Not all of us love the idea of facing astronomical cost of airplane food. And then there are some of us who are apparently not a big fan of the poor selection on food. Not to forget the category of folks having certain special diets to follow as well as allergies to avoid.
In all cases, one thing becomes common. Willing to bring your own food inside the plane. But is that allowed to do? There can also be a possibility of a passenger willing to carry some local food items for a friends or family member living at the destination spot.
So, finding if you can take food on a plane in your suitcase or at least checked-in baggage, as well as the related rulings, becomes crucial. Let’s help you with that today…
Is It Possible to Take Food on a Plane in Your Carry-on or Checked-in Baggage?
Fortunately, there are fewer restrictions on carrying food items both in hand and checked-in luggage, so yes you should be able to bring it along.
However even if most foods are okay to bring according to the TSA, there are still rules as well as restrictions that may cause you to leave certain food items behind. For example, liquid items.
Also, there’s a need to have unbroken commercial packaging to identify it. Not to mention checking regulations on customs for the destination country. Let’s talk this through to figure out what to do.
If You Want to Bring Food Items on an International Flight.
Now just like what we talked about earlier, there are specific rules and regulations for a different country. And those relate to the whole international flight situation. This becomes very important if you are thinking to carry fresh veggies or fruits.
For example, you’ll have to follow pretty strict rules when traveling from the US to Australia. And this is because of the prevention of any disease spreading. Also, to stop pests that can mess with the sensitive ecosystems.
This rule makes it very hard for any passenger to carry frozen items and most probably, you’ll face a biosecurity officer.
However, in terms of other international flights, that leave from the US, there are pretty easy regulations. You can carry fresh veggies as well as fruits. And also, there’s no problem eating them inside the plane. But then again, on your way back to the US, things will become difficult.
Carrying Food Inside Carry-on Bag & Checked Bag.
Depending on how you are planning to bring the food, there are different rules as well as regulations to mind.
You Can Bring Food Inside Carry-on Luggage with Proper Packaging.
There’s no problem to bring your preferred food items inside the carry-on luggage. And you can consume them inside the plane as well. However, there’s definitely a list of items that are not permissible to bring, and you can’t include anything out from it. There’s not much to worry about. Because the permissible food item list is also quite extensive.
A few examples of permissible food items that are good to go would be raisin cookies or even oatmeal ones. If you are traveling with a kid, then maybe some animal crackers to keep them happy. Your mom’s cooked meat or even fresh eggs are fine to bring. You can even carry some wraps or sandwiches for quick snacking. Live lobsters are also not an issue to bring.
Now make sure you have packed your food inside a container that’s spill proof. Also, it should be transparent for the agents to have a quick look and not become suspicious of what’s inside.
Carrying Food Inside Your Checked Bag.
Now when it comes to checking baggage, TSA is not very strict with you carrying food inside. And it’s such a relief. As there’s not much to worry about getting through a rigorous inspection just because you are carrying a few local food items for your friend on the destination spot.
Also comparing to the list of items that are permissible inside a plane, here you get much broader options to bring. For example, you can definitely pack yourself some ricotta or mascarpone, basically any creamy cheese inside the checked-in luggage.
If you have some Thanksgiving turkey leftover, you can even bring that inside the baggage. Canned food items are also good to go inside your bag. And of course, you can bring along all sorts of spreads as well as dips for example peanut butter, mustard dip, etc.
If you are planning to bring home fancy cooking oils (for example there are some really fabulous and famous options people buy from Italy) or even a balsamic vinegar collection, it’s completely fine to pack inside the checked-in luggage.
Be Careful of Frozen Food Though.
Frozen foods are permissible things to bring inside both carry-on as well as checked-in luggage according to TSA. However, you need to consider a few restrictions that come from the airline policies.
First and foremost, you must ensure that the frozen food is inside a cooler bag with enough ice packs to keep it intact. The ice packs have to be completely frozen as well. That’s the only way it will pass through screening. If not, TSA has the complete right to deny it and you can do absolutely nothing about that.
You can also choose an alternative method with dry ice for keeping the frozen food. However, make sure to find out about the permissible amount of dry ice for your airline. Most airlines in the US will not allow a passenger to pack more than 5 pounds of dry ice.
Restriction on Foods from Different Places.
There are certain food items that you won’t be able to bring inside the US when traveling from a specific place. For example, you can bring wrapped firm cheese or even saffron from Morocco when traveling back to the US.
From Switzerland, you can very well pack Swiss chocolate for your returning trip to the US. But then again, you cannot consider the Kinder Egg from Europe as it’s banned.
Being confused about certain food items, for example, can you bring candy on a plane is going to make things hard. Try to get the exact information from airline’s website or by directly contacting them about a specific snack.
When traveling to the UK there are some foods you cannot bring along. For example, Khapra beetles including uncooked rice are not going to be okay. The same goes for any sort of liquid cheese that you are bringing from a country famous for having mouth and foot disease.
Also, the meat of a horse is not allowed. Unless you have some documentation to confirm there’s no disease infected. Bush meat is completely not permissible due to safety concerns.
You can also face difficulty traveling with a few common items in some airplanes. For example, any meat products except the special pet or infant food, milk items, potatoes, dairies, etc.
Still not sure if you can take food on a plane in your suitcase carry-on or checked-in luggage? Hopefully not! Food that is liquid will also need you to maintain a quantity of not more than 3.4 oz. There can also be other regulations depending on the airlines. So, it’s best to directly contact the helpline and ask about a specific item you are concerned about.