TSA tips for Thanksgiving travel: Sorry, no mashed potatoes on planes

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Flying the friendly skies for the holidays? You will definitely not be alone. 

TSA announced it is expecting more than 25 million travelers to pass through security screening checkpoints nationwide starting today through Nov. 26. That’s a five percent increase from last year. 

To ensure a smooth traveling experience as you make your way to gobble down a delicious meal, TSA  has released the following tips for those of you traveling with food on your way to your destination: 

1. What to expect when traveling with food 

Know the rules: Please be aware that creamy and spreadable foods, like gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, jam and beverages must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, which must be placed in a 1 quart-sized, zip-top bag. If you are taking larger amounts, you’re more than welcome to pack these items in a checked bag. You don’t want to show up to dinner empty handed.

Solid foods, like dry stuffing, fresh cranberries, turkey, bread, baked potatoes, baked goods, pies, fruits and vegetables are allowed through the security checkpoint in your carry-on bag. You can also pack them in your checked bag.

 If you still have questions, use the “What Can I Bring?” tool to get your answers from soup to nuts. In case you are wondering, you can travel with your spoons and forks in carry-on, pack the knives in your checked bag!

And yes, for those of you who can’t wait until your pumpkin is in pie form, fresh pumpkins are allowed through our checkpoint and in checked bags!

2. Get TSA Pre✓®

Many savvy travelers will tell you that TSA Pre✓® can make your security experience as smooth as buttered mashed potatoes. TSA Pre✓® allows eligible travelers to receive expedited screening. In layman’s terms, it means you get through security quickly. For TSA Pre✓® travelers, there is no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. If you haven’t already, apply now! Individuals who obtained TSA Pre✓® five years ago are now able to renew their TSA Pre✓® membership online.

If you have TSA Pre✓®, remember to make sure that your full name, Known Traveler Number (KTN) and date of birth are accurate in your reservation. Mistakes in entering this information are among the most common reasons members don’t receive the TSA Pre✓® indicator on their boarding pass. If you still need someone to check your reservation, @AskTSA is here for you.

3. Have valid ID 

Maybe your ID fell behind your aunt’s recliner while you were napping after a second helping or maybe it’s just expired and you’ve had a busy month. Either way, you may still be able to make it through our checkpoints and to your destination.

In the event you arrive at the airport without valid identification, you may still be allowed to fly. The TSA officer may ask you to complete an identity verification process which includes collecting information such as your name, current address, and other personal information to confirm your identity.If you’re still not sure, get your fill of ID guidance.

4. If you’re traveling with medicine… 

One of the more popular questions we get from travelers is: “Can I travel with my medication?” The answer is yes, with some qualifiers.

Travelers should know that both over-the-counter and prescription medications are allowed through our checkpoints. If you have liquid medications, they are exempt from our 3.4 oz liquids rules in carry-on bags. Our TSA Cares team are experts when it comes to helping passengers with disabilities or medical needs.

5. Give yourself enough time 

Make sure you give yourself more than enough time to park the car, check-in, get through the airport security checkpoint and onto your flight. Plan for delays that can occur any time from curb to gate.

For more holiday-related travel tips, click here. 

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