You may have to leave the ugly Christmas sweater at home this year -- or at least pack it safely in your checked luggage.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) warns
against any clothing with bits of metal – think jingle bells or gold/silver
thread – which can set off the alarm at security. What else should you keep in
mind when travelling for the holidays? TSA spokesman Kawika Riley offers some tips for getting through security.
Q: Can passengers carry pies,
cakes, cookies and other holiday food on the plane?
A: Solid food is fine, as long as it does not contain
liquids, gels or aerosols. [But] if you can
smear it, spread it or spray it, you should expect that it could fall under the
3-1-1 liquid limitations.
Travelwise found this TSA list of holiday liquid, aerosol and
gel items that you should put in your
checked bag, ship ahead or leave at home if they are above the permitted 3.4 oz
Q: What about smaller food items
like cooking ingredients, including spices, herbs, etc.?
A: Same as above – TSA limits the size and quantity of carry-on liquids, gels
and aerosols, but solid foods are fine.
Q: When going through security, we
know passengers must take out laptops or iPads from their bags -- does the same
go for Kindles and other non-computer electronic devices?
A: Laptop computers, full-size video game consoles,
CPAP machines, full-size DVD players and video cameras that use video cassettes
be removed from their carrying cases and submitted separately for x-ray
screening. Small and portable electronic items (iPods, cell phones, etc) do not
need to be removed from their carrying cases.
Travelwise found these checkpoint
friendly laptop bag procedures. Kindles and iPads should also be removed
from carry-on luggage.
Q: What rules apply to wrapped
gifts for going through security?
A: Wrapped items are treated the same as unwrapped
items. If a wrapped item alarms as a potential explosive, our officers will
need to resolve the alarm. This is why TSA recommends passengers do not travel
with wrapped packages. In order to determine if a package contains a threat, a
security officer may need to unwrap and inspect the item. If you are travelling with gifts please
wrap them after you reach your destination.
Q: Have there been problems with
people trying to smuggle things in holiday gifts in the past? Any examples?
A: Every day – not just the holidays – TSA officers
find firearms and other weapons at checkpoints across the nation. Just this
past week, TSA detected a knife disguised as a belt buckle and a stun gun
disguised as a pink cell phone.
Q: With the three-ounce liquid
rule, what kind of gift items -- like snow globes -- do people tend to forget
A: Many passengers are very aware of the limits on
liquids in carry-ons, but may not be as familiar with the fact that those
limitations also apply to gels and aerosols.
Q: What about candles? Can those be
A: Regular candles are fine, but please remember that
they may be subject to further inspection before being cleared. Gel
candles fall under our liquid, gel and aerosol limitations for carry-on items.
Travelwise found this
list of prohibited
items for carry-on.
Q: What about people travelling
with pets? What should they keep in mind, especially during this busy travel
A: All pets
and animals are subject to non-x-ray screening. At the checkpoint, take
your pet out of the carrier, if possible, and send the carrier through the
x-ray. You can then either walk or carry your pet through the metal detector.
If you are not able to take the pet or animal out of the carrier, notify an
officer of your need for special assistance at the beginning of the checkpoint
screening process. At all times you are responsible for maintaining control of
your pet and assisting the TSA in the screening process. Never put a pet into
Q: During the holidays, do you ever
get people dressed up like Santa going through security? Do TSA agents have to
keep an eye out for people in costume during holidays like Christmas,
A: TSA officers look out for dangerous items and
dangerous individuals who may pose a risk to transportation security.
Travelwise found these tips for dressing for airport
Q: We're always hearing travellers
complaints about the TSA -- what are TSA agents' biggest complaints about travellers
going through security or not knowing the rules?
A: We consider it a privilege to serve the public, and
recognize that transportation security is everyone’s responsibility. When travellers
are prepared before they arrive at the checkpoint, they make the experience
easier for everyone, including their fellow passengers.