Holiday Tips to be on the Nice List for Airport Security

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If you’re getting ready for holiday travel, you’re likely making your lists and checking them twice. If you think your or Santa’s list is long, you should check out the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) What Can I Bring list. It’s basically a list of naughty-or-nice holiday tips for airport security – a searchable database detailing what can and cannot pass through airport security in your carry-on or checked luggage. This list has hundreds of items, so here’s a seasonal selection of what’s ho-ho-ho and what’s no-no-no.

Holiday Tips for Airport Security

Don't be on CATSA's naughty list this holiday travel season. Use these helpful holiday tips for airport security to make the season bright.

The Naughty List

  • Replica weapons: This shouldn’t be too surprising. But if you’re helping Santa to bring toy guns, replica knives or anything similar this holiday season, you’ll have to mail it to your destination or pack it in your checked baggage.
  • Liquids, aerosols and gels (LAGs) in containers of more than 100 ml: Pack your egg nog in your checked bag if the container is larger than 100 ml. Passengers are allowed to bring only as many smaller containers as can fit inside a 1L bag. Check CATSA’s website for more info.
  • Wrapped gifts: Leave your gifts unwrapped when bringing them through the security checkpoint, in case their contents need to be inspected. In some airports, gift wrapping services are available after security during the holiday season.
  • Some items with blades: Knives with a blade longer than 6 cm, box cutters, utility knives and safety razor blades are not permitted in carry-on baggage. Small knives with blades 6cm or less are permitted on domestic and international flights. One important exception is for flights to the United States – no knives of any kind allowed.

Don't be on CATSA's naughty list this holiday travel season. Use these helpful holiday tips for airport security to make the season bright.

The Nice List

  • Electronics: Portable electronic devices are allowed in your carry-on. Feel free to load up your tablet with holiday movies to watch on the plane. However, you may be asked to remove your device’s protective case, and to power it up at the checkpoint. Even for new,-in-box items. CATSA’s security-screening page has everything you need to know about screening procedures.
  • Medications: Does it feel like your immune system is already on holiday? Medications, even non-prescription ones like cough syrup, are permitted in your carry-on, and they’re exempt from the 100-ml naughty-list rule. For more info, check out CATSA’s medications page.
  • Inorganic powders (350 ml or less): If Santa brought you bath salts, mineral-powder makeup or gourmet salts (including salty seasoning blends), you can only bring a combined total of 350 ml in your carry-on. That’s an amount about the size of a soda can. Any more than that and you’ll have to put some in your checked bag.
  • Baby food/drinks: We all know the holidays can be hard on parents, but air travel doesn’t have to be. Things like baby food, juice, formula and breast milk for children under two years old are also exempt from the 100-ml rule. So are ice packs used to keep them cold.

We’ve checked our list more than twice – thanks Santa! But if you still don’t find the item you’re looking for on the What Can I Bring list, you can send a picture or a question to CATSA on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy holiday travels!



Claudia Laroye
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