Some jam is just too damned good not to share with the rest of the class. You want to bring a few jars home to share with friends and family at or after the holidays, or tote your aunt’s famous gravy back with you—but have you thought about how to get foods through airport security and what foods are allowed onboard? Yes, of course, you can always check a bag, but: 1. That can cost up to one squillion dollars, depending on the airline and your status on it. 2. Who wants their muffins or cheese log squished next to their unlaundered unmentionables in their hard-sided suitcase? So how do you know what foods you can bring on a plane?
The TSA has scanned, seen, and confiscated it all, and have some pretty great online and app-based resources, so travelers will never have to be stuck in the unfortunate position of trashing (or chugging) their delicious goods or gifts because they inadvertently tried to carry on some contraband food. We’ll get to specifics, but here are a few good things to know if you want to bring food on a plane:
Foods must either be whole and natural, or placed in a container or otherwise wrapped. All foods must be X-rayed. Food must conform to the 3-1-1 liquids rule, which means that travelers are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint and these items must be 3.4 ounces—100 milliliters—or less per item.
But let's get specific, shall we? We've assembled a handy list of breakfast items and how likely it is that you can get these foods through airport security.
Jam and Jelly
You could perhaps chance a sealed jelly packet if you can’t bear the notion of traveling without it, but if grandma has given you some of her famous rhubarb jam or quince preserves, it’ll have to travel in your checked bag. (And make sure you bubble wrap and double-bag that, unless you dig sticky luggage.)
The TSA is bizarrely specific about “passion fruit jam (more than 3.4 oz)” and the fact that it must be checked.
What is your life? And yes, you may bring your butter aboard the plane.
Your loaf or slices may accompany you aboard the plane, but they will sadly be bereft of passion fruit jam, so hopefully your plane butter is sufficient. Weirdly, you may bring a toaster oven, but there are no specific notes about what would happen if you attempted to make toast while in flight. Hmmmmm.
Bring that unpeeled orange, banana, or apple right on board. Sliced is fine, but if it’s cut up enough to be considered a salsa, you’ll have to check it.
The TSA is so specific about this, they call it out on their website. You may not travel with gravy on your person and must check it if you are packing more than 3.4 ounces.
Please enjoy your trip, knowing that you will not have to be separated from your egg at any point, save for when it is traveling through the X-ray machine and possibly being additionally inspected.
Coffee Cake or Leftover Pie
Cake and pie may undergo additional scrutiny, but they can travel in the cabin with you.
Have at it—just make sure they’re wrapped or otherwise contained.
Gotta check that, or buy it on the other side of security.
Your oatmeal must be dry. Perhaps you can get a cup of hot water once you’re through screening.
Hard cheese can be your travel buddy (though you’ll have to hand-tear or gnaw it because that cheese slicer is check-only), but cream cheese and cottage cheese must adhere to the 3-1-1 rule.
You may travel with waffles, as well as irons both domestic and Belgian.
Bacon and Sausage
You may tote your emotional support bacon or sausage onboard, so long as it is wrapped. If you are for some reason walking around with unwrapped bacon and sausage at the airport, please sit next to any member of the Extra Crispy team because we want to know you.
For more about foods that you can and cannot bring onboard an airplane, visit or download the TSA app.