Airline Rules for Infant Formula

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Avoid frustration before boarding by familiarizing yourself with a few simple rules.
Avoid frustration before boarding by familiarizing yourself with a few simple rules. (Image: www.morguefile.com)

Federal regulations have relaxed on carrying infant formula on an aircraft. Parents are no longer required to taste baby formula in order to bring it onto the plane. But there are strict guidelines that must be followed to bring these products onboard. Being prepared and knowledgeable will ease your time at the security checkpoint.

Preparations

Federal aviation regulations regarding carry-on and stowed items will change from year to year and may vary between domestic and international travel. Always make sure you have the most up-to-date information available. If you are booking your flight online, look on your carrier's website for a link to current regulations. If you are making a phone reservation, ask the operator for the best way to see a list of current guidelines or ask to speak to a security representative regarding specific questions.

Current Regulations Regarding Infant Formula

Although the Transport Security Administration (TSA) allows passengers to carry liquids and gels in containers up to 3.4oz only, reasonable quantities of baby formula are permitted over this amount. These do not have to be sealed in a zip-lock bag. However, you should plan well for your trip and only bring the amount necessary for the flight, plus a little extra in case of emergency. This will not only make screening go more quickly, but it will also be less cumbersome to store once you board the plane. If you are bringing larger quantities of formula to have at your destination, you may consider storing it in your checked baggage.

At the Security Checkpoint

All formula must be declared before you begin the security screening process. Talk to the security officer before you enter the checkpoint and tell him you need to declare infant formula. It will need to be made available for inspection above the general X-ray screening. For this reason, you will be required to have all infant formula separated from any other carry-on items you have. Place any cans, jars or bottles into a clear plastic bag so the officers can easily see all items; you can place these things into your carry-on bag after they have been inspected.

At the Gate

After going through security, check-in with the flight attendant at the gate and make her aware that you may be feeding your infant onboard the aircraft and that you have formula or breast milk separated from your other carry-on items. The attendant may ask you to combine these items for stowing purposes or continue to store them separately.

Traveling With Your Infant

Traveling with an infant always presents special challenges, and it can be easy to forget about the security demands required around infant formula. Remember that these regulations are designed for the safety of everyone onboard and try to be patient with the officers who are doing their jobs. Being prepared well before you reach the airport will help keep your stress level down so you can focus your attention on your child.

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