This time of year, the Ted Stevens International Airport is buzzing with holiday travelers and their luggage in abundance.


‘Tis the season for giving — and gifting. Wherever travelers are headed for the holidays, not everything they can pack will actually make it under the destination’s Christmas tree, says Tim Thompson with Alaska Airlines.


Here’s a list of the five gifts Alaska Airlines says are better left at home:


1. Hoverboards


Hoverboards are a hot ticket item on Christmas lists around the country. But for those planning to gift one for the holidays, Thompson says think again before bringing it on the plane. He says blame it on the unreliability of the board’s battery.


“We can’t trust them, so they’re banned from carry-ons and also checked luggage as well,” said Thompson. “You can go online and see a number of different scenarios where there’s been serious fires with these hoverboards.”


2. Drones


Also popular this year is the drone — in all its unmanned aircraft glory. But Thompson says even with the tiniest of drones, there’s one, big problem: “Aircrafts and drones do not mix well.”


“Any time they’re within an airport area, which is a secure are, they pose a danger and a threat,” he said. “So small ones, the midsize ones, any type of drone needs to stay away from an airport.”


3. Laser Pointers


To anyone planning on gifting a PowerPoint presentation or two, Thompson says leave the laser pointer at home. Airlines have seen an uptick in laser strikes, where someone shines a beam into an aircraft.


“That has the ability, potentially, to blind a pilot, especially at a critical point in flight, either takeoff or landing,” said Thompson. “And we don’t want that to happen.”


Laser pointers are allowed in carry-on bags, though Thompson urges fliers to keep them tucked away. But to be on the safe side, he says, don’t bother bringing them at all.


4. Hazardous Materials


Hazardous materials wouldn’t normally be allowed on board, says Thompson. And holiday travel is no exception. Sprays, canned fuel, flares, loose ammo, matches and loose batteries, among other items, are forbidden aboard the aircraft.


“We don’t want anybody to come into contact with these,” he said. “We don’t want any of them catching fire, or something happening, especially when we’re at altitude.”


5. Pre-wrapped Gifts


Those pre-wrapped presents may not make it past security, says Thompson.


“There’s a good chance that TSA is going to unwrap that gift, so it’s not even worth taking the chance,” said Thompson. “If you have a special type of wrapping paper that you love to use every year, just go ahead and take it with you.”


He says wrapping to unwrap is a waste of time, money and paper.




As the Christmas rush is one of the busiest weeks for travel, airport-goers should be sure to pack some patience, Alaska Airlines says — it’s likely they’ll need it.


For a full list of prohibited items, head to Alaska Airlines’ website. Check with your respective airline carrier to see what’s allowed in your luggage.



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