Flying With Food: What's Allowed?

November 27, 2013
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. I'm visiting family for Thanksgiving and would like to bring along foods from home. I have searched the web site of my airline, but can't seem to find any mention of food restrictions, or bans on carrying food aboard the plane. What's the verdict?



    A. This is really more of a TSA issue, and is something they surely deal a lot with during the holidays. If you're bringing just ordinary packaged foods or unpeeled fruits, you should have no trouble at all. Just make sure it's packaged in some way, as you will be asked to send it through the X-ray machine.

    There is some room for debate as far as gels are concerned, and the TSA suggests you tuck these items into your checked luggage, ship it, or skip bringing them altogether. Those items include:

    Creamy dips and spreads
    (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
    Gift baskets with food items
    (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
    Gravy
    Jams
    Jellies
    Maple syrup
    Oils and vinegars
    Salad dressing
    Salsa
    Sauces
    Soups
    Wine, liquor and beer

    Cakes and pies are ok to bring, though the TSA warns such items are subject to extra screening. And a word to the wise, we've heard stories of screeners rejecting pies filled with what they deemed to be "gel." As with other TSA regulations, passengers are bound to encounter inconsistencies from airport to airport.

    If you're traveling internationally, please be advised that rules for transporting foods and fruits will vary by destination.

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