- Jonathan Chum
The Basics: Can You Bring Formula on a Plane?
Many parents wonder if they are allowed to bring formula/ breast milk on the plane for their infant/ toddler. The answer to this question is yes. According to TSA (Transportation Security Administration), formula, breast milk, and juice are allowed on the plane. These items should be removed from your carry-on for separate screening. It is very important to notify the TSA officer that you are carrying formula/ breast milk with you, exceeding 3.4 ounces.
Additional Steps Involved
It is important to note that because of strict security measures in this day and age, these liquids may be subject to other screenings, if feasible. Formula/ breast milk is typically screened with an X-ray. Also, a TSA officer may ask you to open the container and transfer a small amount of liquid for screening. In the event you are not comfortable with this, you can request they do not X-ray or open it. Alternatively, they will perform other security steps to clear the liquid. This may include pat-downs or extra carry-on screenings of the traveling guardian.
Additional Items for Infant/ Toddler
There are other accessories allowed on the plane in additional formula/ breast milk such as liquid-filled teethers, ice packs, and frozen gel packs. These accessories are subject to screening. In terms of food, parents are allowed to bring baby food on the plane, including canned and jarred. Food may be subject to screening.
Top Tips for Packing & Preparing for Flying
- You are not allowed to bring water on the plane greater than 3.4 ounces (even for the purpose of making formula).
- You are allowed to purchase water after you get through security.
- You can ask the flight attendant for sealed bottled water once on the plane.
- Never use an airport water fountain or tap water for your infant/ toddler.
- Portion out the correct amount of powdered formula into bottles beforehand, use water to mix up the formula on the plane in the bottle.
- Use a burp cloth on the plane when feeding.
- If your child will not take a room-temperature bottle, ask the flight attendant to provide you with a mug/bowl of warm water. Soak the bottle in the water to heat it up- however, you should never ask the bottle to be microwaved.
- You do not have to be traveling with your child present in order to carry formula/ breast milk.
Bassinets, Car Seats & Strollers
You are allowed to use these accessories onboard, with restrictions. It is important to note that every airline has its own specific guidelines that should be checked beforehand.
Strollers are allowed on planes (rules differ with the specific airlines). In general, one stroller is permitted for free at the gate. It must be collapsible and lightweight. The stroller allowance is in addition to your regular checked baggage.
Car seats are allowed on planes if they are approved for motor and aircraft use. The label should state that the restraint is permitted for this type of use. The car seat should conform to federal safety standards. There is no fee for car seats.
Bassinets are provided either through reservations or first-come, first-serve basis (depending on the airline). In order to use a bassinet, your child must be younger than two years old- weighing 20 lbs (9 kgs) or less (depending on the airline). According to safety and storage purposes, parents are not allowed to bring their own bassinet on board. There is no fee for bassinets.
Bringing formula, breast milk, bassinets, car seats or strollers on the plane do not incur additional fees. In order to avoid any surprises, it is best to review the website of the airline you will be flying with.
Flying with an infant or toddler is no easy feat. It is important to adhere to all the rules and comply with TSA. As stated above, you can request that your formula/ breast milk not be X-rayed or opened. TSA will alternatively perform other security checks. In general, TSA does its best to accommodate parents within reason. Staying calm is the best way to keep yourself and your child happy during the process of screenings and checks. Remember, flying is only temporary and shouldn't be too much of a hassle with proper preparation.