Flying For Thanksgiving? Here Are Some Tips For Smooth Travel

Thanksgiving is often the busiest period of the year for travel in the United States. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2019, nearly three million people were screened by Transportation Security Administration (TSA). While not as many passengers are expected to hit the skies this year, there may still be many flying to see their loved ones. For those that will make their way to airports next week, here are some tips to help ensure a smooth journey during the holiday.

United Airlines A320
Airlines traditionally see a boost in passenger activity during Thanksgiving weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Thanksgiving is generally a period when travelers have to take extra care when flying. However, there is an additional focus on safety this year amid the pandemic. This aspect is taken into account with these tips.

Check travel requirements

Carriers and airports have extra measures in place to help reduce risk across their services. Policies such as the mandatory wearing of face masks are the standard for most organizations in the current climate. Moreover, at the airport, social distancing would be encouraged. Many groups have been implementing measures to help reduce touchpoints when traveling. So, it is advisable to see if your airline encourages steps such as biometric boarding.

Check restrictions

There are still several travel restrictions in place across the globe. It’s vital to check if a destination has any measures in place that may prevent you from a seamless journey. There may be some areas that general passengers aren’t allowed to visit. Moreover, places that do allow visitors may require extra steps, such as quarantines.

There could also be extra actions needed when returning from certain destinations. So, it’s best to check for any requirements in advance. Following this, allow for extra time while at the airport to fill in any additional paperwork or undergo any extra testing.

Delta AIr Lines Getty
Several airlines have introduced helpful mapping tools to check local policies. Photo: Getty Images

Adhere to the food policy

Many people love to bring special additions to the Thanksgiving feast ahead of the big day. However, it’s important to know which food items are allowed to be traveled with before packing. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) highlights that there are some special steps that need to be taken when bringing food through the security checkpoint.

“If you’re traveling with food in your carry-on bag, TSA recommends that you remove it and place it in a bin for screening because food items can trigger a security alarm. To reduce potential cross-contamination, we recommend that food items are placed in a clear plastic bag. Upon entering the checkpoint, remove that clear bag with food and place it into the bin,” TSA says on its website.

“Not all foods can be transported in carry-on luggage. Follow this simple rule to ensure your food can travel with you: If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, pack it in a checked bag. 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.”

Enroll in TSA PreCheck now

TSA also recommends for passengers to enroll in TSA PreCheck now to reduce touchpoints. The agency emphasizes that those part of the program don’t have to “remove their shoes, belts, lightweight jackets, electronics or their bag of travel-size liquids and gels.” Naturally, this is convenient. However, the pandemic further adds value to the scheme.

Passengers TSA
TSA wants to further reduce risk. Photo: Getty Images

Extra care is needed

Altogether, it’s not a standard Thanksgiving this year due to the global health crisis. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notably urges the public to stay at home during this period. However, there may still be many people boarding planes to be with their friends and family.

Delta Sanitizer
Extra steps such as traveling with hand sanitizer could go a long way. Photo: Delta Air Lines

So, for those hitting the air next week, following these tips will help to offer smoother travel. Nonetheless, wherever someone is traveling for the holidays, extra caution is needed this year.

What are your thoughts about traveling this year for Thanksgiving? Do you have any additional tips for a more seamless journey? Let us know what you think in the comment section.