TSA encourages 'family lane' use for holiday travel

"That’s why we created Family Lanes," he continued. "They’re designed to let families take their time and ask questions without feeling rushed by the experienced frequent flyers who can zip through a checkpoint in no time. Also anybody carrying medically necessary liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of 3.4 oz may be directed to a Family Lane. Unfortunately, gravy is not medically necessary."

Other tips for holiday travel offered Tuesday by Burns included being prepared for gifts to be unwrapped and double-checking bags for weapons. TSA said it has found more 1,000 guns in passenger's luggage this year, with most passengers saying they were left accidentally.

As for TSA's controversial hand searches, Burns said "a very small percentage of passengers receive pat-downs.

"To reduce the need for a pat-down, the most important thing you can do is take everything out of your pockets before screening," he said. "You can put these items in your carry-on bag. Don't wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security. You will also receive a pat-down if you choose to opt out of our Advanced Imaging Technology."

As for food, he said "Pies are permitted, but they are subject to additional screening if our officers see any anomalies. (Additional screening of pies does not include our officers tasting the pie, no matter what they tell you…).

"Cakes, bread, donuts, turkeys, etc. are all permitted," he continued. "If it’s a live turkey, you might want to have a word with the airline."

More seriously, Burns said "here is a list of items that should be placed in your checked bags or shipped: cranberry sauce, creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), gravy (mmm gravy), jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer."