The Thanksgiving Staples You Can Bring on a Plane

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Airplane cuisine may not be the best thing on a flight, but that doesn’t matter when there is a delicious turkey meal waiting at your destination.

Thanksgiving travel is on the rise and more people are going to the airport to fly over to their loved ones this holiday season. In fact, NPR reports that Thanksgiving week flights are up 78 percent over 2020, and even up 3.2 percent from 2019.

With this renewed surge in holiday travel, the Transportation Security Administration has detailed the Thanksgiving staples you can bring in your carry-on, and what needs to go into your checked luggage.

In their press release, they say the following foods can be carried with you on an airplane.

Thanksgiving foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint

  • 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.

Thanksgiving foods that should be carefully packed with your checked baggage

  • 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.

They say a good rule of thumb is that 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.

If you are looking to keep any food cold on the flight, they urge travellers to make sure the ice packs are frozen solid when they go through security screening.

They also recommend putting any food items in a separate plastic bag or container since they usually need additional security screening.

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