Do you want to save money and avoid expensive airport food?
Bringing homemade food through security is the answer.
But can you take homemade food through airport security?
With a few simple tips, it’s easy to figure out what type of food can be taken on board flights and passed through airport TSA security.
We’ll explain how you can bring your meals for domestic and international travel so that you don’t have to worry about overspending on expensive snacks or meals during your travels.
Related: Can You Put Food in Checked Luggage?
Can You Take Homemade Food Through Airport Security?
Traveling with homemade food can present challenges, especially when going through airport security.
Fortunately, you can bring most food items through security, including dog food, baby food, candy, tea, cooked and uncooked meat/seafood, and cheese.
However, some restrictions on liquids and gels must be followed for the screening process. If you are planning a trip and want to know what you can bring in your carry-on luggage or checked baggage when it comes to homemade food items, here is what you need to know.
Restrictions on Liquids and Gels
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and most international airport authorities impose restrictions on liquids and gels due to security concerns. All liquids and gels must be in containers 3.4 ounces or less and placed in a single quart-sized bag for easy access during the screening process.
This means if you are bringing a homemade soup or blended baby food through airport security, it must be in a container smaller than 3.4 ounces and placed inside a quart-sized bag along with other liquids or gels that are also 3.4 ounces or less per container.
Any spreadable items like peanut butter or jelly must also be placed in the quart-sized bag with other liquids or gels, as well as any aerosol containers like whipped cream or cooking spray.
Bringing Other Food Items
You may bring other foods besides those restricted by size limitations as long as they are not considered a liquid or gel under the TSA guidelines.
This includes all types of unopened dry snacks such as chips, popcorn, and cookies; fruits; vegetables; nuts; cheese; cooked meats; seafood; frozen meals; granola bars; breakfast bars; crackers; deli sandwiches (as long as they do not contain any spreads); energy bars; dried herbs/spices/seasonings; baby formula powder (not already made up); candies/chocolates/gummies/candy bars/jelly beans, etc.; cereal/cereal bars/granola cups, etc.; trail mix, etc.; pickles, etc.; baked goods such as brownies/cookies, etc.; peanut butter, etc., teas (loose leaf tea included).
Domestic and International Airports Have Different Rules Regarding Food
While domestic airports allow cooked or homemade food, international airports may have stricter rules to prevent the introduction of invasive species or foodborne illnesses. Certain foods, such as raw fruits and vegetables or seeds, may be prohibited.
To avoid any hassles at the security checkpoint, you should check with your airline or the appropriate customs and immigration regulations for your destination.
Can You Take a Sandwich Through Airport Security
If you’re a sandwich lover, you’re in luck! For the most part, sandwiches are allowed through security checkpoints. However, if you plan on eating your sandwich on the plane, it’s vital to ensure it’s not too fragrant.
You don’t want to be the passenger causing a commotion with a particularly intense tuna sandwich. So pack your favorite sandwich, enjoy it before you board, and have a stress-free trip.
How to Safely Carry Homemade Food on Your Flight
Whether you’re a student traveling home for the holidays or just someone who wants to avoid airplane food, packing your homemade meal is a great way to ensure you have something healthy and delicious during the flight.
But how can you safely carry your homemade food without making a mess in your carry-on or running afoul of TSA regulations?
Here are some tips for packing food for a flight in your carry-on.
Keep it Lightweight and Compact
The best way to save space in your carry-on is to opt for lightweight foods and easy to pack. For example, if you’re bringing sandwiches or wraps, choose leaner proteins like chicken breast, turkey, or roast beef salad.
Or if you’re bringing cooked food like pasta or salad, consider pre-cooking them and then storing them in containers that can be easily sealed. Fruits like apples and oranges are lightweight options that provide plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Pack It Properly
When packing food in your carry-on, proper packaging is critical. If you’re bringing sandwiches, wraps, or salads with condiments (like mayonnaise), ensure they are individually wrapped to stay warm during the flight.
For cooked food like pasta dishes or burgers, use airtight containers with secure lids to avoid leaking while being transported.
Avoid using glass containers; plastic Tupperware is a much better option as it’s lightweight and unlikely to break during transit.
And if you plan on taking liquids (like sauces) with you on board, ensure they’re packaged securely and within the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule.
Be Prepared for Security Checkpoints
The last thing you want when going through security checkpoints is having an officer take your homemade meal away because it doesn’t meet TSA regulations.
To avoid this scenario, be prepared by researching what foods are allowed on flights before packing them in your bag. Foods containing gel, such as jello or yogurt, must be placed inside a transparent zipper bag; items such as hamburger patties must be wrapped securely so their juices don’t leak out.
Packing homemade food for a flight doesn’t have to be complicated — but it does require some planning ahead of time.
Ensure that all your meals are lightweight yet compact enough to fit into your carry-on easily; ensure that all of the items are adequately packaged; and double-check which items will pass through security checkpoints without issue before boarding the plane.
With these tips in mind, carrying homemade meals on board flights will become a breeze.
With the correct understanding of TSA regulations regarding liquids and gels, travelers who wish to take homemade food with them through airport security have plenty of options to choose from — ensuring their trips will still be tasty.
Remember that when it comes to bringing liquid items larger than 3.4 ounces through airport security — these will need to either be checked at the check-in counter, shipped via freight transport services such as FedEx, USPS, DHL Express Mail Services, etc., packed into checked baggage for transport on airlines providing checked baggage services (or sent ahead via courier services), or left behind altogether if not necessary for travel purposes.
Ultimately though, no matter how creative one gets with packing their homecooked meals, travelers should always keep abreast of all applicable airport regulations before departing for their flight.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you take fast food through airport security?
The good news is that you can.
Whether it’s a burger and fries or a slice of pizza, TSA does not restrict fast food from going through security checkpoints. However, it’s important to note that full-size drinks will not be allowed, so make sure to drink them prior.
So next time you’re rushing to catch a flight and need a snack on the go, don’t worry — your fast food is a safe bet for travel.
Can you bring food through airport security in Canada?
Yes, you can bring food through airport security in Canada. Whether it’s a snack or a meal, you can pack it and eat it on the go. Just remember, you cannot bring full-size drinks. So, bring an empty bottle and fill it up with water after passing through security.
Can you take food through airport security in the UK?
Yes. As long as the food is not liquid or gel, you can bring cooked or homemade food with you through airport security. This includes sandwiches, salads, other solid foods, and frozen items.