|My checked bag with the agriculture inspection sticker.|
|One of the agriculture inspection stations at Honolulu International.|
Many visitors leaving the islands are surprised by the inspection and many first timers miss this procedure and are made to return to inspection by airline staff at the check-in counter.
To help protect the fragile ecological systems in and out of Hawaii, the agriculture agents inspect bags to be sure no plants (including fresh fruits or vegetables) and animals are not taken out of state. This enforcement may be not be fool proof but it does assist in preventing the spread of hazardous plants and diseases including the spread of fruit flies.
Signs direct passengers at the departure level to head to agriculture inspection first if they are checking bags. Carry-on bags are exempt and will be screened at security. After agriculture inspection, the agent will attach a colored sticker that proves that the checked bags have passed agriculture inspection. Regular travelers often forget to remove the sticker from their last trip but the color of the stickers are rotated. If checking boxes made of cardboard, these should be sealed after the inspection as these may be required to be opened. Passengers should be prepared with their own tape to seal their own boxes.
I don't find the procedure inconvenient as the stations are located ahead of the check-in counters. The procedure is simple and takes as long as the wait for the bag to pass through the x-ray machine.
Click HERE for the full agriculture inspection notice. More info about Honolulu International Airport ticketing and check-in procedures at hawaii.gov/hnl.