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You Can Bring Pie With You When You Fly, And Other Holiday Travel Tips

Travelers waiting in line to go through a security check at Sea-Tac International Airport fill the concourse in this file photo. The number of people flying in and out of the airport is ahead of projections so far this year.
Elaine Thompson
AP File Photo
SeaTac Airport expects 600,000 people the week of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving week marks the opening of the holiday travel rush. And foolishly, Ed booked a flight to Michigan on the day before Thanksgiving.

“Don’t do that,” said KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley.

It’s not Sea-Tac Airport’s busiest time of the year (that’s summer, they say), but it’s pretty close. More than 600,000 travelers will head through the airport the week of Thanksgiving.

It’s too late for Ed to change plans; the tickets are purchased. But for the rest of you, hopefully these tips will be helpful:

1. If Possible, Travel On Thanksgiving Day

Highway and airport volumes tend to be lighter.

“If you’re only going a short distance, you might want to consider just getting there on Thanksgiving,” Brumley said.

2. Do Some Research Ahead Of Time

If you're driving, look at alternative routes that might help you avoid freeway congestion. Country backroads can be a more scenic way to make the trip. Oh, and check the weather, too.

3. Pack Lightly

If flying, pack only what you need, and carry your luggage aboard the plane. Lost luggage, especially on typically short Thanksgiving trips, can be a real game changer. Plus, gates change and sometimes flights are delayed, you don’t want to be dragging everything you own through the airport.

4. Bring Food And An Empty Water Bottle To The Airport

Lines will be long at restaurants. Remember to make it an empty water bottle, so you can get through security.

One more tip: “The TSA website says you can’t bring gels on board, but you can bring a pie,” Brumley says. No excuses for showing up empty-handed.

Other Resources

If you’re wondering what you can and can’t take on a plane, by the way, you can search by keyword on the TSA website.

And here’s some advice from the Port of Seattle, regarding Sea-Tac Airport especially.


Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" explores all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Have a travel hangup or a tip? Let us know in the comments.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.