snow globes

TSA has helpful hints for holiday travelers

The busy Thanksgiving and Christmas travel season is just around the corner and it’s a given that airports will be busy airports and airplanes will be crowded. With that in mind, the TSA has gathered up some helpful hints for holiday travelers.

Pies and cakes are OK to take through airport security checkpoints, but the TSA reserves the right to give those food items addition screening. Because there are always questions about what other items will clear the security checkpoint this time of year, it appears that the TSA has updated its sample list of liquid, aerosol and gelled items you should leave home, ship ahead or put in your checked baggage if you’ve got more than 3.4 ounces.

That list includes:
Cranberry sauce
Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
Maple syrup
Oils and vinegars
Salad dressing
Wine, liquor and beer

Notice that snowglobes are on the list.

For a long time snowglobes were not allowed in carry-on baggage, but the TSA has revised its position on these items and now snowglobes that “appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, resealable bag, as the passenger’s other liquids, such as shampoo, toothpaste and cosmetics.”

You can find more tips here and you can read more about the TSA’s snowglobe decision and concerns about pet tornadoes here.

Souvenir Sunday: snow globes and pet tornadoes

(courtesy Museum of the Modern Snow Globe)

A lot of souvenir hunters were delighted when the Transportation Security Administration announced that, by mid-August, snow globes would once again be permitted in carry-on bags at all airport security checkpoints.

“Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, resealable bag, as the passenger’s other liquids, such as shampoo, toothpaste and cosmetics.”

The news had the folks at Kansas City International Airport wondering if the rule change meant they’d soon be able to once again stock Pet Tornadoes in the airport shops, which at KCI are all located pre-security. Airport spokesperson Joe McBride said the tornado toys – which are small, liquid-filled cylinders that create a little tornado or water spout inside when shaken- used to be big sellers at the airport.

I asked the TSA if pet tornadoes will now be allowed past airport security along with snow globes. And, after a bit of back and forth with a spokesperson about the definition of a snow globe, I got this response:

“Pet Tornadoes are not specifically listed on the prohibited
items list. With that said, if you have a liquid of 3.4 ounces or
smaller and you put it into your 3-1-1 bag with your other 3-1-1 items,
then it should be permitted. As long as it’s in that one sealed clear
quart-sized bag and nothing in the bag is larger than 3.4 ounces-whether
it is in a shampoo bottle, a snow globe, or a tornado souvenir novelty.”

So it seems like the answer is “Yes!”.

TSA will allow snow globes through airport security checkpoints

Souvenir hunters rejoice: Later this summer, you will able to pack snow globes in your carry-on luggage when you go to the airport.

Transportation Security Administration officers will permit the items as long as they are packed in a passenger’s plastic, quart-sized, resealable bag along with other gels and liquids.

TSA will permit snow globes “that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (of liquid), which is approximately the size of a tennis ball,” spokesperson David Castelveter said, “but only if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the bag.

“And it has to be the same bag. You don’t get a 3-1-1 bag and a snow globe bag,” he added.

Tennis balls will not be used to determine the size and volume of snow globes. Instead, TSA officers will be aware of the size requirement and apply “some discretion in their evaluation of the item being transported,” Castelveter said. As a general rule, he said, if a snow globe is the size of an average fist, it should get through.

The move is part of TSA’s ongoing reassessment of its rules and is expected to be fully in place by mid-August — just in time for end-of summer trips to Disneyland, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

(My story ‘TSA relaxing rules on snow globes at airport checkpoints‘ first appeared

Snow globes on airplanes? TSA says no…

Each week on’s Overhead Bin blog I get to answer a reader’s question. This week’s topic: snow globes on airplanes.

During a recent trip to Disneyland, Camille Kohler’s 5-year-old daughter searched for the one souvenir she would buy and bring home with her to Anchorage, Alaska. After three days of consideration, she decided on a small snow globe from the popular It’s a Small World ride.

For the flight home, Kohler put the snow globe in her carry-on bag. But the water-filled souvenir never made it past the security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport.

“To their credit, the TSA agents were trying to keep the confiscation on the down-low so my daughter wouldn’t see they were taking the snow globe,” said Kohler. “They even looked for a way to empty it. But at that point in the day, I didn’t even want to bring it to my girl’s attention, causing a potential melt-down at the security gates.”

Now Kohler wants to know: “Does the TSA have a rule specifically prohibiting snow globes?”

The answer is yes.

“Snow globes of any size are not permitted in carry-on baggage because there is no way for our officers to accurately determine the volume of liquid,” said Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Greg Soule.

If you do want to travel with a souvenir snow globe that, like Kohler’s daughter, you have carefully picked out, the TSA recommends that you put it in your checked luggage or ship it home. Another option is to shop for a souvenir snow globe at a post-security shop in the airport.

Wondering if your vacation souvenir will make it through the security checkpoint? The TSA has a tool on its website to help travelers like Kohler figure out what will and won’t fly. Overhead Bin plugged in “snow globes” and was sent to a “Check only” page that discusses liquids but does not specifically mention snow globes. A holiday-related section of the TSA website, however, does specifically state that snow globes are not permitted in carry-on bags.

And don’t worry too much about that lost It’s a Small World souvenir. Like all Disney movies, this tale has a storybook ending: “I’m happy to report that I was able to find a replacement snow globe on the Disney web site,” said Kohler.