Thought Experiment

What would happen if you were to fill a one-quart plastic bag with 3-oz tubes of toothpaste plus one 4-oz tube of toothpaste, and try to take it through a TSA checkpoint?

By my reading of their guidelines, the screener would confiscate the 4-oz tube “for security reasons” but let you through with a one-quart bag almost full of 3-oz tubes. The screener would probably also look at you weird, but that’s not in the guidelines.

Assuming that a passenger could completely fill the plastic bag with toothpaste tubes, and that the packaging component of the tubes had negligible volume, that means each passenger is allowed to take up to 32 oz of toothpaste in his carry-on luggage, as long as it’s been partitioned into 3-oz tubes. (OK, 10 3-oz tubes and one 2-oz tube.)

3 Responses

  1. Or what if you took a full size toothpaste tube and used a high powered laser to slice it in to three ounce interlocking pieces?

  2. I’m surprised these thoughts don’t keep you up at night.

  3. Jeff: Would your high-powered laser cauterize the tubes? Otherwise, the toothpaste would ooze and/or fall out, and the regulations don’t say “take a bunch of 3-oz tubes and dump their contents into a plastic bag.”

    Benji: I’ve got so many thoughts keeping me up at night, these don’t even rank in the top 10.

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