How To Fly With A Food Allergy/Intolerance

Sometimes it’s necessary to fly, other times it’s for a fun holiday. Regardless of why you’re traveling, it’s already stressful. Which only gets worse when you have a food allergy or intolerance! But there are some ways to make it less scary and easier to manage.

Here are my tips and tricks for how to fly with a food allergy or intolerance!

So here are my flying with a food intolerance tips and tricks. I want to start with basic tips I’ve learned through the years, what I packed for my flights, and how I ate during my 24 hours of travel.

Tips for Flying with Food

These are just some tips I’ve learned with flying with a food intolerance and bringing my own food onboard

For Carry-on:
  • DON’T pack items in aluminum foil! If it’s a homemade item, pack it in something else – a dish towel, bag, plastic wrap, etc.
    • I’ve seen so many people have their homemade bread inspected because it was wrapped in aluminum foil.
  • If you have a lot of food packed, ask an officer if you should separate it from your luggage and put it in one of the given trays.
    • I’ve done this a few times; it’s easier than waiting while they search through your belongings only to find homemade granola.

You can bring a cooler with food, especially with a doctors note. This can go carry on or with luggage. If you’re taking it carry on, liquids aren’t liquid if they’re frozen, so you can bring some frozen items through and they should last in the cooler until you’ve reached your destination.

For International Travel:
  • Check the country’s customs requirements before flying!
    • New Zealand has a ton of regulations, so I made sure to check up on them all so all my food could go in – products with fresh fruit in them are not allowed, but having the dates baked into the scones was okay.
  • Also if you’re packing a lot of food, make a list of what you’re declaring while packing. This way you don’t have to worry you’ve forgotten to declare anything.
    • When I finally arrived in New Zealand, they looked at the list of what I brought – I had a lot of spices they wanted to check, so we looked at the list to ensure all of them were found in my luggage.
All of the spices I was trying to account for during customs

What foods I packed flying:

snacks for flying with a corn intolerance

The snacks I brought with me for my flights included (click for recipes):

I tend to worry about people on planes having peanut allergies, so I don’t like eating anything with peanuts on planes. The original oat cookie I made for this trip was too crumbly to hold up. Instead I made my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe, which happens to be dairy, gluten, and corn free. I only ate these peanut butter cookies during my layovers as a high protein snack.

The date scones are not gluten free, but I managed to modify the recipe, by making them with whole wheat flour, which I tend to do okay with every once in a while.

And the cassava flour banana muffins, I’ve already posted about on my snacks page, because I eat them on a regular basis. This time I opted for no blueberries, because I wasn’t sure they’d make it through New Zealand customs with blueberries. Despite them being made with cassava flour, I love this recipe because they have the texture of normal muffins.

I also brought some of my homemade granola, but didn’t eat that on the plane. That was mostly so I could have something to eat once I landed at my final destination.

How I ate during my 24 hours of travel:

I typically don’t eat much when I fly; but I still need sustenance, especially when in transit for 24 hours. Right before leaving for the airport, I made sure to eat as much of a meal as I could, high in protein. And getting to New Zealand, I continued to eat snacks until I had the ingredients to make something else to eat. Because of a requirement to self isolate for two weeks upon arrival, I packed more food than I normally would for a flight.

I mostly flipped back and forth between the snacks stated above, and for liquids I filled up my water at the airport after security.

Plane Food

The one other aspect of eating during travel I want to discuss is the food served on planes.  Because one of my flights was 12 hours, they served 2 meals. Typically, I refuse food served on planes. Because some aspect of it I’m sure will be corny. When I fly Air New Zealand, I will chance it slightly with one of their meal offerings. This is the second time flying with them that I’ve chosen the “fruit only” option. I said no to the first meal, because it was essentially being served at 2 am and I don’t do well with eating that late.

Here’s a picture of my breakfast meal (after eating the grapes)

I ate a tiny amount of it, being the melon, grapes, orange slices, and half-strawberry. The peaches in the container on the right smelled like they were out of a can, and the other fruit would’ve given me heartburn. I also avoided the yogurt. My stomach still slightly churned after eating this; I wouldn’t suggest it to someone who’s got a severe corn intolerance/allergy. It’s still more than nothing.

I do feel like, next time I’ll just request the normal meal and say no every time they go past so I don’t feel guilty about wasting a meal specifically brought on board for me.

I hope these tips for flying with a food intolerance help! If you want more life hacks on living with a corn intolerance, you can find others here.