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.
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.
The Quick Answer: 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.
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) and other fresh fruits 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 them 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 that 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.
This is an example of someone asking the TSA if they can bring a basket of fresh Georgia peaches (they sound delicious):
Can I bring fruit in my carry on?
You can bring fruit in carry on luggage either by carrying what is allowed through airport security or by buying some in one of the stores in the departure area at the airport after screening.
Obviously, you should ensure that the fruit is packed in such a way that it will not get squashed and make a mess of the contents of your bag.
Can you bring fruit in checked baggage?
There are no restrictions on what fruit you can pack in your checked baggage, particularly on a domestic flight. See below if you are traveling internationally.
Naturally, you should pack them so that they won’t get squashed.
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?
It gets a little more complicated when it comes to the question of are fruits allowed on international flights. 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 fruit 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 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 their bag to dispose of without thinking and had 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 country’s embassy website to see if you are allowed beforehand.
I brought pineapples back with me to the UK some years ago after visiting Hawaii without an issue.
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 US?
You can bring fruit into the US but you will need to declare it at Customs and if it is not acceptable for any reason it will be confiscated.
This is what the US Customs and Border Protection website says:
All travelers entering the United States are REQUIRED to DECLARE meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, animals, as well as plant and animal products (including soup or soup products) they may be carrying. The declaration must cover all items carried in checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or in a vehicle.Bringing Agricultural Products into the US
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 the facility out.
How to pack fruits in luggage
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.
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
I have been traveling around the world by air since the early 70s and living overseas too. I worked for British Airways for a number of years and I am also a private pilot. About Me