What exactly are the gifts that that can board a plane, and how do you package them? Picture: Reuters

During the festive season, travellers often increase their luggage allowance. They fill up their suitcases with gifts and goodies for loved ones. What exactly are the gifts that that can board a plane, and how do you package them? 

FlySafair answers some frequently asked questions:

Will you have enough space?

Are you the generous type over Christmas and planning on travelling with gifts for the family? If so, add a 20kg bag to your flight. If you choose to purchase a checked-in bag, make sure your gifts are within this weight range to avoid extra costs and having your luggage loaded as cargo.

Be careful about travelling with larger gifts as the dimensions of your larger carry-on bag should not be more than 55cm x 38cm x 25cm and should not weigh more than 7kg.

If you don’t want to check in heavy luggage, travel light and get your loved ones the ubiquitous gift voucher. It is a cliché but will save you time, money and fits perfectly into your hand luggage.

What about my valuables?

Passengers should NOT check-in any bags with valuables or fragile items. If you are planning on giving money, jewellery, perfumes, electronics or other valuables, it is best to keep them in your hand luggage.

Can I bring sports and musical equipment?

Sports equipment and musical instruments are fine to travel with. However, if you are planning on buying sports equipment for your loved ones or just want to remain active while on holiday, there may be additional costs involved. 

Golf, ski, fishing, hockey, surfing, tennis and even tenpin bowling equipment are allowed as long as it is safely packed in a proper bag. Smaller instruments can be carried as hand luggage if they fit into the sizing bins at the check-in counters. 

Medium-sized instruments can be carried through to the aircraft and left with our staff just before boarding. However, large and heavy items, such as cellos or amplifiers, may need to be transported in the cargo hold. Customers will have to purchase special equipment tickets to fly these items.

Beware the toy gun

We all know that guns and weapons are a BIG NO in airports and on aircraft. This rule also applies to toys and replicas of any kind weapon. To avoid dealing with airport security and having your toys confiscated or luggage held back, don’t try to bring these on board as hand or checked-luggage. 

The Dangerous Goods policy will still apply to gifts. Sharp items will also not be allowed on board as hand luggage either. However, penknives, scissors, and sewing kits can be kept in check-luggage. Large lithium-ion batteries can be highly dangerous onboard aircraft. Gifts such as hoverboards won’t be allowed on board, as these batteries can be highly flammable and even explosive.

Is there any insurance for my luggage?

Bags checked in at the airport are required to pass through the hands of several service providers in the airport context. Because there are so many parties involved, airlines take limited responsibility for checked baggage. Check with your airline about its policies.

Do you have any wrapping tips for gifts?

Wrapping paper is very thin and it can often tear when packed with other luggage. Rather pack your gifts unwrapped and wrap them once you arrive at your destination to avoid crinkled paper and tears.

When packing items into your suitcase, use your soft clothing as protective packaging material. Be sure to protect all sides of gifts by packing soft clothes around them to minimise any damage from the inevitable bumps and thuds likely to be experienced during transportation.