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Taking Food on a Plane

Flying with Food

Want to pack some snacks or food with you to eat on your plane journey because of allergies, flying with children, saving money or simply preferring your own food? Or maybe you simply want to take some edible souvenirs back to your family and friends at home. Read on for information on which foods you are allowed to take on a plane with you, where it must be transported and rules for different countries.

Plane in the sky

Which Foods are 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.

Hot Drinks

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.

Spreadable Foods

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. This is important to note as some jars of nutella will be allowed and others wont.

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.

Frozen Food

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.

Live Fish

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.

Live Lobster

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.

Baked Goods

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.

Flying with food for particular people, diets or occasions

Flying with Children’s food

If you are travelling with a child, you may not want them getting hungry mid-flight and start crying which may upset other passengers. You can order a child-friendly meal on most airlines where a in-flight meal service is provided. However, most airlines will require you to pre-order this child’s meal at least 24 hours in advance of flying. Alternatively, you can pack and bring your own food to eat on the plane using the guidelines above. For more advice about flying with children, visit our helpful guide here.

Flying with Baby Milk and Food

Most people when flying with a baby will be interested in knowing if you can fly with baby milk. The answer is yes! Although most liquids will have to follow the 100ml liquid rule for carry-on bags, for baby milk, including breast milk and milk formula, passengers are allowed to bring enough to feed their baby during the flight. Be sure to check the rules and regulations of the airport or country you are travelling to, to ensure you are fully prepared for your flight. Baby milk will also be tested at airport security, and officers may ask you for a small sample for this test, which will be disposed of.

In UK airports, the following rules apply:

  • Breast milk can be carried in containers up to 2,000ml
  • No breast milk is permitted frozen
  • Any of breast milk, frozen breast milk, formula milk, cows milk, sterilised water, soya milk, baby food and cooling gel packs are allowed in hold luggage.

Most cabin crew will be more than happy to warm up baby milk for you on the flight, so do not hesitate to ask. Find more about flying with babies here.

Ordering special meals

If you have a special dietary, medical or religious need and do not fancy bringing your own food using the above guidelines on the airline for your consumption during the flight, you can order a special meal from the airline. Most airlines offer a selection of special meals where there is a meal service provided during a flight. To read more about these special meals, which airlines provide them and how to request one, please read the following pages:

Travelling with Christmas food

You may be travelling during the Christmas period and want to take food home on the plane to enjoy with family or friends. See if you can fly with the following festive foods and treats:

Can I travel with a turkey?

Following the rules above, we recommend you transport your turkey frozen in carry on luggage so that it doesn’t perish in hot or long journeys.

Can I fly with cranberry sauce?

As cranberry sauce is classed as a semi-liquid food, you will not be allowed to transport this in your carry on luggage unless in pots of 100ml or less. You can, however, transport this in your checked luggage. The same rules go for other festive sauces and dips, such as brandy butter, minced meat, pickles and marmalade.

Can I fly with food gifts?

If you are travelling with gifts that contain food, it is best to transport them on your flight unwrapped, and then wrap them at your destination. This is because even if it is food such as chocolate which is allowed in any quantity, authorities may wish to inspect it and will have to unwrap it.

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Are you allowed to bring food in your carry on?

As per the rules above, you may be allowed to bring some foods in your carry on bag, depending on what it is you wish to transport, which airline you are travelling on and which country you are flying to and from.

Can I bring food on a plane for an International Flight?

Yes, as long as the food you are taking is permitted in both the destination and the country you have travelled on. Some foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, as mentioned above, are not permitted on international flights for risks of contamination of native species of plants.

Can I take a jar of Nutella with me on a flight?

Since Nutella is considered a 'spreadable food', it is counted as a liquid and therefore must follow the 100ml rule. If the jar of Nutella holds 100ml or less, you will be able to take it with you on your flight. However, if it is larger than this quantity you will not be allowed to carry it with you on the flight. You could, however, place it in your checked luggage so that it does not have to follow the 100ml rule.