Tuesday Travel Tip: You can bring (frozen) drinks through TSA
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
The cost of a case of water at the grocery store? $3.99. The cost of a single bottle of water inside the terminal? $4.25.
It’s no secret that juice, soda and even bottled water sold inside the airport terminal can easily cost several times what those same beverages may cost at your normal grocery store. Of course, you can bring your own empty bottle to the airport to refill with water once you pass through security, but there’s another solution if you want to bring your own beverage from home to enjoy on the plane.
The TSA rules are that as long as your liquid is as frozen as a block of ice, it can pass through the TSA screening. The specific wording is:
Frozen liquid items are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen liquid items are partially melted, slushy or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 liquids requirements.
In practice, this means that your toddler’s favorite juice flavor from home can probably fly with you, as long as it is 100% frozen when it passes through security. We used to do this pretty frequently when our kids were smaller because while the TSA allows milk, formula and pumped breast milk through security without set limits, there’s an unwritten cutoff when your kids appear to be 2 or 3 years old when they stop allowing families to bring other liquids through security, even if the drink is for the kids.
A simple workaround is this frozen method. But you can use this tip for yourself, too. Freeze that carefully mixed green smoothie, some iced tea, iced coffee or filtered water from home and enjoy it on the plane once it thaws. Alternatively, you could get a large cup of warm water in the airport after you clear security to speed the melting along if you need to hurry up the process.
This is an especially timely tip right now, because while travelers are again returning to the airport in increasing (though still, comparatively small) numbers, many restaurants, shops and lounges inside the terminal remain closed, further reducing your drink options post-security.
Remember that if your drink is slushy, only partially frozen, in the process of melting, etc. then it’s going to land on the no-fly list and can’t be carried through security and onto the plane. If you really want to carry it on, you have to keep it 100% frozen until you gather your belongings and are past the screening process.
Also note that while the TSA rules do permit frozen liquids going through security, and I can vouch that it does usually work in practice, some TSA agents simply interpret things differently from most so be prepared with the rules if you don’t want to toss your drink. I also wouldn’t go crazy with a dozen different frozen drinks unless you are looking to land yourself in some secondary screening.
Additional reporting by Emily McNutt/The Points Guy
Featured image by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.