According to TSA regulations, you can bring both dry tea bags and loose tea leaves on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
But if you want to bring tea bags on a plane, there are several things you need to know, including if you have to declare the tea at customs, what the regulation are if you’re flying internationally, and more.
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Dry Tea Bags
You can bring dry tea bags on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
There are no quantity restrictions for how much you can bring.
Loose Tea Leaves
You can also bring loose tea levels on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.
Again, there are no quantity restrictions for how much you can bring.
Restrictions Can Apply to International Flights
If you’re flying domestically within the U.S., there are practically no restrictions, but when flying internationally, the restrictions can vary depending on the country you are flying from and to.
- UK: Likely due to their love of tea, the Brits do not specify a maximum amount of tea that you can bring into the UK. So when flying to the UK, you do not need to worry about how much tea you can bring with you.
- Canada: Canada allows passengers to fly with up to 20 kg of tea for personal consumption per person.
- Mexico: We are unable to find any quantity limit for how much tea you can bring into Mexico. So you should have no problem bringing to on a plane when flying to Mexico.
- The EU: When flying from a non-EU country, including from the USA, to an EU country, you are allowed to bring up to 2 kg of tea. Note that kratom is illegal in many EU countries, so leave kratom tea leaves at home.
How to Pack Tea Bags for Air Travel
If you want to bring tea bags on a plane, we recommend making sure that the tea bags or loose tea leaves are easily accessible and/or well organized in your carry on.
This is because the TSA recommends travelers to separate items that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine.
You Have to Declare Tea Bags at U.S. Customs
The USDA state that you can bring “without restriction any quantity of products composed solely of tea leaves (Camellia sinensis: includes black tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea, white tea, yellow tea.”
However, tea bags and tea leaves must be declared at customs, regardless of how much or how little you bring.
When it comes to herbal tea and herbal infusions, you are allowed to bring them back with you into the U.S. as long as they are “commercially packaged and ready to be boiled, steeped, or microwaved in liquid.”
You Can’t Bring Liquid Tea Through Airport Security
The TSA have a rule in place called the 3-1-1 Rule.
This rule prohibits passengers from bringing any liquids, including liquid tea, in containers larger than 3.4oz/100ml through airport security.
The good news is that you can buy tea once you have passed airport security and drink it while you’re waiting for your flight and on the plane.
You can pack liquid tea in a thermos in your checked bags with no restrictions, though we’re not sure why anyone would want to do that.
You Can Bring Coffee on a Plane
According to TSA regulations, you can bring coffee on a plane, including coffee beans, ground coffee, and single-serve coffee capsules and pods, in both your carry on and checked bags.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).