Will you be flying over the holidays this year? With inevitable airport delays and dismal in-flight food options, packing a meal for the plane has become essential, but also more complicated, thanks to tighter security. What can we carry on the plane? Here are some answers — and fresh ideas.
The TSA website states that you can carry on up to 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of the following liquid or gel-like foods:
- Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
- Salad dressing
- Wine, liquor and beer
→ See the full list: Traveling With Food or Gifts - TSA
Although plastic and butter knives are officially allowed and forks are not listed as prohibited items, it's usually best to play it safe and bring foods that can be eaten with your hands or a plastic spoon. Having a delicious homemade meal in your carry-on and no utensils to eat it might be worse than no meal at all!
→ See the full list: Prohibited Items - TSA
Here are a few general ideas for foods and snacks that fare well on a plane:
- Dried fruit
- Sandwiches on hearty bread
- Grain salads
- Veggie calzones
- Granola bars
- Celery and carrot sticks with about 3 ounces of hummus
- Applesauce packs (3.4 ounces or smaller)
- Nuts (some may not be permitted due to passengers with severe allergies)
- Ploughman's lunch (bread, cheese, cured meat, vegetable — skip the stinky cheeses, please!)
Whatever you pack, be considerate of your fellow passengers and don't pack foods that have a strong odor, so leave the durian and kimchi at home.
What about you? What do you like to carry on the plane for sustenance during long trips?
More Ideas for Eating Well on a Plane
- 15 Best Backpack Snacks for Road Trips and Plane Rides
- 15 Homemade Meals You Can Carry on the Airplane
- Flying with Kids: What Snacks to Pack for the Plane
- 10 Fresh, Hearty Grain & Pasta Salads
- Travel Recipe: Airplane Salad with Greens, Grains & Seeds
- Travel Recipe: Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Whole Wheat Pockets
(This post has been updated. Originally published April 15, 2008.)