Whether you can bring fruit on a plane depends on a variety of factors, including where you are flying from and to and the type of fruit you want to bring.
In short, you can bring fresh fruit on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags, but exceptions apply if you want to fly with canned fruit and non-solid fruit.
If you are flying within or from the continental United States, you won’t find many restrictions, but when flying from outside the continental United States, there is a lot you need to be aware of.
If you have passed through airport security with your fruit, as long as you eat it on the plane or before landing, there isn’t anything you have to worry about, regardless of where you are flying to.
Can You Bring Fruit on a Plane?
Carry on Bags
The TSA state that you can bring fruit on a plane in your carry on bags with the exception of flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland.
In such instances, you won’t be allowed to fly with most fruit due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.
According to TSA regulations, you can also pack fruit in your checked bags, though the same rules apply if you are flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland.
Airlines follow TSA regulations.
This means that regardless if you’re flying with Delta, United, Southwest, American Airlines, JetBlue, or any other regional or major air carrier, you can bring fresh fruit on a plane.
You will also be allowed to eat any fruit you bring onto the plane.
The Type of Fruit Can Matter
The type of fruit you want to bring on a plane can definitely matter.
While all of the following can be packed in your checked bags, there may be restrictions if the fruit is packed in your carry on.
You can take all kinds of fresh fruit on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags with no restrictions.
Again, be weary when flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland.
You can pack dried fruit in both your carry on and checked bags without running into any issues.
As canned fruit is packed in cans that contain syrup or juice, there are restrictions to how much you can bring.
If canned fruit is packed in your carry on bags, you can only bring containers that are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml due to the TSA’s 3-1-1 Rule.
This rule states that any liquids (along with gels and aerosols) in containers that exceed 3.4oz/100ml are not allowed in your carry on.
There are no restrictions if you want to pack canned fruit in your checked bags.
There are restrictions if you want to fly with mashed fruit.
As mashed fruit is no longer in its solid form, the 3-1-1 Rule applies.
So, you can only pack mashed fruit in your carry on bags if the container it is placed in does not exceed 3.4oz/100ml.
You can pack fruit salad in both your carry on and checked bags.
The 3-1-1 Rule does not apply.
Frozen fruit is fine to bring on a plane in your carry on bags, but it really must be frozen solid.
If the fruit has partially melted or is slushy in any way, the 3-1-1 Rule will apply.
Spreadable foods, including jams/preserves must be in containers that are no greater than 3.4oz/100ml if packed in your carry on.
As fruit cake is a solid, it can be packed in both your carry on and checked bags.
Even though the liquid inside the container of a fruit cup may not exceed 3.4oz/100ml, you are still only allowed to bring fruit cup in your carry on in containers no larger than 3.4oz/100ml.
So, again, the 3-1-1 Rule applies.
Be Careful When Flying Internationally
If you are flying from the USA to another country, as long as you eat the fruit on a plane, there is nothing to worry about.
However, if you want to bring fruit into another country, the rules will vary depending on where you are flying from/to.
When flying to the UK, you are allowed to bring many of the most popular fruits into the country.
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit
- Banana and plantain
- Passion Fruit
If you want to bring another fruit into the UK, a phytosanitary certificate is required.
You can get this certificate from the plant health authorities in the country you are flying from.
If you are flying to one of the 27 EU countries from a non-EU country, including the USA, you can bring up to 2 kg of fruit per person.
Regardless if you are flying to Canada from the USA or another country, you are allowed to bring up to 20 kg of fresh and processed fruit.
Can You Bring Fruit Into the USA?
Whether you can bring fruit into the USA depends on the form of fruit.
- Fresh Fruit: Almost all fresh fruits (whole or cut) are prohibited from entering the United States.
- Frozen Fruit: Almost all fresh fruits (whole or cut) are prohibited from entering the United States.
- Canned Fruit: You can bring commercially canned fruits into the United States as long as you declare them on your U.S. Customs form.
- Dried Fruits: Most dried fruits and vegetables are not allowed into the United States with the exception of some popular dried fruits, including dates, figs, and raisins. These must be declared.
There Are Limits for How Much Fruit You Can Bring
The amount of fruit you can bring on a plane varies depends on the form of the fruit.
Fresh fruit is allowed to be packed in your carry on and checked bags with no quantity limits, but non-solid fruit, including fruit salad, canned fruit, mashed fruit, fruit jam, and fruit cups, must meet the TSA’s 3-1-1 requirements.
The amount of fruit you can bring with you on your next flight also varies by where you are flying from/to, which we have covered above.
How to Pack Fruit for Air Travel
There are only a few things you need to be aware of when packing fruit for your next flight.
- Wash and especially make sure that you thoroughly dry your fruit to ensure to avoid mold growth.
- Place the fruit in a hard plastic food container.
- Make sure that the container is easy to reach, as it may require additional screening.
You Can Also Bring Vegetables on a Plane
You can bring fresh vegetables in both your carry on and checked bags, but again the same rules apply for non-solid vegetables.
So non-solid vegetables must be in containers that do no exceed 3.4oz/100ml if packed in your carry on.
If you’re flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland, you won’t be allowed to fly with most vegetables due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.
If traveling to the USA from a foreign destination, almost all fresh and frozen vegetables won’t be allowed entry into the United States, commercially canned fruit will need to be declared, and dried fruit, if allowed, must also be declared.
Bringing Most Snacks on a Plane is Also No Problem
The TSA state that “solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked baggage.”
As you may have realized by now, if the item is non-solid, it will only be allowed in your carry-on if the container does not exceed 3.4oz/100ml.
Robert is an expert in commercial air travel with decades of experience in the travel industry, and has spent countless hours in airports and on planes for work.
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