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Avoid airport gloom over festive travel

Cabin baggage restrictions can still catch out even the most seasoned traveller

’Tis the season to be jolly but you should think twice before taking wrapped Christmas presents in your cabin baggage if you are heading to the airport.

Security staff are likely to ask that wrapping be taken off presents so they can be inspected – which is much more frustrating than putting back on shoes or walking about in trousers without a belt.

Most people know not to carry liquids such as perfume, eau de cologne, creams or gels unless in 100ml packs and packed in a clear plastic bag but, with Christmas markets open all over, do not forget that honey, chutney and olive oil may also be banned.

Food items generally need to be sealed in the manufacturer’s packing with the date and source but Christmas cake, biscuits and chocolates are fine.

Some people are even surprised with a bottle of champagne in their cabin bag (unless bought in ‘duty free’ which is OK) and security staff lose count of those forced to hand over mustard, jams, conserves, cranberry sauce and brandy butter, which may be banned as ‘liquids’ for being over the 100ml size. Snow globes are also generally banned.

As for camembert or brie… they may not start the journey as liquid but will likely finish it by oozing all over the place – and will not be allowed on the second leg of a journey.

There is no place either for corkscrews – and, judging by the display bins at airports, too many people forget their Swiss Army knife is a knife. However, some European airports will allow passengers to fly out with a penknife with a blade of no more than 5cm; British airports do not.

Sports and martial arts equipment is banned in the cabin as are DIY tools… and furry handcuffs.

However, the frozen turkey is OK as are chestnuts and small Christmas trees, as long as they are bought in the EU. Citrus and olive plants are also allowed from an EU country.

While EasyJet and Flybe say they will accept Christmas crackers in non-checked bags you still have to get them past security – and UK airport staff will ban them. Ryanair and KLM ban crackers and all airlines ban party poppers.

Check the UK’s list of restrictions and its special downloadable pdf on fruit, veg and plants.

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