By now, most travelers have their holiday checklists ready to help with the holiday cheer. The last thing that comes to mind (usually not until after arriving at the airport) is whether certain holiday gifts and foods are allowed through security checkpoints! Here’s a list, make sure you’re checking it twice to avoid any delays at the airport.
Download the MyTSA app
The app’s “Can I Bring my _________? ” feature enables you to type in a certain item to see if it’s permitted by TSA. It has more than 3,500 items in the database, many submitted by passengers. You will be sure to find holiday food items such as “eggnog”, “pumpkin pie”, and a “gingerbread house” or “candy canes”.
While wrapped gifts are not prohibited, if a bag alarms, our security officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. We recommend passengers to place presents in gift bags or wrap gifts after arriving to avoid the possibility of having to unwrap them during the screening process. Another good option is to ship them ahead.
Check for gifts that do not belong in carry-on
Toys that look like weapons: A toy gun is prohibited in carry-on bags and must be packed in checked baggage. A plastic toy hand grenade or realistic replicas of explosives are prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags.
Sporting Goods: Novelty and toy bats and hockey and lacrosse sticks are not allowed in carry-on luggage. These items must be transported in your checked bag.
Foods that are liquids or spreads: These foods fall under the TSA's 3-1-1 policy on liquids, gels and aerosols. Each passenger is allowed to take as many 3.4 ounce or less sized containers that will fit in one sealed clear quart-sized zip-top bag – and no more than one bag per person.
Typically, holiday food baskets that contain items such as cranberry sauce, eggnog and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), jams and salad dressings, gravy, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer are over the 3.4-ounce limit and are not allowed.
Certain snow globes: TSA allows small snow globes (approximately tennis-ball size) in carry-on luggage when packed in a passenger's plastic, quart-sized, re-sealable bag with the passenger’s other liquids.
Traveling with Holiday Food Items
Remember to ensure that your food item follows the 3-1-1 liquids rules.
All food items must be screened and may require additional screening.
Do not wrap food items that you plan to bring through the security checkpoints as security officers may have to re-open them for closer inspection.
You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but they are subject to additional screening.
Lastly, don’t forget to check your boarding pass to see if there is a TSA Pre✓® indicator notifying you of eligibility of expedited screening for your flight!
TSA Blog Team