Thanksgiving Dinner Items That Cannot Be in Your Carry On

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According to Statista, there were over 53 million people traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States over the past several years. 

With the holiday quickly approaching, people who are traveling are wondering what foods are approved by the TSA at the airport. In the past week, Google searches for “Can I bring food through TSA” have increased over 1000% as people question what delicious leftovers they may be able to bring back home with them. 

While plenty of food is allowed through TSA, we have chatted with Anton Radchenko, founder of AirAdvisor who has all of the information about what specific dinner items are not allowed to prevent the possible waste of food during your travels.

The 3-1-1 Rule

The 3-1-1 rule is simple to follow and can ensure that your items are not tossed by TSA. To follow this rule, simply make sure that all liquids are in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces. Additionally, all containers must be put in 1 quart-sized bag, and each passenger can only take 1 bag of liquids. 

What Food Items Should You Put in Checked Luggage

While some canned items are less than 3.4 ounces, a lot of the larger food cans have large quantities of liquid and it would be safer if you check them in with your luggage. Additionally, many of the add-ons for Thanksgiving are considered liquids by TSA and will need to be checked with your luggage. Examples of foods that you should throw into your checked luggage include:

Canned goods– green beans, yams, pumpkin, corn

Sauces cranberry sauce, syrup, gravy, jam/jelly

Alcohol– wine, champagne, beer

Be sure to pack your food in tightly sealed containers to avoid any spilling. You can even use tape around the closure to ensure an extra sealing layer. For glass bottles, such as wine bottles, you can place them in a plastic bag and then wrap them around your thick clothes to prevent them from breaking. 

What Dinner Items Are Allowed On The Plane in A Carry On

You can bring as much solid food as you want on the plane as long as it fits in your carry-on bag – this includes a whole turkey! All solid foods are allowed by TSA, but you can expect that TSA will ask you to separate your food items from the rest of your luggage so that they can inspect it properly. Any items on this list can have liquid if it is less than 3.4 ounces. 

Also, frozen foods must remain frozen throughout the entire check-in process, including ice packs. Make sure they are packed appropriately by using a collapsible cooler to store frozen items. 

Examples include:

Cooked or frozen meats– turkey, ham, chicken, steak 

Cooked Side Dishes– casseroles, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, stuffing

Fresh Fruits or Vegetables– potatoes, apples, green beans, yams, pumpkin, berries

Desserts– pie, cake, candy, cookies, brownies

Alcohol– Mini bottles of alcohol that follow the 3-1-1 rule

Final Thoughts

Be sure you are informed when traveling during thanksgiving to avoid any of your leftovers being tossed. Package your food appropriately, follow the 3-1-1 rule, and you will likely get through TSA without any issues.