Flying gifts home for the holidays? Plan ahead for the TSA checkpoint

TSA line
Posted at 12:44 PM, Dec 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 13:07:31-05

If you're bringing food or gifts through the airport this holiday season, it's important to plan ahead for the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

According to Lisa Farbstein, a spokesperson for the TSA, most foods can be carried through checkpoints, but some items, such as liquids, will need to be transported in checked baggage.

"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," Farbstein said.

It's also recommended for you to take food items out of your carry-on bag and place them in a bin for quicker screening at the checkpoint.

To check if an item should be packed in a carry-on or checked bag, visit the TSA homepage here.

This also is the time of year that passengers frequently travel with gifts. TSA recommends packing gifts in gift bags or gift boxes instead of wrapping them, because if a gift triggers an alarm, it will need to be opened to resolve the alarm.

Wrapped gifts that trigger an alarm will need the gift wrap removed, but if the gift is in a bag or a box, it is simple to look at the item to resolve the alarm.

Holiday foods that can be carried through a TSA checkpoint:

  • Fruitcake
  • Cookies, cake, pies
  • Chocolates
  • Candy canes
  • Fruit and nut baskets
  • Spices
  • Ham (frozen or cooked)

Holiday foods that should be carefully packed with your checked baggage:

  • Egg Nog
  • Champagne, wine, sparkling apple cider
  • Cranberry sauce. (homemade or store-bought) are spreadable, so check them.
  • Preserves, jams and jellies (homemade or store-bought) are spreadable, so best to check them.
  • Maple syrup