In the Thanksgiving spirit of giving, we’d like to offer travelers a cornucopia of news, links and travel tips. With our tips, you’ll be as good as gravy (packed in your checked bag) when you travel. 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 systems. TSA’s goal first and foremost, is to ensure your security, while also working to improve the overall travel experience.
Let’s get this post 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, whole, sliced, diced or chopped. If you have a live turkey, you’ll need to contact your airline about their guidelines and possible restrictions. And if that isn’t cool enough, pies can fly as well.
It’s always busy this time of year; this year it’s going be REALLY busy. From Nov. 17th to the 29th, TSA expects to screen more than 26 million passengers and crew at airport checkpoints, a 5 percent increase over last year. The Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) will be one of the busiest days ever for TSA, with a nationwide total of 2.64 million passengers and crew projected to be screened. For your holiday planning, the busiest days are:
- Sun Nov 26 – 2,643,628
- Mon Nov 27 – 2,467,153
- Wed Nov 22 - 2,360,167
- Fri Nov 17 – 2,290,612
- Tue Nov 21 - 2,276,341
TSA is working closely with airport and airline partners to make sure resources are in place where needed, 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.
What's New with TSA?
We launched a Facebook page yesterday! While our page is currently bare as turkey bones after Thanksgiving dinner, the account will promote TSA initiatives and provide news, videos and other updates. Like us!
We recently revamped the MyTSA app. It provides airline passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport security information on any mobile device. Save time and money with our helpful tips for preparing for security, including a searchable database of items that can and can’t go in checked or carry-on bags.
Visit the new TSA Travel Tips webpage and be sure to check it out and subscribe as we’ll be updating it with new content weekly.
1. Travel Gear
Camping, Backpacking, or Fishing: If you’re heading to the great outdoors, be sure to check out this post for tips on traveling with camping and fishing gear.
Dry Ice: Did you know that you can take dry ice in your carry-on or in checked baggage? Read about traveling with dry ice to keep your favorite vittles preserved.
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.
Batteries: You can’t go anywhere without some kind of battery these days. Learn about what types of batteries you can travel with.
Baggage Locks: Want to lock your checked baggage? Be sure to read about TSA recognized locks.
2. Packing Your Carry-On Bags
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.
Shaving Razors: In brief, all razors are allowed in checked bags. Disposable razors are allowed in carry-on bags, and safety razors with removable blades are not. Check out the blog post for pictures of razor examples and more information.
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 policies 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.
Duty Free Liquids: You may carry more than 3.4oz or 100 ml of duty free liquids in secure, tamper–evident bags in your carry-on bag if:
- The duty free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
- The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
- The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.
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.
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.
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.
Prohibited Items: Some travelers pack the craziest items. Make sure your 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 once-over 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 2,000 firearms have been discovered in carry-on bags.
3. At the Security Checkpoint
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 boards and closes by referring to your boarding pass.
TSA Pre✓® - 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!
TSA Pre✓® travelers (including those enrolled in Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI), have access to faster TSA Pre✓® lanes at more than 200 airports when flying with participating airlines. To find the program that best suits your travel needs, use the DHS trusted traveler comparison tool.
You can now view TSA Pre✓® lane schedules 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.
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.
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✓®.
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. Children 12 and under may also travel through the TSA Pre✓® lane if one or both of their parents have it!
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.
4. How can we help you?
Have you Asked TSA?: 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.
Lost or Forgotten IDs: We’ve received many messages from people whose wallet has been stolen or lost on a trip and have no ID for their return trip. Don’t worry, if this happens to you, you’ll still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions. It’s wise to get to the airport a little earlier just to be safe.
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.
TSA Cares Helpline: Call TSA Cares toll free at 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.
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.
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