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Shelf Talk

Can You Bring Turkey On A Plane?

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

 

Bringing Turkey On A Plane

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

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes

Checked Luggage:

Yes

 

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

Carry-On Baggage:

Yes*

Checked Luggage:

Yes*

 

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

 

 

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

Carry-On or Checked Luggage:

 No in most cases

 

 

How Long Will Turkey Last In Your Luggage?

Turkey – cooked

Turkey – fresh, raw

2 hours at room temperature

2 hours at room temperature

 

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

 

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

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

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow you to bring turkey through airport security in your carry-on baggage. You can bring leftover cooked turkey, turkey deli meat or even a whole, raw turkey through the TSA checkpoint (assuming it will fit in your allowable carry-on baggage). Whether fresh or cooked, your turkey should be wrapped or placed in a resealable bag or container with a secure lid. There is no limit to the quantity of turkey you can bring in your carry-on: You can pack as much turkey as you’d like and will fit into your allowable hand luggage.

 

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

 

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

Yes, you can bring turkey in your checked baggage when boarding a flight within the United States. You can bring as much turkey as you’d like in your allowable checked luggage. Pack the turkey in containers with tight-fitting lids. Since turkey (cooked or raw) is perishable, you should pack it along with some ice or a frozen gel pack to keep it cold throughout the trip.

 

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

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

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

But taking the turkey off the plane and bringing it into a foreign country is a different matter. The rules around bringing in cooked or raw poultry can be strict in many countries. Be sure to check your foreign destination’s rules before leaving.

 

BRINGING TURKEY INTO THE UNITED STATES

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

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. The United States has strict rules about allowing travelers to bring in both raw and cooked poultry.

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 TURKEY LAST IN YOUR LUGGAGE?

Cooked turkey, turkey deli meat and raw turkey can all 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.

 

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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