Traveling with fresh flowers is a tricky endeavor because of the many rules and regulations governing what can safely be brought aboard an airplane, and packing them in checked baggage will likely leave them crushed and lifeless. The water and chemical preservatives normally used to keep flowers fresh and nice looking will not successfully pass through airport security checkpoints because liquid rules prohibit large quantities of water in your carry-on bag or personal item. But it is possible to safely take flowers on airplanes for domestic flights with minimal hassles and adhering to TSA rules by observing a few basic travel tips.
1. Prepare the Flowers for Transport
Prepare your bouquet of flowers for air travel several hours before arriving at the airport. Remove the leaves from along the lower half of each cut flower stem. Trim off the bottom inch from each stem. Make the cut slightly angled. Use clean pruning shears or sharp scissors to remove the leaves and trim the stems. Make sure if you are going to take your shears with you to pack them in your checked bags.
2. Warm Water and Preservatives
Heat water in a microwave or on the stovetop until it reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Pour the water into a large vase. Dissolve cut flower preservatives in the water. Follow the label instructions to determine the correct usage and amount of preservative.
3. Soak Flower Stems
Soak the cut flower stems in the warm water and preservative solution for two to three hours before taking them to the airport. Keep the flowers in a cool spot out of direct sunlight so they will not experience stress, which will keep them from absorbing the preservative solution.
4. Prepare Paper Towels
Stack four sheets of paper towel on a flat surface. Line up the edges. Dip the paper towels into the water and preservative solution until they are saturated. Wring out the excess liquid.
5. Fold Paper Towels around Stems
Lay the stems of the cut flowers on the damp paper towels. Fold the paper towels around the base and sides of the stems. Cover the moistened paper towel with a double layer of plastic wrap. Secure the plastic wrap around the stems using a piece of masking tape or a sealable plastic bag.
6. Carry in your Hand
If possible, carry the flowers in your hand rather than in backpacks through the airport, and place them into one of the plastic tubs provided at the security checkpoint. Allow them to be run through the security scanner. Gather them after they have passed inspection and proceed to your gate.
7. Keep the flowers safe onboard
Keep the flowers at your seat during the flight, or ask a flight attendant to keep them in the galley to prevent them from being jostled or damaged in your hand luggage or the overhead bin. Ask if the flight attendant can place the flowers in water for long flights, if desired.
Regulations may vary for international flights. For more information on air travel regulation, go to tsa.gov.
Things You Will Need
Cut flower preservative