A friend of mine recently asked whether carrying K-Cups through airport security would cause any problems. They are technically a sealed unit, and so opening them up to check they actually just contained the coffee claimed would ruin them.
So we had a look at the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) website and obtained a list of their prohibited items. Looking through it we didn’t find anything about sealed food and in particular dry food seems to be ok. There are certainly restrictions on gels and liquids, and we even found you could carry on board a Keurig brewer as part of your carry on or checked-in luggage. Although we are not entirely sure how the machines would behavior afterwards as once used they maintain water at pressure (this is what the solenoids do). And this is one of the reasons there are so many problems with Keurig brewers.
What happens with solenoid units is that the end seals can develop leaks. These leaks, even very occasional drips can end up in the wrong place inside the brewer. These wrong places include the power transformer, water pump and air pump. Now if the drips just make their way down to the base of the unit this isn’t too bad, but even here the moisture can interfere with the connected wiring that is earthed to the metal base plate. We have produced a video going through the different parts of a Keurig and you can access this by going to our video section (we refer to them as our maintenance videos).
But getting back to airport security and K-Cups in hand luggage. So my friend decided to tack a risk based approach to getting his K-Cups to his destination (by the way, he was going through this little exercise as the hotel he was staying in Montreal provide Keurig brewers in their rooms. As he was staying there for some time he wanted to take a stash for his room (rather than buying them there). So he took a couple of the pods in his brief case and the rest he placed in his suitcase for the hold of the aircraft.
I did hear from him when he returned and be mentioned there was no problem at either end of the trip with the coffee pods. So from this very unscientific study we can conclude that the carriage of Keurig K-Cups with airport security is fine – well, at least for the US and Canadian domestic service; not sure about international travel. If you have any experience with this we would love to hear from you. Post a comment below or get in touch with our Contact Us section.