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Can I fly with Thanksgiving leftovers? TSA reminds travelers what foods can be carried onto airplanes

Summer Travel
Posted at 8:47 AM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 10:47:10-05

Want to bring those leftovers from Thanksgiving home with you? The Transportation Security Administration said some foods might not be allowed to be carried on airplanes.

One general rule TSA has is if it’s a solid item, like a piece of meat, it can be carried on. “However, if you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, and it’s larger than 3.4 ounces, then it should go in a checked bag,” TSA said.

Here are some holiday favorites you can carry on an airplane, according to TSA:

  • Baked goods; homemade or store-bought pies, cakes, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats
  • Meats. Turkey, chicken, ham, steak; frozen, cooked or uncooked
  • Stuffing; cooked, uncooked, in a box or in a bag
  • Casseroles; traditional green beans and onion straws or something more exotic.
  • Mac ‘n Cheese; cooked in a pan or traveling with the ingredients to cook it at your destination
  • Fresh vegetables; potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, greens
  • Fresh fruit; apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, kiwi
  • Candy
  • Spices

And here are foods you either need to pack in a checked bag or leave behind:

  • Cranberry sauce; homemade or canned are spreadable, so check them
  • Gravy; homemade or in a jar/can
  • Wine, champagne, sparking apple cider
  • Canned fruit or vegetables; it’s got liquid in the can, so check them
  • Preserves, jams and jellies; they are spreadable, so best to check them
  • Maple syrup

“Food items often need some additional security screening, so it is best to place those items in an easily accessible location of the carry-on when packing them and then removing those items from your bag and placing them in a bin for screening at the checkpoint,” the TSA said.

The TSA said it is preparing to screen a similar number of passengers this Thanksgiving as it did in 2019, which would make it one of the busiest weekends in TSA history.

“We expect to be busier this year than last year at this time, and probably very close to pre-pandemic levels,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “We are prepared to handle the projected increase in travel volumes next week.”