Can I Carry an Empty Thermos on a Plane?

I hate flying. So much so that I do everything I can to avoid airports and airlines altogether. I think one of the worst things about flying is the constant feeling of dehydration because a few of those annoying plastic cups filled halfway with water just isn’t enough for a 16-hour flight!

I know they give you water with your meal which tastes almost drinkable but after mealtimes, you are likely to be served up some chlorine tasting liquid that is vomit inducing. At least that was my experience with British Airways, admittedly a very long time ago.  I am not sure what they are like now because I have never flown with them since – water and attitude I definitely don’t need. Hence the question …

Take Your Thermos as Carry On
Take Your Thermos as Carry On

Can I Carry a Thermos on a Plane?

If your thermos bottle is completely empty, you should have no problem getting it on the plane in most developed countries. The TSA or other security organizations around the world don’t have a problem with thermos flasks but your airline has the right to. Even though unlikely it is better to check.

Luckily I found out a few years back that you can actually carry an empty thermos on a plane and the benefits extend beyond filling it up at airport fountains.  In fact, why would you even do that – it’s pretty gross after all. But if you have to ask then I guess you haven’t been shopping at the airport recently.

I have traveled a lot, and apart from opening and peering into my empty thermos at security occasionally, I’ve had no issue. Empty is the KEY though! Don’t go filling it up before you are through security and into the zombie zone beyond where you are no longer duty bound 🙂

So just to be safe check with your ticket provider on their official website. The only question now is which thermos to buy?

There are all sorts of brands to choose from but I’ve found the Hydro Flask stainless steel thermoses to ease my hatred of flying the most.

Hydro Flasks are terrific. They come in large sizes so you can share with the family or a loved one if need be and they are extremely high quality.

Unlike many thermoses, Hydro Flasks won’t leak, which is one of the main concerns of the TSA and airlines. Their products are supported by the patented TempShield double-walled, vacuum insulated technology.

Hydro Flasks have non-toxic BPA free plastic and are made of high quality 18/8 grade stainless steel, which refers to the 18% chromium and 8% nickel composition of the steal. The self-repairing layer of chromium allows the thermos to retain it’s rust resistant properties even after being scratched or damaged.

Most thermoses will do the trick but Hydro Flask is really the way to go.

Because I want to share my hatred of flying with my fellow man, I have compiled a few additional and related answers to some questions you may have regarding what form of food and beverage carrying products are allowed on airplanes and why you should have them.

Why Should I Carry a Thermos on a Plane?

Why wouldn’t you? The short answer FREE refills baby!

The long answer:

Most people suffer on airplanes because of a lack of sleep, fresh air, and the onset of dehydration. Traveling can take a huge toll on the body and not staying properly hydrated in a pressurized metal tube thousands of feet above ground isn’t the best idea.

So why not a water bottle you ask? Because my grandfather didn’t leave me a billion-dollar trust fund that’s why!

Vendors within airports know they can hike up regular prices five or six times because you really can’t leave the airport once you’re past security. So if you need something as desperately as water or food, they are going to charge you the big bucks.

I’m just glad they aren’t capitalizing on oxygen… yet.

If you want to avoid paying $7 for a 16oz bottle of tasteless water, not to mention throw it away before your connecting flight, bring a thermos along.

Most airports have water fountains and unless your flying on a cheap amenities based flight, you can ask for constant water refills from the flight attendant.

I usually just hold my thermos up and they get that the gesture and my half forced smile means “could you please pour some water into my thermos”. The best part is since the thermos is so comparably large to those fragile plastic cups they usually serve water in, flight attendance will fill the thermos up more than often.

In fact, if you ask enough times and actually go to the back to get water, they might even get annoyed by you completely and fill the whole thing up!

Can I take a flask on a plane – now we’re talking?

Now if you’re referring to an actual flask and not a Hydro Flask thermos then I am secretly judging you, but the answer is still yes! As long as your flask is empty and in a carry-on, you can have it aboard the plane and take it out whenever you like.

Now if you’re expecting to get free booze, think again.

Unless you’re in first or business class, it’s unlikely you will get free refills on alcoholic beverages. But that is missing the point. If you do buy an alcoholic tipple because you can;t sleep on planes, the last thing you want is to hold the little brittle plastic cup for hours until it’s silent night up there.

No, no, no my friends – that is why you have your empty flask. Now if they have one that holds less than 100ml …. hmm that’s a product idea right there!

Of course, once you pay, you can pour it into anything you like, except your ‘sit next to’ fellow passenger’s lap, but definitely including your flask. Sit back and have a great flight – just drink responsibly.  Hang it, you can go nuts and poison yourself when you get there and walk off the plane unaided if you have some restraint.

Paying Up for Drinks on a Plane
Paying Up for Drinks on a Plane

Can I Bring a Coffee Mug in my Carry on?

Ok, this is starting to look like a trend at this point. Yes! You can bring a coffee mug in your carry on.

Look, the TSA and other regulatory security organizations around the world realized a long time ago that you could much harm someone with pretty much anything. A pen, a heavy thermos, even a t-shirt could prove lethal.

Airport security is more concerned with mass incidents involving a number of people in a closed space.

They have placed a cap on liquids being carried in a container no bigger than 3.5oz. So if your flask, thermos, or concealed mug is 3.5oz or smaller go ahead and fill it up with water beforehand – just so long as it is clearly and obviously labeled.

Of course, if you don’t consume water at near kitten-like quantities, empty your containers out, place them in your carry on, and fill them once you’ve passed through security.

So that donut shaped mug you got from a souvenir shop for your mom is coming back home!

Plus if you drink coffee like a programmer, then maybe it a better option than a thermos on an airplane.

Yeti Cooler
Yeti Cooler – Great for Keeping Your Cool Whilst Travelling

Can I Bring a Yeti Cooler on a Plane?

Look we’ve all been there, we have all tried filling our carry-ons with mom’s homemade spaghetti sauce only to have it get all over our clothes… What? Don’t act like you haven’t.

It doesn’t matter whether your taking breastmilk or cheeseburgers, the TSA has no issue with coolers on a plane. There are some details you should consider and look into more with specific regions of the world, like disclosing certain fruits, seeds, and meats, but for the most part, a tightly closed, ice-filled cooler is no big deal.

Also, check in with your airline and airport personnel. Some airlines don’t allow the carry on of dry ice to keep foods cold and require that you either check in your baggage or notify the necessary parties beforehand. Make sure that the allowed size and form of carrying is in line with your intentions.

For your convenience we recommend going with the Yeti cooler system, specifically the hard and soft coolers, avoid the buckets.  And don’t go showing up at an airport with a bucket of dodgy, smelly food. You’ll get strange looks as you cry when they confiscate it – but they are not looks of pity but looks of triumph that you cannot asphyxiate the entire flight despite your weird dietary decisions.

The Yeti coolers are externally high quality, spill proof, and maintain the temperature within the cooler expertly.

The official Yeti website recommends securing your hard coolers with bolts and wing nuts through the padlock ports which is all very fine as that will likely be going in the hold.

Traditional locks may be an issue as the TSA wants to be able to look into the cooler.  So, instead, secure your hard Yeti cooler by tightening two-inch bolts through the padlock port with a wing-nut. This allows the TSA or other security organizations to easily screw and unscrew your coolers for easy access

For the most part, any container for foods and beverages is allowed if they are empty, or in the case of the cooler easy to access and disclosed beforehand. Make sure to check in with your nearest airport and on the official website of your airline.

Well, there you have it folks. Thank you for choosing our airways for your fight today. We hope you enjoyed your experience.

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