Can You Bring Protein Powder On A Plane?

can you bring protein powder on a plane

Millions of business people and families regularly travel by plane; some a few times a week.

And when it comes to international travel and long hours of flying, many people just take it in their stride.

Others bring their meds on the plane – like eardrops, headache pills, pressure tablets, etc.

Because when all is said and done, maybe you have never wondered much about flying and the health consequences related to it.

Flying isn’t really that good for you and it can interfere with your health. Flying exposes you to higher levels of radiation, but not dangerous proportions, of course.

But take a look and see for yourself how flying affects your health [1]. It is often very difficult to keep track of your diet if you do travel.

 Thousands of athletes fly all over the world every year, and probably many of them travel with their health lotions and potions, as well as their protein powders.

They probably know all the rules and regulations and know exactly the procedures that go around their medications and supplements.

But for ordinary folks, many wonder if they are allowed to take these on a plane and what the TSA has to say about it.

Which brings us to the next question – who is the TSA if they are the ones that have a say in whether you can take your favorite protein powder on the plane or not? 

The TSA or the Transportation Security Administration, to put it very simply, is the protector of the nation’s transportation systems.

This enables people and commerce to move freely.

How to Travel On An Airplane With Protein Powder

So can you bring your protein powders on a plane and what are the rules of TSA in 2024?

Well, let’s just clear this up straight away – yes, you can. You can pack protein powders in your carry-on luggage or your checked baggage. But take note of transportation security administration rules.

The TSA powders rule applies if you do carry the powder in your carry-on bag, just bear in mind that the amount shouldn’t be more than 12 ounces.

If it is, you will need to put it in a separate bin so it can be x-ray screened. You would place your protein powder in a separate tray when you go through the x-ray scanner – similarly to what you do with a laptop. 

In fact, you might want to place it in your checked luggage to avoid being delayed at security [2].

TSA allows protein powder in both carry-on luggage and checked luggage

This is what TSA says:

“Powder-like substances greater than 12 oz. / 350 mL must be placed in a separate bin for X-ray screening. They may require additional screening and containers may need to be opened. For your convenience, we encourage you to place non-essential powders greater than 12 oz. in checked bags.”

If you don’t fancy the idea of your protein powder bag going through x-ray scans, you might be able to chat with a TSA agent.

Only they will be the ones to let you know if you can bypass the x-ray scanner. 

But then you might have to accept that you will have to go through other kinds of screening if you don’t want your powder going through the scanner.

Why additional screening?

The problem is that a lot of explosives and drugs also come in powdered form. white protein powder is less advised over dark colored protein powder too.

That’s one of the main reasons why the TSA gives extra scrutiny when it comes to powders.

Check out their latest 2022 rules here – you won’t be sorry because it can save you time and anxiety.  

 Often, a TSA officer will take your protein powder to a specific station, open the container, and inspect the powder.

And you might even need to be prepared that they might even take a small sample so they can test it.

Usually, there is a supervisor present and if he is busy checking other stuff, then it might be a while before he gets to your protein powder. You can wait for around 15 to 20 minutes.

If you were already late at the airport for your flight, then that can turn into a worrying situation for you.

Some tips to reduce the chances of additional screening

Protein is allowed on the plane, so you don’t have to worry about it getting confiscated or getting a fine or anything for bringing it. Just be prepared.

1) Leave the protein powder in its original packaging

That way the TSA won’t need to question you about the powder when it’s not in its original packet.

Unfortunately, sometimes the protein powder comes in huge containers. So naturally, it would be difficult for you to carry that huge tub around.

But you could buy a small container of protein powder that you use particularly when you travel.

Or you could buy those small packets of protein powder and put those in your carry-on bag.

2) You could put your protein powder in a Ziploc bag

That’s good for carrying smaller quantities. Some people will put all their separate little protein packets into one big bag and write ‘protein powder’ on the packet.

If you do put unlabeled powders in a Ziploc bag, it is usually fine and goes through without additional screening.

Carry extra plastic bags with you because sometimes the airline agents poke at the bags and they can leak out powder.

3) Use a Shaker bottle

Packing protein powder in a protein shaker bottle is a good idea to reduce screening time.

You first put it in a Ziploc bag and then put it in the shaker to prevent spillage.  

Different Forms of Protein Like Shakes and Protein bars 

Protein shakes pose a different story getting through the security checkpoint. As liquids, the shakes will be subject to the liquids rule [3].

So you would have to fit your protein shake with its container in a clear plastic bag.

You can bring protein drink through the airport security but it won’t be a lot.

Energy bars and solid protein bars are also allowed through security. The TSA in fact allows a lot of different food through security as long as they are solid.

If you are carrying protein gels, they will be considered liquid protein shake and subject to the liquids rule.

They will need to be stored in the bag with the other liquids and must weigh less than 3.4 ounces.

See some more rules and regulations around vitamins and supplements [4].   

Packing Protein Powder on International Flights

If you do happen to fly internationally, do your research and make sure that the country you are visiting doesn’t have some very different and unexpected prohibitions on some protein powder brands.

Remember, you get hemp protein powder, and it can pose a problem in certain countries.

Remember, too, that there are some pills and supplements that have ingredients in them that are outlawed in some countries. [5][6]

What about your pre-workouts?

Yes, these are allowed and are subject to the same powder rules but it is allowed by TSA

Final word

The TSA can be quite lenient when it comes to traveling with protein powder. You are 100% allowed to carry your protein powder on the plane.

It is recommended, however, that you put it in your checked baggage if it is over 12-ounces.

Also, try and keep your protein powder in its standard packaging.

This will avoid extra suspicion – but always be prepared for TSA agents to perform additional screening every now and then.

Always be clear and open; because there is no limit on how much protein powder you can put in your hand luggage and you can bring multiple containers.

Just don’t let any container be greater than 12 ounces.

Some airlines have policies that state that you need to enquire 72 hours prior to departure from an airport when you are unsure about taking certain items on board with you.

Protein powder can certainly go in your checked-in luggage 

Just not in huge quantities. Some airlines recommend that if you do bring protein powder on the plane that you store it in your checked-in luggage.

This, they say, prevents further inspections or difficulties passing through airport security.

And if they cannot easily identify the powder, they might not allow you to take it with you.

Taking liquids on the plane

There are different rules and we have shown you these above.

It’s less advised, as the restrictions on the number of liquids allowed through airport security is limiting.

It might end up meaning you have to leave your shake behind.

If you did plan on taking a protein or meal replacement shakes on the plane, there are specific restrictions on taking liquids that apply through airport security.

Some airports have very stringent sets of measures around liquids. 

And once again, whilst many protein powder brands come in huge and cumbersome plastic tubs, if you are a frequent traveler, you might want to rather consider the protein powder that comes in pouches instead.

 Yes, you can indeed take protein powders on a plane

Bringing protein powder on a plane is legal but it’s always better to check it in to avoid extra stress at the airport.

Because after all, airports can be pretty stressful places in any case, and you don’t want to pile even more on over your protein powders.

Finally, be positive about it, because it’s good to remember that these rules and regulations are in place to give you a safer, happier, flight, so it’s worth sticking to the guidance!