Thanksgiving 2019: Here are the holiday foods you can and can't carry aboard your flight

Nearly 40 million people are expected to fly over the Thanksgiving travel period, so you don't want to be the one who holds up the security line.

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Many travelers will be taking snacks or baked goods to share with family, and toting home leftovers on their return flights. If you don't want to feed the TSA agents, then it's important to know what the agency allows you to include in your carry-on bag.


No charcuterie board is complete without cheese. If you’re bringing a local favorite to share with family and friends, make sure it’s a hard cheese. Parmigiano-Reggiano, sharp cheddars and provolone are all safe to take on the plane with you. Creamy cheeses — brie, ricotta, gorgonzola, etc. — are treated like liquids, however. You must either limit them to 3.4 ounces or put them in your checked bag.


If you’re bringing home plastic containers full of turkey, ham, roast beef or other meats, feel free to put them in your carry-on as long as there is no liquid. You can even take a whole bird on your flight, if you’re so inclined.

Potatoes, casseroles and dressing

Mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes are considered mashed solids, so you don’t have to check them. The same applies for that green bean casserole and the cornbread dressing (or stuffing, if you prefer). If you planned to have gravy on your potatoes, though, you have to follow the 3.4 ounce rule for liquids.

Canned foods

If you're a fan of America's least favorite side dish, you'll need to check that cranberry sauce. Canned goods, including cranberry sauce, fruit and vegetables, usually contain too much liquid to be allowed in carry-ons.


Feel free to include pie, cookies and candy as part of your carry-on meal, but the whipped topping, and chocolate or caramel sauces will have to stay in the checked bag with the canned goods and gravy.


Alcoholic beverages with more than 24% but not more than 70% alcohol must be checked, and each passenger is limited to 1.3 gallons in unopened retail packaging.

Mini bottles of alcohol in carry-on must fit into a single quart-size bag. No alcohol higher than 140 proof (70% alcohol) is allowed aboard a plane, either in a checked bag or carry-on.

For more guidelines on what the TSA allows, go to the agency's website.

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