Can You Take Ice Cream On a Plane? TSA Rules And Tips

If you have a favorite ice cream brand or flavor that you can’t get enough of, you might think about bringing some with you on your next flight. After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy a scoop of their favorite frozen treat on a long flight.

Well, the good news is that you can take any amount of ice cream through the security checkpoint as long as it is completely frozen solid at the time of screening, melted or slushy ice cream needs to be 3.4 oz / 100 ml or less in order to pass the security.

In this post, I will explain everything you need to know about flying with ice cream, from TSA regulations to packing methods. 

So, let’s get started!

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TSA Rules for Ice Cream

Taking all types of Ice cream on board the airplane.

Even though the TSA didn’t mention it on their website, but the first thing you need to know is that melted ice cream is considered a liquid or gel by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which means that it falls under the 3-1-1 rule for carry-on luggage. 

This rule states that you can only bring liquids or gels that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per container, and that they must fit in a single quart-sized clear plastic bag. 

You can only bring one bag per passenger, and you have to take it out of your carry-on and place it in a separate bin for additional screening.

This means that if you want to bring more than 3.4 oz of ice cream in your carry-on, you have to make sure that it is completely frozen solid at the time of screening.

If the ice cream becomes liquid or slushy, it will need to follow the TSA liquid rule.

You can always buy ice cream after you pass the security and take it on board the airplane and you don’t have to worry about the TSA rules.

Can You take ice cream in checked baggage?

You can always pack your ice cream in your checked luggage, where there are no restrictions on the size or quantity of liquids or gels. 

However, you still have to make sure that your ice cream stays frozen during your flight, which can be tricky depending on the duration and temperature of your trip. 

You also have to be careful about how you pack your ice cream, as it might leak or damage your other belongings if it melts.

I delved into X (formerly Twitter) to find additional insights and other responses from the @AskTSA.

This passenger wonder if ice cream packed with dry ice needs to be checked.

The @AskTSA customer service replied that if the ice cream or the ice is melted or there is liquid in the bottom of the container, it must be 3.4 oz or less when transported in carry-on, otherwise it will need to be packed in checked baggage.

The TSA does allow 5.5 lbs of dry ice in carry-on and checked bags.

Ice cream scoops are allowed also in both carry-on and checked bags.

Tips for Packing Ice Cream for Traveling

If you want to bring a scoop of solid ice cream (like a Gelato or a sherbet) on board the airplane, then you can just go ahead without any issues.

But if you decide to bring a handful of ice cream with you, either in your carry-on or checked luggage, you need to follow some tips to keep it cold and prevent it from melting. 

Here are some of the best methods that I’ve found:

  • Use dry ice: Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide that is much colder than regular ice and can keep your ice cream frozen for longer.
    You can fid dry ice almost in any local store, hardware stores, or online. However, you have to be careful when traveling with dry ice (learn more about traveling with dry ice).
  • Use frozen water bottles: Another option is to freeze some plastic water bottles and use them as ice packs for your ice cream. You can place them around your ice cream container to keep it cold and insulated.
    You can also drink the water once it melts, which is a bonus. However, you have to make sure that the water bottles are completely frozen when you go through security, as partially frozen or liquid water bottles might be rejected by the TSA agents. You also have to be aware that frozen water bottles might not last as long as dry ice, especially if you’re traveling to a warm destination.
  • Use an insulated cooler or bag:  My favorite way to pack ice cream is to use an insulated cooler or bag that can keep it cold and protect it from external heat.
    You can find various sizes and shapes of coolers or bags online or in stores, depending on how much ice cream you want to bring.

Can you take an ice cream on international flights?

Whether you’re flying within the US or to another country, to the UK, Canada, Italy or Australia, you should always consider the 3-1-1 liquid rule.

But the more interesting things to think about is if the treats you want to bring allowed in the country you’re going to? Some countries might have strict rules about certain types of ice cream.

But, don’t worry too much! Even if your favorite ice cream isn’t allowed, you can still find cool local or different kinds of ice cream in the new place you’re visiting.

Can you take an ice cream maker on a plane?

Yes, ice cream makers are good to go in both carry-on and checked bags, however; larger ice cream makers with sharp tools or with liquids inside are better if they are packed in checked bags.

When packed in checked bags ensure that your ice cream maker is securely packed and well-wrapped to prevent any potential accidents or damage.

Final Thoughts

You are allowed to bring ice cream on a plane, including homemade and unopened boxes of ice cream in your carry-on and checked bags.

But if the ice cream is melted you want to bring it in containers that does not exceed 3.4 oz / 100 ml, or you will need to transfer it in your checked bag, otherwise it will be confiscated.

This is due to the 3-1-1 rule that is enforced with the TSA and most airports in the world.

Hope this helps

Happy scooping.

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