Carrying Home-Cooked Food On A Flight? Follow These 12 Tips
Image Credit: Parathas, murukkus, dry fruits and nuts make for great travel-friendly food options.

Are you planning to travel by air and wondering what food items you can carry in your hand luggage? We've got you covered. In this comprehensive guide, we'll discuss the dos and don'ts of carrying home-cooked food in your hand luggage, ensuring a hassle-free travel experience. 

1. Know the Rules and Regulations:

Before you start packing your favourite dishes, it's essential to familiarise yourself with the airline's rules and regulations. Most airlines have strict guidelines on what food items are allowed in hand luggage. Generally, solid foods are permitted, while liquids, gels, and pastes may be subject to restrictions. Make sure to check your airline's website for specific details.

2. Opt for Dry and Non-Perishable Foods:

When it comes to carrying food in your hand luggage, dry and non-perishable items are your best bet. These foods are less likely to cause a mess and can withstand long hours of travel. Some popular options include:

- Khakhra: These thin, crispy flatbreads are perfect for snacking on during your flight. They come in various flavours, such as masala, methi, and jeera.

- Thepla: A Gujarati speciality, thepla is a spiced flatbread made with whole wheat flour, fenugreek leaves, and spices. It's a filling and delicious option that stays fresh for a long time.

- Mathri: These deep-fried, flaky biscuits are a popular North Indian snack. They're typically made with all-purpose flour, semolina, and spices like ajwain and black pepper.

- Dry fruits and nuts: Almonds, cashews, raisins, and pistachios are excellent choices for a healthy and satisfying in-flight snack.

3. Pack Foods in Airtight Containers:

To prevent spills and keep your food fresh, pack it in airtight containers. This will also help maintain the food's aroma and prevent it from spreading throughout your hand luggage. Ziplock bags, plastic containers, and aluminium foil are all great options for packing your food securely.

4. Avoid Foods with Strong Odours:

While Indian cuisine is known for its rich flavours and aromas, it's best to avoid packing foods with strong odours in your hand luggage. This will ensure a pleasant travel experience for you and your fellow passengers. Foods to avoid include:

- Pickles: Achaars are made with a variety of fruits and vegetables preserved in oil and spices. Their strong smell can be overpowering in a confined space like an aeroplane cabin.

- Gravies: Although delicious, curries can have a strong aroma due to the spices used in their preparation and might be prone to leakage. Opt for dry dishes instead, like paneer tikka or vegetable cutlets.

5. Be Mindful of Liquid Restrictions:

Remember that airlines have strict rules regarding liquids, gels, and pastes in hand luggage. This includes items like chutneys, sauces, gravies and yoghurt. If you must carry these items, ensure they're in containers of 100 ml or less and placed in a clear, resealable plastic bag.

6. Consider Ready-to-Eat Meals:

If you're short on time or don't want to prepare food for your flight, consider packing ready-to-eat meals. These are available in most supermarkets and come in a variety of options, such as biryani, rajma, and chole. Just make sure to choose options that don't require heating, as this may not be possible on your flight.

7. Don't Forget the Utensils:

Don't forget to pack disposable utensils, such as spoons, forks, and napkins. This will make it easier for you to enjoy your home-cooked food during your flight.

8. Be Aware of Allergens and Dietary Restrictions:

When packing food for your flight, consider any potential allergens or dietary restrictions that may affect you or your fellow passengers. Common allergens in desi cuisine include nuts, dairy, and gluten. If you're unsure about the ingredients in a particular dish, it's best to avoid packing it in your hand luggage.

9. Choose Foods That Can Withstand Temperature Changes:

Aeroplane cabins can experience fluctuations in temperature, so it's essential to choose food items that can withstand these changes. Opt for dishes that don't require refrigeration and can be safely consumed at room temperature. Foods like parathas, poha, and idlis are excellent choices for travel.

10. Label Your Food Containers:

To make it easier for security personnel to identify the contents of your hand luggage, consider labelling your food containers. This can help avoid any confusion or delays during the security screening process. You can use a simple adhesive label or a marker to write the name of the dish on the container.

11. Practice Good Hygiene:

Maintaining good hygiene is crucial when handling food during your travels. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after consuming your food. Carrying hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes can also be helpful for keeping your hands clean and germ-free.

12. Be Prepared for Customs Regulations:

If you're travelling internationally, be aware that some countries have strict customs regulations regarding the import of food items. Research the rules for your destination country and ensure that your food complies with their regulations. This will help you avoid any potential issues at the customs checkpoint.

With these tips in mind, you're all set to carry your favourite food items in your hand luggage. Just remember to follow the airline's rules and regulations, pack your food securely, and be mindful of your fellow passengers.