It is very important for people traveling by airplane this Thanksgiving to consider the consistency of their pies.
They must be firm. If your pie’s interior is found to be too soupy, that culinary labor of love might be banned from boarding. And don’t try to slip pie by the agents of the Transportation Security Administration. Expect the same degree of scrutiny your pie might get from the judges at a county fair.
“As a general rule of thumb,” the TSA advises, “if you can spread it, spill it, spray it, pump it or pour it, then it’s usually in the category of a [prohibited] liquid or gel.”
Could a mushy pie be more than a recipe gone bad? Could it be a terrorist concoction disguised in a pie shell?
Aaah, the rigors of travel during the most traveled week of the year are upon us. Staying home in front of the fire is not the option of choice for 46.9 million Americans who say they will go farther than the local supermarket or mall over the extended Thanksgiving weekend.
The number of people who expect to go somewhere more than 50 miles from home is 3.8 percent higher than the average for the past 10 years, according to the annual holiday travel survey by the American Automobile Association.
With gas prices lower than they’ve been in a while, more people plan to drive than any time since 2007, AAA said.
“Americans will likely pay the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices since 2008,” AAA President Marshall Doney said. “While many people remain cautious about the economy and their finances, many thankful Americans continue to put a premium on traveling to spend the holiday with loved ones.”
In recent years, the holiday weekend has evolved into a holiday week for travelers, but real-time travel-monitoring company Inrix, which provides data for traffic reports across the nation, says this year will see a lot of heavy traffic on the eve of Thanksgiving.
Inrix says it will feel like rush hour four hours early on Wednesday in the worst cities — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego — where trips could take 36 to 44 percent longer.
The District, where 1.1 million area residents say they plan to travel over the weekend, won’t be quite as bad. The region dropped six spots in the worst-of-the-worst rankings for last-minute departures, but people who drive during the peak 2 to 4 p.m. escape time can expect an average delay of 23 minutes, Inrix projects.
“Curiously, the number of travelers departing from the Washington metro area will remain flat this Thanksgiving, despite an unemployment rate that continues to decline and the lowest Thanksgiving gas prices in seven years,” John B. Townsend II of AAA Mid-Atlantic said.
People driving to the nation’s airports — and 3.6 million people tell AAA they plan to fly — can expect delays on the way, too, adding an average of 19 minutes to travel time.
“Drivers en route to West Coast airports such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas will experience the largest spikes in traffic between 7 and 10 a.m.,” Inrix traffic analyst Greg Hallsworth said. “In contrast, East Coast commuters should generally avoid traveling to airports between 4 and 6 p.m.”
The worst drive to or from an airport is expected to be at Chicago O’Hare, where it is expected to take 50 minutes longer than usual. The District, served by three major airports, escapes Inrix’s list of the dozen most congested airport drives.
And then there’s Friday — a.k.a. Black Friday — when the congestion will be mall-centric.
Inrix projects that the country’s busiest malls will see an average 62 percent traffic increase during peak hours. Despite all the much-ballyhooed pre-dawn sales, the worst hours for mall shopping come later in the day, between noon and 3 p.m., Inrix says.
Palisades Center in West Nyack, N.Y., will be the nation’s busiest mall on Friday, Inrix says, with mobs of shoppers expected between noon and 4 p.m. Houston’s Galleria will draw a slightly later peak crowd. Tysons Corner Center in Virginia figures to be the sixth busiest, with its prime time falling just before sunset.