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How to Get a Bottle of Water Through Airport Security

Lifehacker logo Lifehacker 2018-09-12 Joel Kahn
a group of people standing in a room © Photo:Justin Sullivan

One of the great inconveniences of air travel 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 bathroom.

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.)

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.

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 ounces of peanut butter, or just check it on through to your final destination.

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