Can you take a coffee on a plane if you purchased it after security?

There’s something undeniably magical about the first sip of a freshly brewed cup of coffee, isn’t there?

The aroma alone is enough to stir the senses and the taste?

Pure bliss!

It can turn an early morning flight from a groggy drag into a delightful experience.

But, there’s a question that might have been percolating in your mind: “Can I actually bring my coffee onto the plane if I’ve bought it after going through airport security?”

Airport regulations can feel like you’re stuck in a maze, right?

All those do’s and don’ts can make even a seasoned traveler’s head spin.

What can we take onto the aircraft? What can’t we? We all know the drill about liquids over 3.4 ounces—they’re not going past the TSA checkpoints in our carry-on bags.

But, what about the drinks we buy after we’ve already crossed the security boundary?

Now, let’s clear up that steam and spill the beans.

Here’s the bottom line: if you buy your coffee (let’s say a Starbucks for familiarity) inside the airport terminal, at any point after you’ve passed through security, you’re good to go.

You can absolutely bring it with you onto the airplane without any further screening.

And guess what? There’s no limit to the number or size of coffee cups you can carry along.

Even better, if you’re environmentally conscious and have your own mug, you can ask the barista to fill it up for you. Imagine sipping your favorite roast from your favorite mug while cruising at 30,000 feet!

Related: Can you take Beer in Checked luggage?

So next time you’re flying, don’t hesitate to grab that cup of joe after security. Turn your in-flight experience into a coffee shop in the clouds. 

Can you take a coffee on a plane if you purchased it before security?

Now, you might already have an inkling about the answer here, but let’s be clear and absolute about it. The answer is a resounding “NO.”

The TSA has a firm rule that you cannot carry more than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters of liquids in your carry-on when you’re going through security.

And here’s where it gets a bit tricky: even if you’ve only got a little bit of coffee left in your cup, it’s not the quantity of the liquid that matters. Rather, it’s the potential capacity of the cup.

The TSA isn’t just looking at how much liquid you have at the moment of inspection, they’re considering how much could potentially be in that container.

That’s why the size of your coffee cup matters. If it exceeds the liquid limit set by the TSA, then it’s a no-go.

You might be thinking, “But it’s just coffee!” And I get it. Who wants to part with a perfectly good latte? But these regulations are in place to ensure the safety and security of all passengers.

So, my advice? Enjoy that coffee before you reach security. Savor every last sip and recycle your cup.

Then, once you’ve cleared security, feel free to grab another cup at one of the many airport cafes waiting to brew you a fresh cup for your journey. 

Can you bring coffee beans onto a plane?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to bring ground coffee or coffee beans through airport security in your carry-on bag.

That said, it’s wise to limit your coffee amount to no more than 12 ounces – roughly the size of a standard soda can. Carrying more than this could potentially raise some eyebrows, and if the TSA officers cannot verify its safety, it might be disallowed.

Remember, it falls into the category of powdered substances, which have their own unique set of rules.

Pack your coffee in a resealable bag or keep it pre-packaged. Also, ensure it’s in a secure container, because let’s face it, luggage handling can sometimes be a bit rough around the edges.

And if you’re traveling domestically within the United States, rest assured, you can also pack your coffee in your checked luggage.

International flights, on the other hand, are a bit trickier. While U.S. airports will give you the green light to carry your coffee, not all foreign countries will welcome your beans with open arms.

Related: Can you bring Gummy Candy in Flight? 

Different countries have different regulations, so be sure to do your homework and check with the specific country you’re flying to.

Keep in mind, wherever you’re jetting off to, the TSA rules apply until you leave U.S. soil. Once you land, you’ll be playing by a new set of rules, likely different from the TSA’s.

Many countries insist that ground coffee or coffee beans be in their original, unopened packaging.

So, as you prepare for your next journey, be mindful of these regulations. With a little planning, you can continue to enjoy your favorite brews, no matter where your travels take you. 


In conclusion, when it comes to traveling with coffee, the rules are pretty clear. If you’re yearning for a hot cup of joe before you board, remember to buy it after you pass through airport security.

Doing so will ensure that you can bring your coffee onto the plane without any issues.

However, if you find yourself holding a half-empty cup as you approach the security checkpoint, you’ll sadly have to part ways with it before proceeding.

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Sorin Susanu
Sorin, the primary writer for this site, launched it in 2019 as a hobby and a means to refine his English. With a passion for travel ignited by a trip to Italy at age twelve, Sorin has been exploring the world and sharing his adventures ever since.