TSA offers top tips for your Thanksgiving travel

Your yearly reminder: If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, you can’t pack it in your carry-on bag as you take a flight this Thanksgiving.

With nearly 27 million people expected to pass through airports nationwide around the Thanksgiving holiday, the Transportation Security Administration is reminding travelers that their best bet to breeze through long security lines is to be prepared.

The TSA’s comprehensive 2019 list of holiday travel tips broaches everything from airport commutes from what turkey tools to leave in your checked bag.

“We expect record breaking travel volume this 2019 holiday season, following our busiest summer ever,” said TSA Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell.

The agency expects the busiest days this turkey season to be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 27, and the Sunday following the holiday, Dec. 1.

To speed things up and reduce the risk of an unexpected travel headache, the TSA has these nifty tips for the 2019 holiday season:

  • Get to the airport early: Allow two hours before boarding for a domestic flight, and three hours ahead of an international flight. During the Thanksgiving holiday, you’re not only battling long security lines but abnormally heavy traffic, too.
  • Know which foods can (or can’t) go in your carry-on: The TSA says primarily solid food items like pies, cakes, stuffing mix and casseroles are fit for your carry-on luggage. Keep the gravy, cranberry sauce, wine or other liquid items in a checked bag. Rule of thumb: If it’s liquid, you can’t pack it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t bring banned items: This should be a given, but apparently enough people stuff electronic carving knives in their carry-ons that the TSA names that item specifically. Search a full list of items prohibited from carry-on bags, checked luggage or both.
  • Know what to expect in security: Waiting in line is the perfect opportunity to remove items from your pockets and get your ID and boarding pass ready for inspection. Wear slip-ons instead of shoes or boots with laces can make your life easier. “But admittedly, it’s fun to watch someone else hop around on one foot as they try to remove a boot,” the TSA says, rather cruelly.

If you’re unsure about an item, reach out to TSA on Twitter at @AskTSA or download the free MyTSA app for iOS or Android devices. Enrolling in TSA Precheck is an option to consider, if not for this holiday season, then for the future.

WTOP’s Jack Moore contributed to this story.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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