The unexpected item banned from your checked baggage

The unexpected item banned from your checked baggage

The unexpected item banned from your checked baggage

Some items prohibited from checked baggage are pretty self-explanatory. Like fireworks, or an improvised explosive device.

But then there are items you might not think twice about leaving in your suitcase – only to end up having them confiscated by New Zealand’s Aviation Security Service (AvSec).

One of these items is Apple AirPods, as Thing audio department executive producer of news content Jono Williams found on a recent domestic flight.

Williams decided to check her bag in Queenstown, forgetting that the wireless earbuds were inside.

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New Zealand's aviation security service has removed more than 130,000 items from bags.

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New Zealand’s aviation security service has removed more than 130,000 items from bags.

When he went to collect his bag in Auckland, it appeared on the carousel with an “Aviation Security” sticker on it.

“I assumed my bag was broken or something and they told me ‘your bag is damaged’. I picked it up and thought “that’s really weird, it seems okay.”

But when he went to open it, inside was a form informing him that a “dangerous object” had been removed, referring to the AirPods and charging case.

Williams said that while he was aware that you couldn’t put a power bank in a checked bag, he wasn’t aware that AirPods fell into the same category.

“It literally didn’t cross my mind that they wouldn’t be allowed in the checked bag.”

Apple AirPods consist of wireless earbuds and a charging case.

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Apple AirPods consist of wireless earbuds and a charging case.

He had contacted AvSec to find out how to get them back and was told he had to send a self-addressed courier bag to Queenstown within seven days.

AvSec said this year it has removed more than 130,000 items from passenger luggage that did not meet airlines’ conditions of carriage.

AvSec operations group leader Karen Urwin said batteries were “by far” the most removed item. In January 2021, new rules regarding batteries came into force, which means that all types of loose batteries are not allowed in hand luggage. They must be individually protected by being in their original packaging or “sealed” in a way that prevents the two ends from being joined, such as taping over them.

Other items frequently removed from hand luggage were “sharps” – knives, blades, scissors, pocket knives, multi-tools and box cutters – and lighters. Passengers were allowed one lighter on their person, and any extra lighters found in hand luggage were removed.

AirPods and hearing aid chargers were often removed from checked bags, as they used lithium batteries. But these can be put in hand luggage.

E-cigarettes were another item that should only be packed in hand luggage, due to the risk that it contained a battery. It was difficult to tell the difference between those with a built-in battery and those where the battery had been removed, AvSec said.

“Our advice to passengers would be to check their bags before they pack them for anything that’s already there,” Urwin said.

“A common explanation for the offending item is that the passenger didn’t realize it was in their bag at all.”

An AvSec spokesperson added that if people want to try to get back their items that have been removed from their luggage, they need to contact the airline as items were removed on behalf of the airlines.

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