No, you should not pack wrapped gifts in your carry-on or checked bag

TSA officials say it's best to leave gifts unwrapped because if the gift triggers the X-ray machine, agents will need to open the package.

WASHINGTON — Air travel is climbing back to pre-pandemic levels; the Transportation Security Administration screened 2,081,064 people on Monday, compared to 2,254,188 in 2019.

With more travelers returning to the skies ahead of Thanksgiving and Chanukah, our VERIFY researchers looked into whether or not you should pack wrapped presents.


Should you pack wrapped gifts in your suitcase?



It's best to leave gifts unwrapped because if the gift triggers the X-ray machine, TSA agents will need to open up the package.


Our VERIFY researchers spoke with Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson, who said that Thanksgiving through New Years is the peak time people fly with presents.

But she said it's best to leave those gifts unwrapped in both your carry-on and checked baggage.

"So if it triggers an alarm, TSA is just going to have to unwrap the gift," Farbstein said. "You know who should unwrap that gift? The person who's supposed to receive it.”

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She recommends packing gifts in a gift bag or box with a lid so that TSA agents have easy access to peek inside if needed.

So we can Verify no, you shouldn’t pack wrapped gifts in your suitcase. Farbstein says it's just going to slow you down or potentially delay your checked bag from getting on your flight.

She offered two additional tips when it comes to packing gifts: 

1) make sure to securely pack liquids—like champagne or a snow globe—in your checked bag 

2)  if your gift is electronic and larger than a cell phone—think laptop or tablet— you'll have to remove it from your carry-on and put it in a separate bin like other electronics. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, federal mask mandates apply in airports regardless of state laws

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