The TSA Powder Rule: Can You Bring Powder On A Plane?

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Traveling with powders is pretty straight forward. It’s nowhere near as complicated as flying with liquids.

There is just one simple rule you need to remember if you pack powders in your suitcase.

Let’s take a look.

TSA Powders Rules

Transportation Security Administration agents run the airport security checkpoints across the United States. They decide what can and can’t be taken on planes in carry-on bags and checked luggage.

Here’s what they say about bringing powdered substances on to planes.

So it’s a yes. You can bring powder on a plane in carry-on bags. If your container is larger than 12 oz remove it from your suitcase and place it in a tray like you would your laptop. This is so the TSA can get a closer look at the powder without needing to search your bag.

How Much Powder Can You Bring On A Plane?

There is no limit to the amount of powder you can bring on a plane in your carry-on or checked luggage.

However, if you are bringing more than 12 oz (350 ml) of powder you need to remove it from your carry-on bag at the security checkpoint.

The TSA officer will then carry out additional screening. They will open the container. Keep in mind that if the TSA officer is can’t identify your powder and is unsure about it they may prohibit it from getting on the plane.

Most of the time they’ll be able to see what it is and that it isn’t a danger and you’ll be allowed to bring it on the plane.

If you don’t want the hassle of this then you can pack powders in checked bags without restriction. The only downside is you’ll probably need to pay a fee to bring checked baggage.

Do Powders Need To Go In The 3-1-1 Bag?

No. You don’t need to pack powders in the quart-size bag. They are treated differently from liquids. Powders under 12 ounces don’t have any special requirements and over 12 ounces are allowed, it’s just that the TSA wants to be able to inspect these without holding up the line.

Still Unsure? Ask The TSA

You can check with the TSA using the @AskTSA service on Twitter.

Lots of passengers ask about flying with protein powder.

Or supplement powders.

Claudia asked about bringing her collagen powder.

Michelle asked about bringing baby powder in containers over 3.4 oz. She was getting confused with the liquids rule. You can travel with any amount of powder in hand luggage, but larger containers need to be checked out by the TSA.

Ella wanted to bring soap making material with her when she was flying. This included a large bag of salt so the TSA powders rule applied.

Trish asked about bringing ground coffee.

Bradley wasn’t happy that his coffee was inspected because of the TSA powders rule.

The TSA say it’s enough to be “powder-like” to necessitate screening. Granules count as powders too.

Erin asked about chocolate drinking powder, because the container is less than 12 oz she wouldn’t need to take it out her carry-on for additional screening.

This passenger asked the TSA about flying with spices.

You can pack spices in carry-on bags or checked bags. If you pack them in your hand luggage remove any containers over 12 oz and place them in a separate bin for x-ray screening.

Megan asked about nail dip powder.

I checked with the TSA and it seems that if you have a powdered substance in a container over 12 oz you could split it into two 6 oz containers to remove the need to take it out of your bag at the security checkpoint.

So that’s this all about. Why are powders subject to additional screening. The TSA want to check that your powder is not flammable.

Gun powder, for example, is not allowed in checked bags or carry-on bags. These are the types of powder that the TSA is searching for.

The Bottom Line

You can bring powders on a plane in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. When going through airport security remove any powders in containers over 12 oz and place them in the tray in case the TSA wants to have a closer look.

Keep in mind that if you are flying internationally then you need to check with the security agency in the foreign country for the return journey.

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