Skip to content

Tuesday Travel Tip: You can bring (frozen) drinks through TSA

July 07, 2020
3 min read
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.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more travel tips, deals and advice.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

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.

(Photo by Apu GOMES / AFP) (Photo by APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images)

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 Bloomberg via Getty Images

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases