Holiday skiing might be damp, but some ski areas will open as light snow returns on the weekend. And are you wondering what Thanksgiving food can be carried on a plane? Here's a video with tips.

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If you’re flying out of Sea-Tac Wednesday, expect crowds and give yourself extra time to get through security. But take solace in the fact that it’s not the airport’s busiest day of the Thanksgiving holiday.

That would be Sunday, when everybody is coming back to Seattle or going home from here, and the Port of Seattle expects 145,800 travelers through the airport. (Don’t panic; summer travel crowds are larger.)

Spotlight on snow sports

More than 950,700 travelers are expected through Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from November 19-26, airport officials say. (Their tip: Drop travelers off at arrivals area and pick arrivals up at departures area, and maybe you’ll beat expectations — and some of the backups. For more tips, see below.)

If you’re driving to visit Grandma in Spokane or your uncle in Portland, be prepared for wet and sloppy highways through the weekend, with no worries about chaining up on mountain passes Wednesday, as the snow level soars to 9,000 feet.

Take it slowly, though, and be sure you have good wiper blades and plenty of washer fluid: The National Weather Service is predicting as much as a half-inch of rainfall at Snoqualmie and Stevens passes on Wednesday, with temperatures in the mid-40s. Lighter rain or showers are expected around Puget Sound. (Check current traffic at the Washington State Department of Transportation website or call 511.)

Snow levels are expected to drop to 5,500 feet in the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day on the western slopes of the North Central Cascades, which could bring slippery driving on Stevens Pass. The Cascades snow level dips to 2,500 feet by Monday.

The mountain forecast puts a decided damper on holiday skiing plans, though Crystal Mountain Resort reported a break in the rain Wednesday morning with patches of blue sky. The ski area is open Wednesday; its website Wednesday morning listed Thanksgiving Day operations as “to be determined.”

With a base about 1,000 feet higher than Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal expects snow to return on Friday and the resort plans to operate up to seven lifts this weekend. The forecast is for light snow accumulations.

Stevens Pass, White Pass and Mission Ridge ski areas are closed through Thursday, with plans to reopen Friday if conditions permit. Mount Baker ski area has limited operations, but is open daily, with rain reported Wednesday. The Summit at Snoqualmie ski area hasn’t yet opened this season.

More airport tips for holiday travel

  • Pack with security in mind: Know what is and isn’t allowed in carry-ons and checked luggage by checking the TSA website. Be sure any carry-on is empty before you start packing. (I recently gave up an old favorite Swiss Army knife to TSA because I forgot to check all the pockets of a knapsack that I don’t usually take on planes.)
  • Arrive early: Get to the airport at least 2 hours before domestic flights and 3 hours before international flights, to ensure you have time to park, find your way into the terminal, manage check-in, get through security checkpoints, and still have time for a bathroom stop and the long line at Starbucks.
  • Get ready to wait: The busiest times at security checkpoints will be between 5 and 11 a.m., port officials say.
  • Get your boarding pass early: Get it online and print it before you arrive or use check-in kiosks in the airport garage or at airline check-in counters. Passengers taking only carry-on bags can go directly to the security checkpoint. Passengers checking luggage can go to airline bag-check points.
  • Double-check your details. Make sure the name on your boarding pass matches your government-issued ID. Crossing a border? Be sure you and everyone in your party have the right passports. (My daughter once got to the airport with my wife’s passport in hand, and it caused a frantic dash home and back.) Be sure your passport has at least six months left before it expires; some nations won’t let you visit without that much valid time left on your passport.
  • Check the status of your flight: Before leaving home, check Sea-Tac’s online flight status page for updates, or look for email alerts from your airline.
  • Charge while you wait: Travelers using Gates C2 and C3 will notice new seating. Most seats in those gate areas will feature power (outlets and USB) to let you charge up your devices before departure. New colorful couches will also be in place at both gates. The soft seating will also offer power outlets. This is a preview of what you’ll see more of in the future at Sea-Tac.

Picking up and dropping off

  • Think backward: Pick up arriving passengers on the airport’s departures drive. Drop them off on the arrivals drive. The logic: The departures drive is busiest in morning, when most flights depart, so if you’re picking someone up in the afternoon, the departure drive should have lighter traffic. Likewise, when you’re dropping someone off in the morning, use the arrivals drive and you’ll be counter to most traffic — until everybody starts doing this…
  • Instruct your arriving guests to meet you on the departure drive one level up from baggage claim.
  • Use the cellphone lot and have your arriving traveler give you a buzz when they’re near the exit. But that lot often fills during holiday periods. So…
  • Instead of fighting traffic at curbside, why not just park in the garage, get out of your car and meet Grandma and Grandpa at baggage claim? It’s a nicer experience for all concerned, with hugging opportunities. And at $4 per hour the bill isn’t going to bust you.

Carrying Thanksgiving food on a plane

Here’s a Port of Seattle video with tips, such as whether or not you can bring Aunt Mae’s special cranberry sauce home on the plane: