What to know before heading to the airport this Thanksgiving

Kent County

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s Thanksgiving week, which means lots of people will be traveling.

Officials at Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids say the busiest travel days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday. They say 80% more people are traveling this year compared to 2020, which is only down about 15% from 2019, before the pandemic. Ford Airport reminded travelers to give themselves plenty of time to get through security.

Passengers flying in and out of Gerarld R. Ford International Airport Wednesday were pleasantly surprised by how smooth the day went.

“It was so easy, I can’t believe it!” Leslie Ann Banfitch said after flying into Grand Rapids to surprise her granddaughter. 

Early morning travelers flying in from larger airports had a similar experience. 

“I fly a lot and I was figuring today would be super busy in Orlando,” Mark Huggett said. “We got there and walked right through the lines.”

The airport itself is practicing safety, including having extra masks available, sanitation stations, and extra cleaning. It also has a COVID-19 testing site on the property if you’d like to get tested before traveling.

“We want to make sure that the passengers have a great guest experience, customer experience, because they have a lot of choices. Passengers can go to other airports to fly out of. We want to make sure our experience for our customers and guests are a priority,” Alex Peric, the chief operating officer of the GRR Airport Authority.

In addition, before you head to the airport this Thanksgiving, officials with the Transportation Security Administration say it’s important to think about what foods you’re allowed to bring in your carry on and what items you should check.

Most foods can be taken through a TSA checkpoint, but there are some that will need to be checked. A general rule of thumb is if you can spill it or spread it, you should probably check it.

Here is a list of foods you can bring through a TSA checkpoint:

  • Baked goods
  • Meats
  • Stuffing
  • Casseroles
  • Mac ‘n cheese
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Candies
  • Spices

Here is a list of items you should check:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • Wine
  • Canned fruits and vegetables (due to liquid)
  • Jellies and jams
  • Maple syrup

TSA officials say food items often need more security screening, so they recommend placing items in a clear plastic bag or other container at home so you can easily remove them from your bag for screening. It’s also important to remember no liquids larger than 3.4 ounces can be carried on.

If you have an item that you’re unsure about, you can double check online.

—News 8’s Jacqueline Francis contributed to this report.

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