Can you carry Thanksgiving dinner onto an airplane? Answers from the TSA

If the family is salivating for your legendary stuffing, the TSA will probably let you take it on the plane. But gravy? That goes in your checked luggage.

November 25, 2019
Gravy boat

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If you're flying across the country to be with your people on Thanksgiving, maybe your family is counting on you to bring that magical stuffing you're famous for . ..  or your legendary sweet potatoes with the secret ingredient that makes them so irresistible.

I'm not sure why you can't just make everything when you get there, but hey, it's your family. Maybe you want to make a big entrance with a steaming gravy boat in your hands. The point is, if you really want to, you can transport pretty much every component of your family's Turkey Day dinner on a flight, but the TSA wants you to know that you can't bring everything into the cabin.

The TSA has actually taken the time to address the issue in detail on a webpage called How to determine which Thanksgiving foods should go in a carry-on or checked bag, and the LA Times breaks the rules down with easy-to-read bullet points in their story Which Thanksgiving foods you can and cannot take on your flight

.The short version of the rules is what you probably can figure out for yourself: Just like any other liquids, if you'd like to carry, say, gravy onto a flight, you're limited to 3.4 ounces, which obviously isn't going to go very far, so you'll need to pack it in a super-secure Tupperware container and put it in your checked bag.

The TSA has all kinds of specific rules about how to bring a turkey onto a plane, which basically boil down to this:

If the food is packed with ice or ice packs in a cooler or other container, the ice or ice packs must be completely frozen when brought through screening. If the ice or ice packs are partially melted and have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they will not be permitted. You also can pack frozen perishables in your carry-on or checked bags in dry ice. The FAA limits you to five pounds of dry ice that is properly packaged (the package is vented) and marked.

Side dishes like green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and stuffing are generally okay to carry on, but cranberry sauce might be a problem because it's often more liquid-ish than solid, so once again you're limited to 3.4 ounces if you're carrying on. And 3.4 ounces of cranberry sauce is not going to get the job done when it's time to eat. Better to pack it in a leak-proof container and stuff it into your checked bag.

Oh, and pumpkin pie is fine to take in the cabin too. Just try to resist eating it instead of the airline's snack box . . . .  or be prepared to share with your seatmates.

Safe travels!

Those links again:

 How to determine which Thanksgiving foods should go in a carry-on or checked bag

Which Thanksgiving foods you can and cannot take on your flight



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