7 Surprising Foods You Can Bring on a Plane (and 6 You Can’t)
Whether you’re trying to take home foodie souvenirs or just have a snack on hand for the flight, knowing the rules will help you breeze through security.
Yes: Ice cream
As long as it’s frozen solid, you’re free to bring an entire tub of Breyer’s through security. But you’d better act fast between your drop-off car and the security line—melted ice cream is a no-go, and neither are slushy, part-melted ice packs.
Yes (depending): Live lobster
Hoping to come back from Maine with tomorrow night’s seafood dinner ready to cook? You actually might be allowed to. The TSA does allow live lobsters, as long as they’re in a clear, plastic, spill-proof container. Though, they warn that individual flights might not be crazy about non-service animals onboard, so check with your airline first. Once you’re home, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide to the best lobster recipe ever.
Yes: Juice and baby formula
Thankfully, the TSA makes exceptions to the 3.4-ounce liquid rule for parents of young children. As long as you notify an officer, formula, breast milk and juice for babies and toddlers can be brought onboard in “reasonable quantities” as long as you’re willing to put them through extra screening, like X-rays or a pat-down. This is also one of the few times passengers can get away with going through security with part-melted ice packs.
Yes: Protein powder
A gym rat lifestyle doesn’t take a vacation, and turns out protein and energy powders are welcome onboard. Because it’s a powder, you’ll just have to make sure to put it in a separate bin for the X-ray if you’re taking more than 12 ounces and be prepared to sit through extra screening. Or, you can bring along some of these protein powerhouse snack recipes.
A pizza pickup sure is cheaper than any meal options you’ll find in the terminal. Luckily, the TSA gives its official thumbs-up to pizza (and other solid foods like pies and cakes), though good luck getting a whole pie to fit in your carry-on. You’ll probably want to stack the slices in a smaller container first before going through security. Or you can always settle for these 11 things you can still get for free on an airplane.
Those mini liquor bottles are well under the TSA’s 100-milliliter limit, so you’re free to take one onboard with you—though, or your sake and the sake of everyone around you, we beg you not to down them during your flight. Maybe take advantage of the five liters of liquor you’re allowed in your checked bag instead. Oh, but there is an exception to the rule …
No: Tub of creamy cheese
If you want to bring creamy cheese, the TSA says you’ll have to stick with the “3-1-1” rule of a 3.4-ounce container that fits in a one-quart bag, with one bag per passenger. But they don’t get specific on where the line is drawn between creamy cheese (3.4-ounce limit) and solid cheese (always allowed). We’d guess Brie is OK but spread for your bagel is not. By the way, did you know that making bagels is way easier than you might think?
Technically yogurt is allowed in your carry-on, but the 3.4-ounce limit is about half the size of a typical yogurt cup.
No: Peanut butter
We love eating peanut butter by the spoonful—but unfortunately, that also means it’s un-solid enough to be tied to the 3-1-1 policy. Feel free to steal a single-serving PB cup from the hotel breakfast and tuck it into your toiletry bag, but don’t try to lug a whole jar with you. Here’s your guide to healthy nut butters.
No: Canned food
Can’t get enough of a canned food you found overseas? You might not want to stock up. The TSA doesn’t have a hard and fast rule for all canned food, but there’s a good chance it’ll be rejected in your carry-on. This is because of its hard-to-screen aluminum shell and the liquid inside that could make it break the 3-1-1 rule. Just in case, the TSA recommends leaving canned goods in your checked bag.
Sorry, but as solid as your favorite dip is, it’s still considered a liquid in the TSA’s eyes. You’ll have to dole out a 3.4-ounce portion if you want to make it through security. But on the bright side, carrots and celery sticks are allowed through. Next, check out the best 18 snacks to bring on a plane.