packing and wondering can i take protein powder on a plane

Your definitive guide to taking protein powder on a plane

One of the first diet changes we pinpoint when we want to lose weight and keep it off is try to not eat like an asshole. Most of us eat like a kid without supervision on three big occasions: weekends, holidays, and vacations. So you’re prepping for your beach vacation but you don’t want to come back bloated. You’re not sure what the food will be like so you want to be prepared with healthy snacks. It’s a great goal, but you might be wondering, can I take protein powder on a plane? We’ve got you covered.

Protein powder isn’t a bro food anymore. The supplement now comes in a variety of flavors, from ice cream-inspired lines to products that channel your favorite childhood cereal. That means airport security should be used to seeing it during the preflight screen, right? Well, it’s not that simple yet.

Can I take protein powder on a plane?

So, can you take protein powder on a plane? The short answer is yes, but the reality of packing it is another story. There are no hard and fast politices about taking protein powder on a plane yet, but until there are, don’t make the same mistakes I have. I’ll break down your most pressing questions about bringing protein powder on vacation based on my own experience.

Can I take protein powder on a plane in plastic bags?

If you’re like me, you’re looking for the most cost-effective way to pack protein powder. If you’re buying a quality supplement, it’s already expensive enough without going for the individual packets. It’s tempting to measure out your servings in plastic bags and throw some of them in your carry-on for in-flight snacking.

Yes, you can do this and bring it through security, but please don’t. I almost missed an $800 flight because of my protein powder, perfectly measured into single-serve Ziploc bags. Sometimes you’ll get through security without someone batting an eye at plastic bags full of protein, other times they’ll want to swab them to make sure protein is the only thing you’re carrying through. What my boyfriend and I learned that almost cost us a flight, is that the inside of these plastic bags can sometimes read as a questionable substance when they swab.

can i take protein powder on a plane cabin

Suhyeon Choi

We were lucky enough to talk to a manager — after about 20 minutes working with the guards on duty. He knew that you needed to take a swab without touching the inside of the plastic bags. The other guards had no idea. He knew immediately it was protein, but had to keep us there due to policy. Finally, after an excruciating wait, some very patient swabs, and a near heart attack over money wasted on flights, we passed through and sprinted to our gate.

Can I take protein powder on a plane if it’s in a jug?

Sure, but you’re going to run into the same issue. We’ve never flown with a jug of protein powder before because we try to pack light and, though protein powder doesn’t weigh much, a jug takes up a lot of room. But whether security flags you depends on one thing: is your jug open?

If your tub of protein powder is sealed, you’ll fly through security. They might swab the outside of the container, but nothing should have leaked from it. If it’s open, though, you’re in for a swabbing of the outside and a testing of the powder itself. Although we’ve avoided this experience, we’ve seen many people stopped at security while a gloved officer digs through their protein for the perfect sample.

How can I take protein powder on a plane that won’t get flagged?

There are a couple ways to take protein powder on a plane depending on how long your trip is. If you’re traveling domestically, we’ve found the easiest way to make sure we have protein powder for the trip. We just hit a GNC or Vitamin Shoppe once we’re at our destination. If we’re traveling home for holidays and looking to balance out all the pumpkin pie, we ship protein powder to the house before we fly out. We’ll bite the bullet and buy a couple of those pricey individual serving-size packets to have on the plane ride or during layovers.

As much as I don’t like spending the money, I admit those individual packets are the way to go for international trips. They’re sealed, so you’ll stroll through security without a second glance. We now pack a large number in our checked backs and only as many as we need in our carry-ons for in-flight hunger.

can i take protein powder on a plane quest packets

Just make sure to pack them away from any sharp or even semi-sharp objects, like pens. If your individual packets are leaking for any reason, security will stop you. Again, speaking from experience, they’ll need to swab the packet and your bag.

Where to get individual packets of protein powder

Sure, some brand provide samples of their protein in single-serving packets, but you’re going to want to buy in bulk. For that reason, we use Quest when we travel. While we have gone to Vitamin Shoppe and cleared out their shelves, it’s easier to plan ahead. Order online from Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, Amazon or even Quest’s online store and you can get boxes of 12 packets. (Even Walmart’s website has them.)

For the record, Body Tech also makes individual packets in a range of flavors. (I’m talking mint chocolate, red velvet, even mocha.) We used these before because our local supplement store keeps them well stocked. They have fantastic macros, and we use them as a back-up. The only reason we go with Quest now is the strong flavor. Body Tech’s is watery, which might work when you have access to add-ins like almond milk. For flying, it’s not great to have a barely-there flavor.

We shop at Vitamin Shoppe’s online store since they regularly run BOGO 50% deals on Quest products. Just make sure you have an account with their rewards program to earn coupons back for your purchase. GNC has the same type of membership, but I see more Quest sales through Vitamin Shoppe. You can also offset the cost of those packets by shopping through a third-party program like ibotta. This app earns you cash back for purchases from certain stores. Luckily for us, Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and Amazon all make the list.


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