BUSINESS + ECONOMY

TSA shares travel tips for the holidays

Dec 20, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2023, 12:04 pm

travel holidays...

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

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Approaching the busiest travel week of the year, 1.5 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home for the holidays, according to AAA.

TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers joins guest hosts Maura Carabello and Greg Skordas to talk about travel and packing tips to get travelers to their destinations as smoothly as possible

Come early, be prepared

During the holiday season, TSA expects almost 430,000 travelers will pass through a checkpoint at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Dankers said.

She added that the three busiest travel days will be Dec. 21, 22 and 23.

“If you’re traveling any of these three days, there is no substitute for arriving at the airport early and making sure you’re prepared,” Dankers said.

Dankers advised to allow yourself extra time if you are parking a car or checking luggage.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to prepare before you come to the airport,” she said. “You don’t want to be that person in line that’s slowing everybody down. Everybody’s staring at you, wondering what you’re thinking. Be that travel pro and go through the checkpoint quickly because you prepare.”

Are there contraband items in your luggage?

When you get to the airport security checkpoint, make sure there are no surprises in your luggage.

“I can tell you the number one thing that slows us down is those prohibited items that travelers bring,” Dankers said. “Many times they don’t even know they’re in their bag.”

What about liquids?

What does the TSA consider to be a liquid?

“If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it or pour it, we consider it a liquid,” Dankers said

Liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item, according to TSA. If you have anything more than that, it needs to go into checked baggage, according to Dankers.

If travelers have a questions about whether an item is prohibited on a flight, she recommends downloading the MyTSA app. It provides passengers with 24/7 access to the most frequently requested airport-security information on any mobile device. 

Wrap gift or not?

Will TSA flag a wrapped gift? According to Dankers, it depends.

Things like wrapped sweaters are fine. However, if the gift is liquid, don’t gift wrap it. TSA officers will need to confirm the quantity of liquid before allowing it on the airplane.

Also, if the wrapped gift has a sharp edge, don’t wrap it. Danker said, airport officers will need to inspect it before passing through security.

“The other one is if it looks a little bit unusual both to the naked eye or to the X-ray, officers will want to take a closer look at that as well,” she said.

If that unusual gift is wrapped, it will need to be unwrapped, she warned.

“They need to do it to make sure no potential security threats get on the plane,” Dankers said.

Instead put the item in a gift bag, wrap it at your destination or buy it when you land, she advised.

Are you REAL ID ready?

On May 7, 2025, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities.

Related: The ultimate travel preparation checklist

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TSA shares travel tips for the holidays