9 Surprising Foods You Can Bring on a Plane
Check this list for TSA-approved foods (pizza is a go!) before packing for your next trip.
There’s nothing less appetizing than airplane food — so it’s no wonder that so many of us prefer to bring our own meals when we fly. Unfortunately though, bringing snacks through security has a tendency to get complicated. You don’t want those delicious leftovers to get confiscated, after all! Luckily, the TSA officially approves of these nine different types of food, so you can go ahead and fill up your carry-on pre-check-in.
Solid foods are perfectly fine, which means you can order up an entire pepperoni pie and bring it through the security checkpoint if you like. The same goes for other delicious solid meals like burgers, sandwiches, cakes, bread or cooked meat. (Just don’t blame us if your seatmates get jealous!)
Fresh Meat and Seafood
The key to this one is the packaging. If the ice keeping your meat fresh is completely frozen, it counts as a solid and you’re good to go. But if it’s partially melted, the package likely won’t be permitted. The TSA has a strict "3-1-1" rule, which says you can bring just one quart-sized bag full of liquids that are 3.4 ounces or less in your carry-on.
Pro tip: You can also use up to five pounds of dry ice to protect your meat, as long as the package is properly vented and marked.
Similarly, ice cream is A-OK as long as it’s frozen solid when it’s presented for its security screening. Making sure it doesn’t melt before you board, however, is another story.
Fresh Fruit and Veggies
In most places, packing a salad for your in-flight meal — as long as the dressing container holds 3.4 ounces or less — is no problem. One thing to keep in mind: Passengers flying out of Hawaii, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland U.S. can’t bring fresh fruits or vegetables with them due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.
This counts as a liquid, so you’ll just need to make sure it’s packaged in small containers in your quart-sized bag. The same goes for spreadable cheeses and dips. Want to bring a giant jar for your trip? Ship it ahead of time or pack it securely in your checked luggage.
Beverages with less than 70-percent alcohol are permitted in 3.4-ounce containers, so mini liquor bottles are fair game. Sadly though, you aren’t allowed to actually drink them on the plane, as federal law stipulates that you can only consume alcoholic beverages served by the airline.
Technically these are allowed, but we have to warn you: there’s a good chance that they might look like a security concern as they go through the X-ray, and it’s ultimately the TSA officer’s decision on what goes through, no matter what the rules say. All things considered, it’s probably better to play it safe and leave the cans of food at home.
You may get some strange looks, but you are permitted to bring a couple cartons with you on the plane. Just make sure they’re packaged safely, so they don’t end up cracking mid-flight!
As long as it’s transported in a clear, spill-proof, plastic container, you are theoretically able to bring a live lobster through security. However, it’s strongly recommended that you contact the airline ahead of time to inquire about their specific policy.
Still got questions about what’s allowed? Reach out to @AskTSA on Twitter with your specific details and they’ll be happy to help.