Flying for Thanksgiving? TSA offers safety tips for travel during pandemic

Traveling will look different this year — here are ways to protect yourself while visiting an airport this holiday season. (George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

If you’re planning on flying home for Thanksgiving – which both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the CDC have recommended against – the Transportation Security Administration has provided some tips. 

Airports around the country require passengers to wear masks while in the terminals. Major airlines have similar policies around face coverings – with many banning masks with valves or vents. Make sure you not only bring your mask, but that it complies with the airline you are flying, as well as the specific airport’s requirements. The TSA also recommends packing an “extra mask or two for sue during your air travels.”

The TSA advises passengers to practice social distancing among travelers in the checkpoint lines and among TSA officers, who have implemented ID verifications without physical contact. Though passengers may be asked to temporarily lower face masks during the identification verification.

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Thanksgiving is as much a time for food as it is family. However, before you start whipping up your favorite homestyle gravy, you might want to make sure you have a spill-proof container to put it in as it will need to go in a checked bag.

“If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, packing it in a checked bag,” TSA said in a press release. “For example, cranberry sauce, gravy and wine in quantities larger than 100 ml or 3.4 ounces should go in a checked bag. Cakes, pies and casseroles can travel in carry-on luggage.”

So, maybe make the gravy at your destination.

Also, like with liquid hand sanitizer – which passengers are allowed to bring – foods in carry-on bags will need to be removed and placed in a bin for screening. The TSA recommends placing foods in clear plastic bags to reduce any cross-contamination from the bins.

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Either via the administration’s phone app, or on social media, the TSA advises travelers to check-in for last-minute tips or questions about traveling during the holiday season, as well as find out about flight delays or other airport information. The app also has a searchable “Can I Bring?” function to help passengers decide whether to pack items in a carry-on or in checked luggage.

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If you are a frequent traveler, TSA recommends TSA PreCheck, which can save time and hassle as passengers who are enrolled do not have to remove shoes, belts, lightweight jackets, electronics or travel-sized liquids and gels. It can also reduce touchpoints as passengers do not need to place these items in bins.

For more tips to safely celebrate Thanksgiving during the pandemic, an expert weighs in on important changes to make for a healthy holiday.

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