Travel is back on the agenda for many this year, but with the nation in the midst of a cost of living crisis, holiday makers and travelers are still keenly aware of how far their budget will stretch. If you’re thinking of packing a picnic for the journey to save paying airport and airline prices, then make sure you know the rules first.
Airlines all have their own rules and so while you may be able to eat the food items you’ve bought with you or the sandwich you splashed out on in the departure area pre-boarding, you may not always be able to enjoy that same snack once you’ve boarded the plane.
With retailers like Boots, Pret and M&S Food all present in UK airports, Manchester Evening News reports that passengers can grab a cheaper sandwich or meal deal and save it for their journey. Plus, you can bring your own food through security and onto the flight, as long as it is not a liquid, like soup.
Sandwiches and salads are usually fine – but make sure you eat it or dispose of it before landing as there are rules on the types of food you can take into other countries. The EU, for example, does not allow passengers to take fresh meat or dairy from the UK into its countries.
Individual airlines may have their own rules though. Make sure you are fully aware of what they allow before you make your food plans for your trip.
Taking your own food on board flights? Here are the airline rules
Some airlines’ rules are clearer than others. However, easyJet, Ryanair, TUI and British Airways all do allow passengers to bring their own food on board. Jet2’s rules are a little less clear but suggest cold food is fine. There are different rules for baby food, up to a liter of which can be brought on flights.
Remember, it is ok to take solid food through airport security, but not liquids. Any liquids must be in individual, clear bottles with a capacity of no more than 100ml.
You can not consume your own alcohol on flights, even if bought from Duty Free. If you want to drink booze on board, order it from the in-flight trolley.
Hot drinks and hot food are not allowed to be brought onto Jet2’s planes. But the rules do not say anything about not bringing cold food, such as sandwiches, from home or the departure lounge.
However, Jet2’s rules state that customers are not allowed to bring food on board if it is “prohibited from being carried by the applicable laws, regulations or orders of any country to be flown from, to or over”. Technically, they could argue that meat and dairy from the UK can not be brought on board flights to the EU and confiscate your sandwich.
Jet2 also says passengers can not bring “items which in our reasonable opinion are unsuitable for carriage by reason of their weight, size or character or which are fragile or perishable or which may affect the safety, health or comfort of other passengers or crew, this may include hot or strong smelling foods and drinks “.
In reality, if you’ve got it through security, can fit it in your bag and it does not have a strong smell, you should be fine to bring your own cold food and snacks on board.
You can bring food on board, as long as any liquids (brought from home) such as soup or custard are in clear containers of no more than 100ml. Non-alcoholic drinks, including hot drinks, can be brought on board if they were bought in the departure lounge.
‘Feel free’ to bring your own food and soft drinks on board, Ryanair says. However, unlike EasyJet, hot drinks are not welcome.
“In the interest of safety we cannot allow passengers to board the plane with hot drinks or consume their own alcohol during the flight,” Ryanair says.
Passengers traveling with TUI can bring their own food on board. It says it advises passengers to bring “low-risk food such as pre-made sandwiches and snacks that can be eaten cold”.
Passengers can take solid foods like “sandwiches, biscuits, fruit, nuts, etc”, onto the plane says British Airways. Liquids like drinks, soups, sauces, jams and jellys must be in clear containers with a capacity of no more than 100ml.
British Airways adds: “You can buy duty-free liquids, gels or cream products of more than 100ml from airport shops or on board, provided that they have been sealed at the point of purchase in a Security Tamper Evident Bag with the receipt inside. “