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Posted by
87 posts

I would assume yes since they also count peanut butter as a liquid! I always put my lip balm in my liquids bag just in case. I'd guess in the US you could get through unless really unlucky, but other countries may take it more seriously. (I frequently take PB crackers as a snack and they've never been noticed although technically not allowed.

Posted by
828 posts

I remember reading something many years ago that explained what is considered a liquid per TSA rules -- if you can squeeze it, spray it or spread it, then it's a liquid. I have always put chap stick in my clear liquids bag.

Posted by
7512 posts

The title is misleading, TSA is pretty much strictly an American term for our agency, the Transportation Security Administration. In the UK, they are pretty much are just called Security Officers, I am not sure, but I believe they work for the airport, not the government.

But anyway, the article does bring up a pertinent issue. While there are guidelines regarding liquids and other items that you can and can not bring on the plane, all the "rules" are purposely vague. It is up to the officers at any airport to make a go/no-go decision, and of course, different people, different outcomes. So what might seem fine, might not have been seen, or that person did not see it as a threat, so let it go.

Best to use caution, and be safe, or be prepared to lose it.

Posted by
2708 posts

I once had toothpaste confiscated in Pittsburgh, despite having carried it on the plane for years. The tube was something like 5 oz. It’s always a crapshoot, no matter where you go.

Posted by
1646 posts

Yup. I was loudly scolded by a security guy in Munich for not having my lipstick in my liquids bag.

Posted by
5580 posts

I have a friend who is a lawyer for TSA. Anything that holds its shape is solid. I would argue peanut butter then is a solid. He said, some brands do not hold their shape. However, peanut butter (and jelly) are ok in a sandwich or crackers. He said, chap stick, lipstick, deodorant sticks are all solid. Then he also said, it always at the discretion of the individual agents, so. . .

A great point in the article, each country’s rules are different. TSA (U.S.) has no jurisdiction over other countries. I carry a rounded tip kindergarten scissors to cut moleskin. Well, I did until it was taken away at CDG.

Posted by
87 posts

Yes, I've lost small scissors, tweezers, cuticle nippers to security around the world but no problems in the US (at least since the very early days after 9/11). We usually don't check bags on the way out, but do on the way back so any sort of metal object or vaguely pointy things go in the checked bag to came home.

The worst part is the glee they have raising tweezers up and giving the most frightful glare like they just stopped a terrorist in action :)

Posted by
1819 posts

TSA in US does consider lipstick & chapstick tubes to be solids. Also, I have noticed Heathrow and CDG to be more strict than TSA in U.S. For instance, at CDG they don't allow 'TSA' zippered bags and insist you use a regular food type quart bag.

Posted by
6274 posts

It's my understand that the TSA (in the US) considers anything that can hold its shape without support to be a solid. This includes lipstick, bar soap and chapstick, but does not include peanut butter and mascara.

ETA: just saw Jules' post above, so this is a repeat. :-) Personally, I would not consider peanut butter a solid because if you spoon it out of the jar, it loses its shape.

Obviously, as Paul pointed out, security at airports outside the US have their own standard. And as he also pointed out, the final decision is always up to the individual security officer.

Posted by
4794 posts

As a side note, many hand creams contain an ingredient that will appear to inspection officers as residue from explosives. That's happened several times, and causes a much closer examination of the hand luggage. For that reason, considerd not using hand creams just before a flight.

Posted by
3240 posts

TC - That explains a lot. I am consistently, if not always, pulled from the crowd for further inspection at airports. And of course, I am constantly using hand sanitizer followed by hand lotion.

Posted by
350 posts

The title is misleading, TSA is pretty much strictly an American term for our agency, the Transportation Security Administration. In the UK, they are pretty much are just called Security Officers, I am not sure, but I believe they work for the airport, not the government.

Thank you! I’ve noticed in this forum that folks have a tendency to say TSA to refer to any airport security setting the world. TSA is an American acronym.

Posted by
3095 posts

It is not just liquids; gels are also banned. So elastic explosives are gels. So, apparently, are chapstick and lipstick.

And any container over 100 ml (3.4 oz) is not allowed, even if it is not full. So a 5-oz tube of toothpaste is definitely against the rules.

As for hand cream, the culprit may be glycerin. That is used in some hand sanitizer as well. I once had y bag pulled for scrutiny because of a bar of glycerin soap that triggered a chemical sensor.

As I recall the woman in the Fodors article had her lipstick confiscated because it did not fit in her 3-1-1 bag. Where, under UK rules, it was supposed to be.

Be extra-careful going through security at Heathrow. Which you will do if you’re changing planes there.

Posted by
4375 posts

I've done Heathrow a few times now, don't assume you know the rules. Read the many posted signs, use only the provided bags and hope for the best.

Posted by
677 posts

I worked in UK and travelled regularly through both Heathrow and Stansted and yes, lipstick and chapstick both had to be presented in the little liquids baggie.

Posted by
206 posts

I’ve had yogurt confiscated in the U.S., but never lip balm, though I’ve never been through Heathrow.

I bring peanut butter crackers domestically with no issues. It is also possible to bring ice in my water bottle, just not water, I send the water bottle with the ice inside it through security screening separately when possible because if it’s in my day bag, TSA will set aside the whole bag and go through it. When it’s just the bottle with ice, they set it aside and then have me open it so they can look inside, then I’m good to go. Yes, I REALLY like ice. I love those water bottle filling stations at domestic airports but I’m not sure if they have them overseas.

Posted by
3992 posts

I’ve been flying out of Terminal 3 Heathrow for decades. Never have my lipsticks been classified as liquids. TSA in the US has never called my lipsticks liquids & expected them in a 3-1-1 bag. Anywhere I’ve traveled around the world, lipstick is a solid. 💄

Posted by
281 posts

Regarding the lotion--yes, it is glycerin. I have been chosen to be swiped numerous times by an agent with their little explosives detecting wipe. When they swipe my hands, they always ask me if I have used any hand lotion with glycerin in it. I am allergic to glycerin, so I don't use any lotions with it as an ingredient. I always test negative! : )

Posted by
4077 posts

Anything that holds its shape is solid. I would argue peanut butter
then is a solid.

Peanut butter has a molecular consistency similar to nitroglycerin which makes it a no-no at security. When the security scanners at the new international terminal at the Calgary Airport were being tested, peanut butter was used.

Posted by
725 posts

We went thru Heathrow last July, were told our quart ziplocks were acceptable, that our liquids did not need to be transferred to their bags but if we had lip balm, etc not included in our bags and it was picked up by the scanner we would be pulled aside and to expect at least a 45 minute delay as they went thru everything. I don’t think the agent was having a very good day….

Posted by
156 posts

I was once chastised because my lipstick was in my liquids bag. So the next trip I left it out and I was chastised for not having it in my liquids bag. Subsequent trips I put it in the liquids bag. No further problems.

Traveler Girl

Posted by
6274 posts

Cooperate, smile and be thankful someone is looking out for your safety.

Very true. I'd rather have them err on the side of caution than be slack about their duties.

Posted by
815 posts

in addition....

in the US, my contact lens supplies are 'medical', and pass outside my 3-1-1 bag.

Not so at LHR or CDG..... So yeah, different rules...

Posted by
17 posts

Peanut butter (TSA rules) recently changed. Limited to 3.4 oz in liquids bag. Check TSA website for complete information.