I really, really like coffee. In the morning. Until about 10am. And since you can’t take liquids over 3 oz through airport security (which would keep me awake the same number of seconds), I was spending quite a bit of my travel budget on the wonderful coffee shops located in the post-security areas.
So I switched to drinking inordinate amounts of delicious coffee on the way to the airport, finishing it up in the line to security. This would invariably cause me to need facilities badly during that period between boarding and the seat belt sign turning off because we had reached cruising altitude. And if there was turbulence delaying that sign going off, well, I’ll just say the bouncing didn’t help.
And then I moved to a city where there are no beverages allowed on the mass transit. No longer able to drink my coffee on the mass transit to the airport, I decided to bite the bullet and suffer along on the one cup at home until I was ON the airplane and could (eventually) drink free coffee. I can drink airline coffee if I have to, but its not really my cup of tea.
But then I got brilliant. I read through the TSA rules site and realized that although I wouldn’t be allowed to bring 20 oz. of liquid coffee through security, I could bring a travel mug of FULLY FROZEN SOLID coffee.
The answer: An Ice Cube Tray.
Every day when my beloved husband makes a pot of delicious gourmet coffee perfectly prepared, I have him make a bit more than the two of us will drink. I take the remainder and put them in the ice cube trays and freeze the coffee into cubes. Each day I take the frozen cubes and put them in a freezer ziplock bag, and refill the empty ice cube tray – so I always have a large supply.
On the morning of travel, I drink a cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee. Then I fill my 20 oz. travel mug to the top with coffee ice cubes and stow it in the side pocket of my DayPack and keep it there until I get to the airport.
Little by little it melts, fixed just the way I like it. Just before I put my pack through the security scanner, I drink off all the liquid and it sails through because it is frozen solid!
On the other side, I still have plenty of coffee to last right up until that darn seat belt sign is turned off, and the world at large is spared my non-coffee personality.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? That this could work for a water bottle? Whaaaaaat?
UPDATE: Thought I’d be super clever and take TWO bottles of frozen water through security for a long travel day. I ended up without either one of them. Epiphany: The water bottle you freeze needs to have straight sides. If you (like me) freeze one of the hour-glass shaped bottles, where the center is smaller than the top and bottom, you won’t be able to drink the melted water off before going through security. The ice won’t be melted enough to let water past the “fat” part of the bottle, but will melt enough that TSA can see the liquid and then take away your bottle. Lesson Learned!
|This shape is the RIGHT one for freezing
and taking through security.
|This shape is the WRONG shape for freezing
and taking through security.
What you need to know: Your travel coffee mug should NEVER be one you are dearly attached to. The TSA is 100% in charge of what will and will not go through security. If something would cause TSA to changes the rules, you will probably have the option of taking the item back outside of security, emptying the vessel, and then running through the scanner again – if you have time. But the best choice is to take the coffee mug that has been way at the back of the cabinet because nobody really likes it. It will be delighted to finally see the world, and you won’t be devastated if you lose it.