You Might Have to Remove Food From Your Carry-on Next Time You Fly
Liquids. Laptops. Batteries. Shoes. We’re used to separating pretty much all our stuff into bins when we’re walking through airport security. But there’s one more thing that might be next on the Transportation Security Administration’s list of items you’ll have to pull out of your carry-on bag: your snacks.
For the record, it’s totally fine to have food in your bag while going through airport security. But according to The Washington Post, some TSA agents might ask passengers to remove their snacks from their bags and place them into a separate bin.
This new practice, however, isn’t being upheld across the board, and is generally seen as a recommendation to passengers. According to The Washington Post, a TSA official said “there has been no nationwide policy change requiring people to remove food from their carry-ons to get through security.”
People who do end up encountering these extra-thorough TSA agents are generally not pleased with having to take yet another step before getting to their gate. Just imagine having to juggle four or five different bins, one for each item that needs separate inspection, while also tip-toeing through the scanner in your socks.
In that same vein, not all food items in people’s bags are going to be chips and candy. TSA agents may have to encounter a few leftover sandwiches in these inspections, too.
Once passengers have successfully passed through security, their food is safe from any other inspection. Passengers are permitted to bring outside food on planes, although there are restrictions on fresh produce and meats when traveling to some international destinations, and any food that could be considered a liquid (including spreads like peanut butter) can only be carried on in servings of less than 3.4 ounces.
The Washington Post reported that new, high-tech scanners search for organic compounds in explosives, which sometimes leads to false alarms when scanning food items. And whenever the TSA needs to do a hands-on bag check, the line gets slower.
But, removing all your food items makes the security line slower as well — because a lot of passengers are bringing outside food to airports these days in an effort to save money while traveling. So, either way, the lines are just getting slower, and in many cases, people are being left hungrier.
It makes matters worse when passengers notice that this new request is being applied inconsistently. The TSA website gives information on what is and is not permitted on flights, so it’s always beneficial to plan ahead as much as possible.