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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tip Tuesday: Dealing with TSA

In light of a recent news article about a boy who had some of his Walt Disney World souvenirs confiscated by TSA at the airport, I figured it was a good time for some tips about getting through the airport with all your Walt Disney World shopping.

Imagine this: You're at your favorite park shop and you find that wonderful big snow globe you've been looking for for months. You buy it in an instant. Now you have a problem, and might not even know it.

What's the problem? You flew to Walt Disney World and you're flying home. This means you have to go through the TSA security checkpoint at whichever airport you're flying out of. You don't want to put this very fragile item in your checked luggage for fear it will be broken (which is quite possible). So the best answer is to put the snow globe in your carry-on bag, right? Afraid not. TSA will only allow three ounces of fluid to be in a carry on bag (see this link for more details). Three ounces isn't much at all, and that snow globe has way more than three ounces. TSA won't play around. They will not allow you to put the snow globe in your luggage, since it's already been checked. Now you are out of luck.

So what do you do? Well the best thing to do is to plan ahead to get larger, fragile, TSA-unfriendly items hope. The best thing to do is ship it. Every Disney store offers shipping options. In this day of baggage fees and carry-on bag limitations, it might be better and easier to ship it anyway.

I did this during Star Wars Weekends 2007 when I purchased a Minnie big fig. The box was huge. I shipped it home for about $25 and didn't have to worry about getting it on the plane or having it damaged as checked baggage. It arrived about 2 days after I got back home.

Now, snow globes aren't the only problem you can face at the TSA security desk. In the article mentioned above, a boy wanted to bring his toy gun purchased in Frontierland onto the place. While I understand how some might think TSA should allow this to pass, their rules are ironclad (see here for more about restricted items). The good news is that you don't have to ship these items, just put them in a checked bag and you're good to go.

Dealing with airport security can be fairly painless, if you do a bit of planning and think. If you think it might be prohibited, it probably is. Either check it or ship it.


Elizabeth said...

Great advice! Looooooooong ago, when I was in my early teens (far far before 9-11), we were coming back from a trip to Switzerland, and while in the airport, my dad bought my sister a toy crossbow. IN THE AIRPORT! Security freaked. Since we had an airport receipt, they did find a way to gate check it, but that certainly won't happen now. We didn't even think about it at the time, but now I consider every item I purchase.

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