TSA 2014 Holiday Travel Tips

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Monday, November 24, 2014
Holiday Travel Banner

It’s that time of year again where we wonder where our summer went, and start gearing up for the holidays.

According to Airlines for America (A4A), airports and airlines anticipate 24.6 million air travelers nationwide during the upcoming 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a 1.5 percent increase over 2013. On an average day, TSA screens nearly 1.8 million travelers at 450 U.S. airports, including 3 million carry-on bags and 1.2 million checked bags.

With Thanksgiving comes the busiest travel season of the year, and with many infrequent or first-time travelers, we always like to offer a cornucopia of various travel tips and links to everything you might want to know prior to traveling.

TSA Pre check logo

Expedited Screening: TSA continues to expand TSA Pre✓®, which expedites checkpoint screening for known travelers and active duty service members, with similar benefits for passengers 12 and under and 75 and older. TSA Pre✓® is currently available at 123 airports. Remember, entering incorrect information can lead to not being selected for TSA Pre✓®. Visit dhs.gov/tt to learn more about trusted traveler programs that offer expedited screening.

5 Branches of the Military seals

Military Travel: TSA offers screening benefits for members of the U.S. Armed forces. As mentioned above, active duty service members and members of four United States Service Academies are eligible for expedited screening through TSA Pre✓®. Supply your DoD ID number as your Known Traveler Number on each reservation.

The MyTSA App: Want TSA information anywhere, anytime? Use the MyTSA app.Use the “Can I Bring My…” tool to enter the item you want to pack. It will tell you whether you can pack it in your carry-on or checked bag. This isn’t a Magic 8 Ball, so please don’t expect it to prophetically answer yes and no questions. A wait time feature is also available. It relies on crowd sourcing, which means the more people who use it, the better.

Passenger Support: Call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 if you or a family member has a disability or medical condition with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling.

wrapped gifts

Wrapped gifts are allowed, but not encouraged: Wrapped gifts are allowed, but we recommend waiting until you land to wrap them. If there’s something in the gift that needs to be inspected, we may have to open it. Our officers try their best not to mangle the gift wrap, but it’s not a guarantee and it also slows down the line for everybody else when we have to do this.

Liquids, Gels & Aerosols: If you’re checking a bag, make your life simple by packing liquids in your checked baggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about the liquids rules. You’re 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 one bag per person.Make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray.

Here is some information on liquid, aerosol and gel items:

  • Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant
  • Makeup: Any liquid makeup cosmetics such as eyeliner, nail polish, liquid foundation, etc., should be placed in the baggie. That goes for perfume as well. Powder makeup is fine.
  • Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer and all of your favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can alsobring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on bags in the 3-1-1 baggie.
  • Foods: Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc., are all permitted. Read the list of foods that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped if they don’t comply with the carry-on rules.

Dry Ice: Find out how to travel with dry ice to keep your favorite Thanksgiving vittles preserved while traveling.

Shaving Razors: Certain razors are permitted. Know which ones you can fly with in this blog post.

Forgotten or Lost IDs: If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions.


Medication: One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication?” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers.

Traveling With Children: Did you know that children 12 and under can keep their shoes on?Read about the screening process how to best pack for your child.

Traveling With a Pet: Contact your airline first to ask about requirements, fees, or restrictions they might have. Read about going through screening with your pet.

Jewelry: Read about the best practices when going through security with your jewelry. There are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is.

Double Check: If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket and other items you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give them the onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited through the checkpoint. Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives, and other prohibited item say that they did so unknowingly.

Lose Something? Contact the airport lost and found. Tape your business card or contact info to your valuable electronics. Not only does this help us contact you if you lose your items, but it prevents travelers from grabbing the wrong item by mistake.

Of course, you can always contact TSA with questions and feedback.

Phone: 1-866-289-9673
Email: TSA-ContactCenter@tsa.dhs.gov
Hours: Weekdays 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. ET
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET

Happy Holidays!

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Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

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