Viewpoint: To wrap, or not to wrap


    By Brittany Wiscombe

    As the semester comes to a close and students make travel plans, one question comes to mind: to wrap or not to wrap? Gifts for loved ones may pose a security risk, which no one wants as travelers take to the skies. But wrapping is a necessary task before going home for Christmas.

    Of course, airline companies are very grateful that holiday travel is looking up (unless your company is named United Airlines). Thanksgiving travel showed that people are flying in similar levels to pre-2001 years. But students (and all travelers) should know that there are the normal guidelines about traveling, and wrapping.

    ?Avoid overpacking so that your articles don”t spill out if your bag is opened for inspection,? the Federal Aviation Administration Web site advises.

    ?Think carefully about the personal items you place in your carry-on baggage. The screeners may have to open your bag and examine its contents.

    ?Consider placing articles in clear plastic bags inside your baggage to minimize handling of your personal items.

    ?Be aware that wrapped gifts may need to be opened for inspection. This applies to both carry-on and checked baggage. You can avoid this possibility by waiting to wrap your gift until after you arrive at your destination,? the FAA also said on its Web site.

    Many people will probably have to wait in security check lines while some unprepared passenger is held up. The passenger will protest as the security guard rips away well-taped presents. But the x-ray scanner can only pick up so much. Airport security needs to know, and be able to access, what?s in those packages?for peace of mind and to fulfill their duty to protect passengers and planes.

    However, there?s just something about the pre-holiday excitement. Students going home know that their younger siblings are going to be rifling through the luggage on the car ride from the airport. Or, students will walk in the door, finally arriving home and make the mistake of putting down that luggage. The next thing they know, those younger siblings are acting awfully guilty (or really, really excited).

    The same dilemma occurs for visiting uncles, aunts, grandparents, and maybe even friends. But is concealing the gifts? identity worth delaying travel and distracting security?

    That will have to be an individual choice for each passenger flying during Christmas. For some, it will be an oblivious happenstance. Some will be conscious of these guidelines; others will not. And for those who are now educated on the FAA travel advice, but want to protect Christmas morning surprise, they will run the risk of being stopped and asked to rip open those carefully pre-wrapped gifts. Good luck, travelers, whatever your choice may be.

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