Most Americans haven’t heard of Christmas crackers. Indeed, most Americans would be surprised to find that Christmas crackers aren’t even edible.
But Christmas crackers are holiday staples in some countries, including Great Britain. Which is why recent airline bans of Christmas crackers have left British travelers incensed this holiday season.
Here’s a little bit about the Christmas cracker tradition, why airlines are banning them, and how these types of carry-on bans affect all passengers.
What are Christmas Crackers?
Christmas crackers are cardboard tubes wrapped with decorative paper — much like hard candy or a Tootsie Roll. A small toy is typically placed inside the cardboard tube, along with a paper hat and a fortune, joke or trivia question.
The British commonly place Christmas crackers alongside silverware at the holiday table. After the meal, celebrants can yank apart the two ends of the wrapping paper to crack open the tube and gain access to whatever’s inside. Some crackers are lined with a small amount of gunpowder to provide a “pop” when opened.
Why Airlines are Banning Crackers
Norwegian Airlines, Emirates and others have banned Christmas crackers. Why? It’s obvious why Christmas crackers would cause concern.
First, they are fully enclosed. It’s never a good idea to wrap or enclose something for air travel. Just as security can open your suitcase to look through its contents, security would also need to be able to open Christmas crackers to look at their contents. But opening Christmas crackers ruins them.
Second, as noted, some Christmas crackers are line with gunpowder. Obviously, all airlines want to avoid having incendiary materials on board.
What Does This Mean for All Passengers?
Travel around the holidays is hectic and stressful. One of the complicating issues is that passengers are traveling with gifts — but they don’t always think through what those gifts will mean when going through security.
For example, some passengers pack bottles of champagne for holiday celebrations or snow globes to give as gifts. Of course, any liquid carried on a plane must be in a container of 3.4 ounces of less, which excludes most bottles of champagne and most snow globes. Even checking a bag with booze can be problematic. There’s no limit on carrying wine, but anything between 24 and 70 percent alcohol must be in a container of 5 liters or less. And passengers cannot check bags with any liquid greater than 70 percent alcohol.
There’s also traveling with presents. If you need to travel with Christmas presents, remember these two words: gift bag. A gift bag gives security access to gifts without ruining the wrapping. If you carefully wrap a present before going through security, it’s possible a TSA agent is the one opening it — rather than the intended recipient.
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There’s so much to think about when you’re traveling for pleasure or for business. At JTB Business Travel, we help companies and organizations large and small avoid surprises and slowdowns when their team members are on the road. We are the corporate travel agency that focuses on common sense with every tool, resource and service we provide.
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