Traveling with Holiday Leftovers

By November 19, 2020TSA

So you’ve made it through another holiday with the family. You spent time (but not too much time) with folks and managed to avoid those awkward political moments. Now it’s time to head back home. And the best part: all those plastic bins filled with delicious holiday leftovers to take with you

But as you pack your bags with clothes and leftover yummies, you pause. Will TSA allow gravy and cranberry sauce through security? What about the rest of this wine? And if I get hungry mid-flight, will you be able to snack on leftovers?

Traveling by air with homemade food can get sketchy, so we’ve compiled a handy holiday guide so you’ll not have to toss the turkey or chug the rest of your wine before you enter security.

Carry-on or checked bag?

Most solid foods can travel with you in your carry-on, as long as they are contained in some sort of bin; otherwise, if it’s food that you can spill, spread, spray, pump or pour, it should go into a checked bag. Anything with a consistency similar to gravy or cranberry sauce is considered a liquid and won’t be able to go through security if it is more than 3.4 ounces. And if you’re unsure, double-check it (and double-bag it!).

What about booze?

Same thing: It’s a liquid, so unless it’s 3.4 ounces or less, it must go into your checked bag. But there are some alcoholic items that won’t be allowed onto the plane, in either your carry-on or checked bag. You’re only allowed to transport five liters of alcohol per person, so anything more will have to be left behind, and any alcohol over 140 proof (70%) is not allowed. Most wine, liquor and beer should be fine, but you’ll probably have to leave behind grandpa’s homemade moonshine.

In-flight meal?

This one is up to you. If you think it’s appropriate, go for it. However, any smelly, messy foods might be best left in your bag until you get home. Nobody wants to be “that person” who stinks up the plane with a casserole.

If you’re ever unsure about what you can and cannot bring onto a plane, TSA has provided an online list of commonly asked questions. Or you can ask TSA over Twitter, as the account is very prompt in answering travelers’ questions.