Are you planning to bring your favorite protein powder on your next flight? With so many rules and regulations, you might be wondering, "Can I bring protein powder on a plane?" The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulates all powders, including protein powder, for air travel in the United States. Here's what you need to know about traveling with protein powder.
The official TSA guidelines on traveling with protein powder are:
Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened. For your convenience, we encourage you to place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags. TSA Website
Here, 12 oz and 350 mL are volume measures (the size of a soda can), and this is 1 ½ cups or 4-5 scoops of protein. This powder rule holds true for domestic flights and international travel, and the same regulations apply for powders that are used for meal replacement shakes.
It's also important to remember:
The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint. TSA Website
Based on the TSA protein powder regulations above, we recommend the following 10 tips for traveling with protein powder.
How to pack protein powder for air travel
- If you're carrying more than 4 scoops of protein powder in your carry-on luggage, be sure to remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate tray for the X-ray scanner as you go through the security checkpoint.
- If you are not carrying protein in its original container, use a freezer ziploc bag and label the bag clearly for TSA convenience. Freezer bags are thicker than regular ziploc bags, and can help prevent punctures and spills in your bag.
- If possible, put protein powder in your checked bag instead of in carry-on bags.
- When packing protein powder in your checked luggage, it's a good idea to double up on packaging to contain any spills. For example, place the bag of protein in a second freezer ziploc to further prevent against punctures and spills.
- If you're carrying larger containers of protein powder (in checked luggage), it's a good idea to tape them shut with gaffer tape to prevent any powder from spilling. (Gaffer tape is much more user-friendly than duct tape! Great seal, easy to tear, and without all the extra stickiness.) If you can fit them in sealable plastic bags as well, even better.
- The powder may trigger a secondary screening process, where TSA agents will perform additional checks on your bag or the powder itself. They may need to open the bag or container of protein for further inspections. It's important to remain patient and cooperative during the screening process since the TSA agent makes the final decision about whether or not your items get past airport security.
- If you're traveling with someone, be sure to have your protein powder in your own bag (hand luggage or checked luggage), so you can answer any questions the TSA agents may have.
- If you're traveling internationally, make sure to check the customs regulations of your destination country. Some countries have restrictions on the importation of food products, including protein powder.
- Carry your shaker bottle separate from your protein powder and without any liquid. Once you are past the security checkpoint, you can purchase water and safely prepare your protein shake.
- Don't forget to bring your protein scoop!
Yes, protein powder can be included with checked luggage or carry-on bags. If you're bringing protein powder in your carry-on baggage and it is more than 12oz or 350mL in volume (the size of a soda can, or 4-5 scoops), be sure to remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate bin for screening when you go through the security checks.
Yes, you can take protein powder in your carry-on. If you're bringing more than 12oz or 350mL in volume (the size of a soda can, or 4-5 scoops), be sure to remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate bin for screening when you go through the security checkpoint.
There's no official limit on how much protein powder you can bring on a plane, but keep in mind that the TSA officer makes the final decision about what can or cannot pass the security checkpoint. Any reasonable amount for personal use should be fine. Just be sure that if you're bringing more than 12oz or 350mL in volume (the size of a soda can, or 4-5 scoops), you remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate tray for X-ray screening when you go through the security checkpoint.
No, protein powder does not have to be in original containers when flying. Using resealable bags to carry the protein powder is a great idea, since they typically are more space efficient. I suggest using freezer ziploc bags to prevent against punctures and spilling, and I suggest labeling the bags to make it easy for the TSA agents to know what you are carrying.
Unless they have concerns about your protein powder being some other substance, no, TSA will not confiscate protein powder. They may, however, need to open your bag or container of protein powder to evaluate its contents.
Yes, the TSA rules for traveling with protein powder apply to domestic and international flights. When traveling internationally, however, make sure to check the customs regulations of your destination country. Some countries have restrictions on the importation of food products, including protein powder.
Yes, you can bring pre-workout on a plane in carry-on or checked luggage. If you're bringing more than 12oz or 350mL in volume (the size of a soda can) in your carry-on bag, be sure to remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate bin for screening when you go through the TSA screening point.
Yes, you can bring powder supplements on a plane in carry-on or checked luggage. If you're bringing more than 12oz or 350mL in volume (the size of a soda can) in your carry-on luggage, be sure to remove it from your carry-on and place it in a separate bin for screening when you go through the security checkpoint.
In my opinion, freezer ziploc bags are the best for traveling with protein powder. I like to double them up, too, by placing the bag of powder in a second freezer bag for extra protection against punctures and spills. If you prefer to use the large container (tub) in your checked baggage, I highly recommend sealing the top with gaffer tape to keep it from opening during transport.
Yes, you can bring protein bars on a plane. Solid protein bars are considered food items and can be packed in carry-on or checked luggage. I suggest avoiding protein bars with coatings, as the coatings can melt or crack in travel. Uncoated quest bars travel well, and I love to bake them into cookies to bring when traveling, too!
Since the amount of liquid allowed in carry-on luggage is limited to 3.5 ounces for each item, a full serving of liquid protein shake can't be brought past security. You can, however, bring the protein powder and a shaker bottle and prepare the shake with water purchased after you pass through security, or pack pre-packaged liquid protein shakes in your checked luggage. Another option is to bring protein gels in either carry-on or checked luggage.
Yes, you can bring protein gels on a plane. Protein gels would fall under the liquids rule, so these should be placed in a quart-size ziplock bag with the rest of your carry-on liquids (or pack them in checked luggage).
Pack protein powder in labeled resealable bags (double bag them) or use original containers. When packing a larger container in checked luggage, use gaffer tape as an extra seal to prevent spills.
In conclusion, traveling with protein powder can be stressful, but with a little preparation, you can avoid any problems at the security checkpoint. Remember to carry on only what you need for the duration of travel, place it in a separate bin for the x-ray machine, and pack your protein powder in its original packaging or a resealable bag. By following the official guidelines and TSA rules, you can stay on top of your protein powder routine and enjoy your protein shakes on your return flight.
Read about the experience of other travelers bringing protein powder on planes here on Quora.
And check out my favorite protein snack to bring when traveling: Quest Bar Cookies.