There is more to this question than you might think.
For example, you can bring a banana in your carry-on, you can bring banana bread in your carry-on too, but mashed-up banana should go in checked luggage or in a tiny little travel-sized bottle next to your shampoo.
It’s bananas, right? 😀
But I know it’s true because I asked the TSA directly:
It’s a little bit plum-believable I know but not un-raisin-able when you think about the TSA liquids rules.
Mashed-up fruit can be considered a liquid and if that happens then it falls under the TSA liquid rules and is restricted.
When flying in the United States you can usually take solid fruit on planes, but even that depends where you are flying from and to. We’ll get into it in a second.
This post will teach you exactly how to pack fruits in luggage when you fly.
Lastly, there is one type of fruit that isn’t banned but should be banned but I’ll leave that until the end of the post to build suspense and be a little melon-dramatic!
TSA Fruit Rules & Regulations
The TSA agents at the security checkpoint have the final say on what can and can’t be brought on planes.
So bringing fruit on a plane is always at the discretion of the security officer that you deal with.
There are two rules on the TSA website relating to fruit.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Here’s the first rule about bringing fresh fruit on a plane:
Can you bring fruit on a domestic flight?
Solid food items like unmashed or squeezed fruits or vegetables can be packed in carry-on or checked bags within the continental United States.
So yes, you can bring fruit on a domestic flight apart from flights departing from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland.
This is to reduce the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.
Can you bring fruit in carry on luggage?
Fruits and vegetables can be packed in your carry-on bag. You are not required to remove fruits from your bag when going through airport security. However, you may wish to remove fruit and put it on a separate tray to go through the x-ray machine as this could speed up the screening process.
So solid fruit, even a big juicy orange, is not considered a liquid by the TSA.
However, if you squeeze the fruit juice from that orange into a bottle you could only bring it in 3.4 oz bottles.
You can freely pack apples but applesauce is restricted to 3.4 ounces.
The TSA usually say “If you can squeeze it, smear it, pump it, spread it, spray it, or spill it then it’s considered a liquid”.
Well, you can squeeze an avocado but I think you get the idea. If you preserve the integrity of your fruit then you’ll be ok.
Can you bring fruit in checked baggage?
Yes, you can bring fruit in checked bags, but only when flying within the continental United States.
The TSA also has this rule about dried fruits.
So dried fruit is allowed to be packed anywhere but it might be sensible to pack it near the top of your bag in case the TSA wants to take a closer look at your dried plumbs.
Are Fruits Allowed On International Flights?
Carol on Twitter asked the TSA a good question about taking fresh fruit on an airplane when traveling internationally.
The TSA said fruit can be packed in carry-on bags but to check with your airline about bringing it into the destination country.
Hang on a second… “allowed in the country”…
Most people asking about bringing fruit in their hand luggage are not international fruit and veg dealers on their way to a farmers market in Paris….
I imagine most people intend to eat their berries on the plane, before arriving.
If this is you, then yes you can bring your watermelon on an international flight and eat it on the plane.
If the strawberry never arrives at the destination country you are definitely in the clear!
Even if you forget to eat your banana you might not be committing a crime. But you’d need to check the customs laws of your destination country to be 100% sure.
This was the advice given to Ash about bringing lemons to Guatemala. I’ve never been to Guatemala but you know what… I bet they have lemons in the stores there!
For example, you can bring small quantities of fruit into the United Kingdom but you are not permitted to bring a potato. This is why at every customs checkpoint entering the UK you’ll find American citizens hurriedly eating their potatoes to destroy the evidence (Note: This is not actually true).
To simplify things we can say you can bring fruit onto a plane for an international flight, but just make sure the fruit does not arrive so you don’t need to worry about customs laws.
Extra Tips About Bringing Fruit When Flying
During my research for this post I found lots of extra tips about traveling with fruit and fruit paraphernalia.
James wanted to bring an apple slicer in his carry on baggage.
But the TSA told him fruit and vegetables slicers must be packed in checked luggage due to the blades.
Suzanne got the go-ahead for bringing a fruit salad in her carry-on bag. But she was warned that any dressing would need to be in a container less than 3.4 oz.
Nina asked about taking her peach cobbler through airport security:
Dennis wanted to bring frozen fruit on his flight. The TSA said fine, but if they’re slightly melted, slushy or if their is any liquid in the container then it would be 3.4 oz maximum.
What about bringing lemons and limes on a plane? Perhaps you are flying JetBlue and intend to serve yourself your own alcohol and need a slice of lemon and lime which admittedly is hard to do without a knife.
This passenger got the okay from the TSA about citrus fruits.
Justine wanted to bring fruit jam (i.e. strawberry preserves or jelly) on her flight. The TSA said you can only bring food like that in 3.4 oz containers.
Canned fruit is also not permitted in your carry-on unless it’s a tiny can.
Kasie wanted to bring a bowl of fruit. “No worries” said the TSA but they forgot to mention flying outwith the continental United States or internationally.
Solid fruit cake is permitted on planes.
Stef wanted to bring oatmeal with chopped fruit. The TSA totally trolled her by saying it’s “good to go”.
I say trolled because 3.4 oz of oatmeal with chopped fruit is what 2 spoonfuls?
Not much of a breakfast!
But Stef could forget about packing shampoo and shower gel and just fill her quart size toiletries bag with multiple little containers of oatmeal and fruit. So it’s technically correct!
Fruit cups seem to be restricted… there must be too much risk of juice!
Pete was bringing so much fruit the TSA said he’d better check with his airline about carry on size limits!
Heather was taking baby carrots for her snack.
Sometimes you want to pack a fruit because it has some special significance. Maybe you grew it in your own garden like Kara.
So you can elope with a cantaloupe! Good to know!
The One Fruit That Should Be Banned On Planes
There is a fruit called durian that’s also known as “the stinky fruit”.
Apparently it smells so bad that pilots have had to put on their oxygen masks and make an emergency landing.
In other cases durian has prevented planes from taking off because passengers refused to board.
When a fruit can be that disruptive to air travel then it should be banned from being brought into the cabin. Just saying!
Fruit Is The Pear-fect Snack To Bring On A Plane!
So take your fruit with you when you fly and go live apple-y ever after!
When you fly on a domestic flight within the continental United States you’ll have no problem packing solid fruit in either your carry on or checked luggage.
You can chop it and put it in a container and so long as it’s not slushy or mushy that should be ok.
But mash it… well dash it you can’t gnash it on a plane.
If you are an international fruit exporter or importer then check custom laws.
Thanks for reading. If you feel like sharing this post on social media I’d be cherry grape-ful from my head tomatoes!