Everyone knows that flying while famished is simply not a fun way to travel. When you’re preparing for a flight, it’s always a smart idea to plan for the moment when hunger strikes. Most airlines’ (and some airports') food offerings are too pricey, less than exciting, or just not available. Savvy travelers know that when it comes to eating on airplanes, it’s best to BYOS: bring your own snacks. Getting hungry? This handy guide will help you choose and pack an assortment of delicious and travel-friendly snacks to satisfy airborne cravings! And while most of them are healthy, we threw in a few treats in case you need a little travel stress relief.
By Marla CiminiSeptember 3, 2019
Airplane Snacks FAQ
When you’re considering which kind of snacks are best for air travel, be sure to select foods that are tasty as well as easy to eat while you’re confined to a narrow airplane seat. Stay away from potentially messy or sticky snacks. Another no no? Foods that may have an odor, such as tuna fish or hardboiled eggs (you don’t want to make your seatmates into your enemies). Peanut butter should also be avoided. While it’s not technically banned, severe peanut allergy sufferers will thank you for choosing almond butter instead. No matter what you’re eating, be sure to bring along more napkins and wipes than you think you need!
What kind of snacks can you take on the plane?
As for TSA restrictions, all solid food is allowed to be carried on the plane. Liquid and gel foods are prohibited. You may be asked to remove snacks and food from your bag and place them in a separate bin for security. When selecting your snacks, don’t forget to check out the food rules of your destination—many countries don’t allow you to bring fresh fruit, so be sure to consume it while in the air. With the restrictions out of the way, let’s focus on the abundance of delicious, healthy, satisfying snacks that are ideal for a flight. Choose easy-to-eat options like trail mix, beef jerky, single-serving cheeses, and fruit that doesn’t easily bruise.
How should I pack up my snacks?
Snacking while flying should be stress-free! Ideally, you should be able to access your snacks from a bag that can fit beneath your seat. It’s much easier than getting up and rummaging through your luggage that’s wedged in the overhead bin. Be sure your snacks are packed well in spill-proof wrapping, such as aluminum foil or plastic wrap. These can also be easily disposed of after you’re done eating. Another ideal suggestion is using resealable plastic bags, which can be washed and re-used while traveling. If you travel often, invest in a sophisticated bento box.
How can I keep cold snacks cool?
Although it’s best to choose snacks that can be consumed at room temperature and don’t easily get squashed, you can keep snacks cool by placing your food in a re-sealable plastic bowl (or an upgraded bento box) with a small, frozen ice pack that meets the TSA requirements of under 3.4 ounces. Pro tip: pack your food next to a very cold bottle of water that you purchased in the airport.
The Best Snacks to Take on the Plane
Pre-packaged almonds are a great, portable airplane snack with lots of protein to fuel you. For the healthiest option, choose raw or unsalted 100-calorie packs. Clean airplane eating!
These bars are tasty, are made in a variety of flavors and feature plenty of all-natural ingredients. Key Lime Pie is a fan favorite, and you can never go wrong with Chocolate Chip Brownie. Yum!
Hummus and Crackers
Hummus + Crackers = a Delicious and Dependable Snack. The combination of crunchy and creamy is hard to beat.
These crunchy Fuji-Reds apple chips are satisfying, gluten-free, and easy to transport. A baked apple chip a day keeps the doctor away!
A bunch of red or green grapes are always a sweet and refreshing snack. Pro tip: pop a bunch in the freezer the night before your flight for a refreshingly cold snack.
Tiny Twist Pretzels
Sometimes you get an in-flight craving that only a salty crunch can satisfy. Choose a small bag of bite-size pretzels for your next trip. You are on an airplane, after all—pretzels may as well be the official snack food of the skies.
Yogurt is a convenient, flavorful, and healthy choice for an air travel snack. Think of it as a portable fruit smoothie. Tasty!
Crunchy Fava Beans
Crunchy fava beans? Give 'em a try. These plant-based protein snacks are perfect when you’re in the mood for a healthy crunch. Two Amazon reviewers summed them up perfectly, "These are darn good." And, "Read the ingredients. You can pronounce them all."
Chocolate and Dried Fruit Trail Mix
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers are a classic favorite for travelers of all ages. This multipack comes with individual packages of the pretzel, classic cheddar, and kid-favorite colorful versions.
Gummy candy was made for air travel. It’s a soft, non-odorous food that easily fits in your personal item. Sometimes, you just need a sugar hit. Go for the classic gummi bears from Haribo.
Lollipops will always satisfy a sweet tooth—and this vegan natural version is available in a variety of great flavors (strawberry smash, anyone?). Sucking on a lollipop can also help alleviate ear pain from pressure changes on a flight. Win win!
Rice Krispies Treats
Rice Krispies Treats are so satisfyingly ooey gooey and chewy that they're downright decadent. These might even get you through your anger over a delayed flight.
Who says popcorn is just for the movie theater? Light and airy, yet oh-so-satisfying, popcorn is a fantastic airplane snack. These Smartfood popcorn snacks come in three tempting flavors: white cheddar, sweet & salty kettle corn, and movie theater butter.
Fruit cups are an effortless way to add a little sweetness to your trip, these fruit cups feature pineapple, peach, pear, and cherries. Sunshine (and vitamin C) in a cup!
This legendary energy bar is a favorite among athletes and adventure-seekers. It's definitely hearty and yummy enough to substitute as a meal replacement on your next busy airport day. Nice to meet you, Peanut Butter Banana with Dark Chocolate bar.
This healthy snack of dried fruit is available in three natural flavors: pineapple, cherry, and mango. Bonus: they're unsweetened, but still super flavorful.
A favorite protein filled snack for those on the Keto diet (or anyone just trying to limit carbs and added sugar), this pre-packaged spicy beef jerky is sure to satisfy hunger pangs.
You'll have to ask a flight attendant for hot water to mix up this blueberry hazelnut oatmeal on the go, but it’s nutritious, comforting, and simple to make. The disposable cup is virtually mess-free. Easy peasy.
Hot sauce isn't exactly a snack on its own, but it will zest up your bland airplane meal. Be sure to travel with this in a TSA-approved size bottle.
This sugary, flat cookie (literally, a syrup waffle) is a delightful Dutch treat to enjoy while flying. Pro tip: place it on the top of a steaming cup of coffee to warm it up.
It’s crunch time! Bite into a few of these crispy, organic seed crackers that are made with flax, sesame, and brown rice. And no worries if you have dietary restrictions, they're gluten-free and certified organic!
Organic Fruit Snacks
Who says fruit snacks are just for kids? Tantalize your taste buds with these naturally flavored snacks in clementine, blackberry, and mango.
Craving some salty pistachios, sweet cranberries, and major energy while you gaze at the clouds? It’s time for a Supersnack! Munch on a few Cranberry Pistachio Figgy Pops (these are really bite-size balls of whole foods) as you’re soaking in the view from above.
Light and easy to transport, seaweed snacks are a savory snack that's both healthy and delicious. Wasabi packs a kick of flavor. Delish!
Almond Butter Packs
It’s okay—give it a squeeze! Justin’s individual almond butter packs make any flight extra-flavorful. Made with all-natural ingredients, they’re high in protein, low in carbs, and offered in several delectable flavors, including hazelnut and maple butter.
Grab a single-serve Pop Chip bag for your next flight and enjoy some high-altitude snacking. Offered in an array of flavors, including sour cream and onion, sea salt, and barbecue—these baked chips are just so good (and half the fat of fried chips).
Gourmet Chocolate Bar
Keep an emergency stash of gourmet chocolate for major flight delays or missed connections. Hammond's Chocolate is a Colorado favorite, and known for unusually delicious combinations—like potato chips and bacon. If you're traveling in a group, bring a few bars. You definitely won't want to share just one.
Pack Your Snacks