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Can I take this on a plane?

Photo: Daniel Hines.

Every year New Zealand Aviation Security Officers remove well-intended gifts and items from people’s luggage because the items aren’t safe to take on an aircraft.

Domestic travel ramped up on December 15 when the Auckland border opened resulting in an increase of 400 per cent in jet flights across New Zealand.

There are many popular items that pose an issue at security screening.

Electronic items

Were you gifted a phone, tablet, air pods or power bank this Christmas? All these items need to go in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked bag. Aviation Security Officers screen checked luggage and you could find these items removed. Why? Most of these items have lithium batteries which are classed as Dangerous Goods. While extremely rare there have been cases of lithium batteries exploding in cargo holds, which would be catastrophic and potentially fatal on a passenger aircraft.

Tools and power tools

Did you receive a power tool from a family member these holidays? Put these gifts in your checked bag. Some tools and power tools can go in carry-on bags but there are rules around metal shaft lengths on screwdrivers, chisels, and drill bits. These items are restricted as they could be used as weapons on a flight.

Imitation weapons

Nerf guns, toy guns, toy light sabres, toy swords. There are a lot of toys that look like weapons. All these need to go into your checked bag. If you put them in your carry-on there is a chance the item will need to be voluntarily relinquished at the screening point. The same goes for gimmicky gifts that look like the “real deal” such as plastic grenades and fake guns that hold liquid or toiletries. Keep these in your checked bag.

Celebrating with a ‘bang’

At this time of year officers always see party poppers and fireworks in people’s luggage. Both are not allowed on an aircraft at all. Party poppers contain a form of explosives that creates the pop sound and ejects the streamers/confetti. Fireworks also contain an explosive. Best to leave both items behind.

Batteries

These are the number one item that cause issues for passengers at screening points. Batteries need to be packed in carry-on and each passenger is entitled to bring 20 batteries. Each spare battery needs to be individually protected either in retail packaging, a protective pouch, in an individual bag, or with tape over exposed terminals. Batteries are not allowed in checked baggage.

“We have these rules around specific restricted items because they can or could pose a safety risk,” says Aviation Security Service - AvSec - Operations Group Manager Karen Urwin.

Karen says AvSec screens millions of pieces of luggage annually and many commonly removed items could be avoided if people knew which bag to pack them in.

“Tools, air pods, power banks, batteries are all often quite expensive items and the passenger often doesn’t want to relinquish those, however if people take the time to check the rules on our website they will see most items can be taken on the aircraft, it’s just a matter of whether it can go in your checked or carry-on bag,” says Karen.

“This season my advice to passengers would be to check what can and can’t go on an aircraft, arrive at the airport with extra time to go through security screening as there could be queues with the large numbers flying again, and make the screening easy for yourself by not wearing big boots or coats, and empty your pockets. We have to rescreen a lot of passengers who forget to take their keys or coins out of their pockets.”

You can check out all the rules on over 90 popular items on the AvSec website.

 

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Posted on 10-01-2022 12:27 | By morepork

I had a very officious baggage screener attempt to confiscate a Swiss Army knife which I have carried for over 40 years. I forgot to put in checked baggage. He said it would be confiscated so I said: "OK, then I won’t take the flight." He became angry (all the baggage had been checked and they would need to unload some of it...) His Supervisor came up and was much more reasonable. I explained my attachment to the knife and he said I should mail it to myself from the airport Post Office inside the check in, as I could not board with it. I did that and I thought it was a very reasonable solution. The knife turned up at my house a few days after I arrived home.