Passengers at Manchester Airport are being asked to take off their winter clothing to speed up security queues during the festive getaway.

Airport bosses have calculated that on average an unprepared passenger who has to unzip, undo buttons, take off hats, gloves and untie a scarf at the metal detector add more than a minute per person to the security processing time.

More than 400,000 passengers – 45,000 per day – will be travelling through the airport between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.

The airport is also asking passengers to carefully consider what they put in their hand luggage before they get to the airport, to avoid Christmas presents being confiscated.

The most confiscated items include perfume, aftershave, make-up and bottles of champagne, which are prohibited under the liquid restrictions rule, said the airport.

More unusual items that are not allowed in hand luggage include cranberry sauce, brandy butter and snow globes – all of which must be checked into the hold.

While Christmas crackers are strictly prohibited from hand baggage for the vast majority of airlines, some do allow one box per passenger to be carried in hand baggage.

Gift-wrapped presents also cause issues if a bag requires a full search, as security officers have to unwrap the present to inspect what is concealed beneath the festive wrapping paper.

Andrew Proudlove, head of security at Manchester Airport, said: “Winter weather fashion has a surprisingly big impact on airport security, slowing down the screening process and causing avoidable extra waiting times, which is why we are issuing this advice.

“Our advice is to take off your coats, extra layers, big boots, scarves and hats when you are in the security queue itself so you can put it straight in the tray for screening.

“When it comes to what you can and can’t pack in your hand luggage, the rules are exactly the same at Christmas as they are for the rest of the year. However, at this festive time of year, passengers often travel with gifts of more unusual items, which unwittingly do not comply with the rules.

“If in doubt, check with your airline first and put it in your suitcase for the hold, rather than your hand luggage.

“Safety and security is always our number one priority, so to help passengers avoid having Christmas treats confiscated and to prevent queues, we’re just reiterating how everyone can help us to help them.

“We dislike queues just as much as anyone else – and we certainly don’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas by confiscating prohibited gifts.”

By Teresa McMahon

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