Can You Bring Tea Bags Or Loose Tea Leaves On A Plane?

Last Updated on September 11, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • According to the TSA, you can bring tea bags in either carry-on bags or checked luggage without restriction
  • Large containers of loose tea are best removed from hand luggage while going through airport security
  • Liquid tea that has been pre-prepared or iced tea must follow the TSA 3-1-1 rule

TSA Tea Rules

The Transportation Security Administration makes sure the airport security rules are followed.

Here’s what they say about bringing your own tea on a plane:

You can bring as much tea as you like in checked luggage and you don’t have anything to worry about.

You can pack dry tea bags in carry-on luggage.

You can also bring loose leaf tea in carry-on bags, but if you are bringing a large amount of loose tea it is a good idea to remove it from your carry-on bag while going through the screening process.

TSA officers instruct travelers to remove any materials that can clutter bags obstruct clear images on the x-ray machine.

If your tea is fine like a powder then the TSA powders rule will apply. It specifies that powders in containers over 12 oz must be placed in a separate tray when going through airport security to facilitate additional screening.

Additional screening may require opening packaged tea so it’s a good idea to also bring an airtight container to keep your tea fresh.

There is no limit to how much tea you can bring on a plane for domestic flights in the US as long as it is dry.

Bring Your Own Tea To Drink On A Flight

Pre-made tea cannot be carried through airport security in containers larger than 3.4 oz and it would need to be packed inside your quart-size bag.

So you can’t really carry liquid home made tea on a flight.

What you can do is bring a thermos flask and after you have cleared security ask a coffee shop in the airport lounge if they will fill it with hot water for you.

Then you can use your own tea bag that you brought to make your own tea on the flight without bothering the flight attendant for hot water.

You could buy a hot tea immediately before boarding and attempt to carry it on the plane, but not every airline permits you to do this. You might find yourself needing to quickly drink any take away beverages purchased.

Or of course you could buy a hot tea from the flight attendant when they come down the aisle with their cart. It will of course be more expensive that way.

The only exception that allows you to bring more than 3.4 ounces of liquid tea on a plane is if it is for an infant.

Traveling Internationally With Tea

If you are taking tea bags on an international flight you should double check the customs laws of your destination country.

A few tea bags won’t raise any eyebrows, but depending on local laws you might need to declare tea if you are importing a large amount.

There are no U.S. Customs and Border Protecton restrictions on bringing tea back from a foreign country into the United States for personal use.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA

Now that you know bringing tea bags on a plane isn’t a problem what about other tea-related accessories.

You can check with the TSA on Twitter if you have further questions.

Andi asked if he could bring an electric kettle on the plane in hand luggage:

The TSA replied that you can pack an electric kettle on carry-on bags and it doesn’t even need to be removed from the box.

Justina asked about bringing a tea pot on the plane:

You can bring ceramic items like tea pots in hand luggage.

You can also bring tea cups and saucers on to planes:

You can bring everything you need to make a cup of tea through airport security except the water!

A kettle, a tea cup, a teaspoon, sugar, and if like me you like black tea with a little milk you can bring 3.4 oz of milk in your quart-size bag.

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