Can you bring food on a plane?

Aug 10, 2019

Whether you’re traveling alone or with family or friends, one does feel hungry on a plane, especially if boarding a long-haul flight.

The doubt lies in the question, is food permitted on the airplane, if we’re already provided with the meal served by the flight attendants.

The answer is Yes! You are approved of bringing food on an aircraft unless you’re obeying the United States ‘TSA food rules’ or the airline rules you’re boarding.

Do bear in mind that every food item is X-rayed before clearing it, just like your other belongings, by the airport security panel.

If they find something unusual in your luggage apart from items abiding the rules the airlines have allocated, your luggage might be subjected to additional screening.

What food can you take on a plane?

When packing food in carry-on or checked luggage, one needs to know what food they can take. Under TSA (Transportation Security Administration) rule, the food is categorized into solid food and liquid food.

It is important to know the policies on solid foods and liquid foods of the airline you’re boarding. Solids can be packed in either checked bags or hand baggage.

When it comes to liquid foods, each airline has limitations regarding how much liquid you can carry.

Note: Spreads like peanut butter is considered as a liquid.

Now, let’s list down all food items which are in liquefied form (permitted under 3.4 ounces) and in solid-state.

Liquid Food items Solid Food items
☛ Creamy dips ☛ Fruits
☛ Spread ☛ Meat
☛ Gravy ☛ Sausage
☛ Jelly ☛ Ham
☛ Butter ☛ Gum
☛ Jam ☛ Candy
☛ Sauces ☛ Granola bars
☛ Salad dressing ☛ Chips
☛ Salsa ☛ Crackers
☛ Syrup ☛ Pretzels
☛ Oil ☛ Cookies
☛ Vinegar ☛ Pies
☛ Soup ☛ Cakes
☛ Yogurt ☛ Brownies
☛ Alcohol Beverages(Wine, or Beer) ☛ Pastries
☛ Sandwich, Burgers, and Cheese (wrapped, or in a container)

What foods are permitted through airport security?

Generally, all food items are allowed on a plane. But, liquid food items must adhere to the TSA liquid rules.

Do note, liquid food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in hand luggage. They need to be stowed in checked baggage.

Canned foods are allowed if in a fine solid-state. But, do keep in mind that it may cause confusion at the security check. If the canned foods you’re carrying are in sealed containers, you have got nothing to worry about.

Remember, though the food item you’re carrying is permitted by the TSA, if it triggers confusion in the TSA agent’s mind, additional security might be subjected to the food you’re carrying.

Bear in mind, for food items like cakes in your baggage, once bypassed through the screening process might require your bag to be screened again. Ice packs are allowed on a plane if its in solid-state. If the agent spots a bit of liquid within it, chances are that it could be confiscated.

The permission for allowance of food on the airplane is not only based on TSA’s guidelines but the agent who’s inspecting your bags.

TSA baby food rule

baby milk bottle

Traveling with children or especially infants is a bit tedious task. Secondly, having your mind burst with queries about the baby formula being permitted on the plane is another thing to stress about.

But, do not panic. Baby formula, baby food, juices, and breast milk for toddlers are allowed in a reasonable amount.

One can carry these items in excess of 3.4 ounces in the carry-on. These items are to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. Therefore, remove these items from your hand luggage at the security checkpoint.

Inform the TSA officer before the screening process if you are carrying baby formula, juice, and breast milk in excess of 3.4 ounces (100 ml).

Powdered baby formula is also allowed for you to take on the plane.

Remember, you need to pack the powdered baby formula in not more than 12 ounces.

Do make sure, you:

  • Separate it from any other personal items.
  • Store it in its original container for easy identification.

You can also carry ice packs to keep the baby formula, baby food, or breast milk cold. Even if the ice pack is slightly melted, it would be permitted. Just make sure you ask for a separate screening of it.
Once the screening process is complete, you can buy bottled water and mix up your formula for urgent usage.

Once the screening process is complete, you can buy bottled water and mix up your formula for urgent usage.

Snacks for munching on the plane

We all are fond of light snacks, especially during air travel. So why stop the habit just for a day or more days while you’re aboard.

And honestly, not everyone is a fan of food supplied on the aircraft. It’s much better to carry food products of your own choice.

You can learn more about what you can munch while enjoying your journey through our inclusive article on snacks allowed on the airplane. You can also gain information on snacks which is crunchy and sweet in taste and nutritious in health.

In Conclusion:

Food items in a firm solid state are usually permitted.

Do note that, food items in liquefied form are only allowed under 3.4 ounces for the carry-on bag. If planning to pack more than 3.4 ounces, you can stow it in checked luggage.

Remember to stow your food in sealed containers or in plastic ziplock bags to avoid any spills.

For last-minute checking, you may check TSA Website, or TSA has made an app that would ease all your worries about food items that could be approved. Make sure that you pack according to the TSA food rules.

Have Secure & Safe Travels!

Anitha Perumal

Anitha Perumal

Content Strategist

Anitha Perumal is a Content Strategist at Claim Flights GmbH. She is a digital influencer, content specialist, analyst and always loves to do new things with new ideas. She holds a Master's degree in Information Technology.

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