Sorry, TSA, but it's true: You're the Debbie Downer of the travel world.
Even before airlines started scaling back on meals and stopped accepting cash for cocktails, you told us that we couldn't dare to bring our own drinks and liquids aboard, much less any cooking instrument that might be turned into a weapon. Suddenly, thanks to your all-encompassing reach, we were spending more money on bad airport food, overpriced bottled water, and replacements for the corkscrews we kept forgetting to put in our checked bag.
The good news? There's nothing American entrepreneurs love more than a challenge. Thanks to some enterprising companies, savvy food-loving travelers can still fly in culinary style while conforming to your strict rules and other carry-on regulations. So read, fellow adventurers, for delicious TSA approved condiments.
At 1/8 fluid ounce, there's no way TSA can begrudge you a mini-bottle of Tabasco pepper sauce. If you're not one to swipe an extra from the hotel's buffet bar, you can buy them online individually or in a travel-friendly four-pack. Want your own logo on the bottles? You can order those in bulk. Just keep the message TSA-friendly. And if you're a lighter packer, then there's the mini bottle holder cap that's decked out with three pockets made especially for the mini-bottles.
You'd be hard-pressed to find packaging that's more adorable and TSA-friendly than Little Soya's soy sauce. These adroable fish are far more chic than those extra packets you've been stashing from your Chinese take-out or delivery. They're also less messy, since they have a screw-on cap. Visit their website to order a free sample and access a list of stores where you can buy the retail packs, which include 12 individual servings, at .27 ounces each.
If air travel drives you to drink, you don't have to depend solely upon the limited and, let's face it, fairly boring, airline beverage cart to craft your own cocktail. Thanks to the company Bitter Truth, you can make it through security with a travel-friendly set of bitters to liven up your in-flight tipple. Flavors include celery, creole, orange, old time aromatic, and “Jerry Thomas' Own Decanter Bitters”. And each bottle is a TSA-friendly three ounces. You can buy the bitters online or at your local liquor store.
Unlike liquids, there's no TSA prohibition on the amount of salt you can pack in your carry-on. That being said, your total carry-on space allotment isn't likely to accommodate a big box, canister, or shaker of salt, and why would you want the extra weight when a little goes a long way?
Maldon's tiny “pinch tins” are perfect for travel and you can refill them time and again. You can mix your own add-ins, too; pimentón and dried herbs make that airplane food slightly more palatable. The tins can be ordered on Amazon, Sur La Table, or specialty food stores.
If you're confused by the kitchen tools and implements that are (and aren't) allowed in your carry-on luggage, the TSA website has a useful function on its home page that allows you to search by the name of the specific item. “When I Fly, Can I Bring My...?” lets you type items like “corkscrew” into the box and the search generates a straightforward answer about whether the object is approved for carry-on.
So should you stash a corkscrew in your carry-on? As long as it doesn't have a blade, you're cleared for take-off. All other kitchen tools with blades must be packed in your checked luggage.