Can you bring Whey Protein in a U.S. Domestic Flight as Carry-On?

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As a fitness enthusiast, it can be excruciating to compromise with your routine when you are traveling. So, one unavoidable question on the same note is, can you bring whey protein on U.S. domestic flights as a carry-on? 

Supplements make an important part of any fitness-conscious person. Therefore the question of whether you can carry your supplements, especially your whey protein, holds a great significance.

In this post, we will not only answer the question but also give you deeper insight to much more on supplements and flight rules in general. So, let us begin.

Can you bring Whey Protein in a U.S. Domestic Flight as a Carry-On?

The answer is a firm yes. You can bring your Whey Protein along with you in your carry-on baggage on your U.S. domestic flights. However, as of mid-2018, Transport Security Administration or TSA has a mandatory requirement that carriage of powder or powder-like substances, including your beloved whey protein in Carry-On baggage, has to meet certain regulations. 

These regulations and conditions are described in the TSA’s Powder Rules:

TSA’s Powder Rules:

  • A passenger, whether traveling to the U.S. internationally or as a domestic passenger, can NOT carry more than 350 ml or larger amounts of powder in one container.
  • If you are carrying more than 12 oz. of powder (in different containers, of course), you should take them out and place them on a tray for security screening, just like you would your laptop.
  • If you are carrying some medically prescribed powder-like substance, baby formula, or human remains, you can carry more than 12 oz. or 350 ml as carry-on. If these medically prescribed powders, baby formula, and/or human remains are sealed, the TSA officials will check it for signs of alteration or tampering to the package, such as cracks, holes, etc. This allows the security to ensure that the content is consistent with the container in which it is being carried.
  • Although this rule does not bear relevance to this post, here it is: You can carry any amount of powder in your checked baggage, given that it is properly packed.

Aren’t dairy products such as protein powder forbidden in carry-on baggage?

Well, for anyone who is well-versed in the ‘protein’ language, they know protein powder comes in different forms. For starters, your whey protein powder could be protein isolate or concentrate, and the major difference between the two is that the isolate contains no milk. Therefore, it does not exactly qualify as a ‘milk product.’ 

However, this does not mean that you can not bring your jar of protein concentrate, or mix protein (containing both isolate and concentrate) with you as carry-on, solely because they contain milk. In gist, any sort of whey protein powder is a processed product and therefore does not qualify as a dairy product. 

In fact, you CAN carry dairy products in your carry-on on domestic flights in the U.S. too. The only difference is that the TSA’s liquids rule applies to these products (such as fresh milk, cream, cheese, and yogurt), which bans carrying these products in an amount that exceeds 100 ml. Of course, there are exceptions, but we’ll discuss the same in detail later.

Why should you re-pack whey protein instead of bringing the original container?

It is always advisable to pack your whey protein when traveling with a domestic flight within the U.S.A or even on international flights. Why? There is more than one reason behind this:

  • For starters, whey protein mostly comes in large containers unless you buy trial packs, which is highly unlikely. These containers have a considerable amount of wasted air space in them, therefore taking up large space in your carry-on. Since there is a limit to the weight of carry-on luggage you can bring with you, wasting space on bulky containers might not seem to be a good idea.
  • Secondly, when you re-pack the whey protein, you are not only saving space but also working around the TSA’s powder rule. Since you can only carry 350 ml or 12 oz. of protein powder in each container, you may have to leave your original container (if it has more than 350 ml of powder) behind at the airport. Therefore re-packing it in different Ziploc bags or small space-feasible containers will allow you to carry more than 350 ml of your prized whey protein powder. 
  • Thirdly, let’s say you are carrying your original container in which the whey powder initially came. Since the container is opaque, TSA officials will be more likely to check it to see what the powder really is. Besides, if your container is sealed, they will do additional screening to check if there is altering or tampering of the seal.
  • Lastly, commercial container jars that are often used for packing protein powder are susceptible to bursting if they are crushed. When you are traveling, there is no saying how your luggage will be handled; therefore, packing it in small bags is your safest bet.


Do Whey Protein Powders Need To Go In The 3-1-1 Bag?

No, you do not need to pack powders in a 3-1-1 bag, also known as a quart-size bag. The rule of packing substances in quart-size bags is applied to liquids only and not powders. However, it is always advisable to pack your whey protein in transparent and small containers or Ziploc bags for a smoother screening process, as well as traveling feasibility.

Is protein powder in hand luggage considered a liquid?

No, your whey protein will be considered what it is – a powder. It is the main reason why you are able to carry more than 100 ml (350 ml. To be exact) of the same as a carry-on since protein powders are not treated as liquids. 

Can protein powder be carried in hand luggage on Ryanair flights?

Irrespective of which airline you are traveling with, whether it is Ryanair, EasyJet, or any other airline, you can always carry your protein powder as carry-on baggage in domestic flights within the U.S. If you are traveling outside the U.S. with Ryanair, it is best to keep yourself updated with the destination’s baggage rules, whether protein powder is admissible there as carry-on or not.

Can I take protein powder in my hand luggage to Switzerland?

Yes, you can carry your whey protein or other protein powder as carry-on/ hand luggage to Switzerland. In fact, most countries, apart from the U.S., allow protein powders to be carried as hand luggage. In all countries that allow admission of protein powders as carry-on, whether, for domestic passengers or international ones, TSA’s powder rule is applied. 

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Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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