What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar? (On an Airplane)


Ever since some asshole tried to blow up a plane with liquid explosives, the TSA has really limited the items that innocent, hungry travelers are allowed to take into the airport and thus, onto the plane. Most infrequent travelers don’t realize that these restrictions are mostly on liquids, and that you can take meals from home with you, even if it is a pain in the ass. Eating airport food is easier and acceptable if you travel from an airport with decent food choices, but if you’re doing this twice a month, it gets tiring. As a result of this bullshit necessary policy and the subpar quality of most airport food, I’ve come up with some creative ways to package my food for travel, and some ways which I’ve figured out will get you strip searched immediately.


-Wrap all food in cling wrap and put it in throw away plastic containers. It’s easiest if the security folks can tell what it is right away.

-Package in small portions for the easiest consumption (I break up my travel-safe banana bread into 6 smaller pieces).

-Leave the condiments on the side, if you can. Nobody likes a soggy sandwich (who knows how long you’ll wait at security?), Mayo or ketchup packets do fit into your pockets, or the 1-quart size bag you are allotted for liquids, and won’t set off a metal detector.


-Sit down while you have a ketchup packet in your pocket. D’oh!

-Make your eats look like drugs. For my recent Aruban vacation, I made several batches of roasted pumpkin seeds to eat on the plane and beach snacks all week. It seemed like a great idea to put them in tiny little snack bags, and then wrap them all up into one big plastic bag. Problem: under an x-ray scanner, I looked like a drug smuggler, and my bags were torn apart. Thankfully, in the end I was allowed to keep my seeds.

– Bake weapons into your breads. Please. For the love of foodies everywhere. Don’t ruin another thing for all of us.

One last tip: the newest method I’ve been toying with is freezing liquids before travel. Going back to college chemistry, technically a frozen liquid is a solid, right? Also, as my boyfriend pointed out, most liquid explosives wouldn’t freeze. The TSA couldn’t possibly claim my homemade split pea soup is going to take down my 747…or would they?

What about you, ESers? How do YOU travel with your food? Feel free to share your funny/disastrous airplane food stories.

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  • Summer August 5, 2009  

    Ooh, you just reminded me that I still had an ounce or two of tamari-roasted almonds stashed in my son’s backpack, which were plane snacks from our flight yesterday. I am munching on their salty, high-protein goodness now. I tend to travel with snacks only, not full meals, because the flights I take tend to be no more than two hours or so. (Actually, I try to keep snacks with me at all times, in case of low-blood-sugar crankypants emergency — you can usually find a slightly smushed granola bar in my purse at all times.) For our early morning flight yesterday, we had the aforementioned almonds in a ziploc bag, some dried pineapple in the original packaging, a ziploc bag of biscuits I’d pre-sliced and slathered with butter and jam, a few bowls worth of Alpha-Bits in the original bag, and some swiss rolls. (Did I mention I was traveling with my six-year-old? I don’t bring Alpha Bits and swiss rolls on my business trips.)

    The swiss rolls were a disaster. My son ate one on the airplane, and managed to strew chocolate-coating bits everywhere. How do you get chocolate on your shoulder from eating a swiss roll?

  • Yvo August 5, 2009  

    I try to pack full meals… bento style! It’s fun and one of the rare times I pack bento for other people.

  • NeeNee August 6, 2009  

    I was confronted with the carry-on issue last weekend when I took a carry-on of zucchini to my condo-dwelling friends who have no idea what a menace it is in late summer. The TSA website doesn’t say ANYTHING about zucchini, and the scanner people didn’t blink an eye when I went through. Oh, if TSA knew how much water is packed into one of those suckers…

    I did, however, leave a large jar of sauerkraut bought from a German sausage shop in Minneapolis. (My friends don’t eat the fermented goodness! Don’t they know it’s good for your intestinal flora?) Would it have made it through? After all, it’s not liquid, it’s cabbage. I didn’t try it because I didn’t want to deal with it on an early morning flight.

    If you do ever need to fly with frozen goods, they tavel very well in checked baggage. I wrap it with a plastic bag and then a paper bag for extra insulation. I’ve flown with tamales and thai curry in July, and it was a solid block when I landed.

  • erica August 10, 2009  

    I have never had problems taking food on planes.. which is good even since I got food poisoning from the “vegetarian option” on a flight to Europe. Spent my first night in Munich vomiting… yay! I have taken homemade jam overseas, the TSA opened the packaging they were in (in my check luggage), but not the jams themselves.

  • erica August 10, 2009  

    oh now that is just full of typos goddammit!

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