And no toy guns or weapons, please. They won't be allowed to pass through security. It doesn't matter that they're not real weapons. Security officials won't allow anything weapon-like because it might scare your fellow passengers or the crew.
People with medical issues should call TSA Cares (855-787-2227) before they travel to see if they need to take any extra steps or if they qualify for extra assistance to clear security.
Southwest Airlines flight attendant Barb Pool can spot the travelers who have overpacked and rushed to get to the airport in time.
Pool advises travelers to pack in advance, check as much baggage as possible, research TSA rules about what you can bring, and leave behind contingency supplies that will be available at your destination. (Southwest allows two free checked bags, JetBlue allows one, and some airlines let frequent fliers and airline credit card holders check a bag for free.)
"Do whatever it takes to not stress," said Pool, who often celebrates the holidays in advance with her family. "People get on a plane and are stuck for so many hours. It's not a fun journey if you're stressed."
Pool tends to find joy in many of her flights, whether it's holding a baby as nervous parents stow their bags, talking to military personnel heading home on leave, or helping people with disabilities get settled.
"Most of the time they're preoccupied, but every once in a while they'll offer to take you home for Thanksgiving," she said. "Elderly people especially realize you're not going to be with your family."
She also knows that something larger might be stressing out her customers.
"Everyone's not always traveling for happy events," she said. "They might be fighting tears. It could be their first year without a spouse or they're going to a funeral. Everyone's not going to Grandma's for dinner. I try to be extra sensitive to it."