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TSA just confiscated.... (aka "my creole mustard is contraband")


yep, going through airport security in sw florida, tsa just confiscated my brand new unopened (foil seal and all) zatarain's creole mustard. ;-((. (hey, it is hard to find and over-priced here in d.c.).

i was informed that i could put it in my checked luggage without a problem. (hmm, isn't there a logic issue, here?) but, that would entail me going back to the airline, having them find and retrieve my now-checked luggage (Ha!), putting my mustard somewhere in the bag where it wouldn't get absolutely squished by US airways' expert luggage-tossers, and then going through security again.

was there someone i could give it to? no, my sister had dropped me off and was long-gone. well, could someone there use it? no, tsa has to throw these contraband items away. (so if you go to those security contractor auctions, you can find the odd lot with nail clippers AND a creole mustard!).

i asked them why it was being confiscated, i.e., is this mustard a "liquid" or a "gel"? i was told it is enough like those "textures" to make it verboten in one's carry-on luggage. can i get a receipt? no, it is "contraband". at first, though, they swabbed it with the bomb-detection cloth. then ran it back through the x-ray. then decided it was a no-go.

i was told peanut butter and applesauce are in the same category.

i had a deep-down inkling when i was packing that they might go all tsa on my mustard, but my checked luggage contained new white linen clothing. (not a good fit for splattered mustard, ya know!).

what food items have you had confiscated at the airport security checkpoint?

<i'm just musing that i could've taken it out, smeared it on my body, and done a dance. but then....it would've been ME that was "confiscated." ;-).>

  1. Mustard gas is a chemical weapon after all! Maybe they though you were going to break into the cockpit and smear it in the captain's eyes. Ouch! Yup, TSA is lame. I thought they were going to finally chill out about liquids and gels?

    1. Not a food item, but had an unopened $11 bottle of sunscreen confiscated at Logan Airport last July. Forgot it was in my carry-on. The TSA screener was boorish and insulting. Kind of like a Congressman/woman.

      1. Two years ago I was flying to Boston from Bogota, Columbia. Looking to use up my last pesos, I bought a jar of dulce de leche, delicious sweet caramel-like stuff that as thick -- or thicker -- than peanut butter. No problem until I had to switch planes in Miami. The TSA guard found the dulce in my backpack and, somewhat apologetically, confiscated it, despite my protestations that it was definitely not a liquid. I understood he was only doing his job and, realizing I wasn't going to talk him into letting me take it onboard, I told him that he should at least take it home and enjoy it with his family. He smiled and said, not possible. If he got caught taking something home he'd get fired (which of course makes sense, but still.....).

        1. I had an almost empty bottle of water confiscated at Reagan a while back... I completely forgot it was in my bag after 3 days of meetings and running around DC. The TSA guy was less than polite about it, especially since I had no objections about tossing the bottle and was pretty apologetic about having it in the first place, plus there were only 5-6 people in line at the time.

          1. Liquids, gels, creams, emulsions, you name it, if it's not a solid, it's subject to the 3 oz. or less in a plastic baggie rule.

            The one time I forgot I had a bottle of water in my bag, I just said "please throw it away for me,sorry 'bout that" and they were very nice about it. I hear lots of stories about TSA nastiness, but have yet to experience it.

            I am sorry to hear about your mustard, though.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danna

              thank you for your commiseration, danna. ;-).

            2. Last time I travelled, they confiscated my small container of yogurt. The didn't confiscate my (full) 1.5 liter water bottle. Go figure..

              1 Reply
              1. re: cheesecake17

                Last time I traveled, I had some small bottles of cream shampoo, etc ... They were 4 oz. They took them all. Then in my purse a nail file ... bye bye and I had nail cutter I completely forgot about, they are just always in there, bye bye too. They took my water I just bought, I was searched in the back room because my slip had a couple of little decorative metal pieces on it with a bow. Yeah ultra terrorist here. I couldn't believe it and my shoes had a small little metal piece on the heel. So I must of looked like some german terrorist. I missed my flight 2 hours later my bag they trashed, took most. I had three nice presents for family, they unwrapped, threw away the paper to find out is was a pretty ceramic wind chimes from a local art show. And they broke one. No compensation for that and for my missed flight. You can imagine my mood at that point.

                Sorry alkapal about the mustard. Right after 911 I went up to see friends. I was cooking them a gourmet anniversary dinner. Well they have no spice, no anything so I mixed it in a baggie and made the mistake of putting it in the carry on. They thought it was some illegal drug, and then the marinade I don't know what they thought. Soy ginger, brown sugar, mustard, white rice wine vinegar, garlic, etc. Some new nuclear weapon. Again, not really happy.

              2. Coming home from France, I lost a bottle of expensive Black Truffle Oil.

                2 Replies
                1. re: 1stmakearoux


                  and i was ticked off about my *mustard*!!!

                  1. re: 1stmakearoux

                    Now that hurts! Sorry alkapal, he wins

                  2. Apparently snow globes get confiscated too! My SIL to be was trying to bring back a New York snow globe that she didn't want broken and she had to go back and put it in her checked luggage, or mail it to herself.

                    You could have mailed it to yourself?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      it wasn't worth it to mail it to myself. but that is an option. next time i fly in to fort myers, i'll try to see if they have some post office there.....

                      i mentally played with the idea of going back and putting it in my luggage, but who knows what kind of time-zapper that exercise would have been.....

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I wish you could have seen the snow globe looked, I can close my eyes and see it she was really annoyed.

                        I bet some TSA worker had a ham sandwich without mustard...

                        1. re: ktmoomau

                          >>>I bet some TSA worker had a ham sandwich without mustard...<<<

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Much like the comment why can't i take the bigger bottle- because I am thirsty not everything gets put in the big bin and shipped off, so he might have really just wanted some mustard.

                        2. re: alkapal

                          It takes between 60 to 90 minutes to get your baggage back and you risk it not making your flight - and I had to argue with the airline in order to get them to do it. They finally conceded that it was not practical for me to physically leave the airport and find a grocery/pharmacy.

                          That's when I learned that you should pack you children's formula/food for a 24 hour event rather than 12 when taking a 2 hour flight.

                          Of course, I was then chastised by TSA on my next tip for taking an excessive amount of properly packaged formula/foods.

                          1. re: alkapal

                            Mail it before the airport. They removed mailboxes at most airports A.

                        3. Recently had a salami confiscated at JFK from Rome. But the sun-dried tomatoes, candy and olive oil I got at the Rome airport were fine. Apparently you can't bring meats into the country.

                          27 Replies
                          1. re: janethepain

                            not even cured meats? hmmmm.......

                            1. re: alkapal

                              That cured meat prohibition is a long-standing one.

                              1. re: MMRuth

                                it'd be hard not to step aside, and start eating the salami! ;-).

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Knowing this makes the salami that a houseguest recently brought me straight from Milan seem all that more precious....

                                  (too bad it was so delicious that it lasted less than a week!!

                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                    Yes, I've had friends bring back Jamon Iberico/Pata Negra from Spain - delicious. But illegal.

                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                      NICE friends and a successful "smuggle". I think the rules concerning consumables are extreme, but I totally agree with the rules about seeds, which unfortunately are so easy to conceal.

                              2. re: janethepain

                                i think "non-solid" is the term that should be used to be clearer than "liquid" or "gel". so if it doesn't make a sound when you knock the substance on a table, it is subject to the 3 oz. rule....

                                does peanut butter make a dull thud? ;-).

                                hmmm, what about a pbj sandwich? do i put it in the clear baggie with my lip gloss and clinique eye cream?

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  I don't know about a pbj sandwich, but I once had the pasta with sauce that I had packed for lunch very nearly confiscated. They had to take it away ad "test" it before they decided it was legit. And this was after United forget to tell me they'd switched me to an earlier flight, which I then of course missed, and gave me a hard time about rescheduling me...

                                  1. re: alkapal


                                    Please do not even think of bringing peanut butter through a security point. It will delay your progress.

                                    1. re: jfood

                                      It really is all about the airport, if you fly out of Bozeman, Montana you can have about anything in your bag and they don't care.

                                      In DC I find sometimes they are grumpier than other times.

                                      JFK forget it just toss anything beforehand to be safe.

                                      In most Spanish airport hubs (Barcelona, Madrid, etc) they have beagles to sniff out people trying to bring meats on the planes. It was a big concern because of the spread of hoof and mouth disease. I believe there are ways to get it back to the US which you can google, but certainly not carry-on.

                                      We went to Spain and toured wine country and brought a whole duffel bag of wine back packed between beach blankets and in the packing the wineries gave us, we expected to pay the duty on it, and listed it and we never even had a question about it. Of course a plane from Columbia had just landed behind us... I think it is always best to play it safe and just put it in your checked baggage. Fiance's grandparents got me this packing kit for Christmas with TSA approved size bottles to pack some of my toiletries in for the long plane rides to and from Australia for our honeymoon, it even has a small spray bottle for perfume.

                                      1. re: ktmoomau

                                        We have beagles here too. One of the things you're not allowed to bring in is fresh produce. I was waiting for the luggage to come out after arriving at Logan from Europe, and saw a beagle sniff out a banana that some woman had in her handbag. Confiscated.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          Oh yeah... that is how you spread alien species from one country to another because many are in or on fruit. I totally understand that one, but I wonder what they do with it after they confiscate it, because unless it is isolated or burned it wouldn't do much good?

                                          1. re: ktmoomau

                                            I've been told they do in fact burn confiscated foodstuffs.

                                            1. re: BobB

                                              There was an episode of Dirty Jobs some time ago that covered the job of airport trash man. All of the trash from the airport was incinerated b/c of the potential for alien species introduced from international flights.

                                        2. re: ktmoomau

                                          I've actually found the TSA types to be *more* of a pain in the rump in the out of the way places. Columbus,OH seems particularly bad.

                                          1. re: jgg13

                                            Agreed. I've had no problems at LaGuardia, Reagan, etc. but the little commuter airport in central PA - I get lectures and over-analysis of my driver's license. LOL

                                            1. re: lynnlato

                                              Yeah, the most officious screeners I ever ran up against were at the Lehigh Valley "International" Airport.

                                              I've gotten caught with stuff that I either forgot about or thought was okay at other airports and the screeners have been polite but firm. Just a couple of weeks ago I forgot to eat my yogurt before going though security. They just gave me the option of going back out and eating it or having them toss it.

                                              I got caught going through Newark with a bottle of liqueur I'd bought at duty free. I know now that I should have put it in my luggage when I rechecked it to my final destination after clearing customs, but I thought since it was in a sealed duty-free bag it would be okay. Nope. The very nice screener sent me back out to the Continental desk where they found a box for it and checked it -- no charge (this was a couple of years ago) -- and then the screener let me back in through the employee line so I didn't have to wait in line again.

                                              BTW, I've said this before, but it bears repeating: I always keep several gallon-size Ziploc freezer bags (the ones with the inner lining) in my luggage. They don't weigh anything or take up any space, but they're great for packing that wet bathing suit, those muddy socks, that leaking shampoo bottle, and that jar of mustard (or in my case, usually honey) that would otherwise make an awful mess if it broke or leaked in my luggage.

                                          2. re: ktmoomau

                                            You can't fly out of Bozeman. You have to fly out of Belgrade. And I got busted for a lighter AND a 1/4 sip of water in a bottle.

                                            1. re: JerryMe

                                              You can fly out of Bozeman Montana.

                                      2. re: janethepain

                                        No meat, learned that one too. I took a great smoked ham I made the day before. Airport never warmed me of that. It was in dry ice and checked they still took it.

                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                          Wow - where were you taking the smoked ham to? My understanding was that the issue was the importation of cured meat products to the U.S., and that perhaps other countries have the same import restrictions.

                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                            Sorry this was just ham from FL to WI, sorry re confusion there. My fault on that. I was told by the airlines it was ok, packed in dry ice, smoked with my friends favorite spice. They had just go back from a long 5 week vacation so we were meeting them I though making them their favorite dinner would be nice. She loves my ham. Well, lost the ham, lost the glaze the rest I could recreate. Thanks to a local market for a last minute fedex to my friends home, not quite the same but close, recreating my own current honey glaze, but I was pissed!! Yes can't do that from another country, learned that when I went skiing to Argentina this past year with a good friend. He wanted to bring back (something) I don't remember, but NOT allowed.

                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                              Perhaps they didn't communicate with your properly. The problem was likely the dry ice as there are weight limitations on that and surcharges. There are no restrictions on meat. And perhaps the glaze, if in a container, exceeded 3oz. We carry sausages back from NYC regularly.

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I even printed out the instructions from the web page but apparently they were out dated. And my sauce I should of just packed in my suitcase. It was more than 3 oz. But ham surprised me. I'm not sure what the reasoning was but they took it ... and I hope they choked on it as they probably enjoyed a good lunch, lol. I learned the hard way, I now ship the ham when I visit my friends.

                                                Airline travel used to be fun. I don't even take a carry on anymore, just my over sized purse. It is easier.

                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                  As I wrote above, it was probably the dry ice not the ham. Domestically there's no problem with non-liquid/gel/etc . food products. No different than carrying on that Chick-Fil-A that I picked up in the Denver airport once :) Mmm, a flash from the past.

                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                    I'm not sure what the rationale for packing it in dry ice was to begin with. The whole point of smoking meat is to preserve it so you don't have to refrigerate it.

                                                    That said, if they confiscated my home-smoked ham they would have needed that dry ice to keep me from having a meltdown!

                                                2. re: kchurchill5

                                                  The problem is the dry ice. Most airlines have restrictions on just how much of this can be brought on board, and the pilot needs to be notified. I've concluded that most counter agents have no idea of how to handle this either.

                                                  I think you are allowed up to five pounds, depending upon the airline, but you must go through the check-in and declaration hassle. The last time I tried to check a box of Char Shiu Bao through to Dallas (well, the savory ones are hard to find here!), I just ended up tossing the dry ice because they were frozen solid anyway, and the baggage compartment can drop to well below zero. The were as hard as a rock after flying back from Newark.

                                                  Funny thing -- I nearly got in trouble for tossing the dry ice in the airport trash bin because a liquid added to it would have possibly caused "smoking" -- and that might have caused them to evacuate the terminal, as I found out later. I guess I was just lucky.

                                          2. Hey Alk.

                                            Next time you find your Zatarin's (And it's great, I always pick it up when I'm down yonder) just go over to the vegetable section and grab a few bags and toss it in them. That should be enough protection if it blows out and then toss it in your checked baggage. No problems.

                                            As for them confiscating all sorts of stuff, you can check on line and you can just just play it safe. Stick your stuff in the carry on. Glass bottles should be fine right in the middle of your clothing. Just wrap in plastic bags, then wrap some tee shirts or something around them.


                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Davwud

                                              yep. live and learn.

                                              to pack a glass jar, i wrap it in bubble wrap and then put that into a large, cleaned planter's peanut tin and put the lid on.

                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                Instead of bubble wrap (particularly if space is at a premium), you can always wrap it in dirty (not too dirty) laundry (shirts, slacks) after it's been placed in a plastic bag. I've travelled with bottles of wine, oils, etc safely with no problem.

                                                And if I'm on an extended trip and I don't want to lug stuff back, I mail back whatever's the lightest (laundry or gifts).

                                            2. I went through security with an entire bottle of TJ kefir at Logan last September without a problem. Two months earlier, I am going through security in Bucharest with two yogurt containers, get pulled over and the following occurs:
                                              'You cannot take these bottles with you..."
                                              "But I did have the same bottles 6 months ago, and you let me pass through .... How is this possible?"
                                              "Ok fine, you can take the smaller bottle..."
                                              "Why not the big one?"
                                              "Because I'm thirsty".
                                              Needless to say, I left with the smaller bottle.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: jeni1002

                                                ;-). >>>"Because I'm thirsty".<<<

                                                somehow, this made me think of our trip to hungary a few years back -- not food related, particularly, but the lingering police-state mentality (the lingering artifacts of totalitarian regimes, with their state-control abusiveness and presumptiveness) among some public employees.

                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                  Yes - it is certainly a different dynamic - on the one hand, you are always in self-defense, not knowing what to anticipate, but at the same time, you don't feel so guilty about testing the boundaries of acceptability (I would have never started a conversation like this in the US or elsewhere outside Eastern Europe, but in this case, I felt I could be just as shameless as he was).

                                                2. re: jeni1002

                                                  ham is ok domestically, as i hauled some ham down to fort myers in my carry-on last month on my way down from d.c.

                                                  i laughed to myself thinking of what the screeners were talking about when they saw the x-ray of my bag! LOL!

                                                3. Here's the most irritating and ridiculous part of this whole airport charade: if there is the slightest chance that any of this so-called contraband is dangerous, then why do they keep the confiscated items in huge bins right where you check in? It's either "dangerous" or it's not. If it's dangerous, then at lest make a pretense of putting the item somewhere else -- you know, where it can't blow up. In then end, what's the difference if it's in your checked luggage or you're carry on? Y'know, it's supposed to be dangerous, right? I mean, that's the ostensible reason it's being taken away. Argggh.

                                                  13 Replies
                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                    I'm pretty sure the mustard isn't in danger of blowing up. I suppose it could be used to blind someone.
                                                    Perhaps peanut butter isn't allowed because it could be used to cause a peanut allergy.

                                                    These item are banned because they can become weapons on a plane. Or so they say.


                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                      I think the idea is that you could mix a few liquids on board and create a bomb or toxic chemical, which you couldn't do if they were in checked luggage. I think they stopped a plot like that in London a few summer back. What I found ridiculous (aside from my sauced pasta near-miss above), was in Mexico when they confiscated a bottle of water I'd bought *after* going through security. They did a second check while boarding the plane, and took that away too!

                                                      1. re: Emmmily

                                                        This is exactly why excessive liquids are not allowed on planes, fear of terrorist creating a bomb. The only problem is that it is nearly impossible to create this bomb on a plane.


                                                        So because of misinformation and fear mongering we can't bring a large bottle of water on planes.

                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                          Having worked Air Force Security for twenty years, reading many intel briefs, and seeing first hand some of the ingenuous ways to combine things into instruments of mayhem, it is entirely possible.

                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                            But the TSA has already announced it's going to relax those rules sometime this year. I'm hoping it will be raised to a litre. We shall see.

                                                        2. re: roxlet

                                                          It's deterrence. The chances of something in that box being dangerous are teeny tiny, but if they don't collect those things, the chances of dangerous liquids and gels showing up at the airport rises, because people will expect to get them through security. It's not really about the random jar of mustard.

                                                          1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                                                            Deterrence, desmerrence. Why do they worry about the "teeny-tiny" odds and don't people have a brain? I'll bet if they opened some of these potentially "dangerous liquids" they would quickly ascertain what they were. Would you mind if they broke the seal and smelled or tasted what you had?
                                                            This reminds me of people asking for my ID when it is obvious that I am over 50....
                                                            What is the conspiracy that so many travel sizes are 4 oz. containers?

                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                              They worry about the teeny tiny odds because even a teeny tiny odd multiplied by the tragedy of missing just once = a horrifying possibility that is > the level of aggregated frustration and impatience engendered by the policy (which is therefore insufficient to get the policy changed, though both the policy and its enforcement have eased in the past year or so). And, well, optics. It's not the brains of people traveling with mustard for their sandwiches that they're worried about.

                                                              1. re: planetjess

                                                                Quote: "And, well, optics."
                                                                So, your saying a passenger could make a laser gun out of a bottle of mustard or balsamic vinegar?

                                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                                  No, I don't believe I am saying that. Though there's a funny "Real Genius" joke in there, I'm sure of it. :)

                                                                  1. re: planetjess

                                                                    But what if one person brings on a small bottle of water that turns out to actually be chlorine bleach and someone else brings another chemical that looks completely innocuous. These two people put their chemicals together and gas a plane.

                                                                    There was a school caretaker here a few years back mixed bowl cleaner with a bleaching agent and gassed herself to death.


                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                      no...we're speaking to a couple of boxcutters bringing down 2 buildings and 3000 lives.

                                                            2. When my mom and dad came back from Italy last fall, the bottle of balsamic vinegar they were bringing home to me was confiscated. Obviously, my 60-something parents were up to no good with that vinegar!

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Glencora

                                                                to be fair to the TSA though, they obviously can't *only* confiscate stuff from people who don't "look safe", under whatever definition you might want. So it has to be universal.

                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                  I know, I'm just pouting because they travel a lot and they never check baggage. And by now I have plenty of saffron.

                                                                  1. re: Glencora

                                                                    well that *is* a bummer! tell them they *have* to check bags just for your!

                                                                2. re: Glencora

                                                                  Terrorists I'm sure :)

                                                                  I guess they have to be careful, but sometimes I wonder ... They never did test that 4 oz not 3 oz bottle of pantene shampoo I was carrying, LOL.

                                                                3. I was behind a man who lost two large bottles of something (I didn't ask what) at one of the many screenings you go through at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. He was quite frustrated; he had purchased them at a shop in the airport after going through one round of security, then hit another security check and lost them.

                                                                  1. I haven't read all these posts so excuse me if I'm redundant. TSA has announced that at some point this year, they will be relaxing the 3oz. rule. We can look forward to that. When we do long intl. flights, I carry toiletries in my carryon but everything is 3oz or less. I carry lots of zipping bags to put things in my checked bags and underwear is a great cushion. So far, so good. I find I'm less crazy if I don't try to change the government. I always fail :)

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      I recently departed Tampa with toothpaste in my carry-on Ziploc, and at a connecting flight in Kanasa City to Denver, it was confiscated. And I never was outside the secure area in K.C. I think TSA would have us all look and smell like Aqualung.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        I try to have a <3oz. toothpaste for airplanes. I have at time had a larger one but it was quite used up so I guess it passed the test. Were I in your situation, I'd consider the Tampa/KC a bonus and the KC/Denver par for the course. But, yeah, I'm a stickler for toothbrushing at the end of a long, particularly overnight flight. Also antiperspirant, baby wipes, etc. But I play by the rules cause I want to have them more than I want to thwart the federales :)

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          I was once given a hard time (in Bermuda) because my 3-oz containers were in a clear plastic bag with a real zipper close (from a Burt's Bees sample pack) instead of a ziplock. <1qt bag, all regulation size, but the zipper close was a problem. Flying there from JFK it was fine. so who knows? That same flight they confiscated an orange & a turkey sandwich but left me my apple & a ham sandwich (all in the same paper bag, so it's not like they missed them.)

                                                                          1. re: Emmmily

                                                                            Bermuda is not subject to the same rules as the ones at JFK. It's not part of the US. ;)

                                                                      2. I visualize you smeared with mustard all over your body and having a necklace, pasties, bracelets and anklets of ham.... A "pork loin" cloth?
                                                                        Will she get through the TSA gauntlet... or be eaten first?

                                                                        1. I lost butter at a security check after being told when getting my boarding pass at the airline, that it was AOK, therefore no need to repack. Thankfully I was able to scoot back down through and give it to a relative.

                                                                          I have ZERO problem with security checkpoints and whatever they want to check me over for. All the better. What a lot of people don't realize, is that there are often lots of reasons why such things exist, half of which we don't even know about, because it's higher security info.

                                                                          Anyway, here's what gets my knickers in a twist about the whole thing. Back in the day before the liquid ban, we'd all be able to happily board with our carry-ons full of wine, jars and cans of this or that, plus any non-food liquid/gel/whatnots. No one weighed the bag, as long as it was small enough to fit where it should on the plane.

                                                                          Now with the ban, we have to wrap and put all of these previously unweighed items into our checked luggage (if we dare). These bags get weighed, and you bet that i've had an awful lot of checked bags go over the weight limit as a result, even though my aggregate baggage weight is really no different than prior to the ban, it's just distributed differently.

                                                                          And now, when I never used to, I have to pay for an overweight bag.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                            I've never had an overweight bag and I travel heavy. Why not put some of the things that you used to put in your checked bag into your carryon and make room for all those liquds, gels, etc. in the checked bag? Seems simple enough to me.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Any time I *don't* have an overweight bag, I think to myself that I haven't packed efficiently enough...

                                                                              1. re: planetjess

                                                                                Well, I admit that I cheat by weighing my bag on the bathroom scale and always figure it might weigh light and compensate for that. ONCE I was 2# over and it was easy enough to pull a few items out of the suitcase and put in the carryon.

                                                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                                                everything non-liquid doesn't seem to weigh much, aka shoes, clothes etc.

                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                  Maybe because my feet are so big, my shoes seem to weight alot :) I also travel with mostly smaller sizes of toiletries, i.e., travel size shave cream, shampoo (I fill small bottles for that). We were gone three months a couple of years ago and I just bought those items at my destination and didn't bring them home. It's going to change. Let's hope it's substantive. Fingers crossed.

                                                                            2. I'll bet the TSA folks have pretty nice lunch breaks.

                                                                              1. It's likely that I'll never travel by air, given the current restrictions, paranoia, and all-over bad service by the air industry, but I do remember my family's vacation to California in the 70's where there was a border checkpoint between Arizona and California during a fruit fly scare. They asked if we had any plants or plant material, and my Mom produced a cup of sweet cherry pits, causing them to react like she had just produced a live hand grenade. I guess we're lucky they didn't pull us all from the car and cavity-search us.

                                                                                I'd say that for the foreseeable future, do your food shopping a day earlier, stop at a box-and-ship place and ship everything yummy home. TSA doesn't WANT to take your food away, but they don't want to lose their jobs or a planeload of passengers, either.

                                                                                1. They took my mascara on one flight.
                                                                                  They made me take off my rubber flip-flops on another.
                                                                                  Another time, I accidentally hit the edge of the metal detector while walking through it, so they pulled me aside and wanded me.
                                                                                  When I travelled with a crochet project I was working on, I printed out TSA's rules that state that crochet hooks are allowed, just in case they wanted to confiscate it.
                                                                                  But I was assured that I could take any food that I had packed at home through security with no problem. From all the above incidents reported by CH'ers, it appears that TSA doesn't follow (or even know) its own rules.

                                                                                  1. Here's my question.
                                                                                    You can't bring a jar of mustard onto a plane,(and I am not going to argue about that, if those are the rules, than those are the rules) but you CAN buy a bottle of booze in Duty Free and carry that on the plane. I am sure you could make some sort of bomb out of it, particularly if it was 151, and the glass from the big bottle could be a weapon in and of itself.

                                                                                    I travel a lot, and all over the world, and I have found that the laws are pretty vague and not uniform from place to place. I have carried whole bottles of water onto the plane in Bombay without question, but had my Lush bath bombs swabbed as explosives in Chicago.

                                                                                    1. You can't please nobody none of the time. And make no rules that effect me.

                                                                                      Jfood will match his travelling with almost anybody over his career and has seen and been the subject of most forms of security checks up to and including some "get to know you" private discussions with some very inquisitive guards with Uzis in Germany. After 7 of these events he asked why? and he was told he was walking too fast. OK a leisurely strole through Frankfurt the next time a zippety-doo-dah through the airport. And you know what? jfood is glad they were there as he sits and writes this post. Why? Because he is sitting here writing his post.

                                                                                      Nah, noone will ever learn to fly a jumbo jet and crash it into some tall buildings. Nah noone will figure out how to turn my Nikes into a bomb. Nah, noone will ever use a small airport's security to sneak boxcutters onto cross country trips. Remind jfood to call some of little jfood's friends tonight after his flight home who lost their parents on 9/11. Sorry Janey, but your dad died so someone could bring some ketchup home.

                                                                                      Jfood hears almost on a monthly basis as his MIL complains when she flies with the "Do I look like a terrorist?" comment. And if TSA then does profiling, all the anti-profilers come out of the wood work.

                                                                                      And to the posters who say, but it's only vinegar, or mustard or fluffernut of coffee or just a bit of water left in the jar. Do you want everyone to be held up while they taste it? Not jfood. Well I do not want to check it in by bag next to my underwear. Then wrap it in something.

                                                                                      For jfood, yes some of the rules seem a little strict, and has seen some interesting scenes at airports. But it is RARE that he has ever seen a TSA inspector the least bit rude unless the flyer cops an attitude first.

                                                                                      And while jfood is sitting tonight on his flight he thanks the TSA for giving him a little safer sense of security.

                                                                                      27 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                        I could not agree more with this post, thank you jfood. There are rules now for travel, we all have to accept that, and I think you also have to accept that you may not be clear on every single one of the rules and so be ready to adapt (cheerfully) when you run into one you are unfamiliar with. In the end, the motivation behind these restrictions are to keep us safe, and frankly the risk associated with letting your jar of mustard through is not even close to justifying taking that risk.

                                                                                        And please don't ask, "do I look like a terrorist?!?", unless you're prepared to tell me, exactly, what a terrorist looks like.

                                                                                        Don't get me wrong, I feel for the loss of all this yummy food, but, well, I'm kind of glad you lost it. It means someone's doing their job. The stories about the stuff that made it through make me shiver.

                                                                                        And please don't ask, "do I look like a terrorist?!?", unless you're prepared to tell me, exactly, what a terrorist looks like.

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          Well said jfood.

                                                                                          At the time of 9/11 and the TSA talking about beefing up airport security (Severely) there we're experts who said that the American flying public wouldn't put up with such inconveniences. Well, that's where we are today. People are upset because they're being inconvenienced or even feel picked on.

                                                                                          As I said above and used Alk as an example. Just wrap your mustard up in such a way that it won't leak/break/explode/whatever all over your clothes.

                                                                                          Also keep in mind that if the biggest inconvenience you flight has is losing your water bottle, consider it a good flight. Imagine how inconvenienced those travelers on 9/11 were.


                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                            I agree with jfood.

                                                                                            I am a little old lady and a retired airline employee with airline ID. I have been selected for all kinds of "special" treatment by TSA . While I don't enjoy it, I appreciate it.

                                                                                            In October, I relinquished two bottles of water going through security in Frankfurt. In April I went through Munich - they only make you go through security once - I commented that I liked their system better than FRA. The guy said, "That's silly the way they do in FRA."

                                                                                            One time they wanted my chapstick. I mentioned that their regs say that lip balm is ok, so why not chapstick? They discussed it and let me have it.

                                                                                            I know they are inconsistent sometimes even in their written materials, but I always read their updates and do my best to meet their standards.

                                                                                            1. re: gailr42

                                                                                              where do you find their updates to read?

                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                            I'm in complete agreement with you, jfood. If all the minor inconveniences deter ONE person from trying something, it's worth it. I've never had anything confiscated because I err on the side of NEVER pushing it. If I'm in doubt, it goes in my checked bag. And (knock wood) many items have survived the trip. Thanks for taking the time to say this so well.

                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                              I'm perfectly happy to abide by whatever the regulations are--my problem is when the TSA doesn't follow them.

                                                                                              My friend has had them try to confiscate her bamboo knitting needles so many times that she prints out and highlights the appropriate section of the allowable items rules to take with her. Once they removed her knitting needles from her *checked* baggage, ruined about a month's worth of work.

                                                                                              I was traveling once with my friend, an airline attendant who knows the regulations inside out. They confiscated her translucent balloon animal. This was closer to 9-11 when rules were still more in flux, but still, there was absolutely no applicable prohibition.

                                                                                              My favorite lipstick was taken this year. Solid lipsticks were explicitly allowed by the TSA in 2006, and aren't required to be put in the quart sized bag. I checked before I packed.

                                                                                              Once I accidentally left a mostly empty water bottle in the front pocket of my backpack. They found it, I immediately apologized, said I'd forgotten about it, and offered to throw it away. Did I get the gracious response that an earlier poster had in the same situation? No--I got a nasty sneer and a "That's what they all say." I'm respectful, I'm not asking for special treatment. But basic courtesy and consistency? That would be nice.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                While I'm not always clear that the latest regulations actually provide safety, the fact is, they are much broadcast, so posts like Alkapal's surprise me. I would never try to bring such items on, if only because they risk being chucked-- so I pack them in my suitcase. As a person who must bring edible food back from the continent, I've become something of expert here.

                                                                                                The thing I hate? At my present home airport, they have no water fountains to refill my empty bottle, so I must always buy the water from the WHSmiths once I'm through security. Feh. (I drink a lot of water, too, so the limits of travel-hydration are deeply felt.)

                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                  My brother who flies weekly at least gave me a tip a few years ago. When boarding the airplane, I now ask for a bottle of water immediately. It's worked every time. Just a thought.

                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                    I bring my empty Nalgene bottle and just ask the flight attendant to fill it. They love me because I get my bottle filled once and down't pester them for the rest of the trip.

                                                                                                    1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                      An even better idea. I keep meaning to do that as I too am a HUGE water drinker. I've flown Virgin America a few times and in addition to all their other innovations, you can just walk back and pick up bottles of water any time you want.

                                                                                                      1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                        oh no! my friend got her Nalgene bottle confiscated... if they confiscate empty plastic throwaway bottles, they indeed confiscate reusable ones. (you were lucky..?!)

                                                                                                        1. re: alixium

                                                                                                          Weird. I travel all over and bring it with me everywhere I go. Never had a problem.

                                                                                                          1. re: alixium

                                                                                                            jfood has seen hundreds of EMPTY Nalgene go through security. Your friend probably had it full.

                                                                                                          2. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                            I want to thank both of you for the advice. As it happens, I was just travelling and gave the filling up of the bottle a go. It was great.

                                                                                                            On my way out, it remains a necessity to buy a bottle of water past security because my airport has no water fountains and the tap water in the loo is always warm. I have no idea why my local airport pulls that.

                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                              If you buy something else, like a cup of coffee or a muffin or something, I'm sure that the Starbucks or whatever other coffee stand is in the terminal would fill up your bottle for you. It can't hurt to ask.

                                                                                                              1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                If I need to buy other things, why not simply get the bottle of water? But a nice suggestion. Thanks.

                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                  Bottled water is expensive and a waste of plastic, particularly when you can easily carry your own bottle. Coffee on the other had, is the nectar of the Gods. ;-) I would buy the coffee and get the water for free if possible.

                                                                                                          3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                            But now airlines are starting to charge for water too. I bring an empty disposible bottle and fill it up at the water fountain on the other side of security. Sorry Lizard that you have no fountain at your airport, but surely they have a sink?

                                                                                                            1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                              Which airlines have you flown on that charge for water? Does that mean they also charge for coffee, tea and sodas?

                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                I've been on some flights that charge for bottles of water but not individual cups of water or soft drinks. I'm not sure which airlines but I'm thinking American or American Eagle since that's what I mostly fly.

                                                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                  Isn't that odd? Ya know a Coke has got to cost them more than a bottle of water. Must be because SO many people are consuming bottled water. I seem to remember that Continental only gives cups of water which is a pain on long, international, nighttime flights. I always want a bottle tucked into the seat pocket for middle of the night dry mouth.

                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    I'm always on those long nighttime international flights - there is always plenty of water and liquids for free.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                      Have you ever flown Virgin America (I imagine V. Atlantic is the same by now). The seat in front of you has a touch screen for ordering food and beverages. They accept no cash; just swipe your credit card. So, say, I know I'm going to be wanting a couple of cocktails, I can order two with glass of ice and bottle of water. You just pay for the liquor; also food if you order that. It's the most sensible thing I've ever seen. You can get what you want when you want it. Sir Richard is brilliant IMO.

                                                                                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                  jfood was on a flight over the last few months where you could receive a glass of water for free but if you wanted a bottle (half-pint sized) there was a charge. Can't remember airline nor can he find on websites.

                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    Spirit charges for all drinks and snacks, including bottles of water.

                                                                                                          4. I pack things I can't get thru security in my luggage all the time. I've found that my sneakers do a great of cushioning jars and small bottles. I usually slide a heavy sock over the bottle/jar, then push it into my shoe. I brought wine back from LA (a gift from a co-worker) by rolling the bottle up in a pair of my yoga pants, and double wrapping in hotel laundry bags. I wouldn't have planned to bring wine home that way, but it worked in a pinch.

                                                                                                            Be careful with shopping at the duty free. If you have to change terminals, and re-screen in security, you'll lose your liquor. Happened to us coming back from Sydney, thru LAX.

                                                                                                            1. Right after the "mixing liquids to make a bomb" scare that started this whole mishegass, for a brief time there was an absolute ban on liquids in carry-ons - no 3 oz containers, no nothing. My first trip during that period I had forgotten that I had a couple of nip-sized bottles of Martell Cordon Bleu in the bottom of my computer bag. Confiscated.

                                                                                                              For the uninitiated, this is $100 a (750 ml) bottle cognac, so even these little nips were pricy. Actually, how I got them is an interesting side story - I've been a long time fan of the stuff and know what it costs. I was in line at my local liquor store one day and they had a display of these 50 ml nips for $5 apiece. 15 x $5 = $75, making this a real bargain compared to the full sized bottle. After trying one to make sure it was the real thing, I went back and bought their entire stock! And still have a few in the cupboard. This is not an everyday tipple.

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                No way you could have self-confiscated those few little nips to, say, your stomach? It might have made you more sanguine to their loss...

                                                                                                                1. re: planetjess

                                                                                                                  I did consider it, but it was about 9AM and I'm just not a morning drinker.

                                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                    Ah, BB, I have the solution --- which I've shared with many people over the years. My husband bought an antique wall clock when he was in the Army in Germany in the 70s. Backs in the late 80s it stopped working and we took into someone who repairs old clocks. Short version was that it has no sentimental value and wasn't a fine time piece to begin with. SO (yes, there IS relevance here) we set it for 5:03 and all our friends now say "hey, it's after 5:00 at Bob and Catherine's, let's have a drink!"

                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                      If only I had known that at the time... (pun intended). ;-)

                                                                                                                    2. re: BobB

                                                                                                                      You're never too young to start


                                                                                                                2. Reading threads like this are exactly why I don't fly anymore. If people really, really want to do harm, they're going to do it no matter what the rules are. Yes, it's going to take longer if I drive. However, I get all the legroom I want, can stop for a bite to eat whenever I like, and I can carry on as much wonderful food and drink as I want without worry of some TSA agent clearly from the Wal-Mart cashier reject bin needing mustard for his sandwich!

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                                                                                                                    Sure, and I like the train, too. A bit hard to get to Europe or Asia, though.

                                                                                                                  2. While I do appreciate the fact that TSA is trying to keep us safe, I still hold a grudge against the thug TSAs at LAX who stole my digital camera out of my bag. For some reason though, they didn't take the underwater camera that was in it's housing. Guess they couldn't figure that one out.

                                                                                                                    I don't even try to take food on with me - it's just too irritating.

                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: outinthecountry

                                                                                                                      I probably take food on 99.9% of flights and have NEVER had an irritation OR a problem. What have you had a problem with?

                                                                                                                      My camera is ALWAYS part of my carryon, along with jewelry, meds., etc.

                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                        The TSA in JFK always confiscates my food. They've taken pasta with sauce, a peanut butter sandwich, a package of turkey, thumbprint cookies, and a small container of salad dressing- less than 3oz and in a ziplock.

                                                                                                                        They once took and empty water bottle because it had some droplets of water in it. Another time, they let me through with a full water bottle.

                                                                                                                        1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                          How odd. I've flown out of JFK a number of times and had NO problem carrying on food --- including two dozen bagels! Guess I hit it lucky every time. Good.

                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            You must be one of the lucky ones, along with my husband. He flies right thru security, while I get harassed for the empty water bottle or the bobby pins in my hair. They once made me unhook my bra so they could check that nothing was hidden in the wires.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                              I've often wondered if I look like a Cocker Spaniel because people sometimes tell me amazingly private things. So maybe to airport security, I look harmless :) Just so I can keep bringing my bagels back to NoCal. Hmm, maybe they figure I'm okay because of that. Try carrying some next time and see what happens.

                                                                                                                              Another reason I'm glad I don't wear a bra with wires :(

                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                next time i'll travel with a bagful of bagels- who knows maybe they'll let me thru

                                                                                                                      2. re: outinthecountry

                                                                                                                        TSA stole your camera? Did you take a picture of security as you were on line or was it just random out of your bag?

                                                                                                                        1. re: outinthecountry

                                                                                                                          What makes you think it was TSA? The airline baggage handlers are more likely culprits.

                                                                                                                          No one I know with an u/w camera (and I travel often with u/w photographers) *EVER* puts it in checked luggage.

                                                                                                                        2. My husband was in Switzerland a couple months ago and I asked him to bring me back some yummy, cheese. I searched the customs website and found that hard cheeses are okay. S9, he bought me an expensive hunk of gruyere ($40).

                                                                                                                          The problem was with the Swiss authorities and getting it out of their country, not bringing it into ours. THE SWISS TOOK IT as he was preparing to leave the country!!!! If someone can offer a rational explanation for this, I'd love to hear it. I did some checking online and it's my understanding that there is a HUGE variation on how different countries apply the EU standards.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                            I have no idea why they would take his cheese, but it's not an EU thing, Switzerland is not a member of the EU.

                                                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                              True, but my understanding it they do follow EU security regulations.

                                                                                                                          2. Interestingly, I have type 1 diabetes and travel with lots of syringes, injectable meds, etc. I have NEVER had an issue with any of this stuff. In fact, they are so uninterested in it that they rarely search my carry-on which has these things in them. They don't even ask me for the required Doctor's letter advising of my illness and the need to carry these things.

                                                                                                                            It seems strange to not at least inquire. I mean I could off most the people on a plane with a few units of insulin each. But they could care less. I have only had to show my letter once and that was in Portugal. But mustard - that's cause for concern!

                                                                                                                            1. There is a fat gourmand beagle at Dulles whose belly droops on the ground as he walks. Stories persist that he has attended Chowhound luncheons and was weaned on Iberian ham, German wurst and Italian proscuitto. He also has an affinity for Panzano bisteca and Greve salami.

                                                                                                                              I'm acutally jealous.

                                                                                                                              1. I actually had my one serving container of yogurt confiscated, even though i had put it inside a plastic baggie with my shampoo bottles and whatnot. The most annoying things was that the guy that took it then proceeded to ask his fellow employees if anyone wanted some yogurt, and after not getting any takers, promptly popped it open and ate it himself. I was so furious i couldn't even say anything. Only thing that prevented me from making a fuss was that i was late for my flight.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: nataliya.v

                                                                                                                                  "proceeded to ask his fellow employees if anyone wanted some yogurt, and after not getting any takers, promptly popped it open and ate it himself."

                                                                                                                                  I do think I would of burst into flames! UGH!!!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: nataliya.v

                                                                                                                                    That should be reported to Washington.

                                                                                                                                  2. I saw this happen to a lady while flying out of New Hampshire. She was boarding with a nice bottle of maple syrup and they would not let her carry it on. Just really does not make any sense.

                                                                                                                                    1. Can't bring it on board but, you can check in with your bags just put it in a zip lock for extra saftey.

                                                                                                                                      1. I don't know about all you and why you've all had so much trouble (is this why there are no personal pictures here?)! I pack and take my meals (a nice bento-sized box of yummies and a yogurt) when I travel and have never had any issue. I've even put my large bottle of perfume that in no way fit in the little plastic bag without a problem (I found it in my purse while in line - I was very prepared to be bummed).

                                                                                                                                        But my suitcase is ALWAYS searched. It could be the knives, bottles, foods, and other various cookware going or coming home. (Most people visit museums and castles - I look for the local markets!)

                                                                                                                                        But I have no idea why I was once strip searched in Switzerland. Not a pleasant experience and I was totally clean that time - no food or knives!

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: alwayscooking

                                                                                                                                          One time our bags were searched and I had to laugh goodnaturedly when we got home and discovered it. We'd been in Rio and were bringing gifts of necklaces and earrings that were made from dried seed pods (never thought about the fact that that in itself was a no-no). Because they're quite delicate, I put them inside a couple of empty, cardboard, papertowel rolls and taped the ends shut. Who could blame them for wondering about pipe bombs? But the jewelry was still there.

                                                                                                                                          As for who does and doesn't get the full treatment, I haven't a clue. I know that I'm a major suck-up when I'm trying to curry favor :) I make eye contact, smile, make some inane comment (wow, y'all are really busy today, aren't you?) In sales, we called it "establishing rapport." Who knows? I also DO keep current on the recent regs.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                            Sometimes that works, but I think some of those guys are just thugs. Bringing back a Venus Willendorf figurine from a museum store in Vienna made one customs inspector so suspicious, you'd think I was a witch. In the end he had to let me keep it, but he wasn't happy. I've had no trouble with food such as sandwiches, though.

                                                                                                                                        2. I've had my half-eaten apple confiscated at La Guardia. I was in the middle of eating it!

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: sailrox

                                                                                                                                            Were you arriving from an international destination? That's totally different, not TSA.

                                                                                                                                          2. I live in Canada and a lot of our fruit is imported from the States. When flying to Arizona a few months ago, they tried to confiscate my apples because "you can't bring fruit into the USA". Knowing what the answer would be I gamely asked "why?". Of course I was told that it was concern over bugs and fruit diseases.

                                                                                                                                            So I sweetly asked if it would be ok if I brought into the States apples that were grown in the States and showed her the Product of Washington sticker on my apples. I was allowed to take them with me. Now I never take off the stickers until I've cleared customs.

                                                                                                                                            1. You know, close to 200,000 people travel through daily just through O'hare. All of those people have to go through security, which is staffed by TSA agents (starting salary $25,141). Can you imagine the amount of time it would take if those agents had to make decisions about each and every item each person put in his/her carry-on? No one would make their plane.

                                                                                                                                              And honestly, the rules about no liquids, gels, etc have been in effect for ages; I can't believe that people go to the airport not knowing that there are regulations about what you can carry on the plane.

                                                                                                                                              I agree that the sandwiches and fruit confiscations are a little odd, but for the most part they do a good job.

                                                                                                                                              21 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                                                pray tell, lulubelle, is creole mustard a liquid or a gel?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                  since both are captured under the regulation, pray tell, alkapal, what does it matter. let the tsa do their jobs and either pack the mustard in a checked in bag, ship the mustard, buy the mustard on the internet or leave the mustard behind.

                                                                                                                                                  For those people who travel almost every week, seeing the way people treat the tsa personnel is horrible. Jfood can not believe the crap they give them for a stupid half bottle of water they spent $0.35 in Costco.

                                                                                                                                                  C'mon guys, it's mustard.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                    too abd the rule is based on a lie, and protects nothing and no one

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                      If that's what Thew believe, then please feel free to drive the roads to get to your destination. Jfood for one is more than happy to trade the slight inconvenience for safer skies. And if these lies and protects nothing procedures were in place 7 years ago when you leave your apratment in NYC you would still see those grand towers at the base of manhattan.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                        um - no. the whole 3 oz of liquid thing was based on a false lead, and there never was any such plot, nor any real reason why 2 oz of liquid was safe, but 4 oz was dangerous. nor would have banning liquids or making people take off their shoes done anything to stop what happened on 9/11. I have no problems with security measures. I do have problems with measures that do no good, that make real security measures more, not less difficult, and with senseless things of any sort that remain in place for no other reason that it would politically inexpedient to try to stop them.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                          jfood, your faith in the ability of the TSA to screen bags properly maybe overblown. The Governmental Accountability Office has run a number of covert test on airport security and consistently screeners fail to pick up bomb parts, guns, and yes knives including box cutter hidden in carry-on luggage.

                                                                                                                                                          Instead of having screeners concentrate on looking for liquids that can be combined to make a a bomb, which is difficult to do to say the least and according to some it maybe nearly impossible to assemble such a bomb on a plane, screeners should focus their efforts on real threats.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                            This article is somewhat enlightening on this point;


                                                                                                                                                            Less time on sandwiches and yogurt and mustard more on knives and etc. might be worthwhile.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, thanks for posting this link. I had read this article and firmly believe that all the time spent on convincing passengers that they're cracking down on 4 ounce bottles might be better spent on activities that truly stop terrorists. One time, when I was pulled out for a wanding, I asked the person (very pleasant) if she had ever discovered anything on anyone save bra wires, and she laughed and said she hadn't.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                            I think the OP meant this to be a lighthearted thread. You seem to find it disrespectful, but I'm pretty sure that wasn't anyone's intention.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                              Actually, I *have* pretty much given up flying due to the ridiculous security rules that they've put in place. It's as if they don't want anyone to fly anymore, I can't believe all of the sheeple that actually put up with that stuff.

                                                                                                                                                              The overzealous, unwarranted and useless security checks have been put in place on boston mbta stations now and then. When I get called over, I say thanks but no thanks and just don't get on at that station, I'll just walk to the next one. I've nothing to hide, but I'll be damned if I let them search me unreasonably.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                                Jfood has a hard time believing that anybody is giving up flying as a result of potentially losing their bottle of water. pahlease.

                                                                                                                                                                And if you would rather walk to the next MBTA station to avoid a 5 second check by security, yup jfood says that a winning strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                  Been to Boston lately? The MBTA guys [always guys] are loving this a tad too much.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                    Other countries with more recent terrorist actions have also been far more strict- like the UK. We're still pretty lucky with the higher weight restrictions and that we never had to do the one carry on for some time. After being in the UK for a while, the TSA was an absolute pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                      I now only fly when I absolutely have to, why bother putting up with the irritation? I'd taken to only checking my bags in order to avoid all of the grief of the idiotic TSA rules, but now that airlines are charging fees for bags - why bother?

                                                                                                                                                                      As for the MBTA, most stops are pretty close together. I like sticking it to them, to show them how stupid they are ... you want to buckle down here? Fine, I'll walk five minutes to the next one. To me, it points out to them how stupid their rule is - if I was really a terrorist and really had a bomb, wtf are they going to do about it.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                is mustard a "gel"? i guess it is *like* pudding or yogurt, which are listed. not having internet access before the flight, i could not look up tsa's website. i just never thought of mustard in its original package with seal as a *gel.* but peanut butter, also told to me as prohibited, is not listed.

                                                                                                                                                                and i was never rude or impertinent to tsa.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                  jfood never said you were rude or impertinent. that was a general comment. Sorry if you misunderstood.

                                                                                                                                                                  jfood would recommend thinking of it as gas, liquid, solid.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                    It's those colloidal suspensions that are the twilight zone.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                                                      Yea, if those suspended ingrediments ever collide it could be disastrous, or it could take you to another dimension where everything was different and ethereal, as Rod would say.

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                My argument, alkapal, is that you said yourself you thought you might get busted for having the mustard, but decided to bring it in your carry-on anyway. You knew it might not pass the rules but decided to start an argument rather than just wrap it well and put it in your checked-in bag.

                                                                                                                                                                Are the rules stupid? possibly. Should they be changed? maybe. Is the best way to protest the rules to break the rules thereby causing an altercation with a bottom-rung employee who holds absolutely no power? probably not. Particularly not if it means holding up a line of fellow travelers and possibly missing your own plane.

                                                                                                                                                                Write a letter. Picket the Department of Homeland Security. Whatever. Just don't stand and argue with the TSA agent over a $4.00 jar of mustard while the rest of us wait. I have my liquids stowed, my shoes off, my laptop out and I want to get through the line as quickly as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lulubelle

                                                                                                                                                                  um, did i say i argued?. oh, i wasn't holding anyone up, either. i was taken aside once i was screened. thankyouverymuch. geesh, some of you posters are just as knee-jerk as some of the tsa folks.

                                                                                                                                                            2. lol, I only just now read the last sentence of your post alka. you could probably also make a living on some obscure websites doing just that, haha.

                                                                                                                                                              anyway, my question that I've never been sure about: why is the product purchased after the security checkpoint or at the duty free (or for that matter ON the plane) considered above reproach ? i've always had to assume those products all go through some extra super-duper going over, as are the people who move these products into the more secure areas of airports and planes. After all, infiltration can happen in other agencies, gov't included....so I hope there are some very stringent procedures here.

                                                                                                                                                              1. This one was fun too - coming back to the US from Krakow, I got on the plane to Frankfurt without any problem (this is back in in '05 I think). Flights to the US from Frankfurt had to go through security all over again. So they scan my carry-on bag, and immediately start grilling me: "what's in your bag?" "Oh, some souvenirs, clothes, you know." I think they're wondering about my jumble of earrings, which security sometimes feels the need to check out. A guard puts on gloves and starts looking through my bad. "What else are you carrying?" Definite hostile vibes. After a few minutes of this, they find what they're looking for: a bag of rock salt I bought in some 700-year-old salt mines we visited outside the city. Luckily the bag was clearly labeled "salt" in a few different languages, and luckily they believed it, because apparently salt looks exactly like crack cocaine on the xray machines. Whoops.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Had an interesting experience when flying out of Heathrow 3 weeks ago. My checked in luggage had hit maximum weight allowance, so I had to carry a bag in hand that I had intended to check. Bag was full of shampoo's and other bath products (I get them in England at 1/8th the price of what I would pay in Kenya), and lots of other beauty products and creams. Bag was stopped at security check in, and I feared the worst - all my stock would be confiscated. However the reason it was stopped was because of a a collection of salt, pepper and spice grinders I had purchased from Turkey, apparently unusual enough in design to cause some second glances. Luckily one still had some peppercorns I had used to test the grinder, and once I had demonstrated to a crowd of interested security checkers, I was let off with all my other 'contraband' intact.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Folks, this thread is getting pretty far afield -- if you want to talk about what foods you can and can't take on planes, or how to work within the limits, that's fine. But whether or not the TSA successfully finds guns or box-cutters is a little too not about food even for the Not About Food board.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. You should've made a really really big sandwich. There is no law against bringing a sandwich onto a plane is there?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. On a related subject, does anyone remember the very long and wonderful thread about what items can and cannot be brought into the US by travelers? The main source of information on the thread was a poster who went by the name of "the man" who I believe worked for USDA or customs??

                                                                                                                                                                        I have searched and cannot find this great thread.....

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. They just got my wife's Blackberry Farm Pear Preserves. Bet that dinner on Fridays is neat.


                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                            I have got to ask: Why on earth is anyone carrying things that will inevitably fall into a discretionary zone? I really want to commiserate, but can't understand why people are surprised almost three years after the liquids and gels business was instituted?

                                                                                                                                                                            And yes, I can commiserate about the performance of security that does not necessarily mean security. (I don't know if Americans are subject to the same biometric scans or requests for travel authorisation when they travel for the quick holiday to nations that were apparently on a visa waiver programme.) But the fact is this: we know that these items are considered suspect so why take them in the carry-on given the possibility of confiscation?

                                                                                                                                                                            There are laws that are created that are invasive, but this is not one of them. (I wonder, does my attitude come from my own experience of living in Europe in the 1970s? Not exactly a peaceful period.)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                              You know, when one is packing up from a week-long stay at a mountain retreat, and facing a snowstorm between Knoxville and Nashville, things happen.

                                                                                                                                                                              In our case, we just ordered more from the source and were done with it.


                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                Yep, these things can happen. I'm glad to hear of the resolution.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually got to taste some the other day. It was really very good, and I hope that the TSA folk enjoyed theirs, as well. Now, I'm not sure how I'd use it with the OP's Creole Mustard, but there might be some recipe on the Home Cooking Board - or maybe not...

                                                                                                                                                                                  Trust me, I have more to beef at the TSA about, than our forgetfulness about a jar of jelly. Of course, that's because I deal with them about twice per week. Also, we both knew better, but it slipped past us. Still good jelly though! Now, we also have a story to tell, when we serve it to our guests.


                                                                                                                                                                          2. alkapal, Sorry that happened to you. I feel your pain!

                                                                                                                                                                            Once when traveling back from the Dominican Republic I stuck a couple of 4 oz bottles of vanilla extract in a carry-on bag, totally forgetting about the 3 oz max liquid restriction. I didn't even have a checked bag so there was nothing I could do. So close, yet so far.

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. French customs recently confiscated 27,000+ 1 liter bottles of vodka... no, it wasn't me! My friend owns an auction house and the French gov't asked him to sell it off for them... uh yeah, I'd say that is a wee bit over the usual 2 liter allowance.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. For everyone's future reference, the screeners at LAX did not take the 6 ounces of hummus I had in my carry-on the other day. You may travel with hummus. Repeat: hummus appears to be unregulated.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                  LOL! I suspect that it probably depends on the particular screener and how much of a stickler s/he wants to be. They actually had a little confab about my yogurt before deciding it wasn't allowed.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. On behalf of all the chowhounds posting on this thread, just want to thank the Richard Reids of the world for ruining our ability to smuggl...er...travel with food. Thanks a bunch.

                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure how a guy who tried to blow up his shoe keeps people from bringing food on a plane, but whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, it wasn't Reid specifically -- he just made them make us take off our shoes. But if you include the "Reids of the world" there was a similar "plot" involving building a bomb on board assembled from chemicals brought on individually that caused the TSA to ban more than three ounces of non-solids of all kinds from carry-ons, which incidentally includes some foodstuffs/beverages.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        Indeed. These guys:


                                                                                                                                                                                        Sadly, their names are harder to remember (for me, anyway, and for Bob Dobalina too, it seems). So Richard Reid takes the heat.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                                          Aw, I don't feel too sorry for Richard Reid. In fact, I'm pretty pissed at him every time I have to take my shoes off to go through security. For that matter, when I have to get dressed for a flight and try to figure out what shoes to wear that will be easy to deal with at security (why does anyone wear BOOTS to fly these days?).

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                            I wear Doc Martens pretty much every damn day, flying days included. Because I am stubborn. And kind of an idiot. Sometimes screeners will take pity on me and let me keep my boots on. But note that the distraction of my impractical footwear may have been what allowed me to get that hummus on board!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm amazed that I have never been asked to step aside for a more detailed inspection. Recently most of my recent flights have been early morning w/no sleep so I stumble and trip my way through security. And there are those early morning arrives in immigration when I can't remember where I came from, where I am going, and how long I will be there. I just get laughs.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But getting back to food. I once argued that someone else put a bottle of soda in my carry on at it wasn't mine. Didn't realize that my BF did it. On a flight from the Big Island to Maui I had to toss a jar of peanut butter and jelly. They said we could make sandwiches and bring those, but not the jars (sadly no bread). I constantly bring fruit on the plane and have never been stopped in customs. I sometimes loose bottles in my pocketbook and have been able to bring them through.

                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                        There's no reason you can't bring fruit, unless you're going through agricultural inspection (as in from Hawaii). The prohibition isn't against food, it's against things that are not solid, whether they happen to be food or not.

                                                                                                                                                                                        However, I've taken through (by accident) loose stuff in my bag that technically shouldn't have gone through outside the "baggie": lip balm, small bottles of hand sanitizer, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                          Right, fruit isn't a really a TSA thing, it's more of a customs/agricultural inspection thing. Most recently it was a couple apples and bananas into Hawaii. I have a vague memory of a "does an orange = liquid?" post on a different thread.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Eye drops, hand sanitizer, lotion, all those little things that I normally carry in my bag I frequently forget to remove

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think even when they relax this rule (supposed to happen later this year) I will still use the one quart bag. At least that way I can find those dang little items in that great big handbag I travel with.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. To be fair, there are clear rules about the sizes and types of liquids that you can take in carry-on luggage onto planes these days. These rules are posted on the airline's web sites so you can easily see what they will and won't accept.

                                                                                                                                                                                        While it may seem over the top (and it likely is), the problem is that they can't pick and choose once the rule is implemented. Once they start applying the rule subjectively, they open themselves up to all sorts of questions and arguments with people who think they should get by with this or that because someone else got by with something similar. There's really no way to handle it except to be objective.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If you want to carry liquids safely with your clothes, you can put it in a couple of plastic Ziploc bags. Even if it leaks, it's unlikely to escape two different bags (especially if you place the zipper part of the first bag at the bottom of the second bag so the zippers are opposite one another).

                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Orchid64

                                                                                                                                                                                          too bad the rule protects no one, the "plot" was nothing but smoke and mirrors to distract from other news, and to date no one has shown any way to make a bomb from combining these fluids and gels. not to mention if 3 oz is somehow dangerous, the rules do not stop 2 guys from brining 2 oz each. it's a joke, but a joke no one knows how to undo.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's the link talking about what is planned to *undo* this:


                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't heard anything since that disputes this.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                              It protects jfood at least twice a week, thankfully. And for someone who sees the progress the fliers have made with very few "double looks" it appears that the fliers are both on board and not that upset with no complaining in line, either.

                                                                                                                                                                                              It appears most of the complainers are on food boards upset about some mustard they wanted above their heads versus below their rumps.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                >>>It appears most of the complainers are on food boards upset about some mustard they wanted above their heads versus below their rumps.<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                thanks, jfood! i love (not) how you made my post a "complaint" about tsa's role keeping us safe when we fly from the freakin' nut-job potential terrorists whom i despise with every inch of my being every time i have to remove my shoes in line (and in general, for that matter).

                                                                                                                                                                                                and...hellloooo folks, the regs do not mention mustard (or peanut butter, iirc). thankyouverymuch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                                                                                  jfood was responding the Thew. His post have been very consistent in attacking the TSAs procedure. Jfood is on the other side of the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Your post was a request for people to give some stories on what has been confiscated in their travels. In fact someone called it a light-hearted post and you quickly thanked the poster. Jfood got-it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  And on May 11 jfood and you had a similar dialogue where jfood posted, "jfood never said you were rude or impertinent. that was a general comment. Sorry if you misunderstood." Ibid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW - the regs mention gels and solids. As jfood mention in that same May 11 post, "jfood would recommend thinking of it as gas, liquid, solid" If it is not a gas or liquid it falls into the "bad" bucket.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                    and peace be with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (but i guess it's hard for me to think of mustard or peanut butter as "gels" but, technically, i guess they are just that -- colloidal gels! http://www.thefreedictionary.com/colloid

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "">>>col┬Ěloid (kloid).
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Chemistry
                                                                                                                                                                                                    a. A system in which finely divided particles, which are approximately 10 to 10,000 angstroms in size, are dispersed within a continuous medium in a manner that prevents them from being filtered easily or settled rapidly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    b. The particulate matter so dispersed."""<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                    and the colloidal gel is >>>""colloidal gel, gel - a colloid in a more solid form than a solution"<<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (i think it'd be a good idea if the plain language regs and signage mentioned by name the most frequently confiscated "gels" so that people get the picture more easily, e.g., peanut butter, yogurt, mustard, vaseline **( i know vaseline was one of the suspect items in the "dry-run" plot with several people traveling together a couple of years ago http://www.bloggernews.net/110335 ) ...etc.). (why do **i** always think of hair gel as the type of "gel" they seek? ;-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    ** >>""Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly is a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that, when blended together, create something remarkable - a smooth jelly that has a melting point just above body temperature. The result - it literally melts into skin, flowing into the spaces between cells and the gaps in our lipid barrier. Once there, it re-solidifies, locking itself in place."<<< http://www.vaseline.com/Product.aspx?...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                      these measures also are effective in protecting you from rabid giraffe attacks on flights, as there have been none of those since this has been put in place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      i have nothing against sensible protections. i do have something against the politics of fear. as i recall this "plot" was foiled on the same day the testimony about cheney and valerie plame was to made public, or some other such event - it was 3 years ago so the details escape me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      more to the point - terrorists entire goal is to make us change our way of life through fear. I would say they have succeeded brilliantly, and, as the old shake and bake commercials said, "we helped".

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                        the valerie plame case has been dismissed as without merit. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        and the facts are the facts. the vaseline "event" was clearly a plot. how else explain all the facts? occam's razor applies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Jfood also appreciates the "no rabid giraffe" rules. That darned purple hippo in 19E last week sure stunk though. Could you please check NPR and find out when TSA will get criticized for that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          As you do not buy into the politics of fear which jfood also agrees with, he also does not believe in the conspiracy theory of certain historical events. And if people want to connect the TSA rules with some other event in W's administration, jfood cannot connect those dots with an intelligent conscience. W had some (OK probably most) stupid things, but protecting Americans is probablythe only positive thing he did in the last 3 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          And if you wish to connect what the US government has done with any terrorist activities, be jfood's guest, but jfood will NEVER link what our government is doing to protect us with the actions or goals of terrorists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW - The correct quote is, "and I helped."

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Folks, this thread is getting wildly off-topic, so we're going to lock it, and ask that people return to talking about subjects that are a little more closely related to food.