Flying Soon on a 5 Hour Flight with Daughters Allergies

Updated on April 15, 2013
C.M. asks from Harpers Ferry, WV
14 answers

Hi! We are flying to Arizona in 11 days to visit my parents and it will be about a 4-5 hour flight from VA. My daughter is allergic to wheat and we have her on a gluten free diet. This is a new allergy that has come up with in the last few months. I was wondering if I am allowed to bring her own in flight snacks through security? SInce they always pass out pretzels or cookies or some type of snack on flights, she won't be able to have any, and I can't expect her to not eat anything for 5 hours (she is 8 years old), do you know if I am allowed to pack her some gluten free snacks and just put it in her backpack? Nothing big, but just some fruit snacks or an apple or some gluten free cookies or something? I might call the airport and ask, but I thought I would ask here first.
Also she does have an epi pen and I plan to bring that with us, has anyone ever had any problems bringing that along in your carry on?


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So What Happened?

I have the original box it came in for the epi pen and it has the CVS pharmacy tag on it with the RX information on it. Does that work? or should I call the dr for a note to make it more official?


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answers from Tampa on

I just flew to AZ a few weeks ago and brought snacks for both my kids and brought a drink in a sippy cup with water in it for my daughter. It was a 9 oz cup all they did was ask to test it.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boston on

You can bring in any food that you want, in your carry-on bag or her backpack. Security is not concerned with that. I've even brought alone some powdered nutritional products and no one questions it. Bring extras because she may eat more than you think, or you might experience delays. You cannot bring in liquids though, so no juice boxes of things like that. Bring an empty water bottle or other container, and fill it with water once you get through security. You can always buy water in the terminal, but they charge a fortune. Same goes for fresh fruit they have for sale - definitely take your own.

Airlines give out a lot fewer free snacks than you may think - part of the austerity programs! You pay for everything. So I think everyone should take food and a water bottle along whenever they travel, regardless of any food sensitivities.

Talk to the pediatrician about carrying a prescription for the epi-pen. The airline will be able to assist you as well - don't call the airport itself, just the carrier. You can find lots of info on line too. If you are a member of AAA, remember that they have a free travel agency so you can ask them for help as well.

Have a good trip.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, you can bring your own snacks and food. Your own liquids are the only thing prohibited on flights. I've carried on a pizza or sandwich in the past.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You are allowed to bring an epi pen but you should carry a prescription for it so you don't encounter any problems through security. You can pack snacks for her to bring! And i would plan for extra - you never know when your flight will be delayed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

As long as you have the label on the box that is fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You can bring as much food as you want. They will never question the food that you bring - for adults or children, allergies or not. since most airlines don't serve meals anymore, it is common for people to travel with more food than ever before. You can't bring drinks through security, but you can buy anything you need once you're in the main airport.

You won't have a problem bringing the epipen or benadryl through security, but do prepared to take it out of your carry on and put it through the scanner separately. I just keep it all in a ziploc bag and stick the bag into one of those bins that security provides. Done it 10+ times and never once has it been an issue at all. We even brought soy milk when he was a baby since he can't drink cow's milk.

ETA: You don't need a doctor's note for the medicine. I don't usually even bring the full packaging with the RX on it. Just the pen itself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Check the carrier's website. You will find everything you need to know about the epi pen. The only thing you can't bring in terms of food is liquids. You can bring all of the non-liquid snacks that you want.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


As long as it meets their requirements - heck you can even have a doctor's note about her food allergies - that will work. My sister needed to bring specific medication with her (a lotion) that does not meet the 3 ounce requirement and she didn't check a bag - they were going to throw it away until she produced a doctor's note and spoke to the supervisor.

Fruit I think is a can buy that after you get through the gate. But I don't know. I have just learned to not bring anything with me anymore. Drinks I KNOW may not go through have to purchase those AFTER security.

See you soon!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I've never had an issue. I don't even carry her Epi-Pen in its original packaging. I also carried on an open bottle of Benadryl that was over their 3 oz limit. TSA didn't say a word.

I also had a few snacks packed in our carry on incase she got hungry on the plane or at the airport. Again, no issue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

No problems with the food, and I have brought an epi pen through security, with and without a prescription, without problems!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We have never had an issue with our son's epi-pen . They even let us bring an open bottle of Zyrtec through (over 4 oz.) . They really only stop you/take away liquids 4 oz or more . So all your snacks are fine . You will just have to buy drinks after you pass through security or wait to be served a drink on board. Have a nice trip !



answers from Washington DC on

As long as the snacks aren't liquid over 4 oz you will be fine. That includes things like applesauce, yogurt, and pudding. Most yogurt cups are over that but you could get those yogurt in a tube things. I forget what they are called but we got several of them through security ok. All your liquids need to fit into 1 qt sized ziplock.We usually travel with fruit and have never had an issue. We also always travel with our epi-pens (mine and my DDs) and no questions have ever been asked. I know they say to include the original packaging for meds but I never have (takes up more room) and I've never had a problem. Enjoy your trip!



answers from Cumberland on

You can bring food and water on the flight so long as you purchased it after you passed through security. No beverages are allowed through security as no liquids in greater than 3 ounce containers are allowed (with certain medical and parental exceptions). I've gone through security recently with a granola bar from the outside and didn't have any problems. The food requirements from the TSA website are as follows:

"All food must go through the X-ray machine. Do NOT bring food to the security checkpoint unwrapped, as shown in the image on the above right.
Food must be wrapped or in a container. Unpeeled natural foods like fruit are okay, but half-eaten fruits must be wrapped."

My rule of thumb is if in doubt, buy it once you've cleared security. It beats dealing with a problem at the security checkpoint. Hope that helps!
Sources:, personal experience



answers from Washington DC on

I don't have any experience with an EPI - I would assume it would be like any prescription medication and that it is fine to take it on the plane as long as it is properly labeled.
My husband is from Jordan - an 11 hour flight from NYC - and we have made the trip a few times with my now 2 and 4 year old daughters. Each time I have brought plenty of snacks in case they get hungry between snack and meal times and have never had a problem with it. I have never brought anything liquid - just stuff like cheerios, granoloa bars, little boxes of raisins. I have never had anyone raise an issue with it.
I would not bother with the apple but the gluten free cookies should be fine.

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