Holiday Travel Advice from the TSA

Whether you love the new security procedures or hate them, there’s no disputing that TSA has been up against a lot of public scrutiny because of the new procedures. Here is how the agency recommends making your air travel easier as you fight the crowds over this Thanksgiving holiday.

It is Thanksgiving week. Millions of Americans are traveling as part of their holiday celebration. And, for those who may be flying, there are new concerns, more inconveniences and new procedures you will have to follow.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has experienced a public relations nightmare lately. Whether you love the new security procedures or hate them, there’s no disputing that the agency has been up against a lot of public scrutiny because of the new procedures.

The TSA has been posting updates to its blog to deal with some of the backlash. For instance, one recent post about TSA myths vs. facts tries to dispel what the TSA says are some common rumors about the new screening procedures which have been circulating recently.

The latest post (at the time of this writing) are some useful holiday travel tips to make the security process easier for travelers heading out for the long Thanksgiving weekend. For those planning to travel, here are some of the more relevant travel tips for carry on luggage that would likely affect travelers:

• The TSA admits that it is a hassle to carry liquids in your carry on luggage, and as such, it is advisable to put any liquids into your checked luggage to the greatest extent possible to avoid delays.

• Family lanes have recently been set up to give traveling families a security line where they do not have to feel rushed. Families can take their time with extra items, to ask questions, and not have to feel pressured by individual or frequent flier travelers who might be in a hurry to get through security.

• Cakes, bread, and other baked goods are permitted, but pies may be subject to additional screening. The TSA is quick to point out that this does not include tasting the pies, only additional screening.

• Cranberry sauce, dips, spreads (cheese, peanut butter, and the like), syrup, jams, jellies, oils, sauces, soups or any other similar liquid food items are prohibited.

• Snow globes are expressly prohibited since they contain liquid and would have to be broken open for the liquid to be examined.

• You may carry wrapped gifts, but they may have to be opened. The TSA doesn’t make any guarantees that the wrapping paper won’t get torn up in the process.

Another potential roadblock travelers might encounter on the long weekend that the TSA doesn’t mention in their blog post is the national Opt-Out Day that is making some headlines by asking travelers to opt out of the body scanners. It is unknown at this point how much traction the movement will have, but if enough people opt for a pat down, then there could be increased delays at airports.

We hope these tips will be helpful to those readers who may be planning on traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday this week. Good luck and enjoy the holiday!

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.