Every year as the holidays approach, the TSA is apparently flooded with questions from people wondering which foods and cookware items they’re allowed to bring on an airplane when they’re traveling to visit family for Thanksgiving. Although significantly fewer people than usual traveled during the 2020 holiday season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it looks as though that number of people journeying to visit family and friends has bounced back again this year—which means thousands of people will be heading to the airport, tupperware containers full of side dishes in tow.
Perhaps I’m limited by my family’s own Thanksgiving traditions, but I absolutely had no idea so many people were flying to visit their family for the holidays with pre-made side dishes instead of, I don’t know, going to the grocery store when their flight lands?? I totally understand why one might want to have their grandma’s special cornbread stuffing, but I have to imagine even the most beloved dishes don’t look (or taste) quite the same after spending hours in a bag that was literally thrown into the luggage compartment of an airplane.
According to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein, it’s possible to bring most of the dishes you’ll typically find on a Thanksgiving table on an airplane, reports Eater, but not all of them can go in a carry-on bag. You can keep your turkey, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, pies, and green bean casserole safely tucked in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you—though why would you want to, I still can’t understand—but liquids like gravy and semi-liquids like cranberry sauce or candied yams have to go in your checked bag.
I can’t help but picture someone opening their suitcase to the horrifying realization that the container holding the gravy cracked. Is it really worth the risk of congealed animal juices spilling all over your shirts just to have the perfect Thanksgiving feast???? The correct answer is no!!
The TSA also has guidelines when it comes to the various kitchen gadgets and tools that people use to make their holiday meals. Certain cookware items are allowed in carry-ons, but cast-iron skillets are treated as a potential weapon because “somebody could conk somebody else on the head with [them]”—a rule that also applies to any rolling pins over 7 inches. And, for the sake of keeping the peace both on and off the plane, it certainly isn’t a bad idea to make it more difficult for people to bring items that could potentially be used to clobber someone along to their family’s Thanksgiving gathering.