Can You Take Food In Hand Luggage? Find Out Here!

What Food Can I Pack In My Carry-On Bag?

Whether you are looking to take some snacks onboard the plane with you, make yourself a healthy salad for the flight or take some sweets for your long haul flight, figuring what food you can bring in your carry-on can be confusing. 

Luckily, most food products as long as they are solid are allowed in baggage through security with no issues, food in liquid form or gel-like food however is only allowed if they adhere to the 100ml liquids rule, so this goes for honey and even soft cheese. 

So as you can get clear on the type of solid food items on board you can pack and the foods you cannot, we have made an informative guide below with everything you need to know. 

Which Food Is Not Allowed In Hand Baggage? 

Most types of solid food onboard a plane is allowed, so this goes for bread, nuts, crisps and dried fruit, however, the line gets blurred for items on board if your food is 'creamy' or in a liquid syrup texture kind of form. 

Some typical foods which are not allowed in your cabin baggage over a liquid content of 100ml are - 

  • Peanut butter and hummus as they are paste form.
  • Soup and canned soup.
  • Creamy cheese. 
  • Foods in sauces. 
  • Nutella (I know we are sorry). 
  • Alcohol. 
  • Gravy. 
  • Yoghurt.

Even if you pack peanut butter in between sandwiches, this can still flag up security checks, so be careful about what you choose to bring aboard if you want to avoid security delays. 

This is not to say that you can't take these foods in your carry on at all, but they have to be under 3.4 ounces or 100ml to follow security advice.

Another restriction for having fresh products in your carry-on is the country you are entering, for example, when you get to border security in Australia you are not allowed to bring any food fresh products into the country, so make sure to eat all your snacks on the plane!

Are There Exceptions To Taking Liquid Food? 

There are some exceptions if you want to take food through security which is gel-like or liquid, for example, baby food can be brought in your carry-on as required with no issues and so can breast milk over 100ml. 

It is best to inform security beforehand however if you are taking these items in over 100ml through beforehand so as they don't get flagged up when they are taken through the scanner in the airport.

Does Food Taste Different On Planes?

Many people dislike plane food because they think it is tasteless, but in reality, it is true that when you are sky-high in the plane, your taste buds alter due to the altitude and pressure. 

At around 30,000 feet in the air, the air inside of the plane becomes very dry and pressure drops, this is said to reduce how well you can taste your food by up to 30%. 

Best Food Snacks To Take On Flight

Even though you can take a large variety of solid food on your flight and liquid food under 100ml, some snacks we would avoid bringing on-flight. 

For example, yoghurt under 100ml and other dairy products can spoil quickly, even if you are planning to bring fresh meat (which is rare), ice packs can melt quickly, leaving your food to get spoiled. 

So if you want to bring your food to eat in your carry-on, we have listed our best snack ideas below which are approved airline to airline security-wise and what to avoid bring on-flight.

What To Avoid 

  • Fishy food - We would recommend avoiding fishy foods in your packed lunch, food such as tuna will stink out the whole cabin onboard and is not nice for your neighbour.
  • Peanuts - While peanuts are allowed and are a great snack, some people on your flight might have a peanut allergy. 
  • Yoghurt - Yoghurt can spoil easily without refrigeration and is likely to pop at high pressures, going all over your lap during the flight.
  • Bean food - Although burritos might seems like a nice lunch, they can make you gassy, which is not nice for the cabin.
  • Eggs - Once again like fishy food, they are not the ideal option to bring on a plane.

Top Snacks To Bring On-Board

  • Fruits - From apples, oranges to grapes and berries, cut up fruits are a great healthy snack to bring on your flight, just be sure it eat them before getting to your next destination.
  • Nuts - A bag of nuts is a great source of protein and can help you stay full during your flight, they are also not restricted as they are solid food.
  • Granola bars - Once again, a very healthy and filling snack to take on board.
  • Popcorn - Bringing some popcorn on your flight can be a great movie snack, especially for long-haul flights.
  • Wraps - Buying wraps from your favourite cafe or making your own to take on board is a great dinner or lunch option if you want to give the plane food a miss.
  • Salad - Salads are also okay to bring on your flight but you do have to be careful with the dressing here which should not be over 100ml so as it can meet your hand baggage allowance restrictions. 

Tips For Packing Your Snacks  

  • Avoid snacks that need refrigeration - Avoid bringing animal products or food which need refrigerating, especially if you are on a long-haul flight, it's not worth it. 
  • Use Tupperware - Tupperware plastic containers are the perfect option for bringing your food in on the plane, they stop food from getting bashed around also prevent any leakages.
  •  Try plastic bags - If you have limited cabin baggage dimensions then plastic containers are not a great choice to try and fit in your bag, instead, try plastic bags for storing your snacks in as these will save you room.

Can I Take Food In My Checked Baggage? 

Unlike your carry-on bag, you can take a larger variety of food in your hold luggage if need be, (yes, even your Nutella), however, we would not recommend packing fresh food due to cabin hold temperatures and if your luggage was to get delayed. 

Items such as chocolate might also melt during a flight in your bag, so don't expect everything to arrive in the same shape or form as you packed it in. 

If you are packing food in your checked baggage you also need to be careful about the country you are travelling to and what their restrictions are, for example, Switzerland has a restriction on how many dairy products and the type you can bring in your luggage. 

We would always suggest being on the safe side you should ask the airline in advance about the country restrictions of where you are travelling to and follow security advice. 

What Else Can I Take In My Hand Luggage? 

Apart from some restrictions when it comes to the food you can bring in your carry-on there are also restrictions for when you bring other items in your hand luggage which are worth noting before you pack your everyday items. 

We have listed some restrictions which are worth knowing beforehand below. 

  • Sharp items - You are not allowed any sharp items in your hand baggage such as scissors for crafts onboard or knives with blades.
  • More than one lighter -A box of safety matches on board can be taken on flight and one personal lighter can be taken too, no more than one disposable lighter person however is not allowed to be carried on.
  • Aerosol items - Any aerosol everyday items such as deodorant are fine to pack in the right size, however, flammable liquid aerosols which are larger and not for personal use should not be permitted in both hands and checked luggage.
  • Guns - Ammunition and guns are not allowed in your hand luggage, if you want to pack any of this then it would have to be in your checked and would also have to be cleared by the airline and security.
  • Sporting goods - Golf clubs, hockey sticks and other types of sports equipment should not be taken on board with you on the plane. 
  • Self-defence items - Items such as pepper spray or martial arts weapons are not allowed to be brought in your hand luggage, however, one can of pepper spray is allowed to be packed into your hold bag normally.
  • Amounts of liquids over 100ml - Many common items have a higher liquid size than 100ml and are not allowed to be taken in your carry-on if they exceed the 100ml baggage guidance limit or if they do not all fit into the one-quart sized bag. Larger product liquids such as baby food, baby milk or liquid medicine might be allowed with permission. 
  • Power banks - If your power bank is under 100wh then it can be packed in your carry-on luggage with no issues, however, power banks with a higher battery power than this or lithium-ion batteries might need to be checked with the airline before travel.
  • Alcohol over 70% - Strong alcohol which is over 140 proof is not permitted to be taken in your luggage.

How Big Can My Hand Luggage Be?

Beware, packing your hand luggage full of food and snacks can seriously weigh it down and before you know it, on top of your electrical items the weight can exceed baggage sizes. 

The weight and size your hand luggage can be will differ according to different airlines across the world but average measurements tend to be around 55x40x25 cm give or take a couple of centimetres, weight once again is variable but is around 10kg. 

In addition to your hand luggage, you are allowed to bring on a personal item too such as a coat or umbrella. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Food In Hand Luggage 300

Can I take water for a baby on a flight and baby milk? 

Yes, water for babies and baby milk is allowed to be brought in your carry-on luggage providing it is brought on in reasonable amounts, make sure to tell security beforehand when passing through to avoid any delays. 

What are custom regulations for bringing food abroad?

Depending on the country you are flying to, there might be some food restrictions you should be aware of, for example, in the US if you bring fresh agricultural products or fresh fruit you will have to declare them at customs. 

Are powered sauces okay to take in hand luggage? 

Yes, powered sauces can be brought on in hand luggage but should not be in a container that is a bigger size than 350ml total, if so then it might be confiscated.

What are the typical weight restrictions for hand luggage? 

On average, hand luggage has a weight restriction of around 10kg but this is variable according to your airline's requirements, weight allowance will often be more generous for long-haul flights than short-haul flights. 

Can I bring fresh fruits on a plane? 

Yes, but most have to be eaten on the plane and will not be allowed to be taken through to your new destination due to customs. 

Am I allowed to make my food to bring on a plane? 

You can make your snacks and meal to bring on the plane providing they do not contain any liquids over 100ml, do be wise about your choice of the meal, however, as fish-based meals can often stink out the whole plane!

Can I bring fresh meat on a plane?

It is not advisable to bring fresh meat on a plane as it would have to be kept refrigerated the whole time and might spoil, fresh meat also might not be allowed at your destination.

Will water make it through security at the airport? 

No, you can not bring water through security at the airport, it is best to have a reusable bottle that you can fill up once you pass through security.

What is the best way to pack in-flight snacks?

The best way to pack your in-flight snacks is either in a plastic container or a plastic bag that can be sealed to prevent leakages and spills while preserving freshness.

Final Words 

To conclude our carry-on flight food guide, you can typically carry any kind of food onboard with you as long as it is in a solid form, liquid type foods have to be under the 100ml limit and you should be careful when packing items such as salad dressings. 

If you are travelling with food to your destination which might be fresh then ensure you check with countries restrictions and customs beforehand to avoid any delays at the airport. 

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On September 7, 2021
Reading Time 
11 minutes
Guide Views 
37 Views

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Alex

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