Thinking of traveling with a snow globe this holiday? If you’re traveling by airplane, be aware that any snow globes made in the United States won’t pass through airport security and you’ll need to pack them for in your checked luggage or have them shipped.
Recent changes in Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines may mislead travelers into believing they can bring snow globes on board but domestically-made snow globes do not TSA standards.
“We manufacture snow globes in Denver and are also world-wide experts at snow globe repair,” said Reid Grossnickle, president of Denver-based Snow Globe Central. “We send and receive hundreds of treasured snow globes every year. The most common size of snow globe we make and repair is the 4-inch diameter glass globe, shown here with the base and completed interior.”
A snow globe with a glass ball that is 4 inches across contains about 16 ounces of liquid, more than a can of soda, and would not be allowed in carry-on luggage according to TSA’s current guidelines. TSA states that it will permit snow globes “that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces.”
A 1.75 inch diameter globe holds just under 2 ounces. That size, which is typically used only by snow globes typically made in China and Hong Kong as holiday tree decorations, is the only size that would fall under current TSA-allowed guidelines. A 2.5 inch glass globe holds about 4.75 ounces; a 3 inch diameter glass globe contains about 8 ounces, a 4-inch diameter snow globe holds about 16 ounces of liquid, and the 5-inch diameter glass globe encloses as much as 28 ounces of liquid.
For example, a typical snow globe with a base made by Snow Globe Central, which is a common size of most snow globes sold in the United States, has twice as much liquid as would be allowed by these guidelines.
“People are passionate about their snow globes, and we don’t want to see anyone misdirected by thinking that the ban has been lifted,” Grossnickle said. “There is still a ban unless you are carrying a very tiny globe or dome. Snow Globe Central recommends you ship your treasured snow globe gifts, or pack them carefully in checked luggage, to avoid disappointment when going through airport security.”
And there you have it. Want to bring your treasured snow globe home with you? Either pack it carefully in your checked luggage or, better yet, have it shipped directly.