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Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

We have put together a list of the TSA’s most frequently asked questions. Giving you the insight to have your bag packed to perfection and have a seamless airport experience. By knowing the answers to these questions, you can get through airport security quickly. Getting you to your well-deserved glass of champagne and your holiday started as soon as possible. 

Bags being searched at airport security causes longer queues and a slower airport experience. Every year millions of prohibited items are confiscated at airport security. These are usually items that have not been packed in hold luggage and could risk the safety of the aircraft. Here is our list of common TSA questions to help you be as efficient as possible.

Our List of Commonly Asked TSA Questions

Is ChapStick a liquid for TSA?

Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream, or paste may be flagged during screening and will require additional security checks. Chapstick, lipstick, and solid lip balms are not considered liquids by the TSA. They can be in your handbag, carry-on or hand luggage without being separated into your clear plastic liquids bag. 

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Lip Balm and Lip Gloss

It is worth noting, lip gloss and jars of lip balm should be separated into your liquids bag. The TSA  3-1-1 rule determines that each liquid must be in a 100ml (3.4oz) or less container, and that all containers must be placed inside one clear, quart-sized plastic bag in order to be packed inside your carry-on.

Can I wear jewellery through TSA?

Although you’re allowed to take jewelry through TSA security you may be asked to remove it. This is the same as your belt and other metallic objects you may wear.  Depending on the weight and the size of the object it may be worth placing your items in your carry-on to avoid further security searches.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Placing Items in Your Carry-On

By placing it in your carry-on rather than your tray you avoid slowing down the queue. As well as avoiding forgetting items if you’re in a rush. It’s also a good way to prevent your items from being stolen, you can read more about keeping your luggage safe here.

Fine Jewellery

Fine jewellery and small pieces shouldn’t set off the metal detectors when you go through airport security, which means you don’t need to take every single piece of jewellery off.

Can I take an empty water bottle through TSA?

TSA has been through training on how to reduce its carbon footprint and it starts with the small things. Reduce waste and save some money by bringing a reusable water bottle.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Make sure your water bottle is empty.

So, you cannot bring water or any other liquids more than 3.4 oz. (although there are some exceptions) through security, but you can bring an empty bottle. Just fill it up on your way to boarding your flight after screening.

Do you have to take out portable chargers for TSA?

Portable chargers or power banks containing a lithium-ion battery (most portable chargers will contain a lithium-ion battery) must be packed in carry-on bags. They cannot be in your luggage as they are capable of overheating.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers


Power banks are categorized as Personal Electronic Devices (PED), which are essentially electronics with lithium batteries larger than a mobile phone. PEDs need to be removed from hand luggage and placed in a separate bin for screening.

Is a bar of soap considered a liquid by TSA?

You can take a bar of soap on a plane because soap bars are considered solids and therefore not subject to the same rules as liquid items. You can pack your favorite soap bar to freshen up once through security, without worrying about a TSA agent confiscating it.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Are makeup wipes liquid for TSA?

Makeup wipes, baby wipes and other wet wipes do not count as liquids, so can be taken through security. However, makeup is one area that can be confusing because many types of makeup are liquid-like in nature. Makeup can be expensive, so you want to avoid this being confiscated! Liquids, like foundation, nail polish, mascara and lip gloss are subject to the 3-1-1 rule. Items like face powder or bronzer, do not. 

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Can you bring a blanket through TSA? 

The TSA allows travelers to include blankets in their carry-on bags and checked luggage. The TSA stated “A blanket is allowed through the checkpoint. Airlines set restrictions for the size and number of carry-on items allowed. Please reach out to your airline so you won’t have any surprises when you get to the airport.” 

In most cases, you won’t need to contact the airline, especially if you’re bringing a packable travel blanket with you on the plane. These blankets are designed to be lightweight and easy to store in your carry-on bag or backpack, so you won’t have to worry about them taking up too much space. If you’re planning on bringing a weighted blanket for comfort or to help reduce anxiety, please contact the airline.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Can you bring gummy bears through TSA?

Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 100ml (3.4 oz) are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.

Travel Sentry | Our Common TSA Questions & Answers

Keeping Your Bag uncluttered

TSA officers may instruct travelers to separate items from carry-on bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their carry-on bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.

Candy on a Plane

Feel free to bring your gummy bears on your plane journey. As long as it’s not liquid candy then you’ll be fine traveling through airport security.

TSA Guidelines:

Remove the 3-1-1 liquids bag and place it in the bin.

Ensure pockets are empty (keys, tissues, currency, wallets, cell phones, etc.) and remove bulky jewelry (valuable items can be placed in carry-on).

Remove your shoes and place them directly on the X-ray belt.

Remove personal electronic devices larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them into a bin with nothing placed on or under them for X-ray screening. (E.g. laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles.)

Remember to check the bins and collect all belongings after going through screening.

Need answers? We're here to help.