Avoid forcing the TSA to be the Grinch that stole YOUR Christmas!
As sure as the holiday season is upon us, someone is always ready, willing and able to ruin things for the rest of us!
Last week, a Continental Airlines passenger, bound for Cleveland, was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport and charged with possession of and transporting marijuana with the intent to resell it. What made this incident a bit more relevant than most was HOW the Transportation Security Administration discovered the more than 120 pounds of cannabis that was seized…
It turns out that Derik Dwayne Neely, 32, of Flint, Michigan, had concealed the parcels of pot within two Christmas-wrapped boxes inside his checked bags. Since the TSA officers who were scanning the luggage couldn’t make out what was inside the gift-wrapped boxes, by protocol, they were removed and unwrapped.
The holidays are important to the vast majority of us Americans, whether it is for Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Christmas. It’s perfectly fine to take off for your family’s, friends’ or favorite vacation destination fully prepared for gift exchanges…but if you are going to fly to get there, the TSA warns: DON’T WRAP THE GIFTS!
To begin with, try to remember that there are certain things which cannot be transported on commercial aircraft simply because they may fall into the category of “dangerous goods.” Flammable liquids, gases and solids are a no-no. Any type of explosive or explosive material is forbidden. And believe it or not, if your holiday goodies require refrigeration, do not assume it’s okay to wrap it in dry ice without notifying the airlines and filling out the necessary forms required by law, no matter how much you pack in your carry-on or checked luggage! (By the way, PLEASE don’t pack perishables in either your carry-ons or your check baggage using regular ice—you may end up causing an unexpected spectacle at the airport if the ice begins leaking out of your bag, especially in an overhead bin at 30,000 feet!).
Oh, and those of you Paula Deens, Rachel Rays and Gordon Ramseys out there: listen up! You may make the very best homemade gravy, cranberry sauce or strawberry jam, but according to the TSA, if it’s more than 3.4 ounces and not placed in the required singular quart-sized Ziploc™-style baggy when going through the screening checkpoint, they will be required to confiscate it!
The TSA has guidelines spelled out for all travelers regarding the transport of Christmas Gifts and food items on flights during the holidays. You can find a complete run down of the do’s and don’ts on their website. The TSA advises that pies and cakes are allowed through the screening checkpoints, but are subject to additional screening procedures. Gifts purchased at the airports inside the secured checkpoints have already been pre-screened and should require additional scrutiny by TSA, but remember they have the authority to question and/or screen any item being brought aboard an airplane.
If you just personally feel that Santa must deliver to your loved ones at your destination, have the good folks at FedEx or UPS act as your sleigh this year. It’ll save you time, stress and especially delays or embarrassment at the airport.
Let the “reindeer games” commence!