Pro tip: Don’t take wrapped gifts in your carry-on

Edmonton Journal - - FRONT PAGE - JANET FRENCH [email protected]­

A six-pack of Bud­weiser. A sparkly snow globe fea­tur­ing Min­nie Mouse and Mickey Mouse. A jar of bath salts. A per­fume bot­tle shaped like a grenade.

Trav­ellers at­tempted to bring all of these items through the Ed­mon­ton In­ter­na­tional Air­port’s se­cu­rity screen­ing in their car­ryon bags.

If you ab­so­lutely must bring a hand saw home for the hol­i­days — how else will you cut down that Christ­mas tree? — you’ll have to store it in your checked suit­case while fly­ing, said Chris­tine Lan­glois, spokes­woman for the Cana­dian Air Trans­port Se­cu­rity Au­thor­ity (CATSA).

An­other pro-tip: keep your carry-on presents un­wrapped un­til you’ve passed through se­cu­rity.

“We re­ally en­joy un­wrap­ping gifts, but we’d much prefer not un­wrap­ping yours,” she said.

The air­port an­tic­i­pates Fri­day, Dec. 21 will be the busiest travel day of 2018.

Of­fi­cials said in a news re­lease there could be 20 per cent more trav­ellers than usual pass­ing through the ter­mi­nal. It fore­casts about 25,000 peo­ple fly­ing that day and an­other 50,000 more drop­ping off or greet­ing peo­ple.

On Fri­day, Lan­glois demon­strated CATSA’s new carry-on bag­gage screen­ing sys­tem, which is sup­posed to be more ef­fi­cient and user-friendly for both trav­ellers in a hurry and those who need more time.

As of Fri­day, the au­thor­ity had in­stalled the CATSA Plus con­veyor sys­tem in two of the air­port’s eight se­cu­rity line­ups.

Pas­sen­gers be­gan us­ing one of them on Mon­day, and the other is be­ing used for em­ployee train­ing. Over the next few months, all eight queues will switch over to the new sys­tem.

The new setup au­to­mat­i­cally feeds bag­gage bins into four sta­tions, where four trav­ellers at a time can un­load their bags and coats and yank out their lap­tops. When ready, pas­sen­gers push their loaded bins onto a con­veyor belt for a trip through the X-ray ma­chine.

Af­ter trav­ellers pass through the metal de­tec­tor, they can watch their be­long­ings be sorted into two lines — cleared to fly, or needs more scru­tiny.

Once screen­ers deem their bag safe, pas­sen­gers can turn around to find a long repack­ing ta­ble be­hind them, where they can re­assem­ble their pos­ses­sions with­out hold­ing up the line.

Post­media timed pas­sen­gers mov­ing through the line on Fri­day, and ob­served five peo­ple put their bag­gage in bins and walked through the metal de­tec­tor within one minute.

The sys­tem has also been in­tro­duced at Toronto Pear­son, Mon­treal, Cal­gary and Van­cou­ver air­ports and is com­ing to Hal­i­fax.

Ex­pe­ri­enced trav­ellers know they’re not al­lowed to bring con­tain­ers of liq­uids or gels larger than 100 millil­itres through se­cu­rity screen­ing.

More re­cently, con­tain­ers of pow­ders and grains larger than 350 mL (about the size of a pop can) are also ver­boten, in­clud­ing salts, sand and chem­i­cal hand warm­ers.

You can fly with cannabis — up to 30 grams for recre­ational use, or 150 grams for medic­i­nal use — but not across in­ter­na­tional bor­ders.

A full list of carry-on re­stric­tions is avail­able on CATSA’s web­site.

We re­ally en­joy un­wrap­ping gifts, but we’d much prefer not un­wrap­ping yours.


Chris­tine Lan­glois demon­strates the new screen­ing sys­tem at the Ed­mon­ton In­ter­na­tional Air­port.


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