The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is expecting around 26.8 million Thanksgiving travelers to take to the skies between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2 — a 4-percent increase over 2018 — but they’re hoping to expedite the influx of airline fliers by issuing a forewarning of the agency’s carry-on turkey policy.
Ahead of the holiday, the TSA shared a press release outlining its top travel tips. But more importantly, the agency shared the official rules and regulations for traveling with any gravies, sauces, stuffings or desserts. And basically, it all depends on what qualifies as a “solid food item” and what doesn’t.
“Pies, cakes, stuffing mix, casseroles, are all good in a carry-on bag because they are solid food items,” the TSA wrote. However, things such as “gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves, should all go into a checked bag,” as those items are not considered solids.
“Basically if you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, (say that three times fast) then it’s not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag,” the agency advised.
Any dishes that consist of both liquid and solid, or fall somewhere in between, should also be packed in a checked bag, “just in case.”
When it comes to the bird, however, the TSA says the turkey is free to fly in the cabin.
“Who are we kidding, we know you always travel with extra room in your carry-on just in case you need to transport the Thanksgiving piece-de-resistance. So fear not, the cooked avian creature can tag along in your carry-on at the airport,” the TSA confirmed in a separate webpage detailing Thanksgiving carry-ons.
Other tips include packing the carving knife in checked luggage (“a no-brainer,” they say) as well as any corkscrews that contain a blade.
As for keeping your dishes cold, the TSA said any ice packed with your foodstuffs must remain frozen throughout the flight, lest it violate the 3-1-1 rule. Any policies concerning dry ice, on the other hand, are up to the individual airlines, so call ahead.
In the interest of smooth travels, the TSA also recommends enrolling in TSA PreCheck to save time; having your ID and boarding pass handy when approaching the security agent; and downloading the MyTSA app (which has a “Can I Bring?” feature).
And always — always — give yourself plenty of time to get through security.
“Get to the airport early — two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight,” the TSA writes. “Only a turkey gets to the airport in the last minute during the Thanksgiving travel period. Don’t be a turkey!"