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Traveling by air for Thanksgiving? Things to know before heading to the airport

Boise Airport expects to see pre-pandemic level traveling during Thanksgiving.

BOISE, Idaho — As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expects 20 million people to come through security checkpoints across the U.S. from now until Nov. 29. 

"This year we fully expect the passenger traffic to be on par with what we saw in 2019, which was a record year for the Boise Airport," said Sean Briggs, business development manager for the airport.

The Boise Airport expects up to 14,000 passengers to fly in and out of the airport on peak days. Briggs said the peak days will be the two days before Thanksgiving and the Sunday and Monday after the holiday.

"Number one piece of advice is to arrive early," Briggs stressed. 

He advised travelers to get themselves to the airport at least two hours prior to their departure time.

Arriving early enough will give passengers enough time to find parking in the airport parking lot, where Briggs expects several floors to be full in the next week, check-in luggage, travel through security, and find their terminal.

TSA said they plan to be fully staffed next week at the Boise Airport in an effort to not hold up passengers through the busy travel week.

"We're going to extend the shifts of our officers and keep all of the lanes open based on the number of people we project will be coming through the checkpoint," said Lorie Dankers, spokesperson for the TSA.

Dankers also expects to see a lot more food coming through the gates this year. TSA advises people to know what can go through security and what can't.

"If you can spread it or spray it, pump it or pour it, it is considered a liquid," Dankers explained. "If it is a liquid then what you need to know is that it needs to be under 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters or less to go in your carry-on luggage, otherwise you need to check that and put it in your checked bags."

Items that are allowed in unlimited quantities include:

  • Baked goods: Pies, bread, cakes, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats
  • Meats: Turkey, chicken, ham, steak. Frozen, cooked or uncooked
  • Stuffing: Cooked or uncooked
  • Casseroles
  • Mac ‘n Cheese
  • Fresh vegetables: Potatoes, yams, broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, beets, radishes, carrots, squash, greens
  • Fresh fruit: Apples, pears, pineapple, lemons, limes, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and bananas
  • Candy
  • Spices 
  • Powdered gravy mix

If someone needs to keep their food cold, ice packs are permitted but need to be frozen solid and not melted as they go through security.

Dankers suggested if anyone has a question about what to bring through security to use the myTSA app. There is a feature called “Can I Bring," where you can type in the name of an item and the app will let you know whether to pack it or if it is ok to bring it with other carry-on items.

TSA said they are working to implement the federal employee vaccine requirement that's set for Nov. 22. Vaccination data is still being collected. They do not anticipate the vaccine mandate will impact their ability to staff for Thanksgiving travel.

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