The Transportation Security Administration thought it had settled the peanut butter argument some time back: if it is not 3.4 fluid ounces or less, it must be checked.
However, the query of what the TSA considers liquid continues to confuse passengers. It spiked again last week when the author and podcaster tried to board a plane from Pittsburgh with a jar of Jif natural peanut butter.
Patrick Neve, who said he was on his solution to a speech, wrote about putting his peanut butter in a single tweet in accordance with Twitter, which received 10.4 million views as of Monday.
“Tried to undergo airport security with peanut butter,” he wrote. “TSA: “Sorry, no liquids, gels or sprays.” Me: “I need you to inform me which of this stuff you think that is peanut butter,” he continued, blithely concluding his riddle.
he asked; TSA responded.
The administration, which has a decidedly lighter tone online than its officers on airport security lines – with bio-promising “travel suggestions and hit dad jokes” – responded with a repetition of its peanut butter rule and poor wordplay.
“You is probably not crazy,” the administration’s social media team wrote on Instagram, “however the TSA considers your PB liquid. In hand luggage, it should be 3.4 ounces. or less.”
Neve’s experiences with the TSA have inspired travelers to share their very own stories of losses against TSA’s rigorous security line standards, lots of which have greater than a touch of malice.
“Apparently my peanut butter didn’t undergo security, however the 22 inch IV injection kits that were someway in the underside of my carry-on bag got through with flying colours” – Blimi Marcus, Registered Nurse, he wrote on Twitter.
A reminder of the TSA Instagram post included the textbook definition of a liquid: something that “has no definite shape and takes the form imposed by the container.”
Following this definition, several people wrote within the comments to the post that neither cats nor cranberry sauce must be allowed on board.
Peanut butter is taken into account “spreadable,” so it falls under regulations for liquids, gels, and aerosols, TSA spokesman R. Carter Langston said in an email.
“As we frequently attempt to remind travelers: if you happen to can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, it comes under the three.4 ounce limit,” he said.
Unlike firearms – the TSA seized a record 6,301 guns in 2022 – the administration doesn’t track the quantity of food or other goods it asks passengers to examine or hand over.
Aside from items deemed useful as props at media demonstrations at regional airports, most of what travelers donate is thrown away, Langston said.
Aware that stressed travelers are sometimes frustrated by the TSA’s hand luggage regulations, Janis Burl, head of the agency’s social media division, decided to try a special tactic online.
Under her leadership, the administration’s Instagram account, with its jocular tone and direct messages to confused passengers, attracted around 1.2 million followers.
The account’s mission is to appeal to the “peculiar traveler,” Langston said.
“Sometimes it takes a bit more courage to resonate with people, especially on social media,” he said.
Jokes aside, TSA officials say the risks of explosives on board haven’t diminished since 2006, when liquid restrictions first went into effect in response to the September 11 attacks and a number of other other attempted bombings of aviation .
The rules were created under the so-called Aviation and Transportation Security Act signed by former President George W. Bush in November 2001ordering federal officials to perform enhanced checks at airport checkpoints.
The TSA created explosive detection systems, the technology of which has developed over time, leading some critics to wonder if peanut butter, perfume and water bottles should remain under such scrutiny.
The 3.4-ounce limit is the usual set by the International Civil Aviation Organization, Langston said, calling it “a still very mandatory risk-based rule.”