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Ever Had the TSA Flag Some of Your Gear?

Old 10-02-18, 06:25 PM
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RandomlyWest
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Ever Had the TSA Flag Some of Your Gear?

Ever go through an airport with your bike or your touring gear and had TSA personnel tell you that some item couldn't be taken on the plane? I'm boarding a domestic flight this weekend (renting a bike at my destination, but bringing some gear) and I wonder if anyone has ever had an item flagged in this way, and what that item was.
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Old 10-02-18, 08:51 PM
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CO2 cartridges. I sometimes forget. Was once flagged.

If you put camping gear in your flightbag, some stoves and/or empty fuel canisters may be problematic.
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Old 10-02-18, 09:34 PM
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Was pulled to the side once for an adjustable wrench that was exactly 6 inches.
After close inspection; told to go on my way. Another time; it was for my allen/hex
multi-tool(no knife). Same story; TSA took a closer look then let me and my tools
go. Lights seem to also pique security's interest. We're talking carry on here.
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Old 10-02-18, 09:52 PM
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Got stopped for a Swiss Army knife that I forgot to put in checked luggage--TSA was surprisingly polite & directed me to a nearby shipping kiosk to send it back home. One time at the gate waiting area they asked me about a U-lock but since I had other bike stuff with me they let me go.
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Old 10-02-18, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Got stopped for a Swiss Army knife that I forgot to put in checked luggage--TSA was surprisingly polite & directed me to a nearby shipping kiosk to send it back home. One time at the gate waiting area they asked me about a U-lock but since I had other bike stuff with me they let me go.


I had a very similar experience. I had a u-lock in my carry on. I have no recollection why. I usually packed it in the bike box which I check. It raised a bit of discussion among the TSA at the screening with a couple TSA staff handling the lock as if it were a club. Then one of the staff noticed my bike helmet and said it was just a bike lock. Told them I was on my way to Europe for a bike trip and everything was fine after that. Even so, I'm careful to not pack the lock in my carry on anymore.
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Old 10-03-18, 08:12 AM
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I carry on all the bike components when traveling with my coupled bike. Brakes, rotors, shifters, derailleurs, etc. Sometimes I have to empty the bag and other times it goes right through. I’m expecting them to check, and it’s surprising when they don’t. All tools go with the bike.
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Old 10-03-18, 09:19 AM
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Lost a tiny little Swiss Army knive, I forgot to put it in checked luggage, so it was my fault. But I was in a hurry.

I have a bigger problem with TSA unpacking my stuff and then packing it up again badly. Like when they took my rack out of a duffle and took my Brooks saddle which had clothing wrapped around it out of the same duffle, then they put the leg of the rack right against the leather saddle when they repacked it so the rack chewed up the top of the leather saddle.

They inspected my campstove that I had in my carryon, but let me keep it. They said that the pot supports on the X ray looked like a saw blade, but they concluded that the pot supports were not sharp enough to be a weapon. From now on, I will put the stove in a checked bag.

It is good to have a list of what can go where, for example tools, camp stove, anything that could look like a weapon, any liquid bottles larger than 100 ml, in the checked bag. Carry onto the plane (instead of check) lighter or matches, Li Ion batteries or battery packs, etc. I always have a few spare quart sized zip locks, I have seen travelers get to the TSA line and realize they lacked the plastic bag for their liquids.

Good information here on camp stoves:
https://thesummitregister.com/flying...camping-stove/

If you have not flown a lot, spend some quality time with the airline website to see what they say to put where. And a good luggage scale is the travelers best friend.

I wear my helmet onto the plane unless I have room for it in a carry on, I do not want to check it where it might get damaged. Only once have I had an airline employee look at me and say - the airplanes are getting pretty safe now, you might not need the helmet.
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Old 10-03-18, 09:29 AM
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I have been told by more than one TSA agent that used stoves and even empty fuel bottles will be confiscated. It didn't happen to me. I simply asked out of curiosity. I figured that would be the answer so I had shipped my stove with the bike. An MSR Dragonfly is an expensive item to replace. And don't even thing about flying with butane fuel canisters.
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Old 10-03-18, 11:13 AM
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I lost a pocket knife by forgetting it in my carry on. Not cycling but I once had too much toothpaste so they took it (the limit is 100ml, my tube was a larger original container but it was also mostly used up so unclear if it was more or less than 100ml but it was close and this particular TSA agent decided to be extra picky IMHO). My bike box gets opened most times with a "inspected by tsa" slip added and my checked baggage has a similar slip ~50% of the time.

As far as traveling with a stove, I've had success on multiple times so far. What I did was make sure my fuel bottle had absolutely no fumes - either as a new bottle or leaving to air out for as long as I can. I have the fuel bottle in checked luggage with the cap off and volunteer if prompted that I have a stove and here is the fuel bottle. I once ordered ISO butane cartridge and had it shipped via Amazon to Prudhoe Bay. It got there there the general store/post office told me they didn't actually do "general delivery" and were about to throw it out. I carry matches or a lighter on my person rather than in checked luggage.

As far as preparing goes, biggest thing is to remember to get all my tools/spares into checked luggage e.g. multi-tool, letting my fuel bottle air out and having my bike packed in way that it isn't too hard for TSA to open it up, check things and reseal the box.
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Old 10-03-18, 11:38 AM
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I did clean out my fuel bottle and made sure my liquid fuel stove did not have any odor. I did two flights that way, did not lose the stove or fuel bottles in either direction. When cleaning it at home, I had a lot of trouble getting the kerosene odor out of the fuel bottle. I finally put Coleman fuel (white gas) in it for a day, then emptied it and tried to clean it again. Since Coleman fuel is much more volatile, it cleaned up to odor free much easier than when the tank had held kerosene.

When I did fly with the liquid fuel stove, I had the bottle (no lid on it) in one checked bag, the pump unit in my carry on, the burner head in the other checked bag. I did not want all the parts together where it would be more obvious what it is. And I brought the stove that if I lost it, it was the one I would get least upset about loosing it.

But I am leaning towards just using butane stoves in the future if I fly somewhere to avoid the hassle. I will probably have it all in one checked bag, but disassembled enough that it is not obvious what it is. TSA if they figure out your butane stove is a stove, they might confiscate that too, so that is why I would try to make it less obvious that it is a stove.

TSA is pretty clear that even if your toothpaste tube is almost empty, it is the capacity of the tube that counts. I will never understand why so many companies sell things like insect repellent, sun screen, camp soap, etc., in 4 oz bottles, those need to be checked.

The attached was in the S&S case with my folding bike, but they did not mess up the bike. On this trip I did not have a stove or fuel bottle, so that was not what prompted the inspection.


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Old 10-03-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have a bigger problem with TSA unpacking my stuff and then packing it up again badly. Like when they took my rack out of a duffle and took my Brooks saddle which had clothing wrapped around it out of the same duffle, then they put the leg of the rack right against the leather saddle when they repacked it so the rack chewed up the top of the leather saddle.
Same problem here with an S&S coupled bike. If I take the front tire and tube off the rim, they can open the case, figure out it's a bike, and close it. Except sometimes they want to start unwrapping things, and then they stuff it all back in the case and sit on it to close it. NOOOoooo!

I've heard that TSA will confiscate chain lube on one Hawaiian island -- Maui, perhaps? I've bought chain lube and shipped it home with toiletries in a checked bag without any problems. Maybe it looks like aftershave on the X-ray.
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Old 10-03-18, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
Same problem here with an S&S coupled bike. If I take the front tire and tube off the rim, they can open the case, figure out it's a bike, and close it. Except sometimes they want to start unwrapping things, and then they stuff it all back in the case and sit on it to close it. NOOOoooo!
....
I tried to use double sided velcro to wrap all my bike pieces together so everything in teh S&S case is one tied together unit. Worked reasonably well, but others on this forum have commented they used zip ties which I might use in the future. My two sided velcro was not as good as I had hoped. I bought a couple bags of zip ties at Dollar Tree, you can't beat that kind of price.

And I had a note on top that asked them to simply lift the whole package up out of the case if they needed to do a visual inspection.

My S&S bike uses 26 inch wheels, they fit better in the S&S case than 700c. I have to deflate them to get it all to fit in the case, but I leave the tires on the rims.

And I throw stuff like water bottles loose into the S&S case, but I always have the lids off when I do that.

Last spring I was at El Paso airport, that was the first time I actually saw the TSA people with my bike, other airports the case went on the conveyor belt and I had no chance to talk to TSA. But at El Paso, I gave them the bag and I said that there was a bike in the case, and if they did not mind I would just stay there until they were done with their inspection in case they needed any assistance from me to repack it. They X rayed it and said that they did not need to open it up.
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Old 10-03-18, 12:53 PM
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"Sorry, Sir," she said, holding up my Park Tool Pedal Wrench.
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Old 10-03-18, 05:13 PM
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They tried to take my lighter once. It wasnít a standard Bic, but rather a nicer metal lighter that Iíve had for years. It was just switching planes at a quickly thrown together security set-up right before getting onto the new plane, so never leaving the gates. I ended up arguing with them about it for about 10 minutes and they finally gave it back as the plane was boarding. It certainly is a Lot of obnoxious BS for a Lot of people to put up with so some greedy jerks can make even more money...
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Old 10-03-18, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I carry on all the bike components when traveling with my coupled bike. Brakes, rotors, shifters, derailleurs, etc. Sometimes I have to empty the bag and other times it goes right through. Iím expecting them to check, and itís surprising when they donít. All tools go with the bike.
Interesting idea, I guess if TSA opens the bike case there's less delicate stuff to get repacked wrong or damaged. Is it OK to carry on things like a seat-post or crankset?
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Old 10-03-18, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Interesting idea, I guess if TSA opens the bike case there's less delicate stuff to get repacked wrong or damaged. Is it OK to carry on things like a seat-post or crankset?
Donít know. The saddle and seatpost get packed with the bike, and I donít remove the crankset. I also carry on the pedals and chain and other small components. Nothing that could be used as a weapon.
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Old 10-04-18, 04:13 AM
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The last few times I flew with a bike I got those inspection notice stickers, including in 2013 when I flew to Italy. The serious problem I have encountered is TSA employees trying to re-close boxes. Coming back from Portland, OR I watched one physically forcing someone's box lid back down. Another time I had to stand by and instruct a TSA employee on how to re-connect the H straps of my Crateworks box. Another time I retrieved my bike to find the straps tied in a know. Guess the employee couldn't figure out how to re-attach the straps properly.

One of the several reasons I now ship my bike. Anything that could remotely be "threatening" goes in the checked bag with my camping and cooking gear, etc. Paying the checked baggage fee is worth avoiding any problems. Flying can be stressful enough.
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Old 10-04-18, 04:18 AM
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I had a pair of cycling shoes and Look pedals that got me stopped and my bag searched when I was on my way to see the Tour de France in 2011.
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Old 10-04-18, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I also carry on the... chain. ...Nothing that could be used as a weapon.
Haha. Oh, TSA... This also reminds me of the thread recently about the shady fellows who stepped out from behind the tree and the guy had to defend himself with his extra bike chain.
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Old 10-04-18, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post

Haha. Oh, TSA... This also reminds me of the thread recently about the shady fellows who stepped out from behind the tree and the guy had to defend himself with his extra bike chain.
I just donít see a bike chain as a particularly effective weapon. Itís not flexible like a regular chain that you could swing, and would probably just get tangled up. Plus itís covered in lube, making it difficult to hold. I fear the other passengers would laugh at me.
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Old 10-04-18, 01:16 PM
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Haha. I donít think it would be a particularly good weapon either. Iím surprised TSA doesnít.
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Old 10-04-18, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I carry on all the bike components when traveling with my coupled bike. Brakes, rotors, shifters, derailleurs, etc. Sometimes I have to empty the bag and other times it goes right through. I’m expecting them to check, and it’s surprising when they don’t. All tools go with the bike.
Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Interesting idea, I guess if TSA opens the bike case there's less delicate stuff to get repacked wrong or damaged. Is it OK to carry on things like a seat-post or crankset?
My expedition bike with Rohloff wheel in an S&S Backpack case is over 50 pounds, I need to take some of the heavy stuff out of the case to get it under 50 pounds. Heavy small volume (dense) stuff like pedals go in a different checked bag or if that bag is already near 50 pounds, my carry on. Saddle (Brooks Conquest) goes in a different checked or carry on bag too. And maybe some other parts too. Seatpost, I see no reason not to pack that with the bike, it is light and easily fits in the case so I packed it with the bike. I am not sure if I have packed a crankset in a different checked bag or kept it in the S&S case, but because it would be greasy and grimy, I probably kept it (in a big ziplock) in the S&S case in case it tore open the plastic bag.

And, just in case you have some rogue airline employee who wants to charge a bike fee for an S&S case that is not oversize, I can honestly say to the airline staff that there are bike parts but not a complete bike in the S&S case. If they ask what is missing, I can tell them pedals and whatever other parts I took out.

Since carry on bags are rarely weighed, when I am getting near a weight limit for my checked bag and S&S case, remaining dense heavy stuff like pedals go in my carry on.
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Old 10-04-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post


I just donít see a bike chain as a particularly effective weapon. Itís not flexible like a regular chain that you could swing, and would probably just get tangled up. Plus itís covered in lube, making it difficult to hold. I fear the other passengers would laugh at me.
In the old days when I used kerosene to clean chains I'd swing it around to dry excess. Even with lube one could double it up & wrap the ends around one's hand for grip. With sufficient skill it could be a fairly effective weapon IMO.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:15 PM
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At the Saigon airport a few yrs ago, they confiscated my fork! Eating fork, not bike fork. When I told them that the US airports (from whom I learned at that point all airports get their rules from) didn't have a problem with it, she still took it from me. Of course, it was all done in a very polite and friendly manner, being Vietnamese.
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Old 10-06-18, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Was pulled to the side once for an adjustable wrench that was exactly 6 inches.
After close inspection; told to go on my way. Another time; it was for my allen/hex
multi-tool(no knife). Same story; TSA took a closer look then let me and my tools
go. Lights seem to also pique security's interest. We're talking carry on here.
Not specifically bike related at the time.

My adjustable wrench was about 4". I had time, so I returned to the ticket counter, and they gave me a box to put the wrench in as checked baggage.

On a different trip, I also had a piece of artwork that I was carrying as a gift that was rejected. A steel and brass heart and blunt arrow. It also went back to the ticket counter, and was sent in a box as checked luggage.

I try to remember to check all recesses of my carry on bag, and all pockets before turning in my checked baggage.

Last edited by CliffordK; 10-06-18 at 03:52 PM.
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