As at any other time of the year, during the festive period airport security officials have one priority – elf and safety.
So passengers packing presents should be mindful that some Christmas items could cause delays – especially if pre-wrapped – or will be confiscated.
To ensure that all presents make it to the Christmas tree, London Luton Airport (LLA) is highlighting how carry-on rules apply to seasonal gifts and goodies.
The first tip relates to liquid items which, as many frequent flyers will know, will be confiscated by security staff if they measure over 100ml.
This applies to Christmassy items such as bottles of mulled wine and gel candles, which should be packed in a passenger’s hold luggage instead, the airport says.
Snow globes are a no-no for carry-on luggage, with London Luton Airport stating: ‘As the liquid content isn’t stipulated on these items, you cannot take in hand luggage. Pack securely in checked luggage instead’
Less obvious items subject to the 100ml rule are brandy butter, Christmas chutneys and cranberry sauce.
LLA says: ‘You might not think it, but brandy butter is classed as a liquid and subject to confiscation if over the 100ml limit. Same goes for mincemeat and chutneys.’
And while Cranberry sauce may be integral to a Christmas dinner, unless it’s in a 100ml jar, says LLA, ‘its gelatinous consistency puts it too far into liquid rules territory to be allowed in a carry-on’.
The airport adds: ‘It’s best to keep all your edibles and spreadables in checked luggage or safe at home to avoid disappointment.’
Snow globes are also a no-no for carry-on luggage, with LLA stating: ‘As the liquid content isn’t stipulated on these items, you cannot take in hand luggage. Pack securely in checked luggage instead.’
Different airlines have different policies on bringing crackers onboard
Bottles of mulled wine and gel candles should be packed in a passenger’s hold luggage
LLA says: ‘You might not think it, but brandy butter is classed as a liquid and subject to confiscation if over the 100ml limit’
Other festive items that could land you in trouble with security staff are Christmas crackers and cheese knives, according to LLA.
‘While not universally banned as a travel item, different airlines have different policies on bringing crackers onboard so be sure to check your airline’s policy before you fly,’ it says.
‘And in general, you are prohibited from travelling with sharp objects in your carry-on baggage, so we recommend leaving your cheese knife at home and sourcing at your destination.’
LLA is also advising holidaymakers against packing wrapped presents in their hand luggage, as ‘thousands of wrapped presents are screened, opened and searched every year as part of airport security checks’.
Post-security, to ensure travellers reach their destinations with their gifts under wraps, the airport is hosting a free airside wrapping service by Rowan Atkinson lookalike Nigel Dixon on December 21.
Post-security, to ensure travellers reach their destinations with their gifts under wraps, London Luton Airport is hosting a free airside wrapping service by Rowan Atkinson lookalike Nigel Dixon (above) on December 21
This is inspired by a scene from Christmas film Love Actually, where store worker Rufus, played by Atkinson, overwraps a gift for Harry, played by Alan Rickman.
‘In a nod to the comedic exchange between the two much-loved characters, the service includes gift wrap paper, tags, adorning ribbons and various festive extras including dried flowers, cinnamon sticks and lavender,’ LLA says.
‘The bespoke wrapping paper features a snowflake motif made from an aeroplane formation to provide a final flourish for passengers’ gift packages.’
The service comes as 38 per cent of travellers claim to have never come across airport guidance advising against packing gift-wrapped presents, while 22 per cent are unaware of additional screening requirements for wrapped presents.
Clare Armstrong, Head of Guest Experience at London Luton Airport, says: ‘Given the high number of wrapped presents we see in security each year, we realised many of our passengers are unaware of the possibility that they may need to be opened for inspection. So, the idea for our gift wrap service was born to create a fun experience for passengers, while minimising any unwanted delays or stress when travelling this festive season.
‘We’re always looking for ways to help passengers have the most simple and friendly experience at the airport and pre-empt any challenges they might face – particularly over Christmas and the new year when we will welcome 240,000 departing passengers to the terminal.’