Can You Bring Ice Packs on a Plane? – Know All the TSA Rules

Bringing ice packs through the airport is a lengthy process. Ice packs, for example, are considered unusual items at airports. So, the authority wants to verify this pretty intensely. So, can you bring ice packs on a plane?

Yes, you can, but only when you follow the Airport Authority rules regarding frozen items. These TSA rules explain the weight limit, bag size, and overall packaging criteria for bringing ice packs.

Apart from that, there’re also some other aspects to keep in mind. For instance, you need to decide whether you’ll use checked luggage or carry-on luggage to bring your ice packs.

So better go along with this writing and know all the TSA rules and other necessary tips.

What Are TSA Rules for Carrying Ice Packs?

Sometimes we need to carry disinfectant wipes [can you bring disinfectant wipes on a plane], food or medicine while traveling. In order to keep those things safe and secured, we use ice packs.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that carrying ice packs through airports has its own set of rules. So, people often face trouble for not knowing that.

According to the TSA rules, only TSA-approved ice packs can pass the airport checkpoint. It has to be fully frozen. If the ice pack is slightly frozen or in a melting state, it’ll likely be stopped by TSA security officials.

However, read the TSA Liquid Limits rules below to get through TSA security.

TSA’s 3-1-1 Liquids Rule

The 3-1-1 liquids rules are straightforward and understandable. Most importantly, it can be applied to all sorts of frozen stuff—for instance, ice gel, ice packs, or even frozen waterfalls under this rule.

Here, 3-1-1 rules say,

  1. The container should be 3.4 ounces in size (approximate 100 or 100.55 ml) or less than that. Anything bigger than that will be omitted.
  2. The total liquid limit can’t be more than 25 ounces.
  3. A single person is allowed to carry only one bag. And it’s better to carry in a checked bag rather than a carry-on bag.

Exception Rules to the TSA Liquid Limit

There’re some exceptions to such 3-1-1 liquids rules, which you’d love to know about. There you go.


The 3-1-1 rule doesn’t apply to liquids, gels, or aerosol drugs. They’ll have to be screened. So you aren’t required to place them inside a plastic shopping bag.

Also, carry them in your handbag so that you can pull out items quickly for screenings when you arrive at security. If your medication alarms, it’ll be subjected to extra testing and may be denied.

Infants and Kid Nutrition

You may bring enough drinks, breast milk, baby formula, and baby food to keep your baby fed throughout your flight.

However, these objects will also be x-rayed then opened to be examined. If you carry ice packs for keeping things cold, be sure they’re completely frozen.

Liquids into Tamper-Evident, Secure bags (STEBs)

There’s another way to carry liquid things like jams, liquor, or perfumes on board when you do some last-minute shopping before crossing through screening. Purchase things from duty-free businesses that will package each purchase in STEB.

It’s a one-time usage bag that will reveal any tampering. Simply ensure that the containers/boxes inside are clear. Containers that are opaque, metallic, and ceramic won’t be permitted in your bag.

Can You Bring Ice Packs on A Plane?

A Ice Pack

Of course, you can carry an ice pack on a plane. Many people usually carry ice packs, ice gel, and ice cubes to freeze their necessary food and medicines while traveling.

However, carrying an ice pack is not like carrying other normal stuff, as this thing is labeled as unusual or hazardous by TSA. So, you must follow their regulation.

Can You Take Ice Packs in Your Carry-On Luggage?

When you carry an ice pack in carry-on luggage, you’ll have to consider multiple facts. Basically, if you carry an ice pack in carry-on luggage, you must go through the TSA rules. But when it’s in checked luggage, that’s something else.

Frankly, the security officers are more serious about your carry-on luggage rather than the checked baggage. Solid ice won’t be a problem to carry in your carry-on baggage.

But if your ice pack or gel isn’t completely solid, rather slushy or liquid, then there’ll be an issue. The security officers will inspect your ice pack following the TSA rules.

Can You Bring the Ice Pack in Checked Luggage?

Yes, of course, you can bring your ice pack in the checked luggage. According to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), you’re allowed to take almost 2.5 kilograms or (5.5 lbs.) of ice in your checked bag.

The interesting thing here is no TSA rule or any other restriction will be followed if it’s partially melted or a bit slushy. You can also put your cooler container in your checked luggage.

So, when you carry something like ice packs, ice gel, or any other similar things, take them in check luggage. In this way, you can free up some space in your carry-on luggage for other necessary things.

Can You Take Ice Blocks in Hand Luggage?

Of course, you can carry your ice pack in your hand luggage. Carrying ice packs in hand luggage and carry-on luggage are exactly the same.

While through the TSA regulations, your ice pack should be solid frozen. Once you pass through security and enter the plane, it doesn’t matter if it melts.

Can I Bring Gel Ice Pack on the Plane?

Carrying a gel ice pack might be a little more complicated rather than carrying water ice packs. Because water ice packs are usually not considered unsafe or dangerous, whereas gel can be hazardous. So, the security officers will inspect your stuff properly until it seems safe.

However, the good news is you can bring ice gel packs in place if it’s totally solid through carry-on and checked luggage.

Can you Take Frozen Water Bottles on Airplane?

Yes, you can, but still, this is a debatable question. According to the TSA rule, anything frozen needs to go through the 3-1-1 rules. In that case, you won’t take a good amount of frozen water in your handbag or carry-on bags.

But there’re a lot of airlines where they easily accept a decent amount of frozen water without any restriction.

So honestly, it’d be a little risky to carry frozen water on the plane.

Can you bring Dry Ice Through Airport Security?

Yes, that’s possible. Dry ice is usually considered a solid item. So, following the TSA rules, you can carry 25-ounce dry ice to your carry-on baggage. But if you want to take more then, you should use your checked luggage.

Other Restricted Items on Airplane You Must Know About

Since most of us prefer air travel, it’s a must to be aware of prohibited things to carry on the plane. These things are mostly unusual metals, electronics, dangerous liquids, or gases.

Here are some examples:

  • Knives
  • Guns
  • Blade cutter
  • Toxic spray
  • Frozen stuff
  • Anything that can create fires like matches, lighter.

To see the list of all prohibited items, you can visit TSA’s official website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will an ice pack explode on a plane?

Ice packs usually don’t explode, but sometimes they crack. It happens because of overloading and overcooling. If you’re using a cooler, make sure it’s in the right condition. Aside from that, don’t heavily pour your ice pack with gel or water. The pack will be cracked, and the ice will come out from there.

Can you take instant ice packs on a plane?

Yes, you can carry your instant ice pack on a plane. But make sure you maintain all the TSA rules while carrying. If you want to carry that on your check luggage, it won’t be a hassle. But if you pack them in your carry-on baggage or handbag, then meet all the TSA requirements. Otherwise, it won’t be allowed inside the plane.

Do I have to pay extra for carrying an ice pack at the airport?

No, you don’t have to pay any extra penny to carry ice packs. The fact is if you cross the given weight, you might have to pay. For that, you can discuss it with the security officers. They’ll get you a better solution.

Final Words

Since you’ve reached this point, I believe now you know the answer: Can you bring an ice pack on a plane. Though the procedure seems a little intense, if you follow the rules thoroughly, you’ll be able to carry your ice pack easily.

Frozen ice can be carried in both your checked baggage and carry-on baggage. Checked baggage can carry 2.5 kilos. Whereas in carry-on baggage, you can take a 100 ml container. To avoid trouble, you’ve to be well aware of the TSA rules of carrying frozen stuff. You need to pack the ice pack or gel ice pack appropriately according to the rules.

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