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TSA gives tips for holiday travel ahead of Thanksgiving



Holiday travel is ramping up ahead of Thanksgiving and airport security officials are urging travelers to keep their stress at a low simmer while packing and clearing security ahead of a flight.

Those planning to fly during Thanksgiving week should arrive at the airport at least two hours before takeoff and pay close attention to what they pack, Transportation Security Administration Great Lakes regional spokesperson Jessica Mayle said.

Many people may pack homemade foodstuffs or gifts in their luggage at this time of year, but Mayle said they should think twice about “foods that can be spread or poured or sprayed.”

Cranberry sauce, gravy and alcohol are all liquids subject to the TSA rule that carry-on liquids must be in 3.4-ounce containers or smaller and packed in a quart-size zip-top bag, she said.

“Stuffing or any sort of baked products — cookies, pies, cakes — those are all fine in carry-on bags,” she said.

In theory, travelers could even bring a full turkey in their carry-ons. But they would need to make sure the bird was frozen to avoid problems with liquid, she said.

She said travelers should ask themselves, “Do I need to bring this on the plane, or can I buy it at my destination?”

Passengers proceed through the TSA checkpoint with their carry-on items at Chicago's Midway Airport, Nov. 17, 2023.

Mayle also encouraged passengers to leave weapons like knives and firearms at home, or pack their firearms unloaded in a locked, hard-sided case placed in a checked bag.

Whether a traveler needs extra screening for an improperly packed weapon or a jar of dressing that doesn’t meet TSA requirements, the extra time at security can lead to unnecessary stress and hurry during an already busy time, she said.

Mayle said people with specific questions about what will and won’t fly in a carry-on can refer to the “What Can I Bring?” page at

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