TSA clears up confusion on what's allowed past airport checkpoints

TSA Employee searching baggage, Photo Credit: Wikipedia / TSA
TSA Employee searching baggage, Photo Credit: Wikipedia / TSA

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It's a question that plagues even the most weathered travelers: what exactly am I allowed to take past the security checkpoint? We all hate waiting in long lines at airport security checkpoints. It seems the list of items you can fly with is always changing.

TSA has strict rules about what you can and cannot bring on planes, but following these guidelines will help make your trip much smoother.

You can have 3.4 ounces of a liquid or similar consistency- and that also applies to perfume and cologne. TSA asks that you put it all together in a plastic zip-top bag.

Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces, and they don't have to be in the zip-top bag. However, TSA officers may need to open them for additional screening.

The rules are different for International travel though, those guidelines are here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-food-or-gifts.

What isn't often addressed is certain types of food or gifts.

"This creamy consistency, such as peanut butter, it makes a great place to hide things," said David Lantz, who works TSA at MYR. "We find lots of things hidden in there, but it's also a prohibited item in and of itself."

There are restrictions on certain foods as well. Items like cranberry sauce, soup, salsa, and gravy have to be less in quantity than 3.4 ounces, too. You can bring pies and cakes but they may require extra screening. The full list of items that are required to be 3.4 ounces or less is below:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cologne
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Perfume
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snow Globes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

TSA wants you to know they don't impose these restrictions just because they can. It's to keep airports safer. "TSA is in the business of looking for items that can cause harm to people," Lantz said.

TSA has an app for Android and iPhone users- My TSA.

The next time you travel, you can search items you're not sure of to see if you can walk them through security, check them, or need to leave them at home.

Read more about TSA guidelines here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.