Image: Carry-on items
Alessandro Della Bella  /  AP file
With 25 million air travelers expected over the Thanksgiving holiday, airlines are preparing for a deluge of infrequent fliers who may not be familiar with carry-on luggage rules.
updated 11/16/2006 8:55:35 PM ET 2006-11-17T01:55:35

Airlines say they’re prepared for an onslaught of Thanksgiving travelers who may not know that big bottles of shampoo, mouthwash and hairspray are banned from carryon luggage.

New restrictions on liquids, gels and aerosols in carryon bags have caused longer security lines at major airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

With 25 million passengers expected during the 12-day Thanksgiving travel period, airlines are gearing up for travelers unfamiliar with the rules.

“We’re ready to go,” James May, president of the Air Transport Association, said Thursday. “We know we’ve got 25 million people coming.”

The Transportation Security Administration now only allows liquids, gels and aerosols in 3-ounce containers or less. They must be contained in one quart-sized zip-top clear plastic bag. Passengers must take the bag out of their carryon luggage at security checkpoints.

‘Not complicated’
“This is not complicated,” said TSA chief Kip Hawley in a news conference held with airline and airport spokespeople to remind travelers of the new restrictions.

Passengers sometimes aren’t sure if a substance is a solid or not. Hawley offered this advice: “If you dump it out on the table and it retains its form, it’s not a liquid, aerosol or gel.”

The rules were put in place in September, after British police broke up a terrorist plot to blow up as many as 10 trans-Atlantic flights using liquid explosives.

To accommodate the Thanksgiving crush, the TSA is opening security checkpoints earlier and fully staffing them.

Most of the major airports are handing out free baggies , and volunteers, docents and interns will be on hand to help travelers, said Greg Principato, president of the Airports Council International.

An average of 2 million people a day will fly over the Thanksgiving travel season, which runs from Friday, Nov. 17 to Tuesday, Nov. 28. The two busiest days will be Sunday, Nov. 26 and Monday, Nov. 27, May said.

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