Plane snacks - one of the essential components for an enjoyable and satisfying long flight, yet so often overlooked.
You race through airport security and either forget your plane snacks entirely or grab an overpriced and underwhelming packet of M&M’s.
That’s not going to keep you going for your 3 hour flight, is it? And with all the nervous energy that air travel brings, sugar isn’t going to improve the situation.
Then, you’re faced with the horror show that is snacks on a plane and in-flight meals. Both you and the flight attendant know that they’re a lot scarier than the 2006 film starring Samuel L Jackson.
So, perhaps it's a good idea to plan ahead, DIY or bring packable airplane food. It’s healthier, cheaper and cuts out the stress of last minute snack panic.
Keep reading to discover travel tips on the best airplane snacks there are! It’ll transform the way you travel.
But first, did you know that you can get more than a snack when your flight is delayed, cancelled, or overbooked?
EC261 states that airlines have to compensate their passengers up to 600€ when this happens!
Can You Bring Snacks on a Plane?
Considering all of the other terrible options, you will be asking yourself, ‘Can I bring snacks on a plane?’ Well, thankfully, yes.
You can bring plane snacks on board in your carry-on luggage, however they must comply with airport guidelines.
Check out our guide on how to pack your carry-on luggage to make sure you don’t miss anything!
In the UK, you can pack all sorts of delicious cakes, pies, sandwiches, fresh fruit and vegetables (if you’re that way inclined).
But, unfortunately you’ve got to leave Grandma Mary’s pea and ham soup behind. This is because foods with a high liquid content, like soups, stews and foods in sauces like pasta, won’t make it through security.
While you can bring your own snacks, foods like crisps, cakes and crackers must be wrapped up or in a container.
Additionally, although a whole piece of fruit is okay unwrapped, once you take a bite of your juicy, green apple, it’s got to be wrapped up.
These containers should also not exceed 100ml. And, don’t forget that the homemade blueberry jam you’ve made for your friend in Maine, also falls under these guidelines.
Similarly, in the US, food taken on board in hand luggage must comply with TSA guidelines.
This means solid foods like crisps, sandwiches, and even pasta can come on board. However liquids must comply with the 3-1-1 rule.
The 3-1-1 rule outlines that each liquid (strawberry yogurt, peanut butter, hummus) must be in a 3.4 ounce container (or less), contained in 1 clear plastic bag, and you may have only 1 bag per passenger.
Which Snacks Shouldn’t You Bring on a Plane?
While not officially outlined in TSA or other airport guidelines, there are some snacks that you should steer well away from.
Anything that has a strong or unpleasant smell can be saved for a time when you’re at least 40-50 meters away from company and not in a confined space.
Messy, sticky and crunchy snacks or foods likely to spill should probably be left at home too. Doing this will help you avoid a bad atmosphere and uncomfortable, angry eye contact on the long flight.
Some of these foods include:
- Fishy foods - your tuna sandwich may seem like a good idea now, but give it a few hours, your breath will stink and so will the cabin
- Eggs - flying can be nauseating enough without someone bringing eggs into the equation. Scrambled, boiled or fried - its a no-no
- Burritos and fajitas - these yummy wraps can be hard to eat without spilling filling everywhere, and a rumbling stomach can also produce unpleasant smells…
- Peanuts - while they may not cause you any issues, other passengers could be highly allergic, so leave them at home to avoid a medical emergency
- Yogurt - yogurt in a plastic container can be pretty lethal and will explode at high altitudes. Leave the redecorating to the professionals
Best Airplane Snacks
The best food to pack for long flights is tasty, healthy and easy to transport. You should also make sure that you bring travel snacks that will keep fresh when left at room temperature.
Healthy plane snacks
Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring, and there are a ton out there that are both yummy and easy to prepare.
When people think of dried fruit, it’s often limited to raisins or bananas, but there’s a whole world of dried fruit out there. Dried pineapple, mango, peaches and pear are just some of the mouth-watering options available.
Quinoa or chickpea salad
A quinoa or chickpea salad is a satisfying and scrumptious snack to bring aboard. Not only will it curb your appetite for the long flight, but these plane snacks are also considered superfood. So, delicious and nutritious.
If you’re on your way to a conference and need to do some last minute prep, or you’re a student who needs to finish off an essay, protein bars are great sustenance. This chewy flight snack will keep your tummy happy and keep you focussed for the long plane ride.
Crunchy cheese bites
For the cheese fans out there, why not pack some crunchy cheese bites? From Gouda to Pepper jack, they’re high in protein and an excellent source of calcium. These crunchy cheese bites are also the perfect accompaniment for a long flight, needing no refrigeration.
Gluten-free banana and chocolate-chip muffins
These moreish muffins are scrummy, low-fat, low-sugar and gluten-free. This means that they’re good for your cholesterol and guilt-free!
Popcorn is the perfect food for snacking. It’s light, easy to pack and once you start, it’s hard to stop! Don’t think that popcorn is just limited to the cinema either, take it to the skies.
In recent years, companies have brought out a range of flavours from aged white cheddar and sea salt to cookies and cream!
Stuck for snack ideas? Try jerky!
It comes in all shapes, sizes and flavours. From chicken to buffalo, teriyaki to habañero there’s something for everyone, even non-meat eaters, with jerky made from soy curls and black beans!
Vegan snacks to take on a plane
With growing awareness of climate change, and the poor treatment of farmed animals, veganism is becoming more and more popular.
And, why shouldn’t it? These days there are so many fantastic vegan options to choose from, meaning you can eat well while doing your bit to save the planet!
Baked kale chips
These delectable little morsels are a delightful crispy alternative to potato chips. They come in a wide range of flavours, from tomato to vegan nacho cheese.
They’re also lower in fat than potato chips and are easy to make yourself! Just don’t crunch too loud!
Tofu Caesar wrap
A vegan Caesar wrap is just as good as it’s meaty counterpart and a great snack for healthy travel! Using vegan mayonnaise and a touch of Dijon mustard is the key to giving this tasty treat a kick.
Vegan dark chocolate brownies
You’re allowed to treat yourself from time to time, and vegan dark chocolate brownies are a fantastic treat to take on your travels.
Fudgey goodness with a gooey centre, they’ll make your flight just that little bit more luxurious.
Packed with protein, marinated lentils will keep you going on your long flight. Whether you throw in some coriander and fennel seeds, or garlic and chilli, you can be sure each mouthful will explode with flavour.
Vegan spiced chai bread
More of a cake than a bread, vegan spiced chai bread is the perfect accompaniment for your journey. Add a little almond butter, or peanut butter to take it to the next level.
Vegan tuna sandwich
While you probably shouldn’t bring your stinky tuna sandwich on board, a vegan tuna sandwich is just the ticket!
Replace the fish with tofu, add a little vegan mayo, your prefered seasoning and some pickles to make this top-notch long flight snack. Just have a mint afterwards.
Whole grain pita / veggies and hummus
As long as you make sure you comply with TSA guidelines, hummus (from the grocery store or homemade) with dippers is an excellent snack to have in your snack bag.
Make sure you eat this snack first though, as it’s only good for 2 hours at room temperature.
Plane snacks for babies and kids
Travelling on long flights accompanied by children is by no means anyone’s idea of heaven.
And kids, we get it. It’s boring, the airplane’s hot and stuffy, and you have way too much energy to sit in one seat for more than 30 minutes.
However, there are some great plane snacks that can make long flights, dare I say it ...fun!
Check out other ways to make long flights fun for kids here!
Kids trail mix
Trail mix is easily transportable and filled with an array of nuts, fruit, pretzels and sweet treats. If you’re making it yourself, you can even include your kid’s favourites, perhaps marshmallows and cashews or maybe cheerios and sultanas!
This may not be your child’s favourite, but there are lots of ways you can make fruit fun and entertain them on the long journey.
You could make apple slices into fun shapes, or hide kiwi slices in little sandwich cakes topped with almond butter!
Granola bars are a good way of ensuring that your child won’t go hungry on a long flight.
Packed with yummy nutritional goodness like oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, these snacks will keep your child quiet...for a while.
Cereal or puffs
Cereal or puffs are great for babies and toddlers. Kid’s can pick them up easily and even have a little fun with them.
And remember, presentation is also important. Why not put the cereal in a bag and tie a colourful ribbon around it? Or, put colourful stickers on the packaging and personalise it by writing their name in bright colours!
Kids love sweet things, however most of the time, the things they like will see them sent to the dentist with a filling! These banana cookies allow you to treat your child, while being in control of their sugar intake.
Use coconut oil, vanilla essence and a few chocolate chips for that sweet hit rather than packing them with sugar.
Organic animal crackers
Just as puffs and sliced fruit can be a surprisingly entertaining snack for kids, animal crackers can also bring a lot of fun to the flight.
Full of vitamins, and flavoured with fruit juice, these little treats will keep a smile on their faces.
Honey and chai oatmeal balls
These snacks are a fantastic source of protein and fibre and taste just like cookie dough, without all the bad additives and artificial flavours.
Sweetened with honey, almond butter and dried fruit, they’re a great healthy alternative and will keep your kid’s tummy from rumbling.
Final words before the flight
Hopefully this blog has simmered your long-flight snack nerves! Plane snacks don’t have to be excruciatingly expensive and unsatisfying. They can be full of flavour, easy to prepare, and for the little ones, a source of entertainment.
Bringing snacks from home will ultimately save you time, money and disappointment!
And, if you’re one of the unlucky passengers whose flight is disrupted each year, those snacks will help you from pulling your hair out in frustration. They’ll also save you from spending a fortune while you wait for your plane to arrive.
Something to also bear in mind when preparing your snacks is how you will transport them. Opt for planet friendly packaging! This includes biodegradable ziploc bags, reusable lunch boxes, biopaper and beeswax wraps instead of cellophane or foil.
Head over to our guide and find out how to navigate flight delay compensation if you do find yourself stuck in the airport for hours!
Had a delayed, cancelled, or overbooked flight? You're going to need those snacks, but more importantly, you could get up to 600€ in compensation. It only takes 3 minutes to know if you're eligible: