According to the TSA, you can bring flowers on a plane in both your carry on bags and checked bags. However, if you intend to bring flowers in your carry on, you must first pass airport security, which does not permit you to take flowers through the checkpoint when transported in water.
But is there any difference when traveling internationally compared to domestically, do the regulations vary by airline, and what is the best way to pack flowers to prevent damage?
Let’s find out.
Bringing Flowers On a Plane – Carry On Bags vs. Checked Bags
Carry On Bags
You are allowed to bring flowers on a plane in your carry on bags, just as long as the flowers are not transported in water.
This is because all passengers must abide by the 3-1-1 Rule, which states that each passenger may only pack liquids that in travel-size containers that are no larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters.
You are allowed to pack flowers in your checked baggage, though if you’ve ever tried you are unlikely to do so again. This is because flowers are fragile and very easily damaged during transportation if the correct precautions aren’t taken. Many passengers find the hassle and risk isn’t worth it.
Generally, airlines, whether it be Delta, Southwest, United, American, Alaska, JetBlue or any other airline, are aligned with the TSA when it comes to bringing flowers on a plane.
This means that you can travel with flowers in both your carry-on and checked bags, but remember that you are not allowed to transport them with water when packed in your carry on bags.
Domestic vs. International Travel Flower Restrictions
Domestic Flights (USA)
If you are flying domestically, as long as you follow TSA guidelines, you will not run into any problems. However, keep in mind that states such as Hawaii prohibits or restricts certain types of plants and flowers from entry.
It’s worth keeping in mind that when flying into the US, you are required to declare any flowers you may be traveling with under the “I am (We are) bringing (a) fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, foods, insects” section by ticking the “Yes” box.
If flying internationally, bringing flowers on a plane gets more complex. This is because many international destinations have their own agricultural restrictions for bringing flowers into their country. This is because plants can carry pests and diseases, which can wreak havoc on a country’s environment, agricultural and horticultural industries.
Restrictions may include:
- An outright ban on the flower
- Transporting the flower without soil
- Obtaining permission in advance
- Declaring the flowers upon arrival
Since Brexit, you are required to have a phytosanitary certificate (PC) to import plant material, which includes flowers, from the EU.
Most plants and plant material originating from outside the EU must also have a phytosanitary certificate for importation, in addition to pre-notification.
Within the EU, you can bring in any plant products – as long as they are grown in an EU country and are free from pests and diseases.
If traveling from a country outside the EU, such as the USA, the following regulations apply:
- Loose soil is not allowed
- Citrus and vine plants are not permitted
- For other plants or tree seedlings with or without soil, you are allowed a maximum of 5 plants unless accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate
Can You Bring Fake Flowers On a Plane?
As fake flowers are typically made from plastic, foam, sateen, polyester or paper, and do not require water, you can bring them on a plane, whether that be in your carry on bags or checked baggage.
How to Pack Flowers In Your Suitcase
While packing flowers in your suitcase can be risky due to the risk of damage, if you really want to know how to pack flowers in your suitcase, the best way would be to pack them in a protective container, whether that be a plastic, cardboard, or wooden container.
You also want to make sure that the soil will be held in place, which can be done by wrapping an old towel around the top of the root ball
How to Pack Flowers In Your Carry On Bag
If you intend to travel with flowers in your carry on bags, it is a good idea to wrap the stems in damp paper towels and plastic wrap or foil to keep them hydrated. A sturdy box with generous cushioning is a must too, especially if you have to place the flowers in the overhead bin.