How To Fly With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers, According To The TSA

If you're planning on taking a flight to your Thanksgiving destination this year, you should be in good company. According to a report produced by Adobe, as of November 7, airline reservations for Thanksgiving week are up 78% over 2020 — not surprising considering the pandemic — but those bookings are also up 3.2% from 2019. That means a lot of Americans will be taking to the friendly skies to enjoy a holiday feast with friends, family, and loved ones.

If you live close enough to drive home from your Thanksgiving meal, your host may be gracious enough to fill some Tupperware with roasted turkey, buttery mashed potatoes topped with gravy, tart cranberry sauce, and sweet pumpkin pie, but when you're flying, things can be a bit trickier. Knowing which foods are allowed in your carry-on and which leftovers should be packed away in your checked luggage will save you some time in the security line. Luckily, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has outlined some helpful packing guidelines, so you shouldn't have to think too hard while you're recovering from that turkey coma.

Solid food items versus not-so-solid

There is good news if you think you may need a little snack while waiting at the gate. According to the TSA, solid food items can go directly in your carry-on bags. This leaves a lot of potential for in-airport leftover lunches. The TSA lists pies, cakes, stuffing mix, and casseroles as solid items that do not need to be checked. There's nothing like a little pecan pie to make a flight connection go by quicker!

Foods that aren't solid, however, are not allowed in your carry-on bags. This means gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, and preserves all belong in your checked luggage, according to the TSA. The agency even has a little trick to help you decipher how to determine if a food item is solid. "If you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it, or pour it," the food item won't fly in your carry-on bags, according to the TSA's guidelines.

Still have questions about traveling with your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? In a recent Instagram post, the TSA confirmed "pie is good to fly" and invited travelers to pose their other pressing travel queries to Twitter and Facebook with @AskTSA.