There are so many reasons why we should want to take our own food with us when we travel by air. Perhaps the most commonly cited one is that airline food is often less than lovely. But there are other reasons too – maybe you have to follow a special diet for medical reasons? Or it may simply be that you’re vegetarian and airline veggie food is even worse than the regular offerings.
Whatever the reason, it’s good to know which foods you can take on the flight. In fact, even though the list of items we can take onto aircraft has been growing considerably over the last few years, there are very few restrictions when it comes to food.
The main limitation you will find – as you’ve no doubt realised – is that of liquid as they are restricted to 3.4 ounces. Bear in mind that this includes items such as salad dressing, salsa, even foodstuff such as yogurt. All the food items you take on board with you will have to pass through security so it’s not worth risking having these items simply taken away from you.
However, it’s good to remember that you can often score items such as sachets of mustard, ketchup, salad dressing and so on at the food and beverage franchises after you’ve been through the security checks.
The only other proviso to note is that any food you take through security should be either in well-sealed containers or the unopened manufacturers’ packaging. So it’s quite possible to take sandwiches, salads, baked goods, cakes … whatever you wish … as long as they are in containers.
You can also take fruit and vegetables which do not need to be packaged at all. A juicy pineapple is a wonderful thing to take on board!
Tips for taking food on your flight
- You are not allowed to take a knife on board with you – unless it’s a blunt butter knife – but you can take forks and spoons so don’t take anything that’s going to need cutting with a sharp knife
- Although pre-packaged food is convenient – items such as granola bars and so on – you’ll feel much better during your flight if you add homemade foods and/or fresh fruit and vegetables. Remember that the latter don’t have to be packaged
- Avocados can usually be halved using your blunt butter knife
- Use a container with compartments to store items to make a mixed salad. If you mix the salad just before serving the juices from foods such as tomatoes won’t make the greenery go limp
- Take a fresh lemon to dress salads and add flavour to your sandwiches. Remember that a whole fruit doesn’t need to be packaged
- You can take an insulated bag with you to keep foods cool. Taking an ice pack or sachet or frozen gel is fine however add it at the last minute before you leave for the airport. Some security offers will remove it if it is thawing
- For the comfort of other passengers, don’t take foods that have strong smells
- If you’re making your own healthy sandwiches that you’ve made from home, it’s a good idea to put a lettuce leaf between the bread and any soft fillings such as tuna salad or anything with a sauce, juice or mayonnaise. Moist fillings can make the bread go soggy so protect each slice with a crisp lettuce leaf
- Use one of the travel cosmetic sets of bottles for your condiments
- A meal of cold meats, cheese, fruit and crusty bread (taken on board ready sliced) is perfect to keep you feeling full, maintain your health and be the envy of your neighbouring passengers
- Take wipes with you too as finger foods are best but you’ll need cleanup materials
- Include a well folded grocery store plastic bag for the garbage
- Use food containers that nest when they are empty – this way they won’t take up much room when you’re done
- Take several sheets of thick paper towel with you to double up as plates (or take paper plates), for cleaning your hands and to add extra insulation to your food bag
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JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.