Many passengers think that it is a good idea to plan ahead and wrap their gifts before flying to their destination.

However, bringing wrapped gifts to the airport might not always be the best idea.

While you can bring wrapped gifts on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags, it’s possible that the TSA will want to unwrap any gifts, so they can inspect the item.

This means that all that time and work you spent wrapping your gifts will go to waste.

Wrapped Gifts in Your Carry on Bag

As mentioned, you can pack wrapped gifts in your carry on, but it’s possible that a TSA officer will unwrap your gift for additional inspection.

The TSA even recommend passengers to wrap gifts when they arrive at their destination and not to bring any wrapped gifts to the airport.

Wrapped Gifts in Your Checked Bag

Again, you can bring wrapped gifts in your checked bags, but they may need to be unwrapped to be inspected.

There is less chance of this happening if you pack gifts in your checked bags, so if you really want to bring wrapped gifts to the airport, make sure that you pack them in your checked bags.

The Same Rules Apply Worldwide

While the TSA only has authority in the USA, you will find the same applies worldwide.

Airport security is primarily concerned with the safety of passengers, so regardless of where you are flying to or from, airport security officers worldwide will want to take a closer at your wrapped gifts to make sure that you aren’t flying with any items that can pose a risk to aviation safety.

Airlines Follow TSA Regulations

Airlines follow TSA regulations, so you are allowed to bring wrapped gifts in both your carry on and checked bags regardless of the airline you are flying with.

If you manage to make it past airport security with your wrapped gifts in one piece, they will remain that way as you board the plane and fly to your destination.

Flight attendants won’t bat an eyelid if you bring wrapped gifts on a plane.

Gifts That You Might Not Be Able to Fly With

Not only do you have to worry about your wrapped gifts being ripped open by TSA officers, but there are TSA regulations that could end up with you having your gifts confiscated at the airport.

The TSA have a rule in place called the 3-1-1 Rule, which prohibits passengers from bringing any liquids, gels and aerosols larger than 3.4oz/100ml in their carry on.

This means that popular gifts like beauty products and even some food products that aren’t completely solid should only be packed in your checked bags.

If you want to bring alcohol on a plane in your checked bags, there are additional restrictions:

  • If the alcohol is less than 24% ABV or 48 proof, there is no limit. This covers most beers and wine.
  • If the alcohol is more than 24% but not more than 70% ABV (48 – 140 proof), you are limited to 5 liters (1.3 gallons)
  • If the alcohol is over 70% ABV or over 140 proof, it isn’t allowed in either your carry on or checked bags

Here is the Best Way of Flying With Gifts

When flying with gifts, you want to make sure that you keep the 7 following tips in mind:

  • Avoid wrapping any gifts you want to bring.
  • If you really want to bring wrapped gifts to the airport, pack them in your checked bags, as they are less likely to be opened.
  • Consider a gift bag instead to be completely on the safe side. The gift bag should be designed to be easily opened by TSA agents.
  • Keep valuable gifts in your carry on.
  • Be aware of any TSA regulations for prohibited items, especially beauty and food products.
  • Make sure that you protect fragile gifts by wrapping them in bubble wrap.
  • Pack wrapping paper, scissors, markers and any other items you need so to make wrapping your gifts at your destination as quick and easy as possible.

It’s Better to Bring a Gift Bag Instead

You can bring gift bags on a plane in both your carry on and checked bags.

In fact, the TSA recommend that you place your gifts in a gift bag instead of wrapping them, so they won’t be subject to additional inspection.

You Can Bring Scissors on a Plane

You can bring scissors on a plane.

The regulations state that any pair of scissors packed in your carry must have a blade that is less than 4 inches (or 2.36 inches if flying from international airports).

There are no restrictions if packed in checked bags.

As Well as Bubble Wrap and Marker Pens

Bubble wrap is fine to pack in both your carry on and checked bags.

If you are flying with any fragile gifts, you will definitely want to wrap them in a few layers of bubble wrap, as baggage handlers can be quite rough.

You can also bring marker pens in both your carry on and checked bags.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).