Chances are, you've become accustomed to enjoying your favorite coffee from your favorite mug or travel mug, which allows you to simply grab it and take it with you on your way out the door.
It's also likely that it took you a while to find the perfect mug, including one that looks great or fits your personality, that is the perfect size for your particular coffee fix, and that also keeps your coffee hot for hours, and you may have even paid top dollar for it, which means when it comes to your coffee mug, there's simply nothing else like it.
So when it comes to traveling, the thought of being without your beloved coffee mug, only to have to substitute it for a far less inferior paper cup, or worse, can leave you feeling a bit downhearted and deprived of the perfect coffee moment, which can cause you to wonder can I bring a coffee mug in my carry on? Or, can I bring it as a carry-on?
Either way, you will be glad to know that according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the answer is yes, depending on the airline, such as if it is a domestic or nondomestic flight, and provided the mug is properly prepared or packed to meet certain restrictions before boarding the aircraft.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Coffee Mugs
Provided you are traveling from or to the United States, you are permitted to pack a coffee mug in your carry on or to simply carry it on board with you as you get on your flight; however, certain rules apply.
When it comes to bringing items with you in your carry on, the TSA has strict rules regarding the type of liquids as well as the amount of liquids you may carry in your bag. In fact, as part of their rules, all liquids packed in your carry on must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces (100ml). Therefore, this prohibits filled coffee mugs, which can be 8 ounces or larger, from being carried on board via your carry on.
The TSA is also highly concerned with any carry on items that can be used as a weapon or that resemble a weapon. Therefore, any coffee mugs with sharp edges or that contain a replica of any kind of weapon may be confiscated during the security check and prohibited from being brought aboard the flight. However, these items may be packed safely in your checked luggage.
How to Bring Your Coffee Mug in Your Carry On/As a Carry On
Bringing Your Coffee Mug as a Carry On
Whether your coffee mug of choice is a traditional mug or a handy travel mug, it is important to bring it aboard your flight properly to avoid issues and delays.
If, while on your way through the airport, you haven't yet finished your coffee,
you will need to empty the mug of its content before passing through security. Otherwise, as per TSA rules, you will be banned from bringing the mug through the checkpoint.
After having successfully passed through security, many travelers simply stop and refill their mugs at a nearby airport coffee shop before boarding their flight, which is usually not an issue. However, be sure to keep the receipt, so if you encounter any issues when boarding the aircraft, you can provide the receipt as proof you purchased it from the airport. It may also help if your beverage is iced coffee rather than hot coffee, as some airlines may deem hot coffee as a risk.
You could also just simply pack your empty coffee mug in your carry on and then if you'd like, wait until after you have passed the security check then fill the mug at the airport cafe before boarding your flight. Or, you could also fill your travel mug with coffee at the airport cafe and then store it sealed in your carry on and then wait until you get to your seat to enjoy your coffee, which is usually also not a problem.
Packing Your Coffee Mug in Your Carry On
When packing your coffee mug in your carry on, be sure to pack it empty.
If your coffee mug contains a lid, simply remove the lid from the base and then store it separability, which will easily allow security to scan your bag and see that the mug is empty. Otherwise, if the lid is left on, security can't tell if the mug is empty, so it may cause an issue. You should also be sure the mug, as well as its parts, is easily accessible, such in a front pocket, so that if it has to be checked, it will allow you to access it quickly to help prevent a long delay.
If you are traveling with a glass coffee mug, no worries because the TSA does allow glass items in your carry on. However, to avoid issues, you might consider simply traveling with unbreakable materials, such as plastic coffee mugs, instead, as should breakable materials become broken in your bag, it may cause issues with security because it can be used as a weapon.
If you choose to bring along a glass mug in your carry on, be sure to wrap it securely to prevent it from breaking en route to prevent issues with security. You should also be sure the glass fits the weight restrictions for your airline.
Should any issues arise concerning you bringing your coffee mug in your carry on, simply ask to speak to the supervisor to get their okay, as sometimes employees may be new or just simply not fully understand the policies.
These same rules usually also apply when traveling by bus; however, bus lines sometimes have a no drink or food policy, which will prevent you from enjoying your coffee after boarding.
When in doubt about whether your mug or any other carry on items are permitted onboard, simply inquire about them when checking your baggage. You could also Tweet a screenshot to the TSA account on Twitter or send it via Facebook messenger, and they will get back to you with an answer.
TSA rules are also subject to change, so before traveling, be sure to check their website for updates, which will help ensure your carry on passes all restrictions to prevent hold-ups and, in some cases, even penalties and fines.
Since rules vary by country, you should also check with the country you will be flying out of for their rules regarding carry on items, and let the screening agents know if you are carrying a coffee mug that contains liquid to avoid issues.
Can I Bring My Own Instant Coffee to Enjoy on the Flight?
According to the TSA powder rules, passengers are permitted to bring powder-like substances in their carry on; however, these substances must be no more than 12 ounces, or 350 ml, large. Anything larger than this may be permitted in checked luggage.
When bringing powder-like substances in your carry on, they must also be placed in a separate bag for X-ray screening. They are also subject to additional screening and may need to be opened. Again, rules vary by country, so be sure to check with the country you are flying from to learn their rules. If it's coffee beans and ground, see here.
Are Stainless Steel Coffee Mugs Allowed on Board?
Steel mugs, especially insulated steel mugs, do an incredible job at keeping hot coffee hot and cool drinks cold, which is why they are such a popular choice and one that you may want to bring with you on your flight. However, due to its material, which is known to set off metal detectors, you may wonder if it is okay to bring your steel coffee mug in your carry on, and the answer is yes.
Steel mugs are allowed in your carry on, as well as in your checked baggage, provided they are free of liquids when you enter the security checkpoint, and then you can just simply fill it with your favorite hot or cold beverage once you get to the other side. However, insulated steel mugs may be harder to see through during the security scan; therefore, they may require a physical inspection, so plan accordingly.
Can I Bring My Unfinished Alcohol Beverage on the Plane With Me in My Coffee Mug?
Though some airports allow you to purchase a drink at the airport bar or kiosk, which you can then feel free to roam around the premises and enjoy, you are prohibited from bringing your unfinished drink with you on the plane. Otherwise, any alcohol purchased within the terminal can only be brought aboard, provided it is unopened, which you can then enjoy once you reach your destination.
However, some airlines that will allow you to purchase alcohol at the airport and then bring it aboard unopened, after which time, they will open the beverage and then serve it to you. But once you reach your destination, any remaining portions of your beverage cannot be taken off the plane.
You may also want to see: IS COFFEE A VEGETABLE OR FRUIT?