Lightsabers, snow globes and magic 8-balls – these are the gifts you can’t take on a plane says expert
Experts reveal gifts like snow globes, toy guns and lightsabers might cause you issues with airport security
Travel experts at loveholidays team up with airport security experts to advise how is best to pack and travel with Christmas gifts
Many will be planning on visiting their friends and families overseas for Christmas or jetting off for a festive family getaway to celebrate the holidays. However, those keen to head abroad might have to check their packing lists twice or risk getting in trouble with airport security.
Online travel agent, loveholidays has spoken to former airport security workers to find out which are the most commonly confiscated Christmas gifts and their top tips for a smooth boarding process during the holidays.
Gifts you cannot travel with
Each airline has a list of prohibited items for flights and checked luggage, which includes obvious items, such as alcohol above 70% and sharp objects and then you have the more unusual items. Some of the most unusual items on the ‘no-fly’ list include snow globes, magic 8 balls, foam swords, artists’ sets of paint and toy weapons – which could include things like lightsabers.
Former airport security officer, Michael Sawyer, explains: “There are several gifts that you cannot take through airport security. Snow Globes are a big one, as with most things containing liquid, aerosol, or food, you run the risk of it getting confiscated – even if it is sealed.”
Any children’s toys that are replicas or resemble weapons or guns will be confiscated and binned at the security check so be aware of that before travelling. Light sabers, although allowed on some airlines, may alert security officers due to the design or lithium-ion batteries, so best to be safe and pack in your check-in luggage.
Don’t wrap your presents before travelling.
Jeremy Scott Foster, a former airport security worker warns that beautifully gift-wrapped presents could get ripped open.
“To those wanting to wrap their presents before getting on the plane, wait until you get to your destination if possible. If it gets flagged by security, agents must take it out to investigate.
“I never enjoyed doing that, but I don’t think some individuals understand that we have a list of guidelines to follow, and even if something is seemingly harmless at first glance if it’s flagged in security, we have no choice but to look at it.”
Never check-in valuable gifts and consider postal options instead
Travel expert and ex-security worker, Will Hatton warns against packing valuables in your hold luggage.
“If you have fragile items or something that won’t fit into your carry on, consider shipping those in advance with a carrier used to handling fragile goods.
“If you have a lot of heavy or space-consuming items, having packages delivered to your destination is a good idea. This can help with keeping baggage fees low as well.”
Utilise your child’s carry-on allowance.
Will Hatton mentioned one trick parents might be missing.
“Many parents don’t think about it, but if you’ve purchased a seat for your child on the flight, they are also allotted 1 piece of carry-on luggage at most airlines. Kids’ clothes don’t take up that much space, so use their bags to carry more gifts.”
Expect longer wait times.
Michael Sawyer also said,
“As many travellers fly home or on a Christmas getaway, there will be an influx of people at security. Always arrive about 2-3 hours before your flight during the holidays andset yourself up to get through security easily”
Will adds “I was surprised at how many people didn’t adhere to or simply didn’t know the rules for checking baggage and going through security. During the holidays, this made the job significantly more stressful and added to wait times”
Commenting on the tips Iona Wark, Senior Holiday Product Manager at loveholidays adds:
“Lots of thought and money goes into buying presents for Christmas, but if you’ve not considered how to travel with them or if you can even take them on a flight with you – you risk not making it to your destination with the intended gifts.
“Be sure to pack wisely and avoid any headaches or heartbreak at the security check.”