TSA's top Thanksgiving travel tips

Security lines at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta stretch more than an hour long amid the partial federal shutdown, causing some travelers to miss flights, Monday morning, Jan. 14, 2019. (John Spink/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

WASHINGTON (WTHR) — Are you one of the record-breaking 26.8 million passengers and crews expected to travel through the skies this year to spend time with family and friends for Thanksgiving?

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released its top 10 traveling tips for those headed to the airport during one of the busiest times of the year:

  1. Get to the airport early. Travelers should be at the airport two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight.
  2. Know which foods can travel in your carry-on bag. Pies, cakes, stuffing mix, casseroles, even a whole cooked turkey are all good in a carry-on bag because they are solid food items.
  3. Know which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves, should all go into a checked bag. Why? They are not solids. Basically, if you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, then it’s not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag.
  4. Wear slip-on shoes. Shoelaces and zip-up boots take extra time to remove and put back on. Wearing slip-ons saves time. But admittedly, it’s fun to watch someone else hop around on one foot as they try to remove a boot.
  5. Place your electronic carving knife (or your non-electric knife) in your checked bag. This is an easy one, right?
  6. Pack smart. Don’t bring along any prohibited items. If you are not sure if an item should go in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither, click here to find out.
  7. Download the free MyTSA app. The best thing about it is the “Can I bring” feature. Type in an item and it lets you know immediately if you should pack it in a checked or carry-on bag.
  8. Use your time in the checkpoint line wisely. It’s the perfect time to take items out of pockets and place them in a carry-on bag and to get the traveler's ID and boarding pass ready to hand to the TSA officer.
  9. Enroll in TSA Precheck — if not before Thanksgiving, then before your next trip. It allows you to leave on your shoes, lightweight jacket and belt when you go through the checkpoint. Plus, you can leave your electronics and your one-quart-size liquids bag in your carry-on bag instead of removing it at the checkpoint. It’s like driving in the fast lane.
  10. Pay attention to the guidance that the TSA officers are providing at the checkpoint. They may be directing you to a shorter line or guiding you around someone who is moving slowly. And they may be giving you some advice that will lessen the likelihood that you’ll need a pat-down.

You may be frustrated with the long lines and delays at security checkpoints, but keep in mind TSA officers are simply trying to get you to your destination safely.

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