Helpful Tips for Holiday Travelers

November 19, 2021

Helpful Tips for Holiday Travelers

TSA expects surge in travel volume for Thanksgiving, stresses preparedness

Masks are still required in airports and on aircraft per federal mandate


HUNTSVILLE, Ala., November 19, 2021 – Travelers are taking back to the skies this Thanksgiving with an expected 20 million passengers in the air during the holiday, nearly as many as traveled pre-pandemic at the same period of time, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

The Thanksgiving travel period traditionally runs from the Friday before the holiday through the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

With so many people hustling through concourses and security checkpoints, expect your travel time to take longer, according to TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “With overall vaccination rates improving nationwide and greater confidence in healthy travel, there will be more people traveling, so plan ahead, remain vigilant and practice kindness,” Pekoske said.

The TSA offers these tips for Thanksgiving travelers:

  1. Wear a mask. Travelers, TSA personnel, and other aviation workers are required to wear a mask as prescribed by the federal mask mandate.
  2. Pack smart. Prepare for security when packing and ensure that there are no prohibited items in baggage. Know which foods should go into a checked bag. 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. As always, passengers can bring solid foods such as cakes and other baked goods through the checkpoints.
  3. It’s okay to bring hand sanitizer. TSA is currently allowing travelers to bring one liquid hand sanitizer container up to 12 ounces per passenger in carry-on bags. Containers larger than 3.4 ounces will need to be screened separately, which will add some time in the checkpoint experience.
  4. Enroll in or renew your TSA PreCheck® membership. Individuals who obtained TSA PreCheck five years ago are now able to renew their membership online at a discount. Individuals who do not have TSA PreCheck should enroll now to get TSA PreCheck benefits, available at more than 200 U.S. airports. Travelers enrolled in a trusted traveler program, like TSA PreCheck, do not need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. TSA PreCheck membership is more valuable now than ever before because it reduces touchpoints during the pandemic and puts travelers in security lines that have fewer travelers and move quicker, which encourages social distancing.
  5. Request passenger support Travelers or families of passengers with disabilities and/or medical conditions may call the TSA Cares helpline toll free at 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to flying with any questions about screening policies, procedures and to find out what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares also arranges assistance at the checkpoint.
  6. Get your questions answered before you head to the airport. Ask TSA. Travelers can get assistance in real time by submitting their questions and comments to @AskTSA on Twitter or Facebook Messenger. Travelers can also reach the TSA Contact Center at 866-289-9673. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends/holidays; and an automated service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  7. Ensure you have proper ID. Before heading to the airport, travelers should make sure they have acceptable identification. Identity verification is an important step in the security screening process.
  8. Remain aware. As a reminder, public awareness is key for supporting TSA’s security efforts. Travelers are encouraged to report suspicious activities, and remember: If You See Something, Say Something™. For additional information about TSA’s screening policies, visit

Additionally, travelers should know that firearms are not permitted except in a checked bag. If you are traveling with a firearm, it must be unloaded, locked securely in a hard-shell case, packed in your checked bag, and declared to the airline at the time of check-in. Firearms may not go through the TSA security checkpoint.

Personal alcohol is not permitted on flights, but may be available once on the plane. Check with your airline to see if alcoholic beverages are sold in flight.

Misbehaving is expensive and might cost flight privileges. The Department of Homeland Security has increased the range of civil penalties for unruly passengers including those who violate the federal mask mandate at airports or on commercial aircraft. First offenders will be fined $500-$1,000, and second offenders up to $3,000.

Local travelers may apply for Global Entry, which includes TSA PreCheck and international travel benefits, at Huntsville International Airport. The process can take a few weeks to complete. See for information on creating an appointment or call 256.772.3404 ext 2000.

Huntsville International Airport staff recommend arriving 90 minutes to two hours prior to flight time to allow for check-in at the airline counter, checking bags and getting through the TSA checkpoint.

“While air travelers enjoy convenient, shorter security checkpoint lines at HSV than they would experience at larger airports, it’s very important that they allow ample time to get through them,” said Barbie Peek, Business Development Director for Huntsville International Airport.


About Huntsville International Airport

The Port of Huntsville operating entities include Huntsville International Airport (HSV), International Intermodal Center, Jetplex Industrial Park, Signature Flight Support, Four Points Sheraton, Sunset Landing Golf Course and Foreign Trade Zone #83. Huntsville International Airport (HSV) is the largest commercial airport in North Alabama, serving over 1 million passengers annually. Huntsville International Airport has nonstop service to ten destinations served by American, Delta, and United Airlines and ultra-low cost carriers Breeze Airways, Frontier Airlines, and Silver Airways. For more information, visit