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Shelf Talk

Can You Bring Sandwiches On A Plane?

Can you bring sandwiches on an airplane? Are the rules different for domestic and international flights? And just how long will sandwiches remain safe to eat when packed in your luggage? Read on for the answers.

 

Bringing Sandwiches On A Plane

Can You Bring Sandwiches on Domestic Flights Within the U.S.A.?

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes

Checked Luggage:

Yes

 

Can You Bring Sandwiches on International Flights Originating in the U.S.A?

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes*

Checked Luggage:

Yes*

 

*You can bring sandwiches on board and consume them during the flight. But you might not be able to bring sandwiches into your foreign destination (see details below).

 

 

Can You Bring Sandwiches Into The U.S.A. on an International Flight?

Carry-On or Checked Luggage:

 

Sandwiches containing meat, poultry, eggs or fresh produce such as lettuce and tomatoes

 

-No in most cases

 

 

How Long Will Sandwiches Last In Your Luggage?

Sandwiches containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs or cut vegetables

2 hours at room temperature

Sandwiches made with shelf-stable ingredients only, such as peanut butter, jelly, jam

1 day at room temperature

 

 

 

Sources: Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, StillTasty.com

 

BRINGING SANDWICHES ON A PLANE: FLIGHTS ORIGINATING IN THE U.S.A.

Can you bring sandwiches through airport security in your carry-on baggage?

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow you to bring sandwiches through airport security in your carry-on baggage. If the sandwiches aren’t already pre-packaged, they should be wrapped or placed in a resealable bag or container with a secure lid. There is no limit to the quantity of sandwiches you can bring in your carry-on: You can pack as many sandwiches as you’d like and will fit into your allowable hand luggage.

Just about any type of sandwich can pass through the TSA checkpoint, as long as it is wrapped or in a container and isn’t overly soggy. Examples of popular sandwiches that are allowable include peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; sandwiches made with deli meats such as turkey, ham, salami, chicken, bologna, roast beef; egg salad sandwiches, tuna sandwiches and cheese sandwiches. Vegetarian sandwiches are also allowable. Any type of bread is typically fine, including hard or soft-crusted bread and rolls, biscuits, pita bread and tortillas.

 

Read more: Here are the foods you can bring through airport security

 

Are sandwich spreads like peanut butter, jam, jelly, mayonnaise, mustard, cream cheese and hummus allowed through airport security?

The TSA will typically allow a sandwich that contains any of these items to pass through airport security, as long as the sandwich is not overly soggy.

But if you want to bring along a separate container of peanut butter, jam, jelly, mayonnaise, mustard, cream cheese or hummus, it will have to be a small one: These all fall under the TSA’s “3-1-1 liquids rule”, which requires that all liquids and gels in your carry-on luggage be stored in 3.4-ounce or smaller containers, all of which must fit into one quart-sized plastic bag.

 

Can you bring sandwiches on an airplane in your checked baggage?

Yes, you can bring sandwiches in your checked baggage when boarding a flight within the United States. You can bring as many sandwiches as you’d like in your allowable checked luggage. To prevent sandwiches from getting crushed, pack them in sturdy containers with tight-fitting lids. Since most types of sandwiches are perishable, you should pack them along with some ice or a frozen gel pack to keep them cold throughout the trip.

 

Can you bring sandwiches on an international flight leaving the U.S.A.?

Yes, you can bring sandwiches on an international flight departing from the U.S. — but depending on where you’re going, you may not be able to bring the sandwiches off the plane once you arrive at your destination.

If your intention is to bring the sandwiches onto the plane in your carry-on baggage and eat them during the flight, you’ll have no issues. The TSA applies the same rules for allowing sandwiches through security at U.S. airports, whether you are flying domestically or internationally.

But taking the sandwiches off the plane and bringing them into a foreign country is a different matter. The rules around bringing in food items that contain meat, poultry, eggs and fresh produce can be strict in many countries. Be sure to check your foreign destination’s rules before leaving.

 

BRINGING SANDWICHES INTO THE UNITED STATES

Can you bring sandwiches on an international flight back into the U.S.A.?

In most cases, the answer is no. The United States has strict rules about allowing travelers to bring in food items that contain meat, poultry, eggs and fresh produce like tomatoes and lettuce — if your sandwich contains any of these, it likely won’t be permitted.

Note also that you must declare all foods that you bring into the United States — whether they are allowable or not — to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and permit them to be inspected by a CBP agent. This can be a time-consuming process. The penalties for failing to declare your food items can be steep; bear in mind also that the CBP routinely conducts random screenings for arriving passengers.

 

FOOD SAFETY: HOW LONG WILL SANDWICHES LAST IN YOUR LUGGAGE?

Sandwiches containing meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or cut vegetables can be kept safely for about 2 hours at room temperature. You can bring ice or a frozen gel pack to keep them cooler longer. But ice or gel packs in your carry-on luggage must be completely frozen when passing through airport security — if they are even partially thawed, the TSA screeners will likely bring them from you.

Sandwiches made with shelf-stable ingredients only, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will usually keep well for about 1 day when stored at room temperature.

 

Note: While the above information is based on applicable Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) guidelines at the time of publication, the final decision for whether to allow a food item through airport security or into the United States rests with the TSA and CBP officers on duty at the airport. Regulations also change frequently: For the latest information, check the US Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration websites.

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