Tubs of bath salts, wrapped presents on the no-fly carry-on list this holiday season

A six-pack of Budweiser. A sparkly snow globe featuring Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse. A jar of bath salts. A perfume bottle shaped like a grenade.

Travellers attempted to bring all of these items through the Edmonton International Airport’s security screening in their carry-on bags.

If you absolutely must bring a hand saw home for the holidays — how else will you cut down that Christmas tree? — you’ll have to store it in your checked suitcase while flying, said Christine Langlois, spokeswoman for the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA).

Another pro-tip: keep your carry on presents unwrapped until you’ve passed through security.

“We really enjoy unwrapping gifts, but we’d much prefer not unwrapping yours,” she said.

The airport anticipates Friday, Dec. 21 will be the busiest travel day of 2018. Officials said in a news release there could be 20 per cent more travellers than usual passing through the terminal. It forecasts about 25,000 people flying that day and another 50,000 more dropping off or greeting people.

New security system

On Friday, Langlois demonstrated CATSA’s new carry-on baggage screening system, which is supposed to be more efficient and user-friendly for both travellers in a hurry and those who need more time.

As of Friday, the authority had installed the CATSA Plus conveyor system in two of the airport’s eight security lineups. Passengers began using one of them on Monday, and the other is being used for employee training. Over the next few months, all eight queues will switch over to the new system.

Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) spokeswoman Christine Langlois demonstrates the new CATSA Plus security screening system at the Edmonton International Airport in Edmonton on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018.

The new setup automatically feeds baggage bins into four stations, where four travellers at a time can unload their bags and coats and yank out their laptops. When ready, passengers push their loaded bins onto a conveyor belt for a trip through the X-ray machine.

After travellers pass through the metal detector, they can watch their belongings be sorted into two lines — cleared to fly, or needs more scrutiny.

Once screeners deem their bag safe, passengers can turn around to find a long repacking table behind them, where they can reassemble their possessions without holding up the line.

Postmedia timed passengers moving through the line on Friday, and observed five people put their baggage in bins and walked through the metal detector within one minute.

The system has also been introduced at Toronto Pearson, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver airports and is coming to Halifax.

Ditch the powders

Experienced travellers know they’re not allowed to bring containers of liquids or gels larger than 100 millilitres through security screening. More recently, containers of powders and grains larger than 350 mL (about the size of a pop can) are also verboten, including salts, sand and chemical hand warmers.

You can fly with cannabis — up to 30 grams for recreational use, or 150 grams for medicinal use — but not across international borders.

A full list of carry on restrictions is available on CATSA’s website.

jfrench@postmedia.com

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