Can You Bring Tea Bags On A Plane?

Tea, one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, has a rich tapestry of cultural significance and history, and traveling with it reflects its importance to many people on the go. The practice of bringing tea bags on planes has its roots in individuals wanting to maintain their personal tea rituals, adhere to specific dietary requirements, or simply ensure they have access to their preferred blend while traveling. In modern times, with enhanced security measures and the regulation of items passengers can carry in their luggage, the topic of whether tea bags are permissible onboard aircraft has gained relevance.

Transportation security administrations across the globe have established clear guidelines that allow passengers to travel with various types of food and drink items, with specific considerations given to liquids and powders owing to security concerns. Dry tea bags are typically categorized as solid food items, meaning they generally do not fall under the stringent restrictions applied to liquids. This categorization has facilitated the ease with which tea enthusiasts can transport their personal tea selections, enabling the continuation of their tea-drinking habits irrespective of their destination. The continued emphasis on security, alongside the global recognition of tea’s cultural and personal importance, has led to the establishment of clear protocols that both preserve security standards and cater to the preferences of traveling tea drinkers.

can you bring tea bags on a plane

Can You Take Tea Bags On A Plane?

Traveling with tea bags is generally permitted when flying. Passengers are allowed to take tea bags in their carry-on luggage as well as in their checked baggage. This is convenient for those who prefer to enjoy their own selection of tea during the flight or at their destination. However, it’s important to be aware of any liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage, as this could affect the ability to bring hot water on board to brew the tea. Additionally, when traveling internationally, it’s crucial to check the destination country’s customs regulations regarding the importation of food items, including tea. For a more detailed exploration of the rules and tips for traveling with tea bags, continue to the next section where we delve into the specifics of flying with your favorite teas.

Carrying Tea Bags on USA Domestic Flights: TSA Guidelines

Travelers who enjoy a warm cup of tea don’t have to forego their preference while traveling by air within the United States. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows passengers to bring tea bags on domestic flights. However, it’s crucial to understand how they should be packed and any restrictions that may apply. Here’s a guide based on the latest TSA regulations.

Tea Bags in Carry-On Luggage

  • Tea bags are classified as dry goods and can be placed in a passenger’s carry-on bag.
  • There are no limits to the number of tea bags you can pack in your carry-on.
  • You do not need to inform TSA officers that you have tea bags when you pass through the security checkpoint.

Tea Bags in Checked Baggage

  • Passengers are permitted to pack tea bags in their checked luggage without any restrictions on quantity.
  • It’s advisable to store tea bags in airtight containers to prevent them from absorbing moisture and odors from other luggage items.

Special Considerations for Loose Leaf Tea

  • Loose leaf tea is also allowed in both carry-on and checked bags, but similar to tea bags, it’s best to keep it in a sealed container or bag.
  • Loose leaf tea may require additional screening if it appears dense and clumped, as this might obstruct clear x-ray images.

Bringing Hot Water on Board

While you can bring tea bags on board, securing hot water for brewing tea inflight involves consideration of the liquids rule:

  • Passengers cannot bring water bottles filled with hot water through the security checkpoint due to the TSA liquids rule, which restricts liquids in carry-ons to containers of 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller, all fitting within a single quart-sized, clear, resealable plastic bag.
  • Once past security, you may acquire hot water from an airport vendor or use the hot water provided by the airline during flight service.

Brewing Tea During the Flight

If you’re planning on brewing tea during your flight, here are some tips to consider:

  • Request hot water from the flight attendant. Most airlines offer complimentary hot water to passengers.
  • Be cautious with hot water during the flight to avoid spillage that could lead to burns or stains.
  • Some airlines might provide their own tea bags, but you are welcome to use your own if you prefer a specific brand or type of tea.

TSA Reference for Traveling with Food

For further guidance and updates on traveling with food items such as tea bags, refer to the TSA’s official website:

  • The TSA “What Can I Bring?” list (accessible at TSA Tea Guidelines) offers real-time updates on items allowed and prohibited on flights.
✔ Pros ✘ Cons
Tea bags are lightweight and easy to carry Some countries have strict regulations on importing plants and herbs
They are not subject to the liquid restrictions in carry-on luggage You may be required to declare them at customs depending on your destination
Allows you to enjoy your preferred tea flavor and brand while traveling There might be limited access to hot water on the plane
Can be cost-effective compared to purchasing tea at the airport or on the plane Unused tea bags could take up unnecessary space in your luggage
Personal tea bags can be healthier and ensure dietary restrictions are met  

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides general guidelines for passengers traveling with food items, which include tea bags. According to IATA, passengers are typically allowed to bring tea bags in both their carry-on and checked luggage when flying. However, it is important to consider liquid restrictions when bringing tea bags intended for making hot beverages on board. The standard liquid rule, which allows containers of up to 100 milliliters (3.4 ounces), applies to any liquid you might want to add to the tea on the plane.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it is recommended to check the IATA’s guidelines on their official website or consult with the airline directly before traveling.

  • Tea bags are generally permitted in carry-on and checked luggage.
  • Liquid restrictions apply to any water or liquid added to tea on the plane.

Country Specific Regulations

When flying internationally with tea bags, it is crucial to be aware of the specific regulations that apply to the country you are traveling to or from. Each country may have different customs rules and restrictions on food items, including tea. These regulations are in place to prevent the introduction of pests, diseases, and invasive species that could harm the local ecosystem or agriculture.

United Kingdom

  • Tea bags are typically allowed into the UK, but it is advisable to declare any food items to customs.


  • Within the European Union, there are generally no restrictions on carrying tea bags for personal use.


  • Canada allows travelers to bring tea bags, but they must be declared to the Canada Border Services Agency.


  • Australia has strict biosecurity laws, and all food items must be declared. Pre-packaged tea bags are usually allowed.

New Zealand

  • Similar to Australia, New Zealand requires all food items to be declared. Commercially packaged tea bags are generally permitted.


  • Regulations vary by country in Asia; always check with the destination country’s customs regulations regarding food items.


  • Singapore allows the importation of tea bags for personal consumption, but they should be declared upon arrival.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Tea Bags

Airlines may have their own specific regulations when it comes to flying with tea bags. These regulations can include restrictions on the quantity of tea bags allowed, packaging requirements, and whether they can be used on board. It is important to review the airline’s policy before packing tea bags in your luggage.

American Airlines

  • Passengers are allowed to bring tea bags in carry-on and checked bags.

Delta Air Lines

  • Tea bags are permitted, but the airline advises checking with destination countries’ customs regulations.

United Airlines

  • United allows tea bags in both carry-on and checked luggage.

Southwest Airlines

  • Southwest does not specifically restrict tea bags, but liquid rules apply to any beverage made on board.

British Airways

  • Tea bags are allowed, and there are no specific restrictions noted by the airline.


  • Lufthansa permits the carriage of tea bags, following general security guidelines for carry-ons.

Air Canada

  • Tea bags can be brought on board, but Air Canada reminds passengers to check the destination’s import rules.


  • Qantas passengers are allowed to bring tea bags, subject to Australian biosecurity controls.

Air New Zealand

  • Tea bags are allowed, and Air New Zealand advises passengers to declare them upon arrival in New Zealand.

Singapore Airlines

  • Passengers can bring tea bags, but they should be aware of Singapore’s customs regulations regarding food items.

Packing Tea Bags in Your Luggage

Traveling with tea bags is an excellent way to ensure you can enjoy your favorite brews on the go. Whether it’s for a morning pick-me-up or a calming cup in the evening, knowing how to pack your tea bags properly will keep them fresh and accessible. Follow these tips to pack your tea bags in both carry-on and hold luggage effectively.

Carry-On Luggage

  • Choose the Right Container: Opt for an airtight, waterproof container or resealable plastic bag to protect your tea bags from moisture and odors.
  • Consider Quantity: Pack only as many tea bags as you’ll need for the duration of your flight and time at the airport. Remember, space is limited.
  • Accessibility: Keep your tea bags in an easy-to-reach spot within your carry-on, so you can grab them without hassle during the flight.
  • Security Check Readiness: Be aware that your tea bags may be subject to screening, so pack them in a way that they can be quickly and easily inspected if necessary.

taking tea bags through airport security

Hold Luggage

  • Ample Protection: Cushion your tea bags by packing them in the center of your suitcase, surrounded by clothing or other soft items to prevent crushing.
  • Larger Quantities: If you’re traveling for an extended period, you may want to pack more tea bags in your checked luggage. Use larger airtight containers to keep them fresh.
  • Avoid Leakage: Ensure that any liquid items in your hold luggage are securely sealed and packed away from your tea bags to avoid spillage.
  • Climate Considerations: If you’re traveling to a destination with high humidity, include silica gel packets in the container with your tea bags to absorb any excess moisture.

Travel-Friendly Beverage and Snack Items for Air Travel

When packing for a flight, alongside tea bags, consider bringing instant coffee packets for a quick caffeine fix. Individual hot chocolate sachets are perfect for a sweet, comforting drink. For hydration, electrolyte packets are convenient to mix with water. If you enjoy a savory snack, single-serving packets of nuts or trail mix are both satisfying and easy to carry. For those with a sweet tooth, granola bars or fruit snacks can provide a quick energy boost. Don’t forget to pack some gum or mints to freshen your breath after your in-flight meal or snack. All these items are typically allowed through airport security when packed in your carry-on, making them ideal for enjoying during your flight.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Tea Bags On A Plane?

Travelers often wonder about the rules regarding bringing various food items on a plane, particularly when it comes to something as ubiquitous as tea. Understanding these guidelines can help ensure a smooth security checkpoint experience and allow you to enjoy your favorite brews while on the go. The following frequently asked questions address common concerns about traveling with tea bags on airplanes.

Can you bring tea bags in your carry-on luggage?

Yes, you can bring tea bags in your carry-on luggage without any restrictions. They are considered dry goods and are permitted by security agencies like the TSA.

Are there any limits to the number of tea bags you can carry on?

There are no specified limits to the number of tea bags you can bring on a plane; however, it is advisable to pack only as much as you need for your trip.

Do tea bags need to be declared at airport security?

Tea bags do not need to be declared at airport security as they fall under solid food items, which typically do not require declaration.

Can you take tea bags in your checked baggage?

Yes, you can pack tea bags in your checked luggage. There are generally no restrictions for dry goods in checked baggage.

Will tea bags be subject to additional screening?

Tea bags might be subject to additional screening if they obscure other items in your luggage. In general, though, they pass through security without issue.

Can you bring herbal or loose leaf tea in your carry-on?

Yes, you can bring herbal and loose leaf tea in your carry-on. They should be packed in a way that makes them easily identifiable during screening.

Are there any countries that may have restrictions on bringing in tea?

Certain countries may have restrictions on bringing agricultural products, including tea, into the country. It is important to check the specific regulations of your destination country before traveling.

Can you bring tea bags with spices or fruits in them?

Yes, you can typically bring tea bags containing spices or dried fruits onto a plane. However, these may be subject to scrutiny depending on the countries you are traveling between.

What about bringing water to brew the tea on the plane?

Liquids over 3.4 ounces are not permitted through airport security. However, you can bring an empty water bottle to fill up past security, or you can ask for hot water from the cabin crew on the plane.

Is it advisable to take tea bags on international flights?

Taking tea bags on international flights is generally fine, but it’s always best to be aware of any unique restrictions the destination country may have concerning the importation of food items.

Packing It All Up

Traveling with tea bags is generally permissible, both in a carry-on and in checked luggage, when flying. As highlighted, it is important to be aware that dry tea bags are unproblematic for travel and do not fall under the restrictions typically imposed on liquids by airport security agencies like the TSA. Passengers can carry an unlimited number of tea bags without concern for the TSA’s liquid rule, which stipulates a maximum of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters for liquids in carry-ons; dry tea is not considered a liquid.

When packing tea bags for international flights, consideration should be given to the customs regulations of the destination country. Some countries may have restrictions on the importation of agricultural products, including tea, in an effort to prevent the introduction of pests or diseases. It is advisable to check with the destination country’s policies beforehand. Furthermore, while tea bags are typically exempt from airport liquid rules, if they are part of a liquid infusion or contain liquid flavorings, they must adhere to the mentioned liquid restrictions. To ease the security process, keeping tea bags in their original, sealed packaging can be beneficial.