9 Foods You Can Bring Through Airport Security—And 4 You Can’t
People are traveling all over the country right now! Let’s clear up the TSA rules for foods you can—and can’t—bring through airport security.
Hungry for a getaway?
Knowing what food staples and gifts you can bring through airport security will save you and your fellow travelers time at the TSA checkpoint. Most of these apply only when you’re traveling within the United States, so make sure to check with customs about declaring any foods you’re bringing back from another country. And find out other surprising items allowed through security before you go. Safe travels!
Homemade cake from Grandma baked with love? Favorite cake from your childhood bakery? They’re set to jet! Cakes may require an additional inspection from TSA agents, but as long as it’s not an ice cream cake or some type of Jell-O mold, you can bring a cake along to your final destination.
Most baked goods, both homemade and store-bought, are safe to go on board with you. We don’t imagine that you’d bring a pie or cake just on a dish through the airport, but it’s worth mentioning that your baked goods should be secured in a box or container to keep them safe.
NO: Creamy cheeses over 3.4 ounces
You could technically bring a block of cheddar as big as you like, but anything on the creamier side, like brie, blue, and cream cheese, needs to be less than 3.4 ounces to be in your carry-on bag. Bummed you can’t bring your brie? Bring these cheesy food jokes almost everyone will find funny.
Found something unique during your trip? Have a loose tea that your friend just NEEDS to try? Things like salt, loose and bagged tea, and dry spices are all allowed on board. Just make sure they’re labeled and separate from your toiletries and other food to prevent confusion and spillage. And thank goodness for that, since you might have acquired one of the baking ingredients you should always have on hand.
Just can’t wait to eat—or trying to grab dinner while you run through the terminal? Surprisingly, pizza is good to fly, although we assume you’ll eat your slices before you get to the gate. It should be wrapped up or in a box to pass TSA inspection, rather than being on a paper plate or dish. Learn the secrets TSA agents won’t tell you.
NO: Jam and jelly over 3.4 ounces
Even if the container is sealed, if it’s over 3.4 ounces, it’s got to go in your checked bag. You wouldn’t want to chance having to leave one of your famous jams behind! To be on the safe side, pack it in your checked bag in a plastic bag to prevent any accidental breakage and spillage onto your clothes or other things. We know that jam is good, though, so this might be one time to check a bag – along with these 12 times it’s smarter to check your luggage.
YES: Baby food
Don’t worry about having a hungry toddler while you’re on the go. Baby food is acceptable to bring through security, even if the amount exceeds the usual 3-1-1 rule. Just a heads up: TSA agents might open any container that’s over four ounces. If you’re bringing baby food, you are most likely sitting with a baby; however, for the rest, here’s how to avoid sitting next to a baby on your next flight.
YES: Fresh fruit
You definitely want to snack on fresh fruit on the plane, but the price of fruit at the airport is bananas! Bring your own apples and oranges through security instead. (Maybe not a whole melon, but most snack-size fruit and veggies are good to fly.) These are the foods you should never, ever eat on a plane.
NO: Alcoholic beverages over 140 proof
Just about the only flat-out NO for food and drinks you can’t bring on a plane at all is alcohol over 140 proof. It won’t make it through security in your checked bag or your carry-on. Less potent mini-bottles under 3.4 ounces can be brought through security; anything larger should be checked. Pssst—these are some more things that are likely to get you flagged by the TSA.
MAYBE: Canned foods
We suggest leaving any canned items at home or packing them in your checked bag, even if they fall under the 3.4-ounce rule. Just to be on the safe side! These cans may require additional screening and may not be allowed through with you to your final destination. Bringing canned foods through security might be a toss up, but here are the things you definitely should never do at the airport.
YES: Pet food
Furry friends traveling on board with you? Make sure you clear them with your airline first, and don’t forget to bring their food. If your pet food is dry or “moist,” it can exceed the 3-1-1 rule and go in your carry-on bag, but if you need to bring wet pet food, it has to follow the 3-1-1 rule when going in your carry-on. Learn the simple trick that lets you bring water through airport security.
YES: Breast milk and formula
If you’re a new mom, baby formula and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities but may require additional inspection. If you have them in a bag or small cooler with ice packs, just make sure the ice packs are completely frozen when going through security. And use these secrets for speeding through airport security.
Feed the family while you wait with a homemade sandwich, because PB&Js are cleared for takeoff! We’ve heard about people bringing a whole casserole through to the gate, but a classic sandwich is probably the best option. Just make sure it’s wrapped in plastic or in a bag. Head to the TSA’s website for a complete list of food items that you can and cannot bring on your upcoming trip. Plus, learn the foods you should never, ever buy at the airport.