With pizza officially the most popular food item in the world, it’s safe to say that almost every culture and country has some kind of bread-based dish covered in some cheese, meat, or sauce. So it’s only natural that you would want to carry-on your favorite food aboard a long flight since the in-flight meal service verging on being borderline prison food.
So, can you bring pizza as a carry-on baggage on a plane?
Absolutely, positively, yes you can bring your favorite pizza with all the delicious toppings you love as a carry-on aboard a plane! The fact that you can, does not mean you should though because you are certainly going to upset somebody. Different cultures may be more or less tolerant of passengers with smelly foods – in Asia, from experience, particularly.
As a matter of fact, you would be surprised what you can get away with these days, whether you’re a classic cheese guy or one of those pineapple and anchovy eating heretics who shall not be named. So the #PieCanFly!
While most food items are left to a gander, based on rules and regulations like the 3-1-1 rule, pizza specifically has been added to the list of foods that are allowed as a carry on by the TSA, as of 2017. This is likely the case for most developed countries but you will have to check the specifics.
Italy probably was ok with pizza on a plane since Caesar, you know if people could fly back then…
Because of its ever-growing popularity, travelers have frequently brought pizza aboard planes, so it’s only natural to wonder what are the limits of bringing pizza as a carry-on.
Firstly, yes that little white plastic thing in the middle keeping the slices and cheese together is ok.
More importantly, however, you are wondering about the toppings.
For the most part, if you are traveling within the United States there are no topping restrictions. You could have an onion, anchovy, blue cheese pizza with extra garlic powder on top and chopped pineapple and durian on the side, but be considerate of your fellow travelers.
Everyone is cranky on long flights and the small space is not the ideal place for your stinky cheeses and refined taste in pizza toppings. So go easy with what you bring aboard a plane.
Now if you are traveling from the U.S. to another country you need to refer to the specific destination guidelines of the place you are visiting. Furthermore, if you are going to the U.S. from an international destination, there are a lot of foods that may be banned, so your sausage pizza might actually no go over well once you land.
A word of advice, if you can get it through security, eat that pie like there is no tomorrow! That way you won’t have any problems no matter where you land.
What About Chicago Style?
Like most people with half a brain you have probably realized that the pile of burnt tomato sauce slathered on doughy crust is by no means pizza. Yeah, I’m referring to Chicago style you got a problem with that buddy?
Sorry, sorry I promised I wouldn’t go there.
Like most people who have read through the 3-1-1 rule, you too are asking whether Chicago style pizza is permitted on a plane as a carry-on.
Surely the notorious deep dish is different from its distant thin crust cousin, then again apple pie is gooey but that is allowed as a carry-on…
It’s a good question really.
Deep dish Chicago style pizza has at least a cup or two of what is clearly very liquid tomato sauce and the same amount in what is clearly not solid cheese.
So it’s not unreasonable to assume the TSA, and other security organizations in airports around the world would have some issue with the deep dish pie, apart from the overall bad choice in pizza, again sorry I went there.
According to the official TSA website, the administration does not discriminate based on the style of pizza you choose to eat or the restaurant providing the slice as long as it is clearly a pie in a cardboard box or wrapped in some kind of parchment paper or plastic bag, individually or as a whole.
Now, this doesn’t mean security can’t ask you to throw away your pizza or other food. As a matter of fact, whatever airport security around the world says goes. You could try to argue your way out of a situation with facts and rules but go about it your own risk, as you could be brought into questioning and miss your flight.
For quick access to frequent questions, you can download the TSA app and in real-time see results for hundreds of keyword searches. You could also tweet @AskTSA a few days ahead of time and get answers to more in-depth questions there.
What Snacks Can You Take on a Plane?
In general, any solid food item you can think of is permitted on an airplane.
Anything from dried and fresh fruits, nuts, granola bars, cereals, cookies, crackers, all the way to salads and meats, cooked or fresh, are completely fine and you should face no trouble in most airport security checkpoints around the world.
With liquids and gels you have to be a bit more careful because even if it is food. Anything resembling a liquid or gel has to abide by the 3-1-1 rule, in other words it has to be in a 3.4oz or 100ml bottle in a one quart or liter transparent plastic bag that sips or snaps closed easily at the top.
So if you plan on taking hummus for your fresh veggies, peanut butter to dip your apples in, or if you are one of those freaks that drenches their salad in enough ranch to feed a family of four for a year, then make sure these dressings and dipping food items follow the 3-1-1 rules.
Some snacks that may be a little iffy, you can actually get away with. Things like Gummy Bears and jelly beans, that otherwise seam gelatinous and not completely solid, are actually ok for the most part. In fact, chocolates and candies with a hard exterior but gooey, melty, or chocolate ganache center should be ok.
It also matters who you get as your security guy.
A newbie might want to prove himself to the pact and will be extra strict with regulations. A seasoned pro, on the other hand, will pretty much let you carry anything on board as long as it is within reason.
Want to know something crazy?
You can actually carry on whole uncooked eggs still in their shells… Yeah seriously! So don’t be surprised the next time you see a bodybuilder in a plane cracking raw eggs in a cup and drinking them like the training scene from “Rocky”. He has every right to do so!
Want to know something even crazier?
According to the TSA, you can actually check in live lobsters at the airport and if you confirm ahead of time with the specific airport and flight you’re going on you may be allowed to have live lobsters on board in your carry on… What about snakes I wonder. Hmmm, snakes on a plane – it’s been done!
So your 3.5oz salad dressing is not ok but a live animal with claws could be.
What About Other Foods?
Similar foods including burgers, fries, Chinese takeout, burritos, fried fish, chicken… Oh man, I’m getting hungry… Whoops sorry about that.
These food items are also allowed aboard a plane as a carry on but you have to make the same conscious considerations as with pizza.
Any dipping sauces or spreads can’t come in a bottle or container over 3.4oz, that includes salsa, dressing, and condiments.
You should also be considerate of the smell. After all, you will be in a small enclosed area for hours on end with strangers who already hate you because you were smart enough to read this article and take real food aboard a plane while they are stuck with whatever half frozen, reheated garbage the airline decided to serve.
There are a few exceptions to rules for specific people. For instance, mothers traveling with children can have more than 3.4oz of breast milk. If you have a problem with that, well then I hope a crying kid sits right behind you in a plane!
What can I say, you can have your pie and eat it too.