As the annual winter exodus gets underway, airports everywhere are set to get extra busy this December. In the haste and fuss, bottles of whisky will be abandoned, perfumes will be surrendered and gift-wrapped goodies will be confiscated by security staff. Every year it’s the same story – needlessly so. With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy list of packing do’s and don’ts to see you on your merry way through Europe’s airport security this Christmas.
Don’t pack that expensive watch, those limited edition Star Wars figures or an irreplaceable photograph of you and the love of your life in your checked-in luggage. If these gifts are stolen, damaged or lost there won’t be much comeback.
Do carry all valuables onto the plane in your smaller piece of hand luggage (the one that you can stash beneath the seat in front of you). Your larger carry-on isn’t a safe place, since you might be forced to check-in this piece of luggage if the overhead lockers are full. For peace of mind, the best way to ensure your precious gifts arrive securely is to carry them where you can keep an eye on them.
Don’t bring toys that look like weapons in your hand luggage – these include toy guns, water pistols, slingshots, darts and sports bats.
Do wait until you get to your destination to buy party poppers, sparklers, fireworks or Christmas crackers. These are considered explosive/flammable substances – and can’t be carried on board as they contain explosive/highly combustible substances which pose a risk to the health of passengers and crew and the security/safety of the aircraft property.
Don’t pack wrapped gifts in your checked-in luggage. Wrapped gifts will be searched and screened by airport security staff.
Do take a gift bag that can be folded and packed flat or save your expert wrapping skills until you arrive at your destination.
Don’t pack liquids over 100ml in volume in your carry-on. Liquids include the following:
Do place liquid-based gifts (unwrapped) in your checked-in baggage. Approved liquids of any volume/amount are always allowed to be carried as checked-in luggage. Alternatively, if you’ve got the time, hold off on buying liquid gifts until you get to your destination or take advantage of the deals and offers in the Duty Free, airport shops or on board your flight. If you’re carrying liquids under 100mls, ensure the following:
Do wrap ceramic/fragile gifts inside bubble wrap and then inside a sweatshirt or other soft/chunky item of clothing and place it in the middle of your checked-in luggage so that it’s safely supported on all sides.
Don’t forget, Christmas is about giving AND receiving. Pack a collapsible/fold-able shopping bag in your suitcase for stowing all those gifts you’ll take home on your return journey.