If you are flying with a baby, toddler or older child and are wondering whether you can bring your own baby food on planes, then YES you can and it can be over the 100ml/3-1-1 liquid rule. More information is below.
This article mainly focusses on pre–ordering child and baby food known as child and baby meals on certain airlines. For more information on bringing your own baby food on planes, see here.
What is a baby or child meal?
A baby, child airline meal, and if you are really lucky a toddler airline meal, are pre requestable meals which differ from the usual meal choice on the flight.
Airlines do vary in their special food availability for younger guests. As a general rule, long haul flights with large airlines provide this service, with the Asian and Arabian Gulf airlines excelling.
Thankfully, it is easy to order a baby or child meal. Baby meals, if available, can be requested for an infant between 0 and under 2. Baby meals are puréed food jars.
Child meals are for children over 2, who are in their own seat. These are often pasta, or chicken nugget type meals. Child meals are usually handed out before other passenger meals.
If your child is under 2, and weaned, it is best to bring your own provisions, as there are only a handful of airlines who will provide a pre- requestable toddler or post weaning meal.
How do I book a baby or child meal?
- You can often request a special meal online by heading to the Manage My Booking section using your airline booking reference and look for dietary requests or Special Meals. Follow up with a phone call, or re-confirm when you check in. if you book via a third party, do mention it to them but ask for your airline booking reference so you can follow this up.
- Make sure you order at least 24 hours prior to departure. As an ex flight attendant, I know that occasionally special meals don’t make it on to the plane. This could be a booking error; by the airline, travel agent, or passenger. Please do not get upset with the crew on board as it is out of their hands. They are a request only, but every endeavour is usually made to rectify the issue.
- Some airlines like Emirates etc, carry a limited supply of baby milk formula and baby food puree jars, but if it’s imperative you have a particular brand etc, definitely pack a small supply of your own.
- A children’s meal is generally designed for children aged 2 and over but there are some exceptions. See below for airline specific information. As a rule, unless your airline specifies that they provide a post weaning meal, or toddler meal for children aged 1 and over; you cannot request a child meal for an infant under 2 who does not have their own seat.
- I always recommend packing plenty of your own snacks, fruit and other baby food on a flight, in case the meal service does not come at a time your child needs it, or the meal is not to their liking.
Details of Airlines and Types of Baby Meals and Child Meals They Provide.
Here is a compilation of several large international airlines and what they currently supply on board.
Infants’ and children’s meals are available only on international flights and in business class within North America.
Baby food made up of sweet and savoury organic pots and baby biscuits can be provided as the baby meal on request. You can also order child meals for up to 8 years old are provided on flights over 2.5 hours or more.
Air France child meals consist of:
Breakfast includes 2 mini-pastries, a yogurt drink (containing sugar and dairy) or fruit juice, a compote, milk, and cereal.
The hot meal (lunch or dinner) includes:
– a seasoned salad,
– a main course (usually chicken with pasta and grated cheese),
– sweet pastry,
– apple juice,
– cheese and crackers,
– a fruit compote and a dessert.
Do not provide baby food or child meals.
You can request a baby meal, toddler meal or child meal up until 24 hours before the flight. However, these meals are only provided for flights departing Incheon.
Baby Meals cannot be pre-ordered but they have a limited stock of baby food and milk. British Airways Child Meals 2-12 yrs old) are available on all long haul flights and some short haul.
You can request Baby Meals and Child Meals. There is a limited amount of baby milk powder, spare bottles and pureed baby food available on all flights. The Emirates child meal economy has plastic cutlery, is usually pasta, or nuggets. More information on flying with kids on Emirates airline here.
You can request Baby Meals and Child Meals on Etihad. These include baby meals, post weaning meals for over 2 year olds and a Etihad child meals for children aged between 2 and 5. Information on the differences between Etihad v Emirates here.
Eva Air Child Meal
Eva Air offer baby, post weaning and child meals. Baby Meal (BBML) is for babies between 6 months and 2 years old. Milk powder is not supplied. A Post-Weaning Meal (PWML) is for over 2 years old infant – This meal is soft and easy to chew. Child Meal (CHML) is for 2 years old – 5 years old.
JAL Japan Airlines
JAl offers baby, post weaning and child meals.
As part of their services for families, JAL have baby food (for up to 8 months old), baby meals (for 9 months to 2 years old), and child meals (for 2 to 11 years old).
Baby food comes in the form of pureed bottled food, accompanied by a Japan Airlines bib. Baby meals consist of easy-to-eat food prepared in bite-sized pieces, and child meals are shaped and decorated with cute characters.
For children in business class and first class, JAL offer BEDD for Kids, chef-curated meals.
Lufthansa provides meals for babies and infants –baby food, mini sausages and soups – are also available on board Lufthansa flights – while stocks last.
Child Meal examples are ‘tortoise muffin’, ‘Lu’s favourite lasagne’, or ‘chipolata mummies’.
You can request both Baby Meals and Child Meals on Malaysia Airlines.
Singapore Airlines provide four different types of meal choices for infants and children. The Child Meals on Singapore Airlines are suitable for children between two and seven years old. Baby Meals concept of 3 jars of baby food and are suitable for infants less than a year old. singapore airlines child meal economy
They also provide a Post Weaning Meal option for children aged between one and two: with food which is easy to bite, chew and digest.
Lastly, they have a Child Meal for Infants which is also made up of food items that are easy to bite, chew and digest but the portions are more substantial in terms of quantity and choice, compared to Post Weaning Meals.
Singapore Airlines also provide an exclusive inflight meal service, called Yummy!, which allows their young customers aged between 2 and 11 years travelling in Suites, First and Business class to select their main course before their flight.
Sri Lankan provide baby meals and also child meals. The child meals are available for two different aged groups between 1 – 6 and also 7- 12 years. They promote a varied and healthy diet with salt and sugars added in a natural form.
Turkish Airlines provide baby meals on most flights. However, on domestic flights, baby food is only available on flights departing from Ankara and Istanbul. On international flights, you can select a meal for your infant up to 24 hours before the flight.
A Turkish Airlines child meals does not contain fish or meat with bones, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, spicy foods, dressings, and sauces, or boiled sweets. They may contains some or all of: grated carrot, cheese, crackers, finger food, fresh fruit, and fruit juice.
Qantas Child Meal
You can request baby, toddler and child meals on Qantas. They also provide a limited range of baby food, milk, baby bottles, cereals and rusks.
Qatar Child Meal
Qatar Airways can supply baby food jar & limited emergency baby bottles. A Qatar Airways child meal may be a non-vegetarian meal that is suitable for young travellers. Child meals on Qatar Airwaysmay contain: Pancakes, pasta, breaded chicken / fish fillets, chips, sweets, fruit. hild meal qatar airways
Can I bring baby food on planes?
Yes you can. If it is in your hand luggage and it is for your baby on the flight, then it is NOT subject to the 100ml/3-1-1 liquid rule. This includes water, breast milk or powdered milk.
If it is for you, unless medically approved then it IS subject to the liquid rules if it is in your hand luggage.
If you need to bring some travel snacks or food for your baby (especially if you have a post weaned toddler who won’t be eligible for a child meal on board), some ideas include:
- cheese crackers
- fruit squeeze pouch
- cooked pasta
- mini sausages
- rice cakes
- granola bars
- cucumber and carrot sticks
- bread sticks
- porridge pots
- cereal hoops
Anything that is fresh, remember to leave on the aircraft or check the countries customs laws. For example, fresh food of any kind is NOT allowed into Australia or New Zealand. To keep the food fresh, I take Ziploc bags and fill with ice from home, and refill at the airport and on the airplane.
I don’t use icepacks/coolpacks as some countries security laws will not accept these through security. Instead, pack some Ziplocs and refill once airside and again from the crew onboard the plane.
I avoid candy, lollies and chocolate etc as a hyper kid on the plane is zero fun! The only exception is the lollipop I keep for top of descent, in case they find the ear pressure uncomfortable.
Remember many food products must be declared in certain countries. Always look at the customs card and if in doubt, bin it or declare it. I’ve always declared baby powder formula, even opened and have been allowed it. Countries like Australia will not let you bring any fresh produce in. Please check the latest customs laws.
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