TSA 2015 Holiday Travel Tips

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving

Other than turkey and all the fixin’s, Thanksgiving also means that it’s time for the busiest travel season of the year. According to Airlines for America (A4A), airports and airlines anticipate 25.3 million air travelers nationwide during the upcoming 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, a three percent increase over 2014. TSA security checkpoints will be fully staffed nationwide during this time.

With many infrequent or first-time travelers, we always like to offer a cornucopia of travel tips and links to the most common things travelers need to know prior to traveling.

Arrive Prepared: Arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your baggage and go through the checkpoint. We recommend arriving at the airport at least two hours before your flight if you are not yet enrolled in TSA Pre✓®.

Prohibited Items: 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. You may also refer to our prohibited items list. If you still can’t find the answer, reach out to our @AskTSA team via Twitter and they’ll get back to you right away with an answer.

TSA Precheck Logo

TSA Pre✓®: Learn more about TSA Pre✓®, which allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. Use your Department of Defense identification number when making flight reservations. Remember,entering incorrect information can lead to not being selected for TSA Pre✓®. Accompanying family members ages 12 and under can be processed through expedited screening as well.

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

Wrapping paper and bows

Wrapped Gifts are Allowed, But Not Encouraged: We’re not the Heat Miser; however, we might have to unwrap gifts. 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 smaller 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.

Deodorant: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is.


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 bag.

Thanksgiving turkey food

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.

Military Travel:TSA offers screening benefits for members of the U.S. Armed forces. Active duty service members and Cadets and midshipmen of the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy, Coast Guard Academy and Air Force Academy are also eligible to receive TSA Pre✓® screening benefits. Supply your DoD ID number as your Known Traveler Number on each reservation. Learn about TSA Pre✓®.

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. Learn 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.

Batteries: You can’t go anywhere without some kind of battery these days. Learn about what types of batteries you can travel with.

Discovered knives

Blades: Anything with blades, points or spikes should be placed in your checked baggage. This includes knives of all sizes, and blender and food processor blades. Nail clippers and corkscrews are permitted, but models with blades attached are prohibited.

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 and how to best pack for your child.

Traveling with a pet

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

Baggage Locks: Want to lock your checked baggage? Be sure to read about TSA recognized locks.

Discovered firearms

Double Check: If you’re grabbing a bag, suitcase, briefcase, jacket or other item you haven’t used in a while, be sure to give it the once over so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited at 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. It’s a good idea to tape your business card or contact info to your valuable electronics or other items. Not only does this help us contact you if you lose your items, it prevents travelers from grabbing the wrong item by mistake.

If You See Something, Say Something: Public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts; therefore, TSA encourages travelers to remember “If You See Something, Say Something™.” For those traveling abroad, check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Know Before You Go page to learn about required documentation.

AskTSA logo

@AskTSA: Still have questions? Well, if you’re on Twitter, there is a brand new way to contact us. Reach out to our @AskTSA team. We have a team standing by from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays. If you prefer to call or submit an online form, you can reach out to our contact center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and weekends/holidays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Follow @TSA on Twitter and Instagram!

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team

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