Holiday Travel

Can You Bring a Turkey on a Plane? And Other TSA Questions Answered.

Image Credit: Erin Wengrovius

Every family has their own Thanksgiving customs, but there is one tradition that unites us all: standing in line at airport security. The TSA is as much a part of the holiday as pumpkin pie. It is beautiful, in a way. America may be more divided than ever, and yet all of us must stand together, forever, holding our quart-sized plastic bags.

In celebration of this great American tradition, we chatted with TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein to get answers to our most pressing Thanksgiving travel questions. Does pumpkin pie filling count as a gel? Can you BYOSP (bring your own sweet potatoes)? And what happens if you give your TSA agent a present?

Foods and Food-Related Items That Are TSA-Approved

Let us begin with the good news.

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Can you drink those minis on the plane, though? That is outside the province of the TSA, she says. Federal regulation suggests not, though. From code 14 CFR 121.575 of the FAA Cabin Safety Subject Index: "No person may drink any alcoholic beverage aboard an aircraft unless the certificate holder operating the aircraft has served that beverage to him." Sorry.

Foods and Food-Related Items That Are Not TSA-Approved

And now for some disappointments.

And the moment of truth: If you feel sorry for your TSA agent because they are working on Thanksgiving, busiest travel time of the year, could you offer them a piece of pie, and would they be allowed to accept it? "They cannot. They will not, at risk of losing their job," Farbstein says. Sometimes, it is so hard to be kind in this world.