Boarding an airplane with food can be tricky business—especially during the holidays. Wondering which Thanksgiving dishes pass muster with airport officials? Here’s a rundown of feast items that can be packed inside your carry-on or checked bags. (To see the full list of edible goods you can bring on a plane, visit the Transportation Security Administration's website.)
1. Pumpkin Pie
You can check pies in your luggage, or take them on the plane as a carry-on. If you do check a pumpkin pie or other dessert, Condé Nast Traveler recommends wrapping it in plastic, placing it inside a sturdy cardboard box, and swaddling the box in a blanket or bubble wrap. If you’re toting it by hand, make sure the packaging is sturdy enough to survive security checkpoints, overhead bins, and additional TSA screenings.
2. Cranberry Sauce and Gravy
The TSA’s typical rule for liquids also applies to Thanksgiving sauces and spreads. You’ll have to check cranberry sauce, gravy, jams, and jellies if they’re stored inside a receptacle that’s larger than 3.4 ounces. You can bring them on the plane in your carry-on if they’re transported in a 3.4-ounce container and placed inside a sealed, clear, quart-sized zip-top bag (just like your shampoo).
3. Turkeys and Turduckens
Turkeys, turduckens, and other poultry, whether fresh or frozen, are allowed for both carry-on and checked bags, so long as they are packed in a maximum of five pounds dry ice and the cooler or shipping box doesn't exceed your airline's carry-on size allowance. If the meat is packed in regular ice, it must be completely frozen as it goes through security.
As with other liquors, check all wine bottles exceeding 3.4 ounces. According to Vine Pair, you can prevent potential disasters by storing bottles in a hard suitcase, lining the interior with soft clothing, and wrapping the bottles in even more clothing before tucking them inside the suitcase's middle. You can also make things easier by buying a special valise designed to transport wine.
5. Green Beans, Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potatoes
You can bring your favorite Thanksgiving side dish home with you. Fresh vegetables can go in either your carry-on or checked bag. There are some location-based restrictions to be aware of, though: As of November 2021, passengers flying from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the continental U.S. can't bring most fresh produce on a plane.
6. Cornbread and Dinner Rolls
All types of bread are allowed on planes, so go ahead and stuff your bags with as many extra dinner rolls or pieces of cornbread as you can grab.
7. Leftover Sandwiches
Speaking of bread, go ahead turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into a sandwich for the road. You can pack a whole sandwich feast in your checked bag, or put one in your carry-on to eat during the flight.
A version of this story was originally published in 2016; it has been updated for 2021.