Can You Bring a Cooler On a Plane? 2024

A cooler is a good way to keep your food fresh and cool while on your trip.

The good news is traveling with a cooler isn’t complicated but if you are still confused.

Here is the short answer.

According to the TSA, coolers are good to go through the security checkpoint without any restrictions. The TSA does not regulate the type, size or weight of the cooler, even if the TSA allows them to carry on baggage you still need to make sure that the cooler has the right size and weight for your airline.

Let’s take a look at more details.

Can you take a cooler on a plane-001
YETI Tundra 35 Cooler / Amazon Courtesy

Taking Cooler Through The TSA Checkpoint

The Transportation Security Administration has no restrictions on taking coolers through the security checkpoint, so they don’t have any problem when you take your cooler through the screening area.

Here is what the TSA says.

Can you take a cooler on a plane-03

Jodi asked if she could bring her 45 liter cooler on the plane.

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed that they are allowed through the security checkpoint and in both carry on and checked baggage.

Can you take a cooler on a plane-04

What Size Cooler Can You Bring On a Plane?

 You can bring a cooler in carry-on baggage, but it should be compliant with the airline size you are flying with.

Most coolers are larger , bulkier, and usually they won’t fit as cabin baggage, the medium coolers are easier to transport than super-sized ones (and lighter, too).

For example if you are traveling with United airlines your cooler should be 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches to be counted as a carry on piece otherwise if you are traveling with a small one with 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches it will be placed easily under the seat in front of you.

What Size Cooler Can You Check On A Plane?

Most airlines measure the size of checked baggage by combining the length, width and height of the item or suitcase.

For example if you are traveling on United Airlines your cooler must be no more than 62 inches linear means the total size combined of your cooler must not exceed 62, even if it exceeds the size mentioned you can still check it but you pay additional charges.

AirlineInches linearCentimeters linearWeight
Alaska Airlines 62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs / 23 kg
American Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs / 23 kgs
Delta62 in linear158 cm linear50 lb / 22kg
Frontier62 in linear158 cm linear50 lb / 23kg
Hawaiian62 in linear157.48 cm linear50 lbs 22.5 kg
Jetblue62 in linear157.48 cm linear50 lbs 22.68 kg
Southwest Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs 22.5 kg
United Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50lbs / 23 kg
Sun Country Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs 22.5 kg
Spirit Airlines62 in linear157.48 cm linear40 lbs 181 kg
Aer Lingus62 in linear158 cm linearNo more than 70lbs 32kg
Aeromexico62 in linear158 cm linearup to 55lbs/ 25kg
Air Canada62 in linear158 cm linear50lbs or 23 kg
Air France62.2 in linear158 cm linear50.7 lb / 23 kg
Air New Zealand62in linear158cm linear50lb / 23kg
Alitalia62 in linear158 cm linear23 lbs 10.5 kg
All Nippon Airway62 in linear158 cm linear70 lbs 32 kg
Cathay Pacific62 in linear158 cm linear66 lbs / 30 kg
KLM62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs / 23 kg
Lufthansa62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs / 23 kg
Philippine Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear70lbs / 32kg
Qantas Airways62 in linear158 cm linear66lb/ 30kg
Saudi Arabian Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50 lbs / 23 kg
Scandinavian Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear70lbs / 32kg
Singapore Airlines62 in linear158 cm linear50lbs / 23 kg

Can You Check a Cooler Of Meat On a Plane?

Yes, If your cooler is within the airline checked luggage requirements, you are good to go and place your meat or other food inside the cooler.

Ice, solid or frozen food are completely allowed on most airlines, However it may be subject for additional screening at the security checkpoint, so make sure to not include any prohibited food or liquid.

Can you take a Yeti cooler on a plane? Yes you can take your Yeti cooler (like one in the image above) in checked baggage most Yeti cooler are way too large to be transported in cabin baggage (21 x 16 x 15.5 inches), also Yeti are more expensive and you don’t want to risk your expensive item and put it under the mercy of the urgent luggage handlers.

Can You Check a Styrofoam Cooler?

Styrofoam coolers are prone to be damaged and mishandled, so most airlines including United do not allow them as checked baggage. However, you can check a cooler with dry ice or empty, a wheeled cooler will extremely help transport your items and speed up your boarding process and your trip overall.

One of the biggest benefits of using a wheeled cooler is that it can help you with heavy or fragile items. You can use it just like a hard side suitcase, you don’t need to worry about your perishable items during your journey.

Can You Fly With a Soft Cooler?

A soft sided Cooler is another way to go because they are lightweight and you can fly with them as carry-on or checked baggage on most airlines if they are within the size.

You can take solid food inside the cooler in carry-on but liquids must respect the TSA 3-1-1 rule, by contrast in checked baggage, you can take any amount you need.

The Best Coolers to Use as a Checked Bag

If you already have your cooler so you only need to check its size and investigate your airline checked baggage size( in the table above), but if you are looking for a new cooler that you can use on your next trip, you will need a substantial cooler that can checked in the cargo while it can withstand the toughest hits during the transportation.

We have at home the Ultra Cooler 58.5 inches linear so it is compliant with almost all airlines , with only 10 pounds it is lightweight and holds ice for up to 5 days.

The best type of Cooler is the one that matches your needs both when you fly and when you head to your destination, so don’t invest in something that won’t fit your needs.

Final Thoughts

That being said, Coolers are allowed in both carry on and checked baggage on most airlines, the only thing you should remember is the size and weight of your cooler.

Before heading to the airport check your cooler dimensions along with your airline size regulations.

We hope this helps.

Happy travels 🙂

People also ask: