TSAOn Freezing Liquids to Get Them through Security
A few readers sent me a link to a story wherein the author suggested a creative way of getting your liquids by security: freezing them. It sounds like a great idea, since frozen liquid isn’t a liquid, but I don’t think it’s going to fly. Tons of work, especially in hot climates. Besides, is it really worth the time or effort—especially if it’s just for a bottle of water? Sadly, I bet not all TSA agents would catch it but for sure they’ll catch it in airports like London’s Heathrow (see the story).

Have you ever tried freezing your liquids to get them through security? If so, what happened? Let me know in the comments!



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21 Comments On "Travel Trip of the Day: On Freezing Liquids to Get Them through Security"
  1. Rona|

    I used to take salmon to my mother and used the frozen cold packs to keep it cold. To check if I could take it through security, I took one without any item that needed to be cold, and I was told clearly that it was not allowed. The problem with taking it in my checked luggage was that when they lost my luggage (and they did) and it took two days to come, I had to drive to the airport in the middle of the night to pick it up so it wouldn’t spoil.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for experience

  2. Reed E.|

    Not sure freezing liquids would work. I’ve had almond butter and other “pastes” confiscated at LAX and Denver with carry on.

  3. Jessica|

    A few years ago I wanted to take some frozen meat on a plane. I called TSA, and they told me to freeze water in a zip lock baggie. As long as the water stayed frozen, I could get through security. I have done this several times. I freeze the water the night before I take off. I put the frozen baggie in a bag cooler with the meat. When I get to the airport, I put the bag cooler through the scanner. The first time I did it, I didn’t tell the security guy what it was, so they took me to the side and searched my bag. The second time I told them what was in the bag. They opened it to verify and I went right through. My husband just did the same thing, but he put the bag cooler in a suitcase and checked it in at the counter. When we opened the suitcase at the destination, it had been searched, but everything was there.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Great to know! Thanks

  4. Lynda|

    I freeze an 8 oz bottle of water to keep my lunch cold. TSA guys have seen it plenty of times and say “smart” . . . so I think it’s legal to fly with frozen water. I use a small insulated travel lunch pack bag. It stays pretty much frozen through the TSA gate even with my 2 hour drive to the airport. Sometimes on a very hot day, I may have to dump out some melted water. Also, I just tell the TSA guys as it’s going through the screener – they generally will check to be sure it’s ice, but have never been refused.

  5. Rob|

    I use the small(maybe 2×4″) rectangular ice packs, and have never had a problem getting them through security. I generally, just throw them in the bottom of a bag, and they don’t look suspicious at all. I then transfer them to my cooler once I am through security. I have never tried to bring them through unfrozen, so they may get through that way too.

  6. Kelly|

    Well interestingly enough I just had an experience with this. I had a gel ice pack in my carry on luggage for an ankle injury that I have. Totally didn’t think about the fact that it was gel and couldn’t be carried on. The TSA agent told me that if it was frozen I could have taken it but since it was not he had to confiscate it. Really seems silly that they would allow it to go on frozen as it would have been defrosted by the time the flight left. Made no sense to me.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Interesting! Good to know! Thanks for sharing

  7. Linda|

    Didn’t work for me ! My aunt sent homemade frozen ” borscht” soup in ziplock bag. I was returning to lax on nonstop flight from Edmonton Alta. It was confiscated by tsa agents. I was told because it would unfreeze to more than 4oz, it wasn’t allowed.. Sounded ridiculous to me.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      That is ridiculous. Thanks for sharing

  8. Robert|

    In 2010 I was in Kauai and had gone to Costco where I purchased those 3 packs of Wholly Guacamole. We only ended up eating one, and I had thrown the other two in the freezer so I tried to take them back with me. They were nabbed by security and I was told i couldn’t take any more liquids than were in my quart baggie. I pointed out that it wasn’t a liquid and I was told “liquid-like” wasn’t allowed (with an exasperated sigh lol). She suggested that I eat them prior to the flight, which would have been impossible in the frozen state but thanks TSA! I would think that any airport I could get blocks of guacamole through would be Kauai but it was not to be. I wouldn’t count on getting anything frozen on.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for sharing!

  9. Josh|

    I live in the LA area, and I’ve done it several times at LAX without any problems. Usually, the agent smiles and/or laughs at the workaround. I’m sure that if I happened to get an agent who was having a bad day, they’d take my frozen apple juice. But in my experience, if you smile and behave nicely, the agents will smile back and will try to accommodate you.

  10. Anca | Globaloud|

    Wow, I never thought of it. Actually, I think it’s a very good idea. It will probably work easier if it’s a domestic flight. I’ll try it on my next domestic flight in Croatia, to see what’s going to happen.

  11. Ian Livingston|

    From reader Fran K.: “I travel several times a year, and have been bringing frozen water through security for a few years. I drink any water that has melted before entering security. When my bag is taken to be inspected, I always say there is a frozen water bottle, and am let through after he/she sees it, approximately 90% of the time. When the agent hesitates, I suggest they check with another agent, and am usually allowed through.

    On one occasion, the agent wanted to prevail, and I chose not to argue (it was frozen when I got into TSA PreCheck line). The other time I was stopped was in Amsterdam, returning to LAX. After clearing EU security, the US TSA rejected my frozen bottle. (FYI, the TSA is in many international airports providing additional ‘security,’ which usually consists of checking for liquids and having us take off our shoes before flights departing for the US.)

    After several hours, my frozen water has melted, and I know that I will almost always have a cold drink available, wherever I am.”

  12. Chris Adams|

    Two weeks ago I boarded a flight from LAX to Tahiti. As I entered the TSA checkpoint at LAX I realized that my favorite travel water bottle still had a good amount of solid ice in the bottom (it really keeps things cold — part of the reason it’s my “favorite”).

    I was afraid I’d have to toss it to get to my flight on time.

    I explained to the first TSA I encountered. Her response; “don’t worry, it’s not a liquid.”

    I was amazed! I sailed through the check point with the clear bottle (and it’s ice) in plain view. No problem.

    Except of course for my metal belt buckle which always slows me down. I really need to replace that with something that won’t set off the TSA metal detectors.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good to know! Thanks for sharing

  13. Joel S|

    I have done this a few times with juices. The last time I had a tub of fresh frozen pomegranate juice and it melted slightly and made a slush. Well, in was confiscated and all my hard work left at the TSA trashcan. Bummer.

  14. Joe Demboski|

    Re: Taking frozen liquids though TSA security. On my last several cross country flights, I’ve taken small plastic containers of ice (filled with water, and frozen the night before). I put these in with my food in the insulated bag I take along to store my lunch (so that I don’t have to eat the crappy overpriced food the airlines sell). I’ve never had it challenged by the TSA.

  15. Diane & Matt Nolan|

    I have used the frozen water bottle many times to keep my lunch cold W/O any problems, as long as the liquid comes is frozen solid. If any thawing has occurred I just drink it in front of the TSA agent…problem solved

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