For a lot of Thanksgiving travelers and hosts, there's a mutual, perhaps unwritten, agreement: The out-of-town guests travel, and the hosts handle the cooking.
For plenty of others, though, it's not quite so straightforward. This means you're likely to see a fellow passenger toting a turkey or pie while preparing to board the flight home for the holiday. And, of course, we expect to see plenty of passengers flying with leftovers on their way home.
That also means the Transportation Security Administration can expect to see a much more eclectic assortment of carry-on items as staff prepares to screen millions of travelers over the coming days. In both 2021 and 2022, the agency's top day for passenger checkpoint throughput was the Sunday following Thanksgiving.
It makes the TSA's job all the more challenging as its staff navigates what's sure to be massive crowds this year, too.
"It's weird, but sometimes we will see turkeys at security checkpoints," TSA Southeast spokesperson Mark Howell told TPG.
If you're among the travelers hoping to do a little meal prep at home before flying, there are some things you need to know, whether you'll be waiting in the standard line (arrive early, if so) or have TSA PreCheck.
As is always the case, the TSA's 3-1-1 rule governs what can and can't come on the plane. It means that each liquid you bring through a checkpoint must be in a 3.4-ounce or smaller container, all containers must be placed in one clear quart-size plastic bag and each passenger is only allowed one plastic bag.
Even on a normal travel day, the prohibited items pile up — quite literally — in plastic bins near checkpoints.
Most travelers know they can't bring a huge bottle of sunscreen in their carry-on luggage. However, the composition of Thanksgiving entrees and side dishes can get a bit confusing when it comes to 3-1-1.
Related: These are the TSA-approved foods you can — and can't — bring with you on an airplane
Let's start with the obvious here: You have to follow 3-1-1 whether you're bringing on a mini bottle of toothpaste or your family's famous Thanksgiving stuffing.
"Your solid food, your cakes and pies are going to be OK," Howell explained.
That means you're good to bring a turkey, ham, chicken or something of the like. TSA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise that you give special attention to packing and storing perishables.
We say "special attention" because the steps you take to ensure your food stays cold through your journey can become a common pitfall.
Any ice packs you use must stay frozen as you make your way through the checkpoint.
That goes for that frozen turkey you bought at the grocery store, too.
"Sometimes, if it's half melted, and there's liquid in there, there's an
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