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5 Festive Items Passengers Shouldn’t Take On Planes This Christmas

Summary Party poppers and Christmas crackers are not allowed in carry-on or sometimes even checked bags due to flammability.
Wrapped gifts are allowed, but they are subject to inspection by airport security.
Toys that look like weapons are generally not allowed, except for harmless toys in original packaging in checked bags.
If your Christmas plans include flying to your destination, be advised that there are regulations pertaining to common holiday-related items in carry-on baggage. Frequent fliers are familiar with restrictions on things like liquids and lithium-ion batteries, but other rules may catch holiday travelers by surprise. Here’s a rundown of the regulations to remember when packing for a Christmas journey.
1 Party poppers
Not allowed due to flammability
Carry-on bags Checked bags Not allowed Not allowed in the US; some exceptions outside the US
Party poppers and Christmas crackers consist of a tube, usually made from cardboard, that contains some sort of confetti, paper streamers, paper crowns, or other such festive material that explodes from the tube with a popping sound when activated. They also contain an explosive called Armstrong’s mixture, the propellant in party poppers. The flammable aspect is problematic for the aviation industry.
In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has wholly banned party poppers and English Christmas crackers from both carry-on and checked bags. Outside the US, rules vary by airline. As Simple Flying reported, more than a dozen airlines prohibit party poppers for either carry-on or checked bags, including Aer Lingus, Air France, Air New Zealand, Emirates, Etihad, Ryanair, and others.
A few airlines, including British Airways, Qantas, and Qatar, do allow Christmas crackers to be transported in checked bags. Please note that the devices must be commercially manufactured (not homemade), and the TSA’s prohibition still applies to any flights departing from the US.
2 Wrapped gifts
Gifts may be unwrapped by airport security
Carry-on bags Checked bags Allowed, but subject to inspection Allowed, but subject to inspection
It might be tempting to wrap gifts for loved ones and pack them in your luggage, but you run the risk of your beautifully wrapped present being unwrapped by airport security. The logic here is that security personnel have no way of knowing what lies beneath the wrapping paper, so they must be diligent in ensuring that the wrapped item is not explosive or something else that is dangerous.
Wrapped gifts are not technically prohibited by the TSA or airlines, but a strong warning is consistent that concealed items are highly subject to inspection. Instead, most airlines advise either shipping presents to your destination in advance, bringing gift wrap supplies with you so you can wrap them once you arrive, or simply placing items in a gift bag with tissue paper so security personnel can easily inspect them. Note that this advice applies to both carry-on and checked luggage.
3 Toys that look like weapons
Anything resembling a realistic weapon is prohibited
Carry-on bags Checked bags Not allowed Only harmless toys in original packaging
While toys that resemble a weapon are allowed in some instances, the TSA prohibits anything that could reasonably be mistaken for a weapon or explosive. Generally, harmless toys such as foam swords or lightsabers are allowed if they are packed in checked luggage, yet not carry-on. Such items should be in their original packaging to make it evident that they are not real weapons.
However, the TSA explicitly prohibits Squirt guns, Nerf guns, toy swords (not made of foam), and replicas of firearms or explosives like hand grenades. Remember that TSA officers have the discretion to inspect any items that may pose a security threat, so it is advised not to attempt to bring any toys likely to raise eyebrows in either your carry-on or checked baggage. The European Union has similar regulations, as do major airlines with transcontinental routes.
4 Alcohol
Distinct rules for carry-on and checked bags
Carry-on bags Checked bags Allowed, subject to limitations Allowed, subject to limitations
Alcohol may help you get into a festive mood, but the regulations on the amount and types of alcohol that can be brought onboard aircraft vary and can be confusing. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, alcoholic beverages with an alcoholic content of more than 24% but less than 70%, also known as “spirits,” are limited to 1.3 gallons (5 liters) in checked bags. The containers must be sealed and unopened. There is no limitation if the beverages contain less than 24% alcohol.
Photo: Sorbis |
For carry-on bags, the standard rule applying to liquids stands for alcoholic beverages, too. They are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) and must be placed in a clear, resealable quart-sized bag. Travelers can purchase alcohol duty-free at the airport, but it is wise to maintain the seal on the bottle and retain the receipt. These rules generally apply internationally, but always check your destination country’s regulations to ensure compliance.
5 Toys containing liquid
Snow globes are subject to the liquids rule
Carry-on bags Checked bags Allowed, subject to limitations Allowed
The restriction on liquids strikes again, this time on liquid-filled toys and keepsakes. Snow globes may conjure lovely winter scenery, but if they contain more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, they cannot be brought onboard in carry-on bags. This applies to many other common toys, like the Magic 8 Ball, gel-filled sensory toys for toddlers, and even squeeze balls filled with gel designed to help relieve stress or fidgeting.
Smaller liquid- or gel-filled toys containing 3.4 ounces or less may be brought in the standard clear, resealable quart-sized bag in carry-on bags, but the whole item, including the base, must be able to fit in the bag. If the exact amount of liquid or gel in an item is not easily determined, it is best to pack it in checked luggage to be on the safe side.



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