It might seem unnecessary to bring food when you’re taking a flight, but for those that have dietary restrictions or are going somewhere where they aren’t sure about the availability of fresh fruits, bringing their own food becomes extremely important. Knowing how to pack fruits in luggage is more complicated than just tossing them into your bag between your jeans and socks.
Fruit is allowed on domestic flights, with the only restrictions being when you are traveling to Hawaii.
To bring fruits along with you on your domestic flight, you’ll need to pack them in a sealed container to prevent any seepage, and the rules for liquid or mashed fruits are different as well. Internationally, the rules for packing fruit are different depending on the country you are traveling to.
In this article, we will discuss all the nuances of packing fruits for flights.
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Can You Bring Fruit on a Plane?
TSA has strict rules about a lot of what can and can’t be brought on flights, but surprisingly, bringing fruit with you on a plane usually isn’t a problem. There are some exceptions, of course, and whole fruits are easier to travel with than mashes or preserves. Flying with frozen food comes with its own restrictions as well.
For domestic flights, you can bring fruits on a plane except for some fruits when traveling to Hawaii. Internationally, the rules will depend on your destination.
Can You Bring Fruit on a Domestic Flight?
Yes, according to the TSA website, you can bring fruits (and vegetables) on domestic flights as long as they are whole pieces of fruit and not liquids, mashes, or gels.
Liquids, mashes, and gels can be brought on the flight with you as long as the amount is not over 3.4oz. The container would also have to be packed in a quart-sized Ziploc bag in accordance with the 3-1-1 rule.
That being said, there are a few exceptions when bringing fruits on domestic flights. If you’re flying in from Puerto Rico, Hawaii, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland, you may not be allowed to pack and bring in fruit, because there is a much higher risk of invasive plant pests being spread around these islands. Seeds from whole fruits can grow into invasive plants, which can be devastating to local plant species.
Can We Carry Fruits in International Flights?
A majority of fruits cannot be brought into the U.S. on international flights, and while TSA will allow fruits packed in luggage to leave the U.S. on international flights, some island destinations forbid fruit coming in from international destinations.
When traveling from another country into the U.S., there’s a good chance you will be asked to discard any packed fruit upon arrival. Fruits will need to be declared upon entry into the country and inspected by U.S. inspectors. They will have the final say on whether the fruit can be kept or needs to be discarded.
As long as you declare your fruits honestly, there will be no penalties, even if it is decided you can’t keep your fruits.
The process is similar when leaving the U.S. with fruit, but some places, usually islands like Australia and Hawaii, strictly forbid almost all agricultural products from entering through their airports. Any fruits allowed must be approved by inspectors and treated to prevent pest problems.
As we mentioned before, these rules are in place to discourage invasive pests and plants from entering other countries and affecting their native wildlife.
Can You Bring Fruit in Checked Luggage?
Bringing your fruit in your checked luggage is often less problematic than bringing it in your carry-on. You can bring fruit in checked luggage as long as there are no destination-specific restrictions.
To protect the rest of your luggage and to prevent any problems with fruit juices seeping from your bag and onto other people’s luggage, we should store fruit carefully in a hard sealed container, like a cooler that’s good for air travel, so nothing becomes squashed or bruised. We know checked luggage isn’t always treated delicately! If you’re transporting it in frozen form, you can even use dry ice to keep them frozen in transit!
Can You Bring Fruit in Carry On Luggage?
Whole fruits can be brought in carry on luggage, but no liquids, purees, or gels are allowed.
Bringing fruits in your carry-on luggage for an in-flight snack is no problem unless the fruit is in a liquid or semi-liquid form. For carry-on luggage, stick to whole fruits or cut pieces of fruit.
How to Pack Fresh Fruits in Luggage
Packing fresh fruits correctly in your luggage will avoid a mess of squished or bruised fruits when you arrive at your destination. Luckily, packing fruits for plane travel isn’t too time-consuming.
Here are a few tips for the best fruit packing practices for air travel:
- If you’re going to be packing more than just 1 or two oranges or apples, it’s best to use a hardsided suitcase just to be sure that they won’t get squished by other heavy luggage thrown on top.
- Use hard containers with lids that seal tightly.
- Collapsible containers will take up less space in your luggage on the return flight.
- Wash fruit beforehand but make sure to thoroughly dry it before packing. If your flight is long, or if your luggage becomes temporarily delayed, wet fruit is more likely to mold.
- Pack fruit where it can be easily removed to be inspected by TSA if necessary, like a hardsided suitcase with a front pocket.
Can You Take Dried Fruit on a Plane?
Dried fruit can be taken on planes just like fresh, whole fruit. The same rules apply, but it’s best to keep the dried fruit in its original packaging for easy identification.
Since dried fruit isn’t as easily identifiable as fresh fruit, having the means to identify the fruit can ensure that you don’t get held up by TSA and can make any inspections go much quicker. Ideally, your dried fruit should be in its original packaging and then also stored in a hard container.
There are plenty of things that you can’t pack in your luggage while flying, but fruit isn’t always one of them. Check out the TSA website or even ask TSA’s Twitter account if you’re in any doubt.