TSA’s tips for holiday travel

Dec 18, 2023, 12:48 PM

travel holidays...

A TSA agent poses behind a table containing prohibited items. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY— Agents with the Transportation Security Administration in Salt Lake City offered some tips for the roughly 500,000 people expected to embark on holiday travel at the Salt Lake City International Airport between Monday, December 18, 2023, and January 3, 2024.

Utah’s TSA Federal Security Director, Matt Davis, shared that figure Monday and encouraged people to check their bags thoroughly when packing them for holiday travel. 

Officials said agents routinely find prohibited items in people’s carry-ons. Those items include: 

  • Guns and ammo.
  • Machetes, knives, switchblades, comb, and cane blades.
  • Brass knuckles, ninja stars, tasers, and other weapons.
  • Power tools and drill bits.
  • Full bottles of alcohol.
  • Firecrackers (these are prohibited even in checked luggage).
A table filled with prohibited items. Officials said agents routinely find prohibited items in people's carry-ons. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

A table filled with prohibited items. Officials said agents routinely find prohibited items in people’s carry-ons. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

Davis said when they find these items, it creates a problem for the person who packed them as well as the people in line behind them.

“Some of these items…can really stop the line completely,” Davis said. “It can hold things up for anywhere from five to ten minutes … if it’s a firearm, it can be even longer,” he added.

Making holiday travel as smooth as possible

Travelers wait in line for the TSA checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport. (Adam Small (KSL NewsRadio)

Travelers wait in line for the TSA checkpoint at Salt Lake City International Airport. (Adam Small (KSL NewsRadio)

Agents have encouraged people to do the following:

  • Arrive at the airport three hours before your flight to accommodate the holiday rush.
  • Check bags thoroughly before packing them.
  • Pack any liquids, gels, or aerosols over 3.4 ounces in checked luggage.
  • Consider placing most liquids in checked luggage (most dry food should be okay, though agents may need to inspect it.)
  • Pack any gifts in gift bags instead of wrapping paper (in case agents need to take a closer look.)

If you aren’t sure about an item, visit TSA’s What Can I Bring? list to verify your item is allowed. 

Related: Buying airline tickets for holiday travel? Expect sticker shock

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TSA’s tips for holiday travel