Can You Bring Frozen Water (Drinks) on a Plane?

TSA is well known for forcing airline passengers to pour out drinks they try to bring through security.

While empty bottles are okay, all liquids are subject to very stringent rules dictating whether or not they can be brought on planes.

While liquids are subject to these rules, what if you freeze your drink to make it a solid?

According to the TSA, frozen liquids are allowed through security checkpoints as long as they are completely frozen when they are presented for screening. If they are slush, partially frozen, or there is any liquid in the bottom of the container, they must meet liquid limitations.

TSA Liquid Rules

For all liquids that passengers intend to bring in their carry-ons, the TSA uses the 3-1-1 rules to decide if that item will be allowed. 

The 3-1-1 rule states that passengers may have three liquid items in containers that are less than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) that are placed in a single one-quart bag. 

Each passenger may carry one of these bags on them. 

Liquids include all totally liquid items, gels, and aerosols. Some things that count within this liquid category are peanut butter, toothpaste, lotion, sunscreen, hair gel, and soap. 

It’s also important to note that the container for the liquids is what is measured. Even if your 20-ounce water bottle is mostly empty, they won’t allow it through security. 

There are of course exceptions to these rules for medically necessary items and baby foods for infants.

Passengers can find one loophole to bring their favorite drinks with them though, but the TSA ruling is on ice. 

Frozen liquids (ice, water, juice, etc) are allowed through security checkpoints as long as they are completely frozen and in a solid state when they are presented for screening. 

If your drink is slushy, partially melted, or has liquid in the bottom of the container, it falls under normal liquid regulations and must meet the 3-1-1 rules. 

Considering how expensive bottled drinks can be inside airports, this is a great loophole to take advantage of to save money and bring drinks with you onto your flights. 

Why Can’t You Bring Bottled Water on a Plane?

The stringent TSA liquid rules can seem a bit ridiculous and don’t make sense to a lot of people. 

The real reason they were put in place and limited to such small quantities stems from a 2006 terror plot

In short, a group of men attempted to bring liquid explosives through security to cause a detonation on an international flight. 

They disguised the chemicals as soft drinks, looking just like any other passenger bringing drinks with them on planes. 

The plot was uncovered but led to the establishment of strict rules for liquids on planes. 

The limitations were put in place because in the event that security failed to spot explosives, such a small amount wouldn’t be able to render the airplane incapable of flying to its destination. 

It can be hard to spot the difference between chemicals and drinks like water or soda just by looking at them. While the rules are a pain, they were put in place for good reason. 

Can I Bring a Starbucks Drink on a Plane?

Any food or drink you purchase after going through security is pretty much okay to take on a plane with you. 

The only caveat is you must be able to store them in your bag while boarding and on the plane en route. 

In rare cases, airlines may require you to finish or leave behind your drink at the gate before boarding. 

This comes down to specific airline policies and flights, so check before boarding if you have any questions.

Read More > Can You Bring Starbucks On A Plane?

Can I Put Drinks In My Checked Luggage?

You can put drinks and other liquids in your checked baggage, in much larger amounts than you are allowed in your carry-on. 

Any container larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) must be transported in your checked bag instead of your carry-on.

What liquids you’re allowed to bring depends on your country of departure and your destination. 

For specific regulations regarding the import of liquids, you’ll need to check with that country’s customs department. 

Normally, liquids aren’t a problem in your checked luggage. They may need to be inspected or tested, but this will go on behind the scenes if nothing is deemed suspicious. 

Extra drinks, bath soaps, lotions, or hair products are all commonly placed in checked baggage. 

The limitations on liquids in checked baggage are specific to the type of liquid or drink you’re bringing with you. 

For instance, passengers may bring up to five liters of alcohol in their checked luggage, as long as the alcohol content is 70 percent (140 proof) or less. 

If you do plan on packing drinks, be sure to cushion them inside your bags. 

Surrounding bottles with clothes, adding soft material, or storing them in hard carrying cases will help keep your drinks from breaking and leaking into your luggage.

Conclusion

Frozen water and drinks are allowed inside of your carry-on and will be allowed through airport security as long as they are completely frozen when you present them for screening. 

If they are slushy, partially frozen, or have liquid in the bottom of the container they are subject to TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.

With how expensive food and drinks are in airports, freezing a drink to take with you can be a great loophole to take advantage of and save a little extra money while traveling.

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