Know these TSA flight regulations on protein powder

Pack your protein right and breeze through airport security — Photo courtesy of Prostock-Studio / Getty Images

If protein powder is part of your dietary routine and you want to maintain that regimen when you travel, it’s essential you know the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations for packing these supplements. Can you bring the whole container? Can you mix it up before boarding your flight? Do you need to label the powder if it’s not in the original packaging? Understanding TSA rules will help you breeze through airport security. Here’s what you need to know.

Powder versus liquid

Remember: As soon as you add liquid to your protein powder, it becomes a beverage that’s subject to TSA’s restrictions on liquids at airport security and in checked luggage. Liquids in checked luggage cannot exceed 70 ounces (2 kg) or 68 fluid ounces (2 L) per person. TSA also states that the “capacity” of the containers must not exceed 18 ounces (0.5 kg) or 17 fluid ounces (500 ml).

Plan ahead and allow time to enjoy your protein drink before heading to airport security. Protein shakes and meal replacement beverages also need to be consumed before going through security.

Pack right and carry-on

If the original container is less than 12 ounces (350ml) of powder, you can pack your protein in your carry-on without worry. However, TSA will require any powder or supplement containers greater than 12 ounces to be placed in a separate bin for screening at airport security.

If you elect to leave the container behind, you can pack individually measured servings. Many brands sell individual serving-size packets, which are great for getting your protein on the go. Sure, these packets cost a little more, but the convenience can pay off.

You also can DIY it and scoop individual servings into clear, resealable bags. Be sure to label the bags accordingly and only take the number of servings you think you’ll need during your trip. Your goal is to make it easy for security personnel to identify what you’re carrying on the plane.

Instead of packing your preferred powder, you might consider switching to protein bars while traveling. There are no TSA restrictions on bars, and they won’t take up much space in your carry-on or checked luggage. Even better, buy your bars once you’re at your destination. It will free up space in your bags and save you the worry of getting delayed at airport security.

If you must take a large quantity of protein powder on your trip, it is always advisable to pack it in your checked bag. There’s no sense in carrying it through the airport, having to explain it at security or risk a TSA official telling you to leave it behind.

Ultimately, the TSA official at security has the discretion to decide whether your protein powder makes it on the plane with you, so be extra mindful of protocol when packing your protein in your carry-on bag. If possible, always keep the product in the original packaging for easy identification. When in doubt, only carry on board what you need while in flight. The rest can go in your checked bag.

Also, keep in mind that these regulations are based on the guidelines surrounding domestic and foreign flights leaving from the United States. When leaving from another country, remember that their rules will apply to the amount of protein powder you can carry on the plane with you.

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