Can I Bring a Coffee Mug in My Carry On?

Coffee Mug in My Carry On

It’s the question that has plagued coffee-lovers all over: can you take a coffee mug on an airplane?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is maybe. In fact, it depends on what airline you’re flying with and whether or not your coffee mug has been banned by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Read this article to find out more.

Do you love coffee? If so, have you ever taken it with you when you travel? There are conflicting reports on whether or not the Transportation Security Administration allows people to carry liquids onto airplanes in their carry-on luggage.

In this article, I will attempt to clear up confusion and shed some light on the question of the legality of taking a coffee mug on an airplane.

What are the rules of Airlines regarding taking coffee mugs on an airplane?

Even though there are no official rules for taking a coffee mug onto the airplane, most airlines don’t want you to take it as a carry-on.

This is especially true on international flights. Also, if you’re flying with a budget airline, and you have any liquids in your bag at all, make sure you have a 3.4 oz or smaller container for everything. That way, you don’t end up in the uncomfortable situation of having to throw out your coffee because you don’t want to pay extra money.

Is it Legal?

While some airlines will allow you to carry on liquids, some restrictions go along with this right: they will only allow containers that can fit inside your cup (which must be a closed-tote bag), and the container should be smaller than three ounces. Also, any liquids in your carry-on must fit in one clear plastic bag.

These rules are for international flights originating from the United States and going to other countries based on TSA’s 3-1-1 guidelines.

However, to avoid any potential hassles, most people prefer not to risk being questioned at the check-in counter and instead decide to pack their coffee mug in their checked luggage in a hard-sided container or plastic bag.

For example, Hawaiian Airlines does not allow passengers to have liquids in carry-on bags and there is also a 3 oz. requirement for liquids in checked bags (excludes baby formula and breast milk).

The coffee mugs are usually fine as long as they are hard-sided and within the 3-ounce container size limit, but you can get away with packing your thermos or travel mug instead. Keep in mind that different airports have different rules so it’s always a good idea to call in advance before you arrive.

Should I check or carry on my coffee mug?

If you’re traveling to the United States, it would be best if you packed your mug in your checked bag. If you are not sure about specific airport rules, some airports have a full list of what they will and won’t let you carry onto the plane.

Most US airlines don’t allow glass or ceramic coffee mugs to be taken as carry-on luggage. However, they will let you take them in your checked bags. You can also buy a plastic travel mug that is almost identical to the ceramic type but it will be allowed on board.

The safest way is to pack your mug in your checked baggage. This is because if the mug is accidentally taken as carry-on luggage and it breaks or leaks, all of your clothes and belongings will be completely safe.

Reasons why certain coffee mugs get banned at TSA checkpoints:

Here are some common reasons why you would be prohibited from carrying a mug onto the airplane:

● Size/Volume – If your container has too much volume, it will be considered a liquid container, and you won’t be allowed to take it on board. Many ceramic coffee mugs are completely fine to travel with, as long as they have a lid on them. However, if there is no lid and the mouth of the mug is wider than 2.5 inches, it will need to be confiscated.

● The main reason why the TSA agents will take away your ceramic coffee mug is that it’s not made of plastic and might pose a threat to the safety of your fellow passengers.

● One reason why ceramic coffee mugs get thrown out is that they might contain liquid, which can be seen on the X-ray machine.

● If the shape of your ceramic coffee mug has weapon-like properties then TSA will most likely not allow it on the airplane.

● If a ceramic travel coffee mug is broken/chipped, it could cause serious injury to you and other passengers.

● Some ceramic coffee mugs that contain heat beads or gel will not be allowed on airplanes because of the risk of fire and possible explosion.

Other Things to Keep in Mind:

● Avoid packing delicate ornaments, figurines, cups, and mugs with easily removable decorations.

● Ensure that the mug you are carrying is clean and has no residue of liquid or other items inside the mug.

● Carrying a ceramic coffee mug is good, as long as it meets all the requirements of TSA and FAA regulations. You may use it as a container to store your items and carry liquids on board!

Ideal Mug’s Materials for Carry-On Luggage

It is important to remember that not all materials are equal when it comes to mugs. Some mugs can pass through airport security without a problem and others can’t.

Here’s a list of materials to look out for:

• Ceramic/porcelain mugs/thermoses: check
• Glass mugs/thermoses: check
• Metal mugs/thermoses: check
• Copper mugs (insulated or not)
• Disposable plastic cups/lids with a small amount of liquid in them: check
• Disposable paper cups/lids with a small amount of liquid in them: not allowed
• Plastic or Thermoses containing more than 3 oz. of liquid in them: not allowed
• Any coffee mugs that are made out of plastic: check
• Coffee mugs with metallic, liquid-lined lids: not allowed


Q. Can I take my coffee mug in a checked bag, if it’s already filled with hot water and then sealed?

A. No – The TSA will not allow you to carry liquids in a beverage container. If you seal it up and then fill it, the liquid inside will be considered a new substance.

Q. Can I take a metal travel mug, if the top is plastic?

A. No – there are many mugs on the market that have metal tops that are covered by plastic lids. These types of mugs will not be allowed on board because you can remove the lid and have access to the top.

Q. Can I take a thermos filled with coffee?

A. Yes! As long as it is not frozen, you should be able to take your favorite hot beverage through the TSA checkpoint.

Q. Why Bring Your own Travel Coffee Mug?

A. Everyone should bring their own travel coffee mug because there are many benefits of using these mugs during your travels:

• Mugs are easier to clean and maintain
• Easy to find a free drink from a water dispenser, while on the go, during your travels.
• To eliminate the use of single-use plastic cups.
• You have access to fresh, hot liquids throughout your day.
• It saves you time and effort from having to constantly get low-quality coffee.

Q. How can I safely pack my coffee mug before taking it on a flight?

A. You can pack your mug in a hard-sided case, and then wrap the case in a thick blanket or paper before placing it at the bottom of your checked bag. This should protect the mug from breaking on impact.


The rules for bringing a coffee mug on an airplane are ever-changing. It’s important to know the latest regulations before you pack your carry-on luggage.

The best advice is not to bring a coffee mug with metal details or a collapsible handle. For best results, buy a plastic mug with a metal lid and bring it to the airport empty!

Also, check with the airline before flying about their policies on taking liquids in carry-on luggage (some airlines allow up to 8 oz). To avoid any confusion at TSA checkpoints or have your items taken away from you by airport security staff, we recommend buying an insulated travel mug that has no metallic pieces.

We hope now you have a better understanding of the rules for bringing coffee mugs on airplanes, and what type of mug material is best to use. If there are any other questions about this topic that we haven’t answered yet, please don’t hesitate to contact us!