TSA Aims to Smooth Holiday Travel With These Tips

With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, next Friday is expected to be one of the busiest days of the year for long-distance trips.

The federal Transportation Security Administration said it expects a 15 percent spike in air travel at some airports in the days leading up to Christmas, including Vermont’s Burlington International Airport.

To cut down on headaches, the TSA is urging people to pre-plan, so they can avoid common travel pitfalls.

One of the TSA’s tips pertains to a new rule on electronics.

"Previously, laptops had to come out with carry-on luggage," noted Michael McCarthy of the TSA. "That now has moved to include all larger electronic devices. So anything larger than your smartphone should come out of your bag and be placed into a bin."

The TSA also advised that you not bring wrapped holiday gifts, because officers may need to unwrap them to do an inspection.

And something like a jug of maple syrup or other liquids in amounts greater than 3.4 ounces should be in checked luggage, McCarthy said.

Traveler Barbara Leese was heading home to Washington, D.C. from Burlington Thursday morning.

She first made an unexpected pit stop at the garbage can, choosing to dump a gourmet jelly she couldn’t bring on her flight in a carry-on.

"It was too big–it exceeded the ounces. It was nine ounces, and I didn’t think," Leese said. "I gave two mustards away also, so it was twenty bucks."

The TSA also said this time of year in particular, travelers should get to the airport at least two hours early, because of the crowds.

"They’re inexperienced travelers," said Bruce McDonald, the federal security director for the Burlington International Airport. "They’re traveling to see relatives for the holidays, so they tend to be bundled up, they have lots of gifts, lots of items, so the line tends to go much slower than it would if we had, say, a bunch of business travelers in the mid-week."

If you have a question about an item you plan to bring with you, you can tweet the TSA. Their account is @AskTSA.

You can also ask questions of the TSA on Facebook Messenger. More information on that is available here.

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