Canned food like tuna or sardines makes for an easy snack when traveling. And, sometimes, you are traveling with your pet, and you need to have canned food for them with you.
But can you bring canned food on a plane?
Yes, you can take canned food on a plane. Canned food is allowed in your checked bags, but you need to follow some restrictions and rules that make bringing canned food in your carry-on bag tricky.
Here is the TSA policy on canned food:
There are some items that are not on the prohibited items list, but because of how they appear on the X-ray, security concerns, or impact of the 3-1-1 rules for liquids, gels and aerosols, they could require additional screening that might result in the item not being allowed through the checkpoint. We suggest that you pack this item in your checked bag, ship it to your destination or leave it at home.
So, you can bring canned food in your carry-on bag, but they need to be 3.4 ounces or less to meet the liquid rule. And, because of their shape, they may need to go through additional screening so the security officers can verify they are safe.
This article explains how to pack canned food for plane travel and whether or not you can bring canned food through airport security.
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How to Pack Canned Food for Plane Travel?
Unless you want to risk not being able to bring your canned food with you on the plane, you should pack it in your checked bags. There are no limits to the sizes of canned food you can pack in a checked bag like with carry-on bags.
When you pack liquids and canned food in your carry-on bag, they need to go in a clear quart-size bag for easy screening. You should also pack canned food in a clear sealed bag in your checked luggage in case anything breaks or spills.
You also want to make sure soft items like clothing or towels surround your canned food, so if they move around during the flight, they are less susceptible to damage.
Canned food can be heavy, so when you travel with it, it is easy to reach the weight limit for checked bags, especially if you need to pack it in addition to your clothes and toiletries. The weight limit for checked bags on most flights is 50 pounds, and if you go over that limit, you’ll have to pay a fee.
If you want to make sure your checked bag is under the weight limit, you can weigh it before going to the airport. Read about the best way to weigh luggage here.
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Can I Bring Canned Food Through Airport Security?
Bringing canned food is allowed through airport security, but it must comply with the TSA liquid rule. And canned food is a unique shape that commonly sets off the x-ray machine, which means the security officers need to screen it separately. If you are unwilling to spend more time at the security checkpoint while your cans are screened, you should not pack canned food in your carry-on bag.
Since the liquid rule requires any liquids and gels to be 3.4 ounces or less, you should not pack any canned food in your carry-on bag that is larger than this limit.
Even if your can does not have any liquid in it, the security officers cannot verify that without opening the can. Even if you are fine with having them do extra screening on your canned food, there is no guarantee that they will let you through the security checkpoint with it.
If they do not let you through the checkpoint, you have to dispose of your canned food, or you have to check it or ship it, then go through security without it.
When you pack canned food in your checked bag, it will pass through its own security checkpoint, but it doesn’t have to meet any liquid or size requirements.