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TSA Expecting Record-Setting Crowds During Thanksgiving Travel

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Airlines and the TSA are not just expecting big crowds, but record-setting crowds during this year's Thanksgiving travel.

Before you ever get to the gate, you have to get through security, and this Thanksgiving, airlines and airports are bracing for massive crowds:

"U.S. airlines are planning for 30.6 million people to travel during the travel period starting November 16th to November 27th," said Sharon Pinkerton, with Airlines For America.

That's a million more than last year, and a record.

It will also set a record for TSA screeners, like those at Reagan National Airport.

And at BWI and airports across the country, increased staff and better technology will be deployed to keep the lines moving.

Besides volume, the number one way to slow down a line is the prohibited items.

"Folks that don't know what the prohibited items are. Things we don't allow into the cabin of an aircraft," said TSA administrator David Pekoske.

The obvious things like knives and guns are forbidden, but routinely turn up during screening.

And because it's Thanksgiving, the number of passengers carrying food increases.

"We've had hams and turkeys, pies and cakes," said TSA officer Sam Erger.

"Pretty much you can bring any food item you want to on a plane, we're going to screen it," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

Dry items like stuffing can go in a carry-on, but put the liquids in checked bags.

"Any form of wine, definitely put into your checked bag," said TSA officer Celeste Jone. "And if you have gravy, because it's liquid form, this goes into your checked bag."

Because no matter how good it is, if gravy slows down a line, it won't be a crowd pleaser.

The busiest times to fly are the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.

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