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Mallory Black/MEDILL

These can come on the plane with you. Mashed potatoes, too.


Turkeys can fly, frozen or cooked, if they fit in the overhead bin

by Mallory Black
Nov 20, 2013


What else you got?

Guidelines for traveling with other food items such as mashed potatoes and stuffing, both of which must be transported in checked baggage, can be found on the MyTSA app and the Transportation Security Administration website. 
Flying out to see grandma this Thanksgiving? In charge of the turkey?

You're in luck: Your turkey won’t be confiscated at security check – as long as it doesn’t leak, of course.

Passengers can carry on cooked or frozen turkeys aboard flights, according to TSA guidelines, as well as other perishable foods like meat, fish and vegetables. There is no limit on the number of turkeys a person may carry onboard, as long as the items fit into a carry-on sized bag.

However for those who may want to pack with ice or ice packs to maintain the bird’s freshness, passengers will need to ensure the ice doesn’t melt.

“[The turkey] has to be in a carry-on, and if the food is packed with ice or ice packs in a cooler or other container, it must be completely frozen when brought through screening,” said Ross Feinstein, press secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. “If the ice or ice packs are partially melted or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they would not be permitted.”

Though the FAA imposes a five-pound limit on dry ice per bag, packing a turkey with dry ice is another option for passengers, as long as it’s stored to allow for proper ventilation and is labeled as ‘dry ice,’ according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

A turkey may also be subject to additional security screenings if it appears to have been altered or poses a potential security issue. So you might want to wait to stuff it until you get to grandma’s.