Can I Take a Mini Fridge In Carry-on Or Checked Baggage ? 2024

If you are preparing for your upcoming trip and you decided to take your portable mini fridge to keep your food and beverages cool, you might be wondering if a mini is allowed in carry-on baggage.

A mini fridge as carry-on luggage might seem like an obvious item to bring, but it’s not as straightforward as that.

Keep reading to find out if you can take your mini fridge on a plane, you will also learn some tips to protect your fridge in checked luggage.

Let’s dive right in!

An open mini fridge
Image/ Unsplash

Can You Bring a Mini Fridge Through Airport Security?

The TSA ( Transportation Security Administration ) regulates what you can and can’t bring through the airport’s security checkpoint on flights within and from the United States.

They didn’t specifically mention mini fridges on its website.

So I decided to sneak in to their social media to find some answers.

Vivid wanted to know if he can bring a mini fridge on his next flight.

The TSA answer about taking a mini fridge

The TSA customer service responded “Due to the type of refrigerants used in these items, some airlines don’t allow them in either carry-on or checked bags.”

Mini fridges contain toxic and flammable ( refrigerants and compressors which is a potential threat the airplane safety. 

It is important to note that safety is always the priority when it comes to air travel.

Can You Bring a Mini Fridge In a Carry-on?

No, the vast majority of airlines do not allow mini-fridges in carry-on baggage.

But even if an airline accept them as carry-on, you still need to consider the size and weight of the fridge or you may struggle to fit a mini fridge within the airline carry-on size limit.

A standard mini fridge is 30 to 35 inches in height, 18 to 24 inches in width, and 19 to 26 inches in depth, which is way above most airlines carry-on size.

Can You Bring a Mini Fridge In a Checked Baggage?

Unlike a cooler unfortunately the answer to this question is not a simple “yes” or “no.”

It will depend on the specific airline you are flying with and whether they accept taking mini fridges in the airplane hold.

For example in the screenshot bellow the Southwest Airlines do permit taking mini fridges in checked baggage, bit they need to be free from any liquids or drinks.

The Southwest Airlines answer about taking a mini fridge

Airlines have varying regulations when it comes to taking mini fridges in checked baggage and some of them are not willing to take the risk and accept any item that could potentially cause a safety risk.

Tips For Traveling With a Mini Fridge

If you find out that your type of mini fridge is permitted on a plane.

It is important to take some precautions to keep your fridge safe and secure during transport.

Here are some tips to follow to ensure your mini fridge is protected and secure:

  • Clean the fridge: Before you start packing your fridge make sure that it is free from any liquids, wipe the inside with a clean towel, a sponge or a soft cloth.
  • Use a solid packaging: pack your mini fridge in a sturdy and secure box or suitcase, to avoid any potential damage or scratches, you can also use bubble wrap or foam and do some additional cushioning inside, always remember that checked baggage are not handled carefully.
  • Label your fridge: Use fragile tags to notify luggage handlers and the security agents that you have delicate item inside, that will minimize the risk of rough handling.
  • Separate other parts and accessories : remove any accessories and components and take them with you on board the airplane, like trays, bottles, drawers, storage organizers and ice cubes.
  • Don’t take a fancy fridge: if your mini fridge have a significant value, it is better to keep it safe and not put it in your checked luggage, as it might get lost or broken especially in connected flights.

Final Thoughts 

Planning ahead will make traveling with a mini fridge more easier and hassle free, but the challenge when traveling with mini fridges is the refrigerants and compressors that pose some safety concerns.

That is why you can’t bring a mini freezer in carry-on baggage on most airlines.

Even though the TSA do recommend taking mini fridges in checked baggage, ensure that your airline does allow them in the airplane hold and it is within their size and weight limits.

If the airline does not accept them in either carry on or checked baggage you can always ship your mini fridge, leave it at home or buy or rent a small one at your destination.

FAQs About Taking Mini Fridges On a Plane

What will happen to my mini fridge at the airport?

It is obvious that most airlines do not allow mini fridges in carry-on baggage, so if you show up to the airport with a mini fridge the airline will decide whether they will allow it in checked baggage or not, if not you may end up shipping it home or to your destination.

Why are refrigerators not allowed in carry-on baggage?

Mini fridges are considered dangerous items because they contain refrigerants and compressors inside, those materials that cool things are flammable and can pose a security risk.

What will happen if you sneak a mini fridge in your carry-on?

If a TSA agent discovered that you have a mini fridge in your bag, there is more chance that they will confiscate it.

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