Can I fly with white powder in a transparent bag?
Instead of plain old coffee, I sometimes like to get my daily caffeine ration from other drinks, e.g. fruit juice. For this purpose I have bought some pure caffeine, which takes the form of white powder.
Now I'd like to take some of that on a journey where I go by plane. I don't want to take the big glass jar of caffeine with me, so the best thing I found is a small transparent bag. It looks somewhat like this.
Now I assume this must look pretty suspicious, so I was wondering if your average European airport has the means to identify this as something harmless quickly or if I could expect hours of trouble if this bag were be detected.
I traveled with a similar bag with baking soda that I use as a toothpaste and had no problems in airports through europe, north america and central america.
Not an answer to your question but one alternative is to get some caffeine in pill form. Aside from being less suspicious when travelling you're also less likely to kill yourself with an accidental overdose which is exceedingly easy when it comes to pure caffeine.
I have flown in Europe with various white consumable powders in very smilar bags and nobody has seemed to care. Presumably even if someone did take a look, they have ways of differentiating between drugs and random powder. What I can advise you is to double bag your powder - in case the bag rubs against something and breaks, you still have another bag inside, so less likely to have a spill all over the inside of your luggage.
@user4050 - To be honest, depending on your race & color of skin and racial profiling bias in the minds of authorities it can be luck of the draw. So, the answer I posted will help who might get pulled to the side
@user4050 Baking soda is not an organic chemical so would show up differently to caffeine.
Thank you for asking this question. From now on, whenever I'm not in hurry, I'll travel with a bag of powder and dodgy looking pills... :)
the simple bottom line is carry **labelled**, **packaged** stuff to avoid headaches
My dad came back from Colombia once with unmarked sealed bags which contained coffee grounds and didn't have any problems even though they looked like they could have been bricks of cocaine. I'm sure the airport dogs sniffed it and didn't care.
A manufacturer's container and labeling would certainly be prefered but barring that, there are a lot of troubles you can avoid by at least making your own labels. It would make clear what you claim to have. Package it like this and it's like you're daring them to search you.
@JoeBlow surely labeling drugs as "Not drugs" doesn't work?! Also can you even buy pure caffeine!?
A long time ago, I was a long haired hippie and I wanted to enter Switzerland with a friend. We obviously matched some profile and were selected for careful screening. Turns out the milk powder packets we had with us had broken, so the first thing she opened produced a cloud of white powder. We thought this was hilarious and when she opened our dirty socks next, we were let go without further questions...
That bag would show orange color on an x-ray machine which is the color for organic material (on most machines) and it would be very obvious even between layers of clothing which are also organic but would show a different shade(powder bag would be a very dark shade of orange). If I looked at your bag for a fraction of a second I would most likely pull it out for physical inspection and then it really depends on the person who would deal with you and ask questions.
The amount of time you spend there really depends a lot on your profile (like it or not but that is how it works) and the answers you provide if your bag gets pulled out for further investigation.
My advise to you would be to carry your coffee powder in the manufacturer's packaging. Keep it sealed if possible.
Source : I worked for North West Airlines as a Ground security coordinator in the past.