Which foods are you allowed on a plane?
Flying with food depends what you are trying to take and where! The following is a breakdown of what types of food you are permitted on a plane and where it must be transported. Rules may vary on different airlines and when travelling two or from certain countries, so we recommend to always check with the airline and with the customs departments of countries you will be travelling in. Some countries have limitations on how much food you can bring in to their country at duty-free prices, you can read more about duty-free shopping rules here. Most airlines will ask you to be mindful of other guests, such as refraining from bringing nut products on the plane if there are passengers flying with a nut allergy.
As the rule with flying is that liquids must not be transported in quantities greater than 100ml, you must abide by this rule when bringing liquids with you in your hand luggage. Alternatively, for liquid food that will not go bad in hold luggage, liquids can be transported in your checked luggage in whatever quantities. Read our blog on prohibited items when flying for more information about flying with liquids and other items you can carry on a plane.
Even if you buy a hot drink after security, in the airport lounge, many airlines ban hot drinks on planes in the interest of safety. However it is worth checking with your airline to see their individual policies regarding hot drinks.
Generally, passengers are allowed 100ml of alcohol in their carry-on luggage as long as the alcohol content is under 70%. Additionally, most airlines will not allow passengers to consume their own alcohol throughout the duration of the flight.
However, there are many rules for flying with wine and alcohol, which vary between countries and airlines, so we recommend reading our guide to flying with wine and alcohol for more detailed information.
Because of the rules and restrictions surrounding liquids when travelling, if a food is spreadable, such as cream cheese, peanut butter, then it falls under the liquid category, as it is a semi-liquid. This means that you can still transport cream cheese or nutella if you wish, but it must be transported in a container measuring less than 100ml.
Canned or Bottled Items
Like spreadable foods, foods that are carried in a can have to follow the same rules if they can be poured spread. For example, jams, jellies, honey, dips or soup all will have to be decanted into containers of 100ml (3.4 ounces) or less. Because of how canned foods appear on the X-ray machines, however, canned foods are recommended to be packed in checked bags.
Meat and Seafood
Meat is permitted onboard planes, whether it is raw or cooked. It must be packed correctly by ensuring it is wrapped and completely sealed so that no juices or smells can escape. If you are planning on bringing back meat, game and seafood from a hunting or fishing trip, be sure to check out our page with tips on how to package and transport items such as these.
Seafood can also be transported on a plane, both raw and uncooked. The same rules apply to seafood and meat, meaning that they must be well packaged and wrapped to ensure the juices and smells can not leak out.
This rule, however, applies only to countries within the EU. When flying to and from other countries outside the EU, rules may vary and are dependent on the country you are flying from, to and any layovers you may have. We recommend checking with both your airline and the local customs of the country of origin and destination.
Flying with frozen meat or seafood is usually allowed, but again depends on the rules of the airline and countries of origin and destination, so you must check with the country and airlines before travelling. For those that permit it, frozen meat or other goods, including ready meals or ice cream, must be packed with ice or ice packs which are fully frozen at the point of airport screening, and not defrosted.
According to the TSA, passengers are permitted to take live fish on in carry-on baggage, but not checked baggage. They must be transported in water, in a transparent, spill proof container.
It may surprise you that although you aren’t allowed live fish in your checked bags, you are allowed a live lobster on flights in the US and Canada. They must be transported in leak-proof packaging, which is clear and plastic. In addition, some airlines may prohibit live lobsters on their planes, so you must check the individual airline’s regulations.
Raw or hard boiled, eggs are permitted on planes. However, they must be packaged well to ensure they do not crack and spill everywhere.
As bread is a solid food, they can be transported in carry on baggage, as well as in checked luggage. Pies and Cakes are also allowed on planes, as long as the pie filling is not liquid, and they will often be subject to additional screening.
Candy, Sweets and Chocolate
As long as they are solid and not liquid, then you are allowed them in both carry on and checked luggage.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
You are allowed to transport fresh fruit and vegetables in your checked luggage. However, in your hand luggage there are more regulations. To avoid risk of spreading invasive plant species and pets, passengers flying from some countries including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands cannot take fresh fruit and vegetables with them to the US. We recommend checking the customs rules with the country you are travelling to and from if you are unsure.