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On the way home from our most recent trip to Oklahoma, we had a pretty unfortunate run in with the TSA. The four of us went through the Pre-Check line with Baby and Toddler WeeklyFlyer in toe. We had packed 2 apple juice boxes (1 for each of our children in our carry-on bag.) We knew that the children’s drinks were subject to further inspection per TSA guidelines but, as we left Atlanta we had no issue what so ever. However, the TSA supervisor in Tulsa proceeded to inform Mrs. WeeklyFlyer that the juice boxes were not allowed. Mrs. WeeklyFlyer knowing the rule, recited to the TSA Supervisor that a reasonable amount of beverage was a allowed for babies and that 2 juice boxes was certainly reasonable for 2 little Toddler/Babies. The Supervisor then outrageously informed Mrs. WeeklyFlyer that if we wanted to take the juice boxes with us, he would “choose one of us to get an extra pat-down.” What?! Why not ask us to let them open them or to swab them, or something first?
TSA Agent Says, Apple Juice = “Extra Pat Down Of My Choice”
I don’t really know what kind of operation this particular TSA Supervisor is running there in Tulsa, but this certainly seemed uncalled for. We ended up telling them to throw the 2 juice boxes away because this guy was obviously not very reasonable and we didn’t feel like a fight; it just wasn’t worth it.
It certainly helps to know your rights and the rules in these types of situations. In this particular case, we were dealing with a you-know-what kinda guy. We definitely felt like this was crazy especially since we were TSA Pre. But, the funniest thing about the whole situation was that after we told them that we would pass on the “pat-down of his choice,” and to throw the juice away; they put the juice back in our bag! We went to have lunch after this nightmare only find that they put the juice boxes back in the diaper bag. Crazy!
For Reference – TSA Guideline:
Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted to be brought on board the aircraft. As with other medically necessary liquids, travelers must tell the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that they wish to bring formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in their carry-on bag. These liquids are typically screened by X-ray, and formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces will receive additional screening.
Exemptions from the 3-1-1 Rule
Liquids in carry-on baggage are ordinarily limited by the 3-1-1 rule, which allows travelers to bring one quart-sized, clear zip-top bag containing liquids no larger than 3.4 ounces. However, travelers flying with or without a child may bring medically necessary liquids, such as formula, breast milk and juice, in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces in their carry-on baggage. The formula, breast milk and juice need not fit within a quart-sized bag. Travelers are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk and juice needed to reach their destination. Ice packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are also permitted through the screening checkpoint and are not bound by the 3-1-1 requirements. Travelers are also allowed to bring gel or liquid-filled teethers, canned, jarred and processed baby food in carry-on baggage and aboard the plane. These items may be subject to additional screening.
Declaring Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice
Formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces or accessories required to transport the liquid on a flight must be declared to the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process. If a traveler does not want formula, breast milk and juice to be X-rayed or opened, the traveler must inform the officer before screening begins.
Screening Formula, Breast Milk, and Juice
Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are screened in the same manner as medically necessary liquids. Officers may test liquids for explosives or concealed prohibited items. If officers are unable to use X-ray to clear these items, they may ask for the container to be opened and may also ask the traveler to transfer to a separate container or dispose of a small quantity of liquid, if feasible. TSA suggests traveling with an empty container and avoid filling the container to the top. If the formula, breast milk and juice cannot be X-rayed or opened, officers may be required to take additional steps to clear the liquid as well as conduct additional screening, which may include a pat-down of the traveler and screening of the remainder of the traveler’s accessible property.
I am the first to appreciate anyone who is trying to protect us, but this particular TSA situation was a little silly. I don’t know if they were just having a bad day or what, but I certainly didn’t feel very protected by these guys at the Tulsa TSA. What do you think about the TSA in this situation?