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What you can and can't take on flights

Tuesday - 11/20/2012, 10:19am  ET

keister.jpg
David Keister, TSA agent for 10 years, shows the size of snow globe that is permitted in carry-on luggage. It has to be smaller than a tennis ball. (WTOP/Kristi King)
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WASHINGTON - Most frequent travelers know what they can and cannot bring onto an airplane. But sometimes the holidays require you pack odd things, such as gifts, that might cause a problem at security.

The Transportation Security Administration is ready for the holidays and the litany of random items that land on the security belt this time of year.

Snow globes are OK, as long as they are smaller than a tennis ball. Passengers also are free to bring a pie on board, says David Keister, a veteran TSA officer.

"Pies and cakes are more than welcome. You can carry those items right on through the checkpoint," Keister says.

But if it's liquid, gel or goopy and more than 3-ounces, it can't come on the plane, Keister says. That means regular sized toiletries of course, but the rule also applies to any cheese spreads or cranberry sauce you might want to share at the Thanksgiving table.

Here's the list of holiday foods that are allowed.

The TSA recommends travelers follow the 3-1-1 rule3 ounces in one quart-sized bag for each person.

A number of items are prohibited. Here's the list.

Keister, who has been a TSA officer at Reagan National Airport for 10 years, says the big mistake travelers make is wrapping their gifts.

Gift boxes are preferred because, Keister says, if the X-ray agent notices an unknown object inside a wrapped gift, it might have to be torn open.

WTOP's Kristi King and Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. Follow @kingWTOP, @AugensteinWTOP and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)