BIG FLATS - A record breaking number of passengers are expected to fly this Thanksgiving Holiday season, according to federal transportation officials.
They're predicting more than 28.6 million passengers and crew members will pass through security screening checkpoints nationwide this weekend through Dec. 2.
Lisa Farbstein, a Transportation Security Administration spokesman, said TSA expects to screen 4 percent more passengers this holiday travel season than last year.
“TSA checkpoints will be fully staffed at all Upstate New York airports,” said Bart R. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the Upstate New York airports. “The officers assigned to the airports are very dedicated and they will continue to deploy layers of security, both seen and unseen, to ensure the safety of the public.”
While TSA concentrates on aviation security, officials say passengers can assist by coming to the airport prepared.
Here are TSA’s top 10 tips to help travelers get through the security screening process smoothly.
- Get to the airport early — two hours prior to a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. Only a turkey gets to the airport at the last minute during the Thanksgiving travel period. Don’t be a turkey!
- Know which foods can travel in your carry-on bag. Pies, cakes, stuffing mix and casseroles are all OK in a carry-on bag because they are solid food items.
- Know which foods should go into a checked bag. Gravy, cranberry sauce, wine, jam, preserves, should all go into a checked bag. Why? They are not solids. Basically if you can spill it, spray it, spread it, pump it or pour it, then it’s not a solid and should be packed in a checked bag.
- Wear slip-on shoes. Shoe laces and zip-up boots take extra time to remove and put back on. Wearing slip-ons just saves you time. But admittedly, it’s fun to watch someone else hop around on one foot as they try to remove a boot.
- Place your electric carving knife (or your non-electric knife) in your checked bag. Should be a no-brainer, wouldn’t you think?
- Pack smart. Don’t bring along any prohibited items. If you are not sure if an item should go in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither, don’t be shy, tweet your question to @AskTSA or ask via Facebook Messenger.
- Download the free MyTSA app. The best thing about it is the “Can I bring” feature. Type in an item and it lets you know immediately if you should pack it in a checked or carry-on bag. It also can let you know if there is an airport delay and whether TSA Precheck lanes are available.
- Use your time in the checkpoint line wisely. It’s the perfect time to take items out of your pockets and place them in your carry-on bag and to get your ID and boarding pass ready to hand to the TSA officer.
- Enroll in TSA Precheck -- if not before Thanksgiving, then before your next trip. It allows you to leave on your shoes, lightweight jacket and belt when you go through the checkpoint. Plus, you can leave your electronics and your one-quart-size liquids bag in your carry-on instead of removing it at the checkpoint. It’s like driving in the fast lane.
- Pay attention to the guidance that the TSA officers are providing at the checkpoint. They may be directing you to a shorter line or guiding you around someone who is moving slowly. And they may be giving you advice that will lessen the likelihood that you’ll need a pat-down.