Here’s what Thanksgiving foods you can bring in your carry-on and what has to be checked


For loads of Thanksgiving vacationers and hosts, there is a mutual, maybe unwritten, settlement: The out-of-town friends journey, and the hosts deal with the cooking.

For loads of others, although, it isn’t fairly so simple. This means you’re seemingly to see a fellow passenger toting a turkey or pie whereas making ready to board the flight dwelling for the vacation. And, in fact, we anticipate to see loads of passengers flying with leftovers on their approach dwelling.

That additionally means the Transportation Security Administration can anticipate to see a way more eclectic assortment of carry-on gadgets as workers prepares to display hundreds of thousands of vacationers over the approaching days. In each 2021 and 2022, the company’s prime day for passenger checkpoint throughput was the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

It makes the TSA’s job all of the tougher as its workers navigates what’s certain to be huge crowds this yr, too.

“It’s weird, but sometimes we will see turkeys at security checkpoints,” TSA Southeast spokesperson Mark Howell instructed TPG.

If you’re among the many vacationers hoping to do some meal prep at dwelling earlier than flying, there are some issues you want to know, whether or not you’ll be ready in the usual line (arrive early, if that’s the case) or have TSA PreCheck.

Thanksgiving vacationers wait at Orlando International Airport (MCO) in 2021. SOPA IMAGES/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES

3-1-1 applies, as at all times

As is at all times the case, the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule governs what can and can’t come on the aircraft. It implies that every liquid you bring via a checkpoint should be in a 3.4-ounce or smaller container, all containers should be positioned in one clear quart-size plastic bag and every passenger is simply allowed one plastic bag.

Even on a traditional journey day, the prohibited gadgets pile up — fairly actually — in plastic bins close to checkpoints.

Most vacationers know they can’t bring an enormous bottle of sunscreen in their carry-on baggage. However, the composition of Thanksgiving entrees and aspect dishes can get a bit complicated when it comes to 3-1-1.

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Related: These are the TSA-approved foods you can — and can’t — bring with you on an airplane

TSA carry-on Thanksgiving meals. TSA

Bringing Thanksgiving meals on a aircraft

Let’s begin with the apparent right here: You have to comply with 3-1-1 whether or not you’re bringing on a mini bottle of toothpaste or your household’s well-known Thanksgiving stuffing.

“Your solid food, your cakes and pies are going to be OK,” Howell defined.

That means you’re good to bring a turkey, ham, hen or one thing of the like. TSA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise that you give particular consideration to packing and storing perishables.

We say “special attention” as a result of the steps you take to guarantee your meals stays chilly via your journey can grow to be a typical pitfall.

Any ice packs you use should keep frozen as you make your approach via the checkpoint.

That goes for that frozen turkey you purchased on the grocery retailer, too.

“Sometimes, if it’s half melted, and there’s liquid in there, there’s an issue,” Howell mentioned. You’ll need to depart it in the freezer proper up till you depart for the airport, in that case.

On the opposite hand, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, casseroles, pies, pastries and contemporary fruits and greens are usually protected bets to bring via the checkpoint.

Thanksgiving meals for a checked bag. TSA

Items you can’t bring

With many different traditional vacation dishes, you’ll need to contemplate the elements earlier than you attempt to carry it on, and in some circumstances, it is a fairly apparent “no-go.”

“If you can pump it, pour it, spray it or spread it and it’s more than 3.4 ounces, then it should go in your checked bag,” Howell mentioned.

Many gadgets can get via, together with spices. You want to test canned fruits and greens.

Gravies, sauces, jams, jellies, wine and spirits will want to go in checked baggage. Just be certain to wrap and pack gadgets rigorously to keep away from a multitude in the occasion a fragile bottle breaks.

Luckily, if you’re uncertain what meals can include you on the aircraft, the TSA has a useful “What Can I Bring?” characteristic. Type in your merchandise, and you ought to be in a position to discover out if you can carry it via a checkpoint or if it ought to be checked.

Related: Best instances to e-book flights for reasonable airfare

What foods can you bring via TSA?

With respect to Thanksgiving, here’s a full rundown the TSA has shared about foods which might be and aren’t permissible in carry-on baggage.

Thanksgiving foods you can bring via a TSA checkpoint

  • Baked items, pies, desserts, cookies, brownies
  • Meats, together with turkey, hen, ham, steak (frozen, cooked or raw)
  • Stuffing, cooked or raw
  • Casseroles
  • Mac and cheese
  • Fresh greens
  • Fresh fruit
  • Candy
  • Spices

Thanksgiving foods you can’t bring in your carry-on bag

  • Cranberry sauce, do-it-yourself or canned
  • Gravy
  • Beverages like wine or Champagne
  • Canned fruit or greens (since there’s sometimes liquid in the can)
  • Preserves, jams and jellies

If your merchandise falls into the “no” class for a carry-on bag, you ought to nonetheless be in a position to pack it in your checked baggage. This is an efficient time to use these free checked luggage and different airline credit out there on that journey bank card in your pockets.

Bottom line

Every time the TSA catches a prohibited merchandise whereas scanning a bag, it causes a delay on the checkpoint. During what’s anticipated to be one of many busiest weeks of the yr, these delays can add up.

Whether you plan to pack a bottle of hair gel or your household’s conventional Thanksgiving casserole, contemplate whether or not the dimensions and composition of your merchandise make it eligible to cross via safety.

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