As a lifelong fresh fruit addict, I would find it very hard to go for any length of time without eating some. However, despite my love of fruit, I have never actually taken any fruit in my carry on bag to eat on a flight; in fact, it would never occur to me to do so. Perhaps that is because many types of fruit can be quite messy and sticky to eat and can get damaged easily.
If you are flying domestically within the US then generally you can bring fruit on onboard without encountering any problems. If you are flying internationally there may be customs restrictions in the country you are traveling to so you may not be able to take it off the plane with you.
However many do like to take fruit onboard, particularly I guess if they are flying with children, so here are the regulations regarding flying with fruit on a flight.
Can you bring fruit through airport security?
The TSA states the following about bringing fresh fruits through airport security:
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Carry on – Yes (see below)
Checked – Yes
Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags within the continental United States.
Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on luggage and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.
NOTE: Passengers flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland cannot take most fresh fruits and vegetables due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests. The same is true for plants.
In a funny way it is surprising that you can take fruit through airport security as, for example, an orange or a grapefruit is really just a natural, large fruit juice container that may well contain more than 3.4oz of liquid!
If you plan to take some pre-prepared fruit (cut into slices perhaps) on board with you then you are allowed. In fact, it makes sense to do this since there are many restrictions regarding carrying knives on board to cut it while flying.
If you want to keep it cool using ice then be aware that the TSA security agent will check that it is still completely frozen and none of the ice has melted. If it has then the likelihood is that it will be confiscated. The same is true for completely frozen fruit.
Can you bring fresh fruit on a domestic flight (US)?
There are no restrictions at all when traveling within the continental United States, other than those listed above if traveling from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Of course, you will be restricted on quantity by the size of onboard baggage that your particular airline allows. You can put any quantities in your checked bag.
Can you bring fresh fruit on an international flight?
This is where things get a little more complicated. Different countries have different rules regarding the import of fruit and vegetables, even if that fruit is only one orange in your bag.
Generally these restrictions are in place to prevent the import of pests and diseases that may be present in the fruit and vegetables which may spread to crops in that country.
If you are only bringing fresh fruit to eat during the flight then you won’t be importing the fruit (apart from in your stomach) so the restrictions won’t apply anyway.
But you should make sure that you do not leave any uneaten in your hand luggage when you enter the country as that may give you problems in customs. Give it to the cabin crew to dispose of, along with any orange peel etc, to be on the safe side.
As an example, Australia is very strict with regard to bringing fruit and vegetables into the country. Large fines are levied on anyone who does not declare on their customs form that they have the fruit with them. Make sure you fill in the customs form accurately.
Be warned! I have seen someone get fined by the Australian Customs for having an apple core in their bag. They were given the apple to eat as part of the aircraft food and had just put the core in the bag to dispose of without thinking and forgotten all about it. It made no difference – they were still fined.
Naturally the same applies to any fruit and vegetable you may have in your checked bags. If you intend to bring some fruit with you as a gift, or because of particular dietary needs, then you would be wise to check online with the countries embassy website to see if you are allowed beforehand.
Embassy World is a good resource to find the appropriate embassy website.
Can you take fruit on a flight in Europe?
There are no restrictions if you are flying from one EU country to another, all within the EU.
If you are flying from an EU country to a European country outside of the EU then there may be restrictions in place so you should check with the country of entry’s embassy.
If you are traveling from a European country outside the EU into an EU country then there are restrictions on bringing in not only fresh fruit but also meat, dairy products and other animal products. You can find out information about bringing food into the EU on the EU website.
Don’t forget, from 1st January 2021 the UK will be outside of the EU so new rules may apply.
Can you bring fruit into the USA?
The US Department of Agriculture has an easy to use online facility to check what fruit and vegetables may be brought into the US from a particular country. Try it here.
How to pack fruits
Since most fruit is easily squashed it is important to ensure they are protected. Put it between clothes or, even better, pack in a resealable plastic container to ensure that nothing can damage it. That way there is no chance that any juice may leak and ruin whatever you have in your bag.
Can you take dried fruit?
The TSA do not actually specify how you should carry dried fruits. Like most things, if you have it unopened in its original packaging, you are less likely to encounter problems.
This is what they actually say:
Carry On Bags: Yes
Checked Bags: Yes
TSA agents may instruct travelers to separate items from their bags such as foods, powders, and any materials that can clutter bags and obstruct clear images on the X-ray machine. Travelers are encouraged to organize their bags and keep them uncluttered to ease the screening process and keep the lines moving.
If you have any specific questions regarding carrying either fresh or dried fruit through the security checkpoint then you can ask the TSA a question on Twitter and they will respond very quickly. Just search for @ASKTSA on Twitter.
This is an example of someone asking if they can bring a basket of fresh Georgia peaches (they sound delicious):
Due to the Covid19 situation, the TSA has updated its rules regarding taking not just fruit but food through security in order to try and eliminate cross-contamination.
If you do not follow these rules they say you will have to repack your carry on luggage and then rejoin the line at the back – so getting it right the first time will certainly make your passage through security quicker.
They state the following:
Separate food for X-ray screening. Passengers should place their carry-on food items into a clear plastic bag and place that bag into a bin. Food items often trigger an alarm during the screening process; separating the food from the carry-on luggage lessens the likelihood that a TSA officer will need to open the carry-on bag and remove the food items for a closer inspection. This requirement allows social distancing, reduces the TSA officer’s need to touch a person’s container of food and reduces potential for cross-contamination. TSA Precheck members do not need to remove items from their bags. See the full article ….TSA prepared for summer travelers with updated security procedures
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you bring a bag of oranges on a plane?
If you are flying domestically with the US, the EU etc then you will be able to bring oranges on a plane, subject to your airline’s baggage allowances of course.
Can I bring a banana on a plane?
You will be able to bring a banana on a plane if you intend to eat it while onboard. Make sure that you give the banana skin to the cabin crew to dispose of as if you put it in your carry on it may not be allowed in the country you are flying to.
Can I take grapes on a plane?
You can take grapes on a plane provided you are flying within mainland USA. They should be carried in a resealable bag or similar container.
You may also be interested to learn can you take plants on a plane