The Surprising Thing You Can Bring Through Airport Security

updated Dec 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Erin Wengrovius)

Earlier this year, the TSA released an updated list of foods that you can and can’t bring through airport security. Of course we all know that solid foods are okay, while anything that’s a liquid or gel needs to be 3.4 ounces or less. Anything bigger and it’ll have to go in your checked bag — or the garbage.

The complete list of yays and nays was fairly predictable. Here’s what’s verboten: wine, liquor, beer; creamy dips and spreads; gravy; jams and jellies; salad dressing; salsa, sauce, and soup; oil and vinegar; and yogurt.

On the list of approved items are cake and pie; bananas, apples, and oranges; candy and gum; meat; granola bars, pretzels, and chips; brownies, cookies, and pastries. In addition, sandwiches, cheeseburgers, sliced fruit, and firm cheese are allowed if wrapped or in a container.

Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, here’s one thing that you might not know you can bring through TSA. I’m not talking about turkey — although the answer to that question is yes, yes you can bring turkey on the plane.

(Image credit: Danielle Blundell)

The Surprising Food Item That’s TSA-Approved

I’m talking about ice or, more generally, frozen liquids. Perhaps this doesn’t surprise you as much as it surprised us. Ice is a solid, you may say. And you’d be right. It is, and that’s why you can take it through airport security, although there are (naturally) some caveats.

  • It has to be frozen solid. “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.”
  • If your frozen food is packed in ice or ice packs, the ice or ice packs must also be frozen solid. “If the ice or ice packs are partially melted and have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they will not be permitted.”
  • Frozen items in your carry-on (or checked bag) may be packed in dry ice. “The FAA limits you to five pounds of dry ice that is properly packaged (the package is vented).”

So, technically speaking, you could bring a bottle of water through security so long as it is fully frozen — which, given security lines, could be difficult. You could also, just for example, pack your hard-boiled eggs in ice, then pour off any melted water right before security.

What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve carried through airport security?