The busiest travel time of the year is approaching, so in the Thanksgiving spirit of sharing, we’d like to share a cornucopia of news, links and travel tips with you so you’ll be as good as gravy when you travel.
According to Airlines for America, 27.3 million passengers will travel globally on U.S. airlines during the Thanksgiving travel period. That’s up 2.5 percent from last year. That’s 2.27 million passengers per day from Nov. 18 through Tuesday, Nov. 29. For your holiday planning, the projected busiest days are November 18 to 23 and November 26 to 28.
As we approach the busy holiday travel season, TSA is taking every measure, both seen and unseen, to protect millions of air travelers and to secure our transportation system. TSA’s goal first and foremost, is to ensure your security, while also working to improve the overall travel experience.
What's New? We’re rolling out a new tool today for TSA Pre✓® travelers. You can now view TSA Pre✓® lane schedule at the nation’s largest airports. Travelers can enter their airport, day of week and time of day they’re traveling, and the tool will return the availability of TSA Pre✓® lanes. Go ahead and try it out! When no lane is available, travelers can show their boarding passes with the TSA Pre✓® indicator to receive expedited screening in a standard lane.
This is a screenshot of open TSA Pre✓®lanes at JFK today between 3pm and 5pm.
What is TSA Pre✓®?
In a nutshell, it allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. In layman’s terms, it means you get through security really fast. The average wait time in TSA Pre✓® lanes is under 5 minutes! Even if a TSA Pre✓® line looks longer, they move much faster than a standard lane with more convenience. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. If you haven’t already, apply now!
Today, there are more than 12 million trusted travelers, including those enrolled in TSA Pre✓®, Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. These trusted travelers have access to faster TSA Pre✓® lanes at more than 180 airports when flying with participating airlines. Before you apply, please review the various DHS trusted traveler programs to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements and determine the best program for you.
Let’s get the travel tips started by addressing the 15-pound turkey in the room. Yes, your turkey can fly. Well, turkeys can’t fly, but you can pack them in your carry-on or checked bags. If you have a live turkey, you’ll need to contact your airline about their guidelines and possible restrictions.
Arrive Prepared: Just as you would take the time to prepare a delicious Thanksgiving meal, you should take the time to arrive early to the airport to allow enough time to park, get your boarding pass, check your baggage and go through the security checkpoint. We recommend arriving at the airport up to two hours before your domestic flight if you are not yet enrolled in TSA Pre✓®. Also, we recommend noting when your airline gate closes by referring to your boarding pass.
Tips for Pilgrims: Large buckles can set off our metal detectors and your blunderbuss must be packed in checked bags according to our packing guidelines.
TSA Pre✓® Not Reflected on Boarding Pass: If you’re looking at your boarding pass and you don’t see the TSA Pre✓® indicator even though you’re an approved trusted traveler, we’re here to help! Get live assistance by tweeting @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. Our AskTSA team can help resolve any issues. If you prefer to call, you can reach out to our contact center.
Prohibited Items: Some travelers pack the craziest items. Make sure you’re items are allowed by using 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 or Facebook Messenger and they’ll get back to you right away with an answer. You can even send them a photograph of the item in question. 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 onceover so you don’t accidentally take something prohibited to the checkpoint. Many people who have brought guns, ammunition, knives and other prohibited item say that they did so unknowingly. So far this year, over 2,00o firearms have been discovered in carry-on bags.
E-Cigarettes: E-cigarettes and vape pens are only allowed in carry-on bags. They’re prohibited in checked bags due to their lithium battery’s propensity to catch fire. Read more information in our blog post on the subject.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7: The FAA has declared Samsung Note 7 devices as forbidden hazardous materials and has banned them altogether from flight. You can read more at the FAA webpage.
REAL ID: TSA will continue to accept driver’s licenses issued by all states through January 2018 and, then, will continue to accept licenses from all compliant states or noncompliant states with an extension.
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.
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.
- Gravy: Gravy is sadly prohibited from carry-on bags unless you pack it in accordance with our liquid polices mentioned above. You can also pack it in your checked baggage.
- Deodorant: Flying with deodorant isn’t a sticky situation. Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is. Read more about deodorant at our blog.
- 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. Read our blog post on traveling with beauty products.
- Beverages: Wine, liquor, beer and all of your favorite beverages are permitted in your checked baggage. You can also bring beverages packaged in 3.4 oz or less bottles in your carry-on in the liquids bag. Just because you can pack alcohol doesn’t mean that you can drink them on the flight. FAA regulations state that “No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage.”
- Foods: Horns of plenty are permitted as long as they don’t have any of these food items (or weapons) within. Cakes, pies, bread, donuts, fruits, vegetables, turkeys, etc., are all allowed. If you have the Periscope app, you can watch a video about traveling with Thanksgiving related food items filmed at Reagan National (DCA). Oh yeah. Wondering if your turducken is permitted? Find the answer here.
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 razors you can fly with.
Blades: Anything with blades, points or spikes should be placed in your checked baggage. This includes knives of all sizes, as well as blender and food processor blades. Nail clippers and corkscrews are permitted, but models with blades attached are prohibited.
Forgotten or Lost IDs: If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be allowed 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.
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: 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.
TSA Cares Helpline: Call TSA Cares toll free at 855-787-2227 if you or a family member with a disability or medical condition have questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint 72 hours prior to traveling.
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✓®.
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. You can also contact our AskTSA team via Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger.
AskTSA: Still have questions? Reach out to our AskTSA team via Twitter at @AskTSA or via Facebook Messenger. 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.
TSA is working closely with airport and airline partners, and is taking other measures including providing overtime, ensuring full-time staffing, and providing additional support at high volume airports during the Thanksgiving travel period. Also, thanks to the support from Congress this summer, we were able to hire 1,368 additional officers and convert nearly 2,000 part-time officers to full-time.
Rest easy knowing that we’re prepared to get you to your destination safely and help you stay stress free.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Bob Burns - TSA Social Media