Don't take your own food onto planes because it obstructs luggage scanners, Government advises airline passengers

Katie Morley
The Department for Transport has told passengers to avoid taking food in hand luggage if possible - Gareth Fuller/PA

Don't take food onto planes because it obstructs luggage scanners, the Government has advised airline passengers for the first time.

New Department for Transport guidance states that "food or powders should be packed into hold baggage where possible".

Many passengers take their own food when they fly to avoid paying the premiums charged by airport retailers or airlines.

British Airways is among the legacy carriers which have recently stopped offering complimentary refreshments to economy passengers in a bid to compete with low-cost airlines.

The DfT says storing food in hand luggage can "obstruct images on the x-ray machine or may be mistaken for suspicious items", leading to additional checks.

Passengers will not be stopped from travelling with food, but those that do should "allow extra time at security", the guidance warned.

The best (and worst) in-flight meals

There are already rules banning travel with liquids, gels and pastes of more than 100 millilitres, sharp items and tools.

Large electrical items such as laptops or tablets can be taken into the cabin, but must be removed from hand luggage at the search area and placed in the tray.

Aviation minister Baroness Sugg said: "We have some of the strongest aviation security measures in the world, and the restrictions are in place for a good reason - to keep passengers safe.

"By simply checking the guidance before they set off for the airport, passengers can have a smoother and less stressful start to their journey."

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel magazine, said: "Time and time again, our investigations have found that passengers are being ripped off with inflated prices for a number of items at airports around the UK.

"If travellers are being advised not to take their food through security, airports should ensure that the price of foodavailable to them after security is fairly priced."

A DfT spokesman said: “As we have made clear, there is no ban on passengers taking food brought from home or purchased in airports onto their flights.

“In the approach to the busy summer season, we are simply taking the opportunity to remind passengers of the practical steps they can take to ease the process through security, including by putting food and powders in hold luggage where possible. Where passengers need to take these items on board, they should allow extra time to go through security.”