Q: Every year while visiting Maine I have maple syrup shipped to my home. This year I would like to bring it back on the plane. Is maple syrup a liquid no-no for carry-ons? If so, are there rules for packing it in my checked luggage?
A: Maple syrup is a liquid so unless you're bringing it back in bottles 3 ounces or less — and those bottles fit in a quart-size clear zip-top bag — be prepared to pack them in your checked luggage.
The Transportation Security Agency allows passengers to carry most liquids in their checked bags. Prohibited liquids include anything flammable; also there are certain limits for transporting alcohol (see www.tsa.gov for more information).
Packing syrup is no problem — unless it leaks. So safeguard against spills.
If the bottle is filled to the top with syrup, open it and pour out a little, giving the liquid room to breathe when under pressure. Wrap the containers in multiple zip-top bags and use strong tape to keep the outer bag's zip-top from opening. For even more protection, place the wrapped bottles in a plastic food storage container with a firmly sealing lid.
Also, when securing your luggage, be sure to use a lock approved by the TSA. These are accessible by a master key so the TSA can open and resecure your bag if it's selected for inspection. Nonapproved locks will be cut off.
One final reminder: Skip the wrapping paper with all gifts — liquid or otherwise — when flying during the holiday season. The TSA will unwrap presents if your bag is screened.