegetable Glycerin
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
  • Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment
  • Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer
  • Glossier Soothing Face Mist
  • Exuviance Targeted Lip Filler
  • Aveeno Calm + Restore Triple Oat Serum
  • Fenty Skin Hydra’Reset Intensive Recovery Hand Mask
  • Hanni Shave Pillow
  • La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Eye Cream

Just note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Bringing lotion as a carry-on (TSA liquids rule)

TSA allows you to bring liquids like lotion on board as long as they are contained within a container no larger than 3.4 fluid ounces or (100 mL) and all of those containers can fit comfortably inside of one clear quart sized bag.

You will need to remove this bag from your carry-on bag when going through the security checkpoint unless you have TSA Pre-Check.

This procedure for dealing with your liquids is known as the TSA Liquids 3-1-1 Rule

Something super important to know about lotions is that the focus on the 3.4 ounces is on the size of the container and NOT the amount of liquid inside the container.

It’s really easy to find travel bottles of lotion under 3.4 ounces so it shouldn’t be a problem to get a container of lotion that can go with you.

Also, if you’d like you can pour your own lotion into a 3.4 ounce travel container.

One exception I should mention is that if you have medically necessary lotion, that container can be larger than 3.4 ounces due to the medical exception.

It will help if you can bring your prescription or if the prescription is attached to the bottle (although prescriptions are not always necessary to show for TSA).

Sometimes you can still get resistance from TSA with oversized liquids so if it’s possible to just pour some of that prescribed lotion into a smaller container, that might make your life a lot easier when getting through security.

Flying with lotion in the cabin (applying it mid-flight)

If you bring bottled lotion with you on the plane — whether that be hand cream, face lotion, or any other type — you need to be extremely careful about applying that lotion during a flight.

Brad once had a passenger next to him open a bottle of lotion and it actually exploded all over the passengers in his row!

So there are a couple of things you can do to avoid this.

First, while you are still on the ground you can open up the lid of the container and then squeeze the sides so that you let out a lot of air.

Keep the sides of the bottle squeezed as you close it so that the bottle looks a bit “deformed.”

As you increase in altitude and the cabin pressure increases, the air inside the bottle will have room to expand, reducing the odds of an explosion.

The next thing you can do is to use a small bag (probably the same bag you use for your liquids) to cover the lid of that lotion bottle while you open it. You can also place the bottle in the bag down below your seat when you do this.

This way, if you did cause an explosion it would be contained and you would not have to deal with the consequences of shooting lotion all over a bunch of strangers.

Another bit of advice is to try to avoid applying lotion with strong scents on planes.

When on a plane, lots of passengers don’t care for strong smells from things like perfume, lotion, etc. If you can, try to find lotion that has no scent as that is the most considerate option.

This story below kind of contradicts the advice above but it’s kind of funny and worth sharing.

Back to the story about Brad getting lotion spilled on him….

He was flying in a packed economy cabin on that flight and someone had been passing gas very bad for hours whenever the lotion was spilled on him.

That lotion actually did have a strong fragrance and so Brad was actually thankful that the lotion had been spilled on him so that he didn’t have to deal with the bad odor!

So I guess there is a welcomed circumstance for some strong scented lotions.

Amenity kit with lotion bottles
Amenity kits on premium flights often contain lotions, such as eye cream.

Bringing lotion in your checked baggage

Bringing lotion in your checked baggage is much easier to do. Your bottle will not be subject to the 3.4 ounces rule so you could bring a much larger container of lotion.

It would still be a good idea to bag or better yet double bag your lotion bottle so that if it leaks or explodes, all of the mess will be contained. You can also utilize the trick mentioned above about letting air out of the bottle.

And finally, consider putting the bagged lotion bottle into a separate compartment in your checked baggage so that it won’t leak into all of your clothes if the bag barrier was broken.

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

Final word

You can definitely bring lotion on a plane but you need to abide by the liquids rule if you are taking it as a carry-on.

Furthermore, you should take precautions to avoid your lotion exploding on the plane by squeezing the air out of the bottle and by bagging the container up.

Be extra mindful when applying lotion in a flight so that you avoid your bottle exploding and you don’t force passengers to deal with strong scents.

TSA Swabbing at Airport Security: What Is It and How to Avoid False Alarms

If you’ve done a lot of flying, chances are that when going through TSA security you have experienced a good swab or two.

Whether it was your hands or baggage that was swabbed, you may have been curious about what exactly is going on and what are they trying to detect?

Is it drugs, bombs, or is it all just a bunch of security theater?

In this article, we will clear up the confusion about swabbing at airport security and give you some tips on how to deal with it and potentially avoid setting off a false alarm.

Why is TSA swabbing your hands and bags at airport security?

TSA will swab the hands of passengers as well as their luggage in order to detect traces of dangerous explosives.

When people are dealing with explosive materials, their body and/or belongings will often have very tiny traces of particles or residue of explosives still on them. So TSA uses different methods to detect those microscopic traces in order to screen out passengers who could have intent to do serious harm.

This is the process known as explosive trace detection (ETD) which unfortunately is not a perfect system. Below, we will go into more detail and talk about the shortcomings of the system and how you can deal with them.

When did TSA begin swabbing passengers?

TSA had been swabbing luggage for traces of explosives for a long time but after the failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, they soon started to swab the hands of passengers.

(That bombing attempt did not end well for him and he is currently serving four life sentences in a super max.)

Different reasons you might get swabbed by TSA

TSA does not have the resources or the time to swab every passenger so only a certain subset of people will get swabbed.

Suspicious items in your luggage

A common reason that you could be swabbed is that something in your baggage triggers a further inspection. This is often the case if you have a suspicious looking item in your luggage.

This could be some type of electronic or it could be a rare household item like a collapsible tea kettle that just looks strange in the x-ray machine.

You appear nervous or suspicious

If a TSA agent believes that you appear suspicious while waiting in line they could order a swab.

While TSA does not publish a lot of data on how they go about doing this, common sense would dictate that agents would be looking for people who look extra nervous or like they are up to something in order to subject them to more screening.

You refuse the full body scanner

Another reason why you could get swabbed is if you declined to go through the full body scanner. In that case, you will likely be subject to a pat down and could also get swabbed.

Randomly selected

It’s also possible that you could be randomly selected for additional screening.

This could happen without warning or you could see it coming based on your boarding pass. For example, if you had SSSS on your boarding pass then you will have to go through the enhanced screening process which will require swabbing.

When going through the security checkpoint, you’ll usually know that swabbing is coming whenever your bin or bag is removed from the main conveyor belt. The agent will ask who owns the bag and will call you over to where the screening will take place.


If you are traveling with a pet, you will likely have to get your hands swabbed.

Medical equipment

TSA states that “officers may swab an individual’s hands, mobility aids, equipment and other external medical devices to test for explosives using explosives trace detection technology.”

If you have mobility issues you can always request to have the procedure done while you are being seated to make yourself more comfortable.

How does TSA swabbing work?

Once you have been designated for swabbing, you will likely be directed to walk over to a certain spot at the checkpoint. You will then be asked to hold out your palms and your luggage will likely be set aside on the counter to be swabbed as well.

This can feel uncomfortable and be a bit stressful but if you have nothing to hide, chances are nothing is going to happen and you will be on your way shortly. So just try to follow directions as much as you can.

TSA agents wearing nitrile gloves could use different materials to swab but you will often find them using a fabric swab (perhaps made of teflon coated fiberglass) attached to a wand but sometimes the swabs can be used by hand.

The agents will swab your hands and then will often also swab your luggage contents. It’s not uncommon for electronics like phones, cameras, and laptops to get swabbed but they can also swab your clothing, shoes — pretty much anything.

The TSA agent swabbing your body or your bags has to be very careful to apply just the right amount of pressure to the swab. In fact, despite how easy the swabbing process might look, quite a bit of training goes into showing TSA agents how to properly get a sample.

Depending on the material, TSA could use the same swab up to around 10 times but after a certain point it will become unusable. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus and worries about spreading viruses, TSA gave direction to replace the swab every single time.

(It’s not clear to me if they still have that requirement given how attitudes have changed regarding the pandemic.)

Once TSA has the sample, the sample goes into the ETD instrument.

Typically the instrument uses ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) to get a reading on what the substance is.

IMS works by ionizing the sample and turning a liquid or solid sample into gas particles. Those particles are then sent through a drift tube via an electric field. A detector then records how long it took those ions to get through the drift tube and compares it to other drift times in the library.

Larger ions have more collisions and move slower so these libraries can break down the drift times based on the size and shape of the ions.

TSA has shown interest in moving to mass spectrometry which could be more accurate but is more difficult to build (and to scale) in a small package.

There are also other ways to accomplish EDT but so we don’t get bogged down into the science, let’s get back to the process…..

Once the sample swab is submitted into the detection instrument, it is then compared to a vast library of different chemicals, which only takes a few seconds to happen thanks to powerful algorithms.

If there is a match then the alarm will be triggered. You’ll see a red light come on and hear the dreaded “beep.”

For security purposes, TSA does not release exactly which chemicals they are testing when they check for explosives.

However, to keep your browser search history squeaky clean we have included some possible candidates below:

  • Cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine
  • Cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramin
  • Otoluene
  • Pentacrythrite tetranitrate (PETN)
  • Ammonium nitrate/fuel oil (ANFO)
  • Trinitrotoluene (TNT)
  • Nitroglycerine (NG)
  • Nitrates
  • Trinitrophenylmethylnitramine
  • Semtex

If the machine detects traces of an explosive substance, an agent may want to do a second sample to verify that this was not simply a false positive.

After this, you will likely be questioned and depending on your answers and the results of your test, you could be told to go freely about your business or you could be taken to a screening room for an invasive screening.

TSA agents are aware that honest, hard-working people sometimes test positive for explosives so this should not be a “walk of shame” as you head to a screening room. However, it can be difficult to not feel that way.

During the screening process, you could be thoroughly pat down (by a member of the same sex/gender I believe). Your bags could be completely unpacked and every item inspected closely, perhaps getting more swab treatment.

This process could easily add 15 to 20 minutes or possibly longer to your journey through the airport which is why it helps to get there early.

Common items that can trigger the alarm when swab testing

Unfortunately, the explosive trace detection systems can be triggered even when someone has not been in close contact with explosives or does not have any intent to inflict damage.

There are quite a few different scenarios where you could come into contact with something that could set off the alarm and here are some of those.

Products with glycerin

Glycerin can set off the testing machines and unfortunately glycerin is found in a lot of common products.

You can find this in a lot of lotions, certain make up products, soaps, laundry detergents, shaving creams, baby wipes, etc. There are also lots of other products that could contain glycerin.

For some of these products, the odds of you testing positive go up when you use them just before heading through security. For that reason, you should try to wait until after you get through security to apply lotion or any other potentially suspect product.


If you are a farmer, gardener, or just someone who was randomly exposed to certain fertilizers, those can leave behind traces of molecules that will test positive for explosives, especially if the detection instruments use thermo redox.


Nitroglycerine pills, used for heart conditions like angina, are allowed by TSA but it’s possible that you could trigger the alarm if you were handling them.

Fireworks and pyrotechnics

If you’ve ever done fireworks for New Year’s Eve or the Fourth of July, and then flown shortly after there’s a chance that you could have tested positive for explosives due to having gun powder residue on you or your luggage contents.

Incendiary munitions, accelerants, firearms, etc.

Sometimes you could be dealing with guns, ammunition, and explosives for some type of training.

This can be really common for military personnel and also police officers, firefighters, etc. If you are dealing with these things, there is a high chance that you would not pass an explosive detection test.

In those cases, the organization you are training with could reach out to TSA at the local airport and let them know that trainees will be going through with explosives residue.

You will still need to show that your name is on a certain list but it could make your time going through the security checkpoint easier.

Machines in need of maintenance?

One thing about these ETD Machines is that they do require maintenance in order to function properly. If a machine has not been properly maintained, it could be more prone to false positives.

So in some cases, you may not have any of the substances above on you but you could still trigger the alarm simply because the machine is not working properly.

Smoking cigarettes?

Some people claim that they have triggered the swab alarm after smoking cigarettes.

I’m not sure if that happens often but you might want to put off smoking cigarettes until after you get through security (assuming the airport has a smoking area).

Do the TSA swabs detect illegal drugs?

One concern that people have is whether or not the swabs will detect illegal drug use.

We know that TSA does not focus on busting people for using drugs. A TSA agent is focused on detecting dangers such as explosives and not on whether or not you are traveling with marijuana or some other drugs.

Also, there could be constitutional concerns if these swabs were used to detect drug use (i.e., used for non-security purposes).

With that said, we know that these type of chemical detection tests can be designed to detect narcotics.

Typically, whenever you see tests like this being used to discover narcotics in a US airport they are being used by US Customs and Border Protection to inspect passengers, luggage, or packages coming into the US.

So I suspect that TSA swabbing is not set up to bust people that have come into contact with drugs.

BUT it is worth noting that whenever you encounter chemical swab testing, there’s always a chance that it could be designed to pick up chemicals related to illegal drugs. This is especially true when traveling through other countries that are known for cracking down on drugs.

Are they swabbing for DNA?

Some people are really worried about their personal security when they are swabbed on their hands.

Their worry is that their DNA is being collected and stored but that is not happening at the security checkpoint. Also, the swab is not used to detect viruses whether that be coronavirus or any other virus.

Related: Can Airlines Refuse To Serve Sick Passengers?

Does TSA always rely on swabbing?

You may not always be swabbed as TSA has contemplated utilizing different methods for explosive trace testing.

For example, they have entertained using contactless methods involving lasers or other methods like moving air particles around. New methods will always require a lot of testing so they may not be used in practice for quite a while.

But it’s feasible that in the foreseeable future swabbing may become more of a rare and obsolete practice.

Why am I always getting swabbed at the airport?

If you’re somebody that’s always getting swabbed by TSA then consider a couple of things.

First, you might be traveling with an object that looks strange in an x-ray machine.

Think about any weirdly shaped items you travel with such as electronics or even certain types of vapes. Traveling with powders can also raise questions.

Second, if you have SSSS on your boarding pass then your name might be in a government database causing you to get enhanced screening. You can apply for a redress number which can potentially remove your name from that list so that you will not get enhanced searches any longer.

Another possibility is that you give off nervous vibes. Some people just can’t help but to look suspicious when they go through security and that can raise red flags. Try to relax and just remind yourself that you are not doing anything illegal.

And finally, maybe you have just had some bad luck and you need to give it a few more tries before you start to worry.

Final word

For most people, getting swabbed at airport security is not a major hassle and it won’t affect your travels much.

However, if you have traces of explosives on you or in your belongings then you could be subject to a much more invasive screening that could take up a considerable amount of time.

So try to think ahead and avoid wearing certain items or exposing yourself to certain substances if possible before you head to the airport.

Additional Sources:

TSA Approved Gun Case & Ammunition Guide [2023]

Are you thinking about bringing your guns/firearms and/or ammunition through the airport and on to your next destination? If so, there are some specific TSA rules related to traveling with guns that you need to know about  before you ever set foot in an airport. In this article, I break down all the rules for TSA approved gun cases and also provide you with links to all of the firearm policies for the major US airlines. 

Can you bring firearms through the airport? 

Yes, you may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container but as checked baggage only. Some of the things to keep in mind are that the guns need to be unloaded and the container needs to: 

  • Have a lock
  • Be hard-sided
  • Transported with checked baggage

Keep reading below for more details on the rules.

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

Firearm transport restrictions: 8 things to know 

1. State and local laws 

When traveling to and from the airport, remember to comply with the laws concerning possession of firearms since these can differ a lot, depending on the city, state, etc. For a list of relevant laws pertaining to traveling with guns in every state click here

2. What is a “firearm?”

It’s a good idea to check with your airline to see what exactly is considered a firearm if you are on the fence. For example, here’s the definition of firearm provided by Alaska Airlines: 

A “firearm” is any weapon that will, or is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, or the frame or receiver of any such weapon. This includes:

  • Sporting rifles, shotguns, and handguns
  • Handguns of authorized law enforcement officers while traveling on official duty
  • Starter pistols, compressed air or BB guns, and flare pistols
  • Antique firearms
  • Silencers/suppressors

Notice that even BB guns fall under this category. If you have a paintball gun they might not be subject to the container requirements. For example, Southwest states that “[p]aintball guns are allowed in checked baggage and are not subject to the container requirements of firearms.” Just check with your airline if you are in doubt. 

Relate: Can You Bring Pepper Spray on a Plane?

3. International travel with firearms

If you are traveling internationally with a firearm in checked baggage, you should check with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for information and requirements prior to travel.

Here’s what the CBP states

Current export regulations issued by the Department of State require travelers to file Electronic Export Information (EEI) for temporary export of personally owned firearms via the Automated Export System (AES) prior to departure from the United States.

You will likely need to complete a CBP Form 4457. Once the CBP 4457 is completed, it can be used over and over again for the same firearm. You also want to get familiar with the import requirements of the foreign country(s) (the CBP Form 4457 may be required for entry). For more on international firearm travel regulations click here

US Customs and Border Protection form.
US Customs and Border Protection form.

4. Firearm must be unloaded 

When you are traveling with your firearm through an airport, it must be unloaded. 49 CFR 1540.5 defines what a loaded firearm is and states that:

Loaded firearm means a firearm that has a live round of ammunition, or any component thereof, in the chamber or cylinder or in a magazine inserted in the firearm.

Some also recommend locking the slide back to show that the gun is not loaded. But just make sure that the gun is not loaded or you could face some harsh consequences like getting fined or even criminal consequences.

5. Choosing a container and lock

Firearms must be unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container and transported as checked baggage only. Sometimes multiple locks may be required or used to secure the baggage. (You are usually NOT required to place locks in every available hole on the case, as long as the case is secure.)

Only the passenger should retain the key or the combination to the firearm lock. The exception to this is if TSA personnel request the key to open the firearm pursuant to TSA regulations for inspection. This means that you need to be on alert as you make your way through the terminals just in case your are paged by airport agents that they need to inspect your container after you have checked it. 

You may use any brand or type of lock to secure your firearm case. I would not go with a container that has a “TSA approved” lock on it (the type of lock that TSA agents can open up), since you want to avoid as much potential tampering with your firearm as possible.  

Here are some links to TSA compliant firearm containers, many of which are on the cheaper side. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use a “firearm” case. Any hard-sided case that can be securely locked will suffice, even if it’s not specifically designed for firearms. 

Related: TSA Approved Locks Guide (Worth It?)




Bass Pro Shops

6. Declaring your firearm (checking-in)

Once you arrive at the airport you need to declare the firearm and/or ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter (you can’t check your firearm at the curb). This process could take some extra time to complete so you don’t want to be rushing through the airport when you’re traveling with a firearm — give yourself a little bit of extra time.

You’ll have to read and sign a tag ensuring that you are complying with all the firearm regulations and then insert that tag into your firearms bag. The TSA inspection will take place at the check-in counter or may take place at another TSA area. 

The container that you choose to use must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. If the locked case can be easily opened it will not be permitted. You should note that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.

Declare each firearm each time you present it for transport as checked baggage. Ask your airline about limitations or fees that may apply. You can read the policies for each major US carrier below: 

I would recommend for you to print out/download the policy for the airline that you’re flying with to ensure that the process runs smoothly. Sometimes airline agents don’t know their own policies and will assume how things should work and you’ll have to check them which is easy to do when you have their policy on you. 

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

7. Firearm parts 

Firearm parts cannot be transported in your carry-on bags. So things like magazines, clips, bolts, and firing pins, must be transported in checked baggage. Also, replica firearms (even toys) must be transported in checked baggage only. However, rifle scopes are permitted in carry-on and checked baggage.

8. Ammunition

Ammunition is prohibited in carry-on baggage, but small arms ammunition may be transported in checked baggage when being transported securely for personal use according to 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8). 

Small arms ammunition includes cartridges up to 19.1 mm (.75 caliber) and shotgun shells of any gauge. (It does not include black powder, smokeless powder, primers, percussion caps, or homemade powder and ball loads for muzzle loading.)

Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.

You can store your small arms ammunition in the same hard-sided case as the firearm or in a secured box made up of certain materials. TSA states that, small arms ammunition “must be packaged in a fiber (such as cardboard), wood, plastic, or metal box specifically designed to carry ammunition.”

The federal regulation that speaks on this is 49 CFR 175.10 (a)(8) and it states:

(8) Small arms ammunition for personal use carried by a crewmember or passenger in checked baggage only, if securely packed in boxes or other packagings specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Ammunition clips and magazines must also be securely boxed. This paragraph does not apply to persons traveling under the provisions of 49 CFR 1544.219.

Also, you should check with your airline if ammunition is allowed in checked bags.

Related: Does TSA Check For Arrest Warrants?

The risk of getting fined by TSA

TSA can fine passengers for violating certain rules and the fines for failing to abide by the transport rules for firearms are some of the biggest penalties.

So make sure that you properly package your firearm and that it is not loaded when you arrive at the airport because that is one of the major violations.

And also, always triple check that your firearm is not in your carry-on bag because taking a firearm through airport security, especially if you have access to ammunition, could result of a hefty fine (along with referral to law-enforcement).

Firearms through the airport FAQ

What is considered a firearm?

Typically a firearm will include:

Sporting rifles, shotguns, and handguns
Handguns of authorized law enforcement officers while traveling on official duty
Starter pistols, compressed air or BB guns, and flare pistols
Antique firearms

If you have any questions, be sure to check with the airline you are flying with.

Can I bring a firearm on an international flight?

You may be able to bring your firearm on international flights in your checked baggage. However, you may have to fill out extra paperwork including a CBP Form 4457.

Does my firearm need to be unloaded?

When traveling through an airport with your firearm, it must be unloaded or you might be subjected to a large fine and/or face criminal consequences.

Can I bring ammo in my carry-on?

No, you are not allowed to bring ammunition in your carry-on.

Final word 

The rules aren’t that complex when it comes to traveling with firearms through airports. The key is to make sure you get a TSA-compliant case that has a hard shell and comes with a key lock or combination lock. Also, it’s very key to remember to unload the weapon before storing it. And if you’re planning on traveling internationally, you should do some research on the regulations in the country you’ll be arriving in. 

Can You Bring a Blender or Mixer on a Plane? Whisking it With TSA

Bringing a blender or mixer on a plane is not the most common thing you see every day.

However, sometimes people need to bring their blenders/mixers to stay healthy on the road, serve up different dishes, or perhaps deliver gifts to others.

But are blenders going to be allowed through airport security? And if you bring them in your checked baggage, is there anything you need to know?

Below, we will take a look at TSA’s rules for taking your blenders and mixers through airport security and breakdown everything you need to know.

Can you bring a blender or mixer on a plane?

You can bring blenders in your carry-on if they do not contain blades but you can bring blenders with blades in your checked baggage.

Hand mixers and KitchenAid’s are generally allowed in your carry-on and checked baggage although some sharp attachments may not be allowed in your carry-on.

Keep reading below for more details on how specific types of blenders are treated by TSA.

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


The problems with blenders

TSA allows all sorts of electronics through airport security so certain components of blenders like the motors don’t necessarily present any kind of threat.

But blenders with all of their parts and pieces intact can be problematic.

The biggest issue with blenders is that they usually contain blades. These sharp, stainless steel blades can cut through just about anything so it’s no wonder that they could be considered a threat on a plane.

If your blender contains blades the only way you can bring it through as a carry-on is if the blades are removed. Otherwise, it will always have to go in your checked baggage.

Pack blades securely in your checked baggage

When you do pack blenders in your checked baggage make sure that you take certain precautions.

First, you want to make sure that you wrap up the blades or have them secured. This is because sometimes your bag could be inspected by a TSA agent.

Blenders sometimes come in funky shapes so it would not surprise me if they ever set off the trigger for a checked baggage inspection.

If you had your blades loosely packed in your bag, a TSA agent could easily get cut up pretty bad so take precautions like wrapping the blades in newspaper or layers of cloth.

Whether you have a glass or plastic container, you also need to think about protecting your blender container so that it doesn’t get crushed, cracked or chipped.

The safest route would be to bring the container with you as a carry-on so that you can protect it yourself. For example, you could keep it on your person or place it safely under the seat in front of you between your feet (if it can fit).

Plastic containers will be able to take more abuse in your checked baggage but they can still get broken with enough force. If you plan on bringing a glass blender container, read our tips on traveling with glass to find out how to take adequate steps to protect it from breaking.

Be prepared for extra screening

If you are bringing your blender through airport security as a carry-on and you have removed the blades, it’s still possible that a TSA agent will want to take a closer look at your blender.

Again, some blenders just look odd and have weird looking components or attachments.

TSA agents are known to take a close look at anything unfamiliar so be prepared to spend a few extra minutes in security if you bring your blender through.

Related: Can You Bring Food on a Plane?

Different types of blenders and the TSA policy for each type

Blenders come in a lot of different forms and so below, I’ve broken down each type of blender you might think about bringing and what TSA has to say about them.

Hand Mixer

Handmixers are used for beating ingredients such as eggs and you can find electric versions of these which give your forearms a much-needed rest.

Bakers rejoice because these are allowed through TSA in your carry-on or checked bag because they do not contain any blades.


Immersion Blender (or Stick Blender)

These are handheld blenders that are often used to blend up soups and other hot liquids. Others may even use them for protein powder shakes or creating tasty treats like pudding.

TSA does not allow you to bring immersion blenders in your carry-on if they have the blade but they will be allowed in your checked baggage even if they have the blade.

If you have a mixer attachment those should be allowed.

Immersion blender

Single-Serve Blender

Sometimes called bullet blenders, single-serve blenders come from popular brands like NutriBullet, Ninja, and Magic Bullet.

They work great for making smoothies and chopping up ice. Plus, you can drink your smoothie straight out of the container if you want to.

TSA will not allow these to go through as a carry-on if they contain the blade but you can bring these through in your checked luggage with the blade.

Remember that if you made a smoothie, you can only bring liquid containers that hold no more than 3.4 fluid ounces so you would not be able to bring a container filled up with any amount of smoothie.

bullet blender

Portable blender

Portable blenders are similar to the personal blenders above in that they are compact and can serve up a single smoothie.

The big difference is that these are made up of a single tube, often glass that screws into the blade base and lid. BlendJet is a good example of one of these.

The extreme portability makes them great for making smoothies in your car, after a workout at the gym, or even bringing them to your workplace. They also would be perfect for travel.

TSA will not allow these to go through as a carry-on if they contain the blade but you can bring these through in your checked luggage with the blade. The blade may not be detachable for some of these so they may have to always go in your checked baggage.

Bladeless blenders

Bladeless blenders are a new invention and allow you to blend things up without having to use a blade. For example, they could use an Aer Disc, which is a disc perforated with 12 holes designed to aerate and agitate ingredients.

People will use them for delicate blends like shaking cocktails (mojitos) but they can also be used to whisk (aquafaba, meringue, or fresh whipped cream) or emulsify (hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, or aioli).

This one is a little bit of a tricky one because by their very name, these are “bladeless” blenders and so they should be allowed in your carry-on.

The problem is many TSA agents may not be familiar with these and the circular disk could still trigger them to take a second look.

Personally, I would probably travel with these in my checked luggage to avoid any issues but if you did run into trouble at the security checkpoint, you could pull up the product online and show them that it is literally a bladeless blender and so it should be allowed.

Also, you could mention that cheese graters are allowed and those, while somewhat similar in structure, would be able to inflict more damage than one of these.

Countertop blender

Countertop blenders are some of the most common types of blenders and are made by big brands like Vitamix and Kitchenaid. These are often used for drinks and smoothies.

Countertop blenders are pretty big and may have a 2L capacity so traveling with these along with their big base is not always the easiest.

That said, if you remove the blades you can take them in your carry-on and they will also be allowed in your checked baggage even with the blades. Your typical countertop blender should fit within the carry-on size dimensions for most airlines.

countertop blender

Commercial blender

Commercial blenders are those large blenders with high power that are often used by restaurants and cafés. However, some people who do frequent blending use them in the kitchen.

Popular commercial blenders would be blenders like the Vitamix 5200 and Cleanblend Blenders.

The same rules for countertop blenders would apply to commercial blenders. Basically, you could take these in your checked baggage and in your carry-on if you remove the blades.

Because these have an even bigger motor and larger build than countertop blenders, these may be even more difficult to travel with. However, they can probably still fit as a carry-on with some airlines.

For example the Vitamix 5200 has dimensions of 20.5 x 8.75 x 7.25 in. United Airlines has carry-on dimensions of 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches, so even these large blenders would fit within those dimensions.

Stand mixer

Stand mixers are super popular for baking and for that reason they are also called cake mixers. These can come with a lot of different types of attachments including mixers, dough hooks, pasta press, food grinder, grain mill and many others.

Popular brands include: KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach, and Kenwood.

The stand mixer itself can come through as a carry-on or in your checked baggage. If you bring a stand mixer as your carry-on, you need to be mindful about the carry-on size restrictions.

These can be quite bulky so it’s best to verify that they fit within the size specifications.

For example, the Pro Line® Series 7 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer has a height of 16 2/5 inches, depth of 14 3/5 inches, and a width of 13 3/10 inches but it weighs 32 pounds.

That’s pretty close to the weight limit some airlines publish for carry-ons so be mindful of that.

The attachments should not be a problem in your checked baggage but some of them could be problematic when bringing them through as a carry-on. For example, if you had a dough hook and it was pointed, TSA will not allow that.

Other attachments may just get you strange looks or enhanced security inspections so be prepared to wait extra time.

Final word

When it comes to traveling with blenders, it really just comes down to avoiding traveling with sharp objects.

As long as you have the blades removed, you can bring your blender through as a carry-on and while some are pretty large, for the most part they still should comply with carry-on size requirements for airlines.

Blenders with blades can always go in your checked baggage but you just need to be mindful about how you pack so that you don’t risk exposing a TSA agent to a sharp blade.

And finally, we’re going through airport security don’t be surprised if you get questioned about your blender especially if it looks peculiar or is a new product TSA has not seen before.

TSA Marijuana Rules Explained (Flying with Weed) [2023]

Laws regarding marijuana are quickly changing around the US. But what does this mean for flying and getting through TSA airport security?

There is a lot to consider on the topic but it’s not as complex as you might think if you break it all down the right way. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about TSA’s rules on marijuana and how to fly sky high with weed.

What are TSA’s rules on marijuana?

TSA is not actively looking for marijuana when you go through airport security.

However, if they discover that you have marijuana they may refer you to local law-enforcement. Depending on the state and local laws, you could be subject to criminal prosecution, have your stash confiscated, or simply not face any consequences.

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

Marijuana in jar

TSA’s purpose

TSA stands for “Transportation Security Administration” and the purpose is to “strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce.”

TSA is concerned about dangerous threats such as explosives and not with enforcing laws and penal codes. This is why they do not check for arrest warrants.

So TSA agents are not actively going to search your carry-on bag or personal item for marijuana.

That should make you feel a little bit better if you were planning on bringing marijuana on a plane but you still need to understand that you can still get busted for marijuana even in states that have legalized it.

Keep reading below for more.

The federal status of marijuana

Marijuana with over 0.3% THC is a “Schedule I” drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and illegal to possess.

So trying to get it through airport security (which is controlled by federal employees) can still be very problematic.

The official TSA stance on marijuana (including medical marijuana) is this:

Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law [. . .] TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities. 

“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.

So TSA officers are required to report violations of the law and it is explicitly stated that they will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. What exactly happens when you get referred depends on the state laws and local laws/ordinances of the airport.

Related: Can You Bring CBD on a Plane?

Airport policies

Airports have different rules about carrying marijuana within the airport.

LAX provides a pretty good explanation of how things currently stand:

As of January 1, 2018, California law allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption. With the change in state law, the policy and procedures of the Los Angeles Airport Police Division (APD) regarding marijuana were updated to reflect this change.

APD officers, who are California Peace Officers, have no jurisdiction to arrest individuals if they are complying with state law. However, airport guests should be aware that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening stations are under federal jurisdiction. Also, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

This gives us some guidance to understand how things currently work.

Airport police

First, some airports such as LAX make it 100% legal to possess certain quantities of marijuana within the airport and state that airport police do not have jurisdiction to arrest travelers so long as they are complying with the laws on marijuana possession.

Airports in New York recently made it legal to possess weed at their airports as well.

So if you were just walking through the airport terminal with weed in your pocket you would not be breaking the law or subject to being arrested.

But note that some states where marijuana is legal still have airports that ban marijuana within the airport.

This is the case at Denver International Airport (DEN) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, which has an ordinance banning possession.

At these airports you may find so-called “amnesty boxes” which are designed for you to drop your marijuana products into before heading through the airport.

If you are hyperventilating about getting arrested it might be a good idea to go ahead and drop your goods in such a box (or perhaps just drop them in the trash more discreetly).

However, it doesn’t seem that a lot of travelers actually use them.

TSA screening stations

The tricky part is that the TSA screening stations are under federal jurisdiction (or at least abide by federal laws). So when you are transporting marijuana through a TSA security station you are arguably in violation of federal law.

The policy mentioned above of referring you to law-enforcement comes into play here.

At airports like LAX in California, you would expect airport police to simply allow you to fly with your weed assuming you are within the limits allowed.

If you are above those limits you could be charged with drug trafficking so it is a line that you absolutely need to pay attention to so that you don’t cross it.

In places where marijuana is prohibited, getting referred to law-enforcement could mean getting ticketed or arrested.

Related: TSA Rules for Bringing Lighters on Planes

State laws

Finally, there is the consideration of state laws.

If you were flying from LAX to a state like Texas where marijuana is not legal the big consideration would be that once you land any possession of marijuana is illegal. So if for some reason your checked baggage was inspected in Texas and they found marijuana, you would be in violation of the law.

According to TSA reps, TSA agents do not factor in the legality of marijuana in the state you are in or the state you’re headed to. To them, it’s all the same. I doubt it plays out like that in practice, though.

Would an agent living in a state where marijuana is legal be as inclined to refer someone to law-enforcement as an agent living in a state where it is illegal?

I doubt it.

Related: Which states have legalized marijuana

The key questions to ask

Many admit that the current status of marijuana laws in air travel is a bit of a tangled mess.

States and airports have different policies and TSA agents have different inclinations in how they handle their “discovery” of marijuana. Therefore, it is really hard to guarantee how each case will play out.

But I would boil it down to answering the following three questions:

  • Has the state you are departing from legalized marijuana?
  • Are you within the state’s legal limits of personal possession of marijuana (quantity and age)?
  • Does the airport allow passengers to posses marijuana?

If the answer to all three of these questions is “yes,” you should not have to worry about getting arrested or your weed getting confiscated when going through airport security.

There still is the issue that when flying you are subject to federal jurisdiction so technically it is still illegal to bring marijuana on a plane but as long as you are not toking up during take-off (or in a lavatory) that should not be an issue.

If you answer “no” to any of those questions above there is always a risk you could be arrested.

Also, if the destination you are landing at has not legalized marijuana there could be a problem if you or your bag is searched there.

Related: Can You Smoke Weed in a Hotel Room?

thc gummies

What can happen when you get caught with marijuana at the airport

If you were bringing weed through airport security there are a number of different things that could happen (or not happen).

Nothing happens

A lot of people head through airport security every day and a lot of them have some type of marijuana with them. Yet, nothing at all happens. It’s entirely possible that you could get through airport security without any issues whatsoever.

Get referred to law enforcement and nothing happens

It’s possible that a TSA agent could discover that you have marijuana and report you to a law enforcement officer only for that officer to basically say that it is okay for you to fly with marijuana.

Marijuana gets disposed

If a TSA agent discovers that you have marijuana they could simply throw it out if they don’t feel like referring you to law enforcement.

You get fined or arrested

In some cases you could get referred to law enforcement and get fined, cited, or taken to the slammer. If you are a frequent flyer with Global Entry you could potentially lose your membership so that is a risk to consider.

How travelers get caught with marijuana

The people who typically get caught with marijuana in airport security are those who make things easily discoverable. There are two things to consider about getting caught with marijuana: 1) the type (or state) of the marijuana and 2) the location of your marijuana.

Type of marijuana

The type of marijuana that you are traveling with and the location you store it in will often dictate what happens.


TSA agents could easily discover marijuana when it is in its natural flower state. For one, it often carries a pretty pungent odor and has a pretty distinct look. It’s also often accompanied by jars or other cannabis items.

If you are bringing flower/bud with you and you have a grinder that will be visible on an x-ray that is pretty much asking to get caught and potentially arrested depending on where you are. Unless you are in a state and an airport where marijuana possession is legal, transporting marijuana in its flower state is pretty risky.


Edibles can be virtually indistinguishable from normal chocolates, gummies, and baked goods. Since you are allowed to bring food through TSA, edibles are one of the hardest types of MJ to detect in your luggage.

The packaging on edibles should display that there is THC and a lot of times the actual edibles will have a THC designation. So if a TSA agent did take a close look it wouldn’t be hard for them to know that you were transporting THC unless there was no packaging indicating that.


A lot of vape cartridges containing THC look identical to those containing CBD or other non-THC products. For this reason, it is very difficult for a TSA agent to know that your vape has illegal THC.

Be careful about bringing vapes because there are specific rules about batteries.

You never want to carry lithium-ion batteries in your checked baggage and you may be limited to just two vape batteries for your carry-on. If you go overboard with vapes or batteries you may be calling attention to yourself which could lead to a closer inspection of your items.

Related: TSA Rules for Vapes and e-Cigarettes

Creams & oils

Creams and oils are subject to the TSA liquids rule and so if you do not have TSA Pre-Check you will have to take your liquids out of your bag which may lead to a closer inspection.

If you have THC or CBD in powder form sometimes powders can force you to undergo extra scrutiny so be aware of that risk.

Marijuana edible


On your person

Putting cannabis or cannabis related products such as a pipe, joint papers, vape, etc. in your pocket when heading through something like a full-body scanner will almost always be detected.

Those scanners can pick up even the smallest items and TSA agents will see exactly where the item is located. You will then be searched until the item is found. At that point, you will be at the mercy of the TSA agent or the law enforcement officer you get referred to.


Your carry-on and personal item such as a backpack will have to go through the x-ray scanner at airport security. An attentive and experienced TSA agent could easily detect obvious cannabis items like grinders and pipes and probably a bag of bud as well.

But as mentioned above some items like edibles and vape cartridges are basically indistinguishable from legal items so it would require a TSA agent to be very curious (and basically out to hunt for THC items) in order for them to inspect them.

In some cases you could be subject to SSSS which is a more enhanced secondary screening. It is often used for people on certain watchlists but it can also be issued on a completely random basis.

If you are subject to SSSS screening it is possible that an agent will take a very close look at all of the items in your carry-on bag and could then discover that you have marijuana. It will be up to their discretion to decide what to do.

Checked baggage

There are a lot of crevices and pockets you could find in a checked baggage so TSA agents may struggle to find (or identify) your pot in checked baggage, especially if it is in edible or vape form. And even if they did find it, they may just throw it out without referring you to law enforcement.

Some TSA agents are on record stating that if an item is found in your checked baggage it would simply be thrown out and they would not bother with tracking you down for a potential arrest.

However, if you are trying to transport high quantities of marijuana in your checked baggage that might be more easily detected and depending on the amount, you could be charged with drug trafficking if caught.

Tip: Avoid trying to conceal marijuana and vapes inside of things like a jar of peanut butter. That looks very suspicious and could easily be detected as a threat.

Marijuana bag

What about the dogs at the airport?

If you see a dog sniffing around at the airport it is most likely sniffing out potential explosives and not drugs such as marijuana.

In other countries drug sniffing dogs are more common so just be aware that at some airports it is possible for a dog to be tracking down drugs.

International travel

International travel is a completely different ballgame when it comes to marijuana.

You are not allowed to transport marijuana to other countries per federal law and some countries have some very draconian laws when it comes to getting caught with drugs. For example, someone was sentenced to death in Singapore when they were found with two pounds of cannabis.

And of course, many of us know about the Brittney Griner situation in Russia, where she was sentenced to nine years in prison but released after the US made a controversial deal with Russia.

So bringing marijuana into other jurisdictions is not something you would want to test.

My advice would be to never attempt to fly internationally with marijuana because the penalties could be very severe.

Related: Can You Take Cigarettes on a Plane?

Final word

When it comes to TSA and marijuana laws we don’t have 100% clarity on how things will be handled in every case. But we do have a general idea of how things will play out.

If you transport marijuana discreetly (edible, vape, etc.) there is a low chance that it will be detected. And if you are in a state where it is legal and an airport where it is not banned, there is essentially no risk of you getting in trouble with the law despite it being illegal on the federal level.

Can You Bring Protein Powder on a Plane? TSA’s Rules on Bulking While Flying [2023]

Traveling while staying healthy and on track with your diet can be extremely difficult. And it’s even harder when you’re trying to stay on top of your supplement intake.

A lot of people wonder whether or not they can take protein powder like MusclePharm Combat on a plane and if TSA will give them any issues.

Well, in this article we are here to clear up all the confusion.

We’ll provide you some clarity on TSA rules for bringing protein on a plane and also provide you with some really helpful tips so that your airport experience will be as smooth as possible.

Can you bring protein powder on a plane?

Yes, you can bring protein powder on a plane in your carry-on or checked baggage. When bringing it as a carry-on, if the amount is greater than 12 ounces you need to place it in a separate bin for X-ray screening.

Also, the powder might be subject to additional TSA screening so you may want to place it in your checked luggage to avoid delays at security.

Keep reading below for some tips on how to best transport your protein and potentially avoid getting the additional screening!

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TSA rules on protein powder

TSA allows protein powder in both carry-ons and checked luggage.

Protein powder is one of the rare items where TSA provides additional guidance and they state:

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.

Tip: 12 ounces is about the size of a can of soda.

Separate bin

Similar to traveling with electronics or liquids, if your powder is more than 12 ounces you will need to place your protein powder in a separate bin whenever it goes through for x-ray screening.

As far as I know, the x-rays should not affect the quality of your protein.

However, if you are not comfortable with your protein getting hit with x-rays you can talk with the TSA agent and they may allow you to bypass the x-ray scanner.

In that case you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll have to go through additional screening (which can also happen even when your protein powder does go through the scanner).

Additional screening

The biggest issue with bringing protein powder through airport security is the potential for additional screening.

Explosives and drugs can often come in powdered form and that is one of the main reasons why TSA applies extra scrutiny to powders.

Basically, a TSA agent would take your protein powder to a separate station, open up the container and then inspect the powder. They may even take a small sample of it for testing or give it a swab (along with yourself and other belongings).

Just how long will this additional screening take?

Well, it depends.

Similar to SSSS inspections, sometimes there needs to be a supervisor present when this type of testing occurs. If that supervisor is currently busy then it could be a while before you get through with your protein powder.

An additional wait time of 15 to 20 minutes is not unheard of.

If you are cutting it close with your arrival time to the airport then that could be a bad situation.

But in most situations you should be in and out within a couple of minutes.

It’s worth noting that agent discretion is involved. So if for whatever reason they cannot verify your powder is just protein, you could be essentially forced to hand it over.

Related: TSA Body Scanners: Images & Machines Explained

security checkpoint

How to take protein powder on a plane

Since protein powder is allowed you don’t have to worry about getting yourself in trouble for bringing it. Also, because there are no limits on the quantity you could in theory bring as much protein as you’d like.

But you might want to put some thought in how you are going to transport it so that you can reduce your chances of getting the additional screening.

There are a few ways you can transport your protein powder and some are better than others.

For example, wrapping rectangular blocks of white protein powder with duct tape and placing them in a false bottom in your black duffel bag (along with your cash) is probably not the ideal way.

So here are a few suggestions.

I’ll first give tips for bringing protein powder as a carry-on and then also give you some insight into personal items and checked baggage.

Leave it in the container/original packaging

If you leave your protein powder in its original packaging a TSA officer will probably be less likely to question it.

The problem is protein powder can come in pretty large containers, which can be difficult to store in your carry-on and a bit awkward to carry around.

To make things easier, you could always purchase a small container of protein powder that you use exclusively for traveling.

Or, you could purchase those small individual packs of protein and bring those with you.

Put your protein in a Ziploc bag

Another option is to place your protein powder in a Ziploc bag so that you can more easily transport smaller quantities.

Some people might put all of the protein into one large bag and others might load it into individual bags (for each serving).

You can go either route although I would prefer to keep my protein in one packaged container if possible.

If you are worried about getting questioned you could always put a label on the bag.

Just writing “protein” on the bag could be enough.

You might think that putting your unlabeled powdery substance in a Ziploc bag would be a bad idea but plenty of travelers get through without additional screening when transporting protein in plastic bags (or even tupperware).

Note: There are some reports of bags getting poked by agents and powder leaking out so you might want to have a second bag on hand in case that happens to you.

Put your protein bag in a shaker bottle

If you want to send a message to TSA that you are just a fitness nut traveling with your protein powder or meal replacement shake then you could put your bag of protein powder in your shaker bottle.

That might cause some agents to give you a pass since they can more easily make the connection between your powder and it being a workout supplement.

I would avoid putting your protein directly in your shaker bottle because it could leak or more easily get spilled during testing.

Protein funnels

Some avid workout folks use protein funnels, which are small funnels that can store your protein and easily be poured into a bottle.

These should be fine to bring through security.

guy scooping protein in shaker bottle
You can transport your protein in a shaker bottle but you should probably put it in a bag first.

Protein powder as a personal item

If your jug of protein powder will not fit inside your carry-on you can probably bring it along as a personal item.

In fact, some airlines might even consider your protein powder to count as food which means that it would be considered a free “bonus item.”

That would likely happen if your protein powder was in a shaker bottle.

So it could be possible for you to board the plane with a carry-on, personal item, and your protein in some situations.

Protein powder in checked baggage

If you have a large amount of protein powder you should probably just take TSA’s advice and put it in your checked baggage to avoid any extra hassle.

If you are packing it in a bag you might consider double bagging it.

For one, that can help prevent spills.

But there are some reports of protein bags getting punctured for testing and if you double bag your protein you can decrease the odds of spillage.

Different types of protein powder

All different types of protein powder should be treated the same: whey, casein, egg, pea, isolates, etc.

Some people feel more comfortable bringing dark-colored protein powder like chocolate flavored powder. The thinking is this type of protein powder looks (and smells) a lot less like drugs or explosives.

Once a TSA agent gets a big whiff of coco they may be less inclined to put you through the rigors of chemical testing.

Different forms of protein

You might also be curious about bringing different forms of protein along such as protein drinks and protein bars.

Protein shakes

If you have a protein shake it’s a much different story getting through airport security.

If you made your own protein shake in a shaker bottle or if you purchased liquid protein in a bottle, either way your protein will be subject to the liquids rule.

This means that you would have to fit your protein shake within a 3.4 ounce container and have it placed in a clear plastic bag.

So it is possible to bring a liquid protein shake through airport security but it’s going to be a pretty small quantity and typically protein shakes take up more volume than that.

Protein bars

Solid protein bars or energy bars are allowed through security.

You might be surprised to find out that TSA allows all sorts of different foods through airport security as long as they are solid.

Protein gels

If you have some sort of pack containing a protein gel that will be considered a liquid and therefore be subject to the liquids rule.

This means that they should be stored in a single, quart-sized bag along with your other liquids. As long as it fits within that bag and is under 3.4 ounces you can probably bring it but you could run into some resistance.

Pills and vitamins

A lot of gym rats also tend to take different types of pills and vitamins.

These should be just fine as TSA is pretty relaxed when it comes to taking things like medication through security. (Just see my warning on international flights below.)

protein bars
Protein bars will count as food for TSA purposes.

Other types of powder

It’s worth noting that protein powder is not the only powdery substance subject to TSA’s heightened rules.

Many other type of powders can cause TSA agents to apply more scrutiny to you when going through security:

What exactly counts as a powder?

Back when the rules changed in 2018 American Airlines issued a statement and helped to to provide some clarity:

Powder-like substances are described as fine dry particles produced by the grinding, crushing, or disintegration of a solid substance (i.e. flour, sugar, ground coffee, spices, powdered milk, and cosmetics).”

So the rules above would also apply to things like: pre-workout powder, creatine, and BCAAs. Those tend to come in smaller servings so they often are easier to take with you through security.

Worth noting: certain powders are exempt from secondary screening, including baby formula, medically necessary powders and human remains.

International flights

If you are flying internationally you may want to do a little bit of research to make sure the country you are visiting does not have some type of weird or unexpected prohibition on certain protein powders.

Keep in mind that some protein powders are hemp-based and products like hemp can be problematic in certain countries.

Also, some supplements may have ingredients that are outlawed in certain countries.

It will probably be rare for you to run into issues like these but it’s something to at least look into when going abroad.


Can I bring my protein powder in a Ziploc bag?

Yes, many travelers bring protein powder through airport security in a Ziploc bag. Try writing a label on your bag it says “protein powder” to decrease the odds of getting additional screening.

Should I put my protein powder in my checked baggage?

Putting your protein powder in your checked baggage can prevent you from dealing with additional screening with TSA. If you have over 12 ounces of protein, you may want to put it in your checked baggage.

Can I bring my protein in my shaker bottle?

Yes, if you bring protein in your shaker bottle it’s best to place the protein in a bag first and then insert the bag into your shaker bottle to prevent spillage.

Can I bring protein funnels through TSA?

Yes, bringing your protein funnels through TSA should not be a problem.

Can I bring protein powder on an international flight?

You can bring protein powder to many countries when flying internationally. However, occasionally a country will ban a certain type of supplement so it’s best to do some research for that individual country before you depart.

Can I bring pre-workout on a plane?

Yes, pre-workout will be subject to the same powder rules but it is allowed by TSA.

Final word

TSA is pretty lenient when it comes to traveling with protein powder. Your protein powder is 100% allowed to carry on although it is recommended to put it in your checked baggage if you have over 12 ounces. Try to keep your protein in its standard packaging to avoid extra suspicion and be prepared for TSA agents to perform additional screening on occasion.

Can You Bring Fruit on a Plane?

A lot of people are shocked to find out that they can bring all types of food on a plane without any problem with TSA.

But when you’re bringing fruits, especially fresh fruits, you can run into more issues depending on where you are departing and arriving.

In this article, will try to slice through the confusion to give you a fresh perspective on traveling with fruit on a plane.

Can you bring fruit on a plane?

You can bring fruit on a domestic flight within the mainland US without any issues in the vast majority of cases.

However, if you were flying between the mainland and states or territories like Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you will need to declare your fruit and ensure that they pass inspection.

In addition, if you are flying internationally you need to make sure your fruit is allowed and that it passes inspection after you declare it.

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Why is bringing fruit such a problem?

The main reason why countries and states want to control what fruit makes its way through their airports is to prevent outbreaks of destructive pests.

Unfortunately, invasive pests are known to live in many different types of fruits.

What type of pests are we talking about?

There are quite a few to worry about including things like certain maggots, weevils, and curculio, but the big one is the fruit fly.

These come in different varieties like the Caribbean Fruit Fly and the Mexican Fruit Fly

All of these invasive pests can be a real danger to agriculture.

Not only can the ecosystem take a major hit but losses could be catastrophic for farmers and ranchers — not to mention all of the laborers which might depend on a specific fruit like bananas to make a living. We are talking billions of dollars.

The effects of a major outbreak event could ripple well downstream and could mean higher grocery bills along with food shortages.

Even with protocols in place, sometimes these pests still find a way to make it in.

For example, in 2015 an American Mediterranean fruit fly was detected in Puerto Rico, capable of causing damage to tomato, mango, avocado, coffee, papaya and cantaloupe.

So travelers should really take these regulations seriously so that they don’t bring about an environmental disaster.

What you need to know about bringing fruit on a plane

Below, I’ll talk about some specific rules and regulations for bringing fruit when traveling by aircraft to various locations.

But before we get into the nitty-gritty, here are a few general rules you can expect to encounter when trying to bring fruit on a plane.

Domestic travel on the mainland US

If you’re hopping from one mainland state to another or traveling within one state on the mainland, you will not have to declare your fruit.

What’s more, TSA will allow you to bring fruit in your checked bag or carry-on.

You must declare for certain regions

If you are bringing fruit from the US to a sensitive region or vice versa you will have to declare that fruit.

The fruit will then have to pass an inspection and you will be checked for any necessary permits (if needed).

Typically, the way it works is that there are some types of fruits that you can bring in but only after they have been inspected.

Then there are certain types of fruit that are never allowed.

It will be up to you to make sure you have reviewed the latest guidelines for whatever destination you are arriving in.

Canned fruits are usually okay

Commercially canned fruits are rarely ever a problem although sometimes you need to show the country of origin, so it helps if you maintain the packaging and keep your receipts.

Frozen fruit is sometimes okay

Frozen fruit is allowed sometimes but other times it is not, such as when arriving into the US from an international flight. You might run into nuanced rules like “no frozen mangoes with seeds” so keep that in mind.

Related: How to (Legally) Bring Pineapples From Hawaii to the Mainland

Travel between the US and sensitive regions

You really need to pay attention to fruit rules when you travel between the mainland of the US and “sensitive” regions such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The restrictions apply both when you are leaving the mainland and coming back.

To get a sense of what you can expect when flying to the mainland from certain sensitive regions let’s dive into the regulations for Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

First, when traveling from Puerto Rico to the mainland you can bring in fruit items like:

  • Cantelope
  • Cannonball fruit
  • Bananas
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon

Those are just a few of the permitted fruit items.

As for what fruits are not allowed, this just includes things not found on that list.

So often you just have to perform a search on a given USDA page or PDF to see if you can find your desired fruit. Usually, if a fruit is allowed it will be explicitly mentioned.

And don’t think that because Puerto Rico is a US territory that you don’t have to declare your items. You still do.

In fact, if you fail to declare that could result in civil penalties ranging from $100 to $1,000 per violation.

You’ll also find similar restrictions on traveling from Hawaii to the mainland.

From the Mainland

Now let’s that say you were traveling from the mainland to somewhere like Hawaii.

When you are departing from the mainland, TSA states:

Passengers flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland cannot take most fresh fruits and vegetables due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.

TSA does not offer much detail which is understandable because this is not their domain so once again we have to check with the USDA.

Hawaii allows most plants into the state but only after an inspection.

It’s also worth noting that some fruits will have to have a permit and/or quarantine, treatments, or certification.

These include the following:

  • Pineapple and bromeliad plants and fruits
  • Passion fruit plants and seeds
  • Citrus and pulpy fruits from Florida & Puerto Rico
  • Coconuts

In general, foods that are cooked, canned, frozen or commercially processed and/or packaged are allowed to be transported to Hawaii, as long as the product is arriving from within the U.S.

Traveling within the mainland

When traveling within the mainland you may also have to be mindful of specific regulations that certain states have. For example, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) provides specific guidelines on bringing fruits and vegetables into California.

You might be surprised how specific some of these restrictions are and what the conditions of entry might be.

For example, you may have to get certain items inspected if you are bringing in an item from a restricted state. There may even be restrictions applying to specific counties within a state.

You won’t find CDFA checkpoints at airports like you will when entering in through land borders but you will still be expected to comply with these regulations so you should be aware of them.

Traveling internationally

The rules get tighter when you travel with fruit on an international route. Let’s take a look at some of the key rules for traveling with fruit into the US.

The general rule for fresh fruits

The vast majority of fresh fruits are prohibited from entering the United States.

Something to be aware of on a plane is that this rule applies to fresh fruits you might be given on the airplane.

For example, it’s common for first class and business class flights to provide you with fresh fruit especially towards the end of your flight.

You’ll have to make sure to throw those out before you head through customs.

Asiana first class fruit tart and ginseng tea

Canned fruits

For the most part, commercially canned fruits are allowed to be brought into the US as long as you declare them.

Just be aware that Customs will not allow home-canned products due to the lack of standards in canning practices.

Frozen fruits

Most frozen fruits are prohibited from entering the US.

This is apparently because some tests and diseases can survive even in cold temperatures. This is a departure from the rule going to Hawaii so it’s a notable difference to remember.

Dried fruits

Most dried fruits will not be allowed in the US unless you have met special requirements.

Always remember to declare!

If you are coming into the US, you will have to declare all agriculture products, including fruit.

They would then need to pass an inspection to ensure that they are not harboring pests or disease.

It’s a good idea to keep all receipts and original packaging of your fruit with you as proof of the country of origin as that can often be very relevant.

Just make sure that you declare your items because you could face penalties if you don’t.

If you are worried about getting in trouble in case your fruit does not pass inspection, don’t worry about that. There is no penalty if an inspector determines that your fruit is not allowed.

But if Customs catches you with undeclared fruits, which can be easily detected using their search dogs, you could be facing some legal issues and a fine.

Region specific restrictions

In some cases there may be special restrictions based on the exact part of the country you’re coming from and even your mode of transportation.

For example, let’s say that you were coming into the US from Ontario, Canada, via a land border. You would not be allowed to bring fresh cherries grown in Ontario.

However you would be able to bring those cherries grown in a different Canadian province as long as you accompany it with documentation demonstrating the point of origin.

So you see, these rules can be tricky.

Final word

On a typical domestic flight, bringing fruit on a plane is not very complicated.

But when you are traveling between the mainland and certain sensitive states or territories you will need to be mindful of what fruits are not allowed and also remember to declare your fruit and then make sure that it will pass inspection.

The rules get tighter for international travel and most fruit will not be allowed into the US unless it falls under an exception such as it being commercially canned. Even in that case, you still need to declare it!

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