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Packing smart for holiday air travel

SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Christmas cookies — yes. A holiday bottle of wine — no. The Transportation Security Administration is reminding air travelers in KELOLAND, what they can carry on the plane, and what needs to be checked, or kept at home.

Holiday music, courtesy of the Dakota Wind Quintet, helped calm weather-frazzled fliers at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

“It’s been real fretful the last couple of days wondering if we were going to make our flights and if we’re all going to get to the airport because our son’s coming from Orange City and we’re coming from Platte, and the weather was really bad there, but we’re here. And, our flight’s on, so that’s all good,” Jackie Olsen of Platte, SD said.

The Olsens are flying to North Carolina. They make a point of traveling light.

“Charged cell phone,” Jeff Olsen said.

“Yeah, the right sort of gear. Of course, we’re going to where it’s warm, so that was an easy pack,” Jackie Olson said.

But packing for the holidays isn’t typically so easy. TSA is urging air travelers not to bring wrapped gifts, because security may have to unwrap them at the checkpoint.

“I think ideally, if you could just wrap your gifts at the destination, that’s the best solution. But if you do need to travel, we recommend gift bags over wrapped gifts,” TSA Regional Spokesperson Jessica Mayle said.

Food is always big around holiday time. And baked goods, like cookies, pies and cake, are fine to bring into the cabin. But liquid refreshments are not.

“Maybe a bottle of wine, or anything that counts as a liquid spread-able: cheese, peanut butter. If you can spread it, or spray it, or pour it, those all count under the liquids rules,” Mayle said.

It’s also important to show up well ahead of your flight, in case of bad weather, or if there’s a backup at the security check. The Olsens arrived the night before, helping to ensure their holiday travel plans are well-orchestrated.

TSA says they’re also seeing a high number of passengers nationwide inadvertently bringing firearms to the checkpoint, including nine instances at the Sioux Falls Regional Airport. It’s important those unloaded weapons be stored in a container, separate from ammo, as checked baggage only.

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