Use This Trick To Get A Bottle Of Water Through US Airport Security

One of the great inconveniences of travelling to the USA is not being able to bring your liquids through security. After passing through the body scanner, you’re probably quite parched, and find the only options for liquid replenishment are an $8 bottle of “fancy” water, or a very low (and very low-pressure) water fountain outside the toilet.

There is a loophole, however, for getting your precious liquids through airport security. The TSA’s “3-1-1" liquids rule applies only to liquids, not solids. You can freeze your liquids, and as long as they aren’t slushy, you can mosey on through security. (The TSA’s own website confirms this.)

Here's the relevant extract:

Frozen liquid items are allowed through the checkpoint as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen liquid items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 liquids requirements.

Now, you’re probably thinking that this is just a way to bring a solid block of ice into the airport, which doesn’t help your thirst at all. Well yes, that’s true, so I’ve compiled a list of ways this trick is actually useful:

  • Fill your bottle halfway before freezing, then add water once you pass security, and you now have cold water.

  • Freeze an ice pack and pack a small cooler of refrigerated food to eat on the plane.

  • Freeze a delicious sweet beverage and let it thaw to drink over the course of your long plane ride back home.

There are, of course, things that I do not advise that you freeze, like shampoo, hair gel, or peanut butter. So either pack fewer than three 100ml of peanut butter, or just check it on through to your final destination.


Comments

    That seems like a lot of hassle. And sounds like the kind of thing that would cause unnecessary hold-ups as you explain the rules to the scanner operator.
    I'd go with the best way to avoid paying $8 is to take an empty bottle and fill it from the water fountain.

      I agree...

      Although it's both interesting that you can bring in water if it's frozen, and that aircraft destroying liquids don't freeze well.

    TSA are government and not allowed to pry into your health issues. Just say you have it for medical reasons. They'll put it into their spectrometer or whatever the thing is called then give to you. Claiming it's saline might help.

    You could try bringing two. "One for each eye, don't want to cross contaminate" with no further explanations.

    Yet more proof, if any were needed, that this is all theatre and nothing to do with security. How do they know how cold your frozen water is? Maybe that mythical bomb-fluid has just come out of your cryogenic cooler at -40C or whatever!

    As lots of people have pointed out, if they _really_ thought those fluids might be dangerous, they wouldn't be thrown into an open drum a few metres away...

      While I think the rules are excessive the whole throw it into a drum nearby rule isn't bad. Lots of chemicals only react (explode) in the presence of another chemical. It's not the bottle of liquid by itself that goes boom, otherwise they'd never manage to make it to the airport in the first place.

      They need to add something to it. There are other liquids that could be used for terror purposes that are relatively safe in a bin (rather than onboard an airplane) too. A 500 ml bottle of hydrofluoric acid could be devastating if it was splashed around on a plane, but it's not going to cause too much trouble chucked in a bin. Same goes for ethanol.

        Yes but HF isn't exactly the easiest thing to get your hands on.. Thank goodness.

        Not many chemicals scare the crap out of me but that is right at the top

          Yeah it's pretty nasty stuff. My father used to use it for work. He was pretty lax about safety gear in general but it was the one thing he always wore protective gear for and took extra precautions.

          I suspect it'd be pretty difficult to get liquid explosive and other nasties that they're hoping to block by confiscating bottles of liquid too. I wasn't really looking at availability, just the realities of throwing stuff in a bin.

            There was a new report a few years back of a guy who spilled a flask full on his lap. instantly got in the decontamination shower, got in a pool and still died a few days later

    A more useful discussion might be how to pack, leave home, get to the airport, check in, and get through security BEFORE a bottle of water turns "slushy".
    THAT I'd like to hear!

    Airport security is a joke, My father works with explosives, went through security and was able to purchase all he needed to make a small incendiary device from the shops on the concourse (took photos and sent them off to the AFP) and still nothing has changed. BTW the explosive detectors arn't there to find explosives, they are there to look for drugs.

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