Skip to main content

The TSA Doesn’t Want to Touch Your Carry-On Snacks Anymore

Bignai / Shutterstock

Air passengers are notorious for attempting to carry strange things through airport security. The TSA’s annual “contraband” haul is substantial enough that it had to start auctioning off its confiscated wares. Now, in addition to increased scrutiny over laptops, electronics, and carry-on liquids, it’s going after our beloved snack foods, too.

The Transportation Security Administration recently announced new guidelines for air travelers passing through airport security. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, agents will no longer be handling small personal items, including boarding passes, wallets, passports, and the like. It’s also asking passengers to package their snack foods the same way as their liquids — in a separate, clear, zippered plastic bag.

Related Reading

In general, the TSA is applying this procedure to all foods. But, it’s mainly targeting the type of foods sold in aluminum bags (e.g., the best 90s snacks) that can trip up X-ray scanners. “It is the container or wrapper, not the food,” one frequent flyer told Matador Network. “I have been stopped a number of times in the precheck line due to the aluminum-coated wrappers on my ThinkThin protein bars. Since the X-ray machine cannot see through the metallic wrapper, it looks like contraband or, worse, explosives.”

According to a press release, the TSA confirms that “[f]ood items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on bag lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection.” In this time of increased social distancing across every aspect of our lives, this will, of course, limit the handling of passengers’ belonging and reduce the risk of cross-contamination between passengers.

The previous list of TSA guidelines is still in place for air travelers. It’s requiring passengers to hold on to their boarding passes, for example. It’s also asking — though not requiring — everyone to practice safe social distancing and to wear facial protection. Likewise, all TSA agents are donning masks, gloves, and even eye protection and face shields at some airports. They’re also changing gloves after every pat-down and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. In general, it wants passengers to pack smart. Double-checking their carry-on allowances for liquids, gels, and aerosols helps limit unnecessary handling of luggage by security personnel.

The new rules began rolling out at the end of May, and are expected to be in place nationwide this month. With no end in sight to the current pandemic, they’re likely to become the “new normal” for air travelers for the foreseeable future.

Air travelers who’d rather sidestep all this hassle should sign-up for TSA Precheck. Approved passengers can leave everything, including the Bugles and Funyuns, in their carry-on baggage at security.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
How much do pilots make? You might be surprised
This is how much pilots make to fly your plane
Airplane flying out of Costa Rica

Airline pilots have a demanding, yet sometimes overlooked, job. With a mix of skill, focus, and experience, these modern-day navigators guide multi-million-dollar machines over thousands of miles while being responsible for hundreds of passengers’ safety. That’s a tall order, to say the least.

So, how much do pilots make? With responsibilities like that, it would seem they earn significant income. But do they? To find out, we researched the median airline pilot salary, along with the required training to get there. Here’s what we found.
Airline pilots undergo rigorous training

Read more
Sleep among a pack of wolves at Canada’s luxe-adventure Parc Omega Wolf Cabins
"Sleeping with the fishes" might sound scary, but it's nothing compared to this one-of-a-kind adventure hotel
Wolves looking through the bedroom window at Canada's Parc Omega Wolf Cabin.

For some nature-loving travelers, pitching a basic camping tent in the woods is adventurous enough. Others are willing to pay handsomely to travel halfway around the world for their first African safari experience. If you crave even more — if you fancy sleeping with some of the world’s greatest predators — this one-of-a-kind glamping experience might be for you.

Waking up in the woods amid a pack of gawking, hungry wolves is not something most of us would pay for. But Canada’s Parc Omega Wolf Cabins aren't like a typical hotel or camping experience. The wildlife park features twin cabins with one-of-a-kind overnight stays. Its Wolf Cabins are the first in North America with panoramic, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the park’s gray wolf enclosure. Throughout their stay, cabin guests can sleep, eat, and relax mere feet from the pack. With only a glass pane separating them from a pack of near-perfect killing machines, it’s certainly a wild and bucket-list-worthy experience.
Observe in comfort

Read more
The best North Carolina beaches: Vacation in one of these gorgeous paradises
Take a relaxing trip to one of these gorgeous North Carolina beaches
Shoreline of Nags Head, NC

Nags Head, North Carolina Nathan Anderson via Unsplash

Visiting the beach puts you in touch with nature and with your soul. Listening to waves crash as the sun rises, taking in the salty air, and listening to the seagulls are a sensory treat, letting you escape the hustle and bustle of the everyday. Being on the coast puts you at peace. 

Read more