'Can I Take This On The Plane?': Why TSA’s Twitter Feed Is A Must-Follow For Thanksgiving Travelers
Flying for Thanksgiving? Pack some patience, give yourself extra time at the airport, and follow the TSA’s ask-me-anything Twitter feed.
Airport security checkpoints can be slow going over the holiday travel period, not least of all because many passengers arrive at the airport laden with Thanksgiving goodies ranging from pies, casseroles and stuffing to cranberries, gravy and other delectables.
Not sure whether your homemade pumpkin pie and canned yams can go in your carry-on bag? The @AskTSA account fields questions like these from travelers all day, every day. (Spoiler: Yes for the pie, no for the yams.)
Here’s the rule of thumb: Solid food items can be packed in your carry-on bag. Non-solids – any foods that can be spilled, spread, sprayed, pumped or poured – should be packed in a checked bag.
- Carry-on bag: Pies, cakes, stuffing mix, casseroles
- Checked bag: Non-solids like gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves
Of course, the best time to send a question is before you leave for the airport. You don’t want to be at the security checkpoint when the TSA officer tells you your jar of apple butter is going to be confiscated. At that stage, it’s too late to move it to your checked luggage.
On the other hand, if you had perused the TSA’s Twitter feed, you might have spotted a tip about freezing foods before getting to the airport.
Question: Thanksgiving is coming. I would like to @AskTSA how to get creamed onions, macaroni & cheese and sweet potato casserole through to my destination? I want to pack in Ziploc freezer bags, freeze and put in a small Styrofoam cooler with ice packs. Carry-on or checked?
Answer: Thanks for checking. Frozen spreadable foods and ice packs are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. When packed in carry-on bags, they may exceed 3.4 oz per container as long as it’s completely frozen solid when presented for screening. If it’s slightly melted, slushy or there’s liquid in the bottom of the container (food and ice packs), it must be 3.4 oz or less.
Not on Twitter? Download the free MyTSA app and go to the “Can I bring” feature. Type in an item you’ll find out immediately if you should pack it in a checked or carry-on bag.
The TSA is expecting 26.8 million passengers traveling through security screening checkpoints nationwide between now and December 2. That’s 4 percent more than last year, which is the current record holder.
The busiest travel days will be Wednesday, November 27, the day before the holiday, with 2.7 million passengers and crew expected, and Sunday, December 1, when more than 2.8 million travelers are expected to fly home. For comparison, the TSA screens about 2.1 million passengers on a typical weekday.
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