Airline Regulations on Wrapped Christmas Presents

If you are one of the millions heading off to visit friends and family this Christmas, then you are probably already shopping for those special festive gifts, but with tough airline security and luggage restrictions in place, you might want to leave the present wrapping until you arrive at your destination.

Just last November, the TSA (Transport Security Administration) in the United States announced that they would unwrap any Christmas gifts deemed ‘suspicious’, and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has issued warnings to anyone travelling by air over the Christmas period, to ensure that ‘dangerous goods’ are not packed in their luggage.

Simple things like batteries for a gift, toys shaped as guns and knives, and sparkling snow globes can set off airport alarms, and in previous years, Manchester Airport even suffered a security alert when an unsuspecting traveller packed a Christmas pudding in their hand luggage!

A Christmas pudding may be a traditional festive treat to you and me, but it seems they have the density similar to that of the explosive Semtex, and can look very much like a potential bomb to those sophisticated security scanners.

If you are travelling to or through the United States over the Christmas period, the TSA recommend that you do not place any wrapped packages in your checked luggage whatsoever.  Instead, they advise travellers to place all Christmas presents and gifts into their carry-on luggage, but they should remain unwrapped, they must not contain liquids over 100ml, and they should not be listed on the ‘dangerous items’ list.

The CAA are advising people to think carefully before transporting any Christmas gifts that could be potentially dangerous to the occupants of an aircraft, such as fireworks, camping gas cylinders, tear gas, poisons, corrosives, and toy gun caps, and they also reserve the right to open any suspicious looking Christmas presents.

So, if you were thinking of getting your dad a blowtorch, your grandmother a new car battery, and your great-aunt Annie some weed killer this Christmas, you might want to drive to your holiday destination instead of flying!

10 Comments Add yours

  1. Very good warning. It has happened to family and friends travelling to the US and pissed them off no end! They weren’t travelling with any banned or suspicious substances but every single parcel was opened from checked and locked luggage without them present.

    1. It’s pretty extreme isn’t it! I am heading home for Christmas and will definitely leave everything unwrapped until we arrive!

  2. excellent! yep I learned years ago not to wrap my presents when I travel at Christmas (usually from the UK to Italy or Croatia). So I bring my own wrapping paper etc separately. Last year my bag got stopped and passed through metal detector several times at Gatwick and then they opened and search the contents…. I had another “freezer bag” inside which was full of different types of British cheeses. Probably same density like Semtex all right! or it might have been the smell…. Also at British airports they don’t like Christmas Crackers (explosives….)

    1. I hope they didn’t take the cheese off you!!! I had dog food confiscated once, even though I was travelling with my dog! 🙂

  3. Jane Sadek says:

    And now we know why gift bags have become so popular.

    1. Yes – the perfect invention for Christmas travellers!

  4. pishnguyen says:

    This is excellent advice and an excellent reminder, too. It seems like being able to wrap those gifts ahead of time would save time, effort, and hassle. But not if you just end up wrapping them again — after TSA has fun opening them up. >.O

    We are traveling for the holiday this year for the first time in a few years. And I think we are going to ship stuff that we need to take with us.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! That sounds like a good plan, I never thought of shipping the gifts ahead of us! Another blogger recommended gift bags – great idea too! Have a wonderful Christmas wherever your travels take you 🙂

  5. Kate says:

    I am going to Korea so I searched this because I was going to give a gift to my cousin who I haven’t seen for five years. I guess I should ask one of my family members in Korea for their art supplies for gift wrapping.😊

    1. Equatours says:

      Glad it was helpful Kate! We hope you have a great trip to Korea – but yes, save the wrapping until you get there! 🙂

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