can you take food on united airlines

When it comes to traveling, having access to food can make a journey more enjoyable. But what about bringing your own snacks or meals on board United Airlines? Can you take food with you? The answer is yes, you can! United Airlines allows passengers to bring food in both carry-on bags and checked bags. So, whether you’re craving a homemade sandwich or have dietary restrictions, you can satisfy your hunger while flying with United Airlines.

Guidelines for Carry-On Food

carry-on food

When it comes to carrying food in your carry-on bag, there are a few guidelines to follow. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows certain types of carry-on food, but there are restrictions to ensure passenger safety and comply with packaging requirements.

1. Liquids and Medically Necessary Items:

The TSA allows carry-on food items such as formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food (including puree pouches) in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. These items are considered medically necessary liquids. If you have these items in your carry-on bag, it’s important to inform the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process. Remember to remove these items from your bag for separate screening.

2. Packaging Requirements:

For easier screening, it is recommended to transport formula and breast milk in clear, translucent bottles rather than plastic bags or pouches. This helps the TSA officer visually inspect the contents without the need for additional screening procedures. By choosing appropriate packaging, you can streamline the security process and ensure a smoother travel experience.

3. Cooling Accessories:

If your carry-on food requires cooling, you are allowed to bring ice packs, freezer packs, and other accessories necessary to keep the food at an appropriate temperature. These items must also go through the security screening process, so it’s important to pack them in a way that allows easy inspection.

To help you understand the guidelines for carry-on food more clearly, here is a table summarizing the allowed items and packaging requirements:

Allowed Carry-On Food Packaging Recommendations
Formula, breast milk, toddler drinks Clear, translucent bottles
Baby/toddler food (including puree pouches)
Ice packs, freezer packs, and cooling accessories

Note: This table only includes a summary of the guidelines. Please refer to the TSA website for complete and up-to-date information.

Guidelines for Checked Bag Food

checked bag food

If you prefer to pack food in your checked bag, there aren’t as many restrictions. However, it’s important to keep in mind that perishable items may not be suitable for long flights or extended periods without proper refrigeration. It’s best to pack non-perishable snacks or items that can withstand the duration of the flight.

When it comes to packing food in your checked bag, it’s crucial to consider the perishability of the items. Baggage compartments in airplanes are not temperature-controlled, so items like fresh fruits, deli meats, and dairy products may spoil or become unsafe to consume during the flight.

Instead, opt for non-perishable snacks that won’t spoil, such as granola bars, trail mix, dried fruits, and nuts. These items can provide a convenient and satisfying option for in-flight snacking without the worry of spoilage.

If you plan to travel with perishable items, such as homemade meals or delicate desserts, it’s advisable to consume them before boarding the flight or find alternative transportation methods, like insulated bags with ice packs, to ensure they stay fresh and safe to consume upon arrival.

Remember, airlines have the right to refuse the transport of certain items, especially if they pose a risk to the safety of the aircraft or other passengers. It’s always a good idea to check with your airline’s specific guidelines on food restrictions before packing your checked bag.

By following these guidelines and being mindful of perishable items, you can ensure a smoother travel experience and enjoy your food without any worries.

Additional Considerations

TSA Cares

If you have any special accommodations or concerns regarding the security screening process at the airport, you can request assistance from TSA Cares. TSA Cares provides support for travelers who may need extra assistance or have specific needs during the screening process. You can contact them online or by phone for more information.

Traveling can be stressful, especially when it comes to security screening at the airport. If you have a disability or require special accommodations, it’s important to know that there are resources available to make your journey smoother. TSA Cares is a program designed to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions.

Whether you have limited mobility, require additional time or assistance, or have specific medical needs, TSA Cares can help ensure your security screening experience is as comfortable as possible. They can provide guidance on what to expect during the screening process and offer support to address any concerns or questions you may have.

By contacting TSA Cares in advance, you can notify them of your special accommodations or specific needs. This allows TSA officers to be prepared to provide the assistance you require. They can help with navigating the security checkpoint, offer guidance on screening procedures, and address any concerns about equipment or medical devices you may be traveling with.

When contacting TSA Cares, be prepared to provide information about your specific needs and any assistance you may require. The TSA Cares helpline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time and on weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

It’s important to note that TSA Cares is not an exemption program or a means to bypass normal security screening procedures. However, they can provide additional support and guidance to ensure your journey through security is as smooth as possible.

For travelers with disabilities or special needs, TSA Cares is a valuable resource that can help alleviate some of the stress and concerns associated with security screening. Whether it’s a medical condition, mobility assistance, or any other specific requirement, TSA Cares is there to assist you.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and communicate any special accommodations or needs with TSA Cares before your journey. This will help ensure that your travel experience is comfortable, secure, and tailored to your individual requirements.

TSA Cares Contact Details Hours of Operation
Phone: 1-855-787-2227 Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. Eastern Time
Weekends & Holidays: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time
Email: [email protected]
Online form:

Prepare for a Hassle-Free Flight

When it comes to packing food for your flight, it’s essential to follow the TSA guidelines to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience. By preparing carefully and considering a few food packing tips, you can enjoy your own delicious snacks or meals onboard United Airlines.

Firstly, it’s crucial to think about the duration of your flight. Opt for non-perishable items like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit that can withstand the journey without spoiling. These snacks are not only convenient but also provide you with the energy you need to stay fueled throughout your travel.

Secondly, keep in mind the TSA guidelines for liquids and gel packs required for cooling. Pack any liquids or gel packs separately in clear, quart-sized bags for easy screening. This will reduce the chances of any hold-ups during the security check process, ensuring a seamless travel experience.

Lastly, consider the packaging of your food items. Ensure that they are well-sealed to prevent any spillage or contamination during transit. Using resealable bags or small containers can be helpful in this regard. Additionally, if you plan to bring perishable items, it’s essential to pack them in a manner that maintains their freshness and quality throughout the flight.

By paying attention to these food packing tips and adhering to the TSA guidelines, you can enjoy your favorite snacks or meals onboard United Airlines while ensuring compliance with airport security regulations. Remember, a little preparation goes a long way in making your flight experience comfortable and enjoyable.


Q: Can I bring food on United Airlines?

A: Yes, United Airlines allows passengers to bring food in both carry-on bags and checked bags.

Q: What are the guidelines for carrying food in my carry-on bag?

A: The TSA allows formula, breast milk, toddler drinks, and baby/toddler food in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters. Inform the TSA officer and remove these items from your bag for separate screening.

Q: Can I bring ice packs or freezer packs for cooling food?

A: Yes, ice packs, freezer packs, and other accessories required to cool the food are allowed in carry-on bags.

Q: What are the guidelines for packing food in my checked bag?

A: Perishable items may not be suitable for long flights or extended periods without proper refrigeration. It’s best to pack non-perishable snacks or items that can withstand the duration of the flight.

Q: Are there any special accommodations for the security screening process?

A: Yes, you can request assistance from TSA Cares if you have any special needs or concerns during the screening process.

Q: What are some food packing tips for a hassle-free flight?

A: Pack food according to TSA guidelines, choose non-perishable items, and pack any liquids or gel packs required for cooling separately for easy screening.