Washington - Air travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels; the US Transportation Security Administration screened 2,081,064 people on Monday, compared with 2,254,188 in 2019.
As more and more travelers return to the sky before Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, our VERIFY researchers investigated whether you should pack a gift.
Should you put the wrapped gift in your suitcase?
It is best not to wrap the gift, because if the gift triggers the X-ray machine, TSA agents will need to open the package.
Our VERIFY researcher talked to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. She said that Thanksgiving to New Year is the peak time for people to fly with gifts.
But she said it is best to open these gifts and put them in carry-on and checked luggage.
"So if it triggers an alarm, TSA will have to open the gift," Fabstein said. "Do you know who should open that gift? The one who should accept it."
Related: Verification: Can you put hand sanitizer and wipes in your carry-on bag?
She recommends packing the gifts in gift bags or boxes with lids so that TSA agents can easily enter them when needed.
If a packaged item alerts @TSA security inspection technology, it needs to be opened to determine if it is a security threat. Consider traveling with unpackaged items, put them in gift bags or gift boxes, or use festive bows for easy access and settlement. pic.twitter.com/5SYmBC93K3
So we can verify that no, you should not pack a packaged gift in your suitcase. Farbstein says this will only slow you down or may delay the boarding of your checked luggage.
In terms of gift wrapping, she provided two additional tips:
1) Ensure that liquids (such as champagne or snowballs) are safely packed into your checked luggage
2) If your gift is electronic and larger than a mobile phone-such as a laptop or tablet-you must take it out of your carry-on luggage and put it in a separate trash box like other electronic products.
Related: Verification: Yes, federal mask regulations apply to airports regardless of state laws
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