Can you bring a turkey on a plane? How about homemade pumpkin pie? Turns out, the answer is yes, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which outlined the Thanksgiving foods that can be brought in a traveler’s carry-on and those that need to be checked.
Turkeys, steaks, hams, and other meat can be brought through TSA security — either cooked, uncooked, or frozen — along with baked goods, fully made casseroles, stuffing, and delicious mac and cheese, according to the agency. Travelers can also carry on fresh fruit or vegetables when flying to Thanksgiving dinner (think: green beans, yams, and cranberries), as well as spices to brighten up the meal.
But not every element of a Turkey Day dinner can fly in your carry-on bag. Certain items, like spreadable cranberry sauce and gravy, must go in a checked bag, along with festive tipples like wine and Champagne (or sparkling apple cider).
“Here’s some food for thought. If it’s a solid item, then it can go through a checkpoint,” the agency wrote. “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.”
Travelers can visit the TSA’s “What Can I Bring?” section and type in specific food items to check whether or not they should be checked.
Those who fly with perishable food should also ensure they store it properly. The TSA said ice packs are allowed on board, but they must be frozen solid when they go through security screening.
The agency also warned travelers to pack well: “Food items often need some additional security screening, so TSA recommends placing those items in a clear plastic bag or other container when packing them at home and then removing those items from your carry-on bag and placing them in a bin for screening at the checkpoint.”
More than four million people are expected to fly for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, with overall travel numbers coming within 5% of what they were in 2019. The most crowded time at airports will likely be the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 24.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.