Pack A Picnic For The Airport If You Are Flying With Kids


Today we will share our top tips on Packing A Picnic For The Airport If You Are Flying With Kids. Plus, taking food through airport security and onto the plane to save on expensive airport and plane food prices.

There is so much to think about when going on holiday as a family; organising carry-on bags is a huge task, and booking airport transfers and organising the kiddies. Then you arrive at the airport and have to sort out your checked baggage and get through check-in and airport security. 

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These days getting through the airport takes forever, and airport food is expensive. It can cost over £100 to feed a family at the airport, and that’s before your leave the country. However, you also have a fussy child to consider. One of ours only likes plain food; try getting a plain ham sandwich at an airport. 

But there is a way to get around the airport food nightmare, keep the kids happy, save a fortune, and take a picnic through airport security. You can even take a picnic on an aeroplane.

Save Money and Take a Picnic on Your Next Flight 

If we can give you one piece of advice this Summer when you’re flying, take a picnic! I know you can take a picnic through airport security; who knew? And this is the key to happy kids when travelling. 

The BBC recently asked me to appear on TV about the Hidden Costs of Travel this Summer. I did that, and then I wrote a piece about it too!

Hidden Costs of Travel

The Soaring Costs stretching holiday makers’ budgets

Pack A Picnic For The Airport If You Are Flying With Kids

However, the chat on my Facebook page and in my DM’s since I wrote the piece and appeared on TV has been:

Can You Really Take a Picnic on a Flight? And Take Food Through Airport Security?

The answer to both those questions is yes. You can take food through security and a huge extra bag of food through security in your carry-on luggage. You can’t take drinks (or usually squeezy yoghurts).

Ever since the kids were small, we’ve packed a huge picnic for the airport and the flight as I don’t know about yours, but mine want plain sandwiches (still do, to be honest) and don’t want ham sandwiches with mayo on no matter how nice (Pret & Boots I’m looking at you).

However, recently, it’s even more important. We’ve been lucky enough to fly a few times this year already, and each time we’ve received a message from the airline telling us there was unlikely to be any food on the flight to buy if you hadn’t pre-booked. They also couldn’t guarantee the pre-booked food!

Save Time Queuing at the Airport and Pack a Picnic

Also, please don’t rely on buying food at the airport. You might take ages to get through security, which seems to be the norm these days.  Thus, you have to go straight to your flight, or you might get through in time to find most restaurants and shops shut due to a lack of staff and huge queues at those places open. Honestly, it’s a thing.

If all the flights are delayed, this problem is even worse. The last time we flew, the queue for all restaurants was 2 hours long, and we only managed to get sandwiches from WH Smiths as I was standing in the right place when the delivery came in.

So – if you’re flying this year with kids, save yourself the earache and pack a picnic. If you’re flying this year without kids, again, pack a picnic. I promise you won’t regret it! 

Can You Really Take a Picnic on a Flight And Take Food Through Airport Security

Tips for Taking Snacks and Packed Lunches Through Airport Security

Ensure any food item is well wrapped and stored in an airtight, leakproof container. Any liquids and gell food items such as sauces and jellies must be under 3.4 ounces or 100 millilitres and in a sealed container. However, this is limited to fitting into a plastic bag you take through security and the X-ray machine.

Let kiddies choose their holiday-packed lunch; if it’s more of an adventure, they will be excited and not ask for expensive airport food. That in our experience they then won’t eat!

You are also able to take baby food and formula. If you plan to take a lot of baby food, wrap it well and pack it in your checked luggage. However, you can take small jars through to cover the flight and airport time. 

What do we Pack in our Airport Picnic for Flying with Kids?

We try to mix it up so their holiday picnic is different every time, but this is an idea of some of the things we pack. This depends on the time of day, but some ideas for food to take through airport security are…

  • Sandwiches 
  • Pot Noodle (get hot water from the airline staff)
  • Breadsticks
  • Crisps
  • Mini cheddars
  • Pizza
  • Pancakes
  • Croissants
  • Pepperami minis
  • Fun size bags of biscuits
  • Salted crackers/Ritz crackers
  • Popcorn
  • Popcorn bars
  • Pretzels
  • Sandwiches
  • Hummus or cream cheese with bread sticks or veggie sticks.
  • Mini sausages or sausage rolls
  • Babybel
  • Fruit
  • Salad items such as carrot and cucumber sticks
  • Seafood
  • Flap jack – find our recipe for homemade flapjack here.
  • Raisins and other dried fruit
  • Bear Paws fruit snacks
  • Fruit swirls/Yo Yo Bear Nibbles
  • Candy and sweets
  • Yoghurt or chocolate-covered rice cakes
  • Apple/blueberry infant rice cakes
  • Vegetable crisps – find our recipe for homemade beetroot, carrot and parsnip crisps here.
  • Fruit crisps e.g. banana chips or protein bars.

Passengers flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. mainland cannot take most fresh fruits and vegetables due to the risk of spreading invasive plant pests.

Sauces and Juice Less Than  3.4 Ounces or 100 Ml That you can Take Through Airport Security

If they’re considered a liquid, paste, or gel, they must be under 3.4 ounces. This includes liquids and dips, which must fit in your quart-sized bag. We advise packing items in the bag at the top of your lunch box. This way, you can pop it out and take it through security. But remember, there is only one bag per person. They may be subject to additional screening, so we stick to dry goods. 

  • Maple syrup
  • Juice
  • ​Yoghurt
  • Creamy Dips
  • Jam
  • Jellies
  • Ketchup
  • Honey
  • Peanut butter (Although check your flight isn’t peanut free first)
  • Hummus

36 Travel Snacks Ideas

In Conclusion

There are steps you can take to save money at the airport, and taking your own food through security to eat at the airport and on the plane is a great way to save. Plus saves the hassle of finding food that the kids will actually like. This makes family travel much more harmonious, especially if the kids are happy. Because if the kids are happy, we are all happy.

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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