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US Air Travel + TSA Advice

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US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Dante » Fri May 06, 2011 9:56 am

I travel by air quite a bit, and while implementation of TSA security protocols differ by airport and the personnel who happen to be manning the checkpoint at any given time, I've learned that electronic cigarette gear tends to increase scrutiny of my carry-on baggage (and I don't check my bags).

I don't bring e-liquid with me, but rather pack a dozen or so pre-filled cartomizers since they seem to travel well with minimal leakage. No matter how I pack them (in various configurations across my two carry-ons), they often trigger a hand-search of my bags. From what the security guys have said, the cartomizers (especially when packed together in a bundle) look enough like bullets in the x-ray image to cause concern.

Through trial-and-error, I have found the most effective way to get through security is to start by packing the cartomizers I filled into boxes that came with pre-filled carts. Then, I put the boxes in a clear Zip-Lock bag. When going through security, I remove the bag from my luggage and place it in a separate bin that goes through the x-ray machine.

Typically, the security guys will pause the machine while they scrutinize the cartomizer image. They then tend to inspect the bag manually, asking me some questions about the contents. This is often followed by them swabbing it to test for residual banned chemicals. Once it clears, they hand it back and I'm on my way. So far, I've found that when I am polite, non-confrontational, and generally quiet as I let them do their work they seem to be courteous and professional.

The reason I put the cartomizers in a pre-filled cart box is that when they visually inspect them, they seem to be reassured by the retail packaging. I'm not saying this is good security practice, but it does seem to put them more at ease than when the unmarked cartomizers are sloshing around on their own (or in the original cartomizer package with minimal retail printing).

Also, I try to make sure that the cartomizer bag is the last thing to go through the x-ray after the rest of my stuff. That way, while they're inspecting the cartomizers, I'm repacking my other stuff (e.g. laptop, cell phone) and putting my shoes back on (or getting an occasional pat-down). As this all happens simultaneously, it appears to be a much faster process than when they were hand-inspecting my bags (and running them back through the x-ray).

Has anyone found other useful tips to help frequent travelers easily get through airport security?

BTW - I'm only talking about travel in the US. Due to varying local regulations in other countries I don't bring my electronic cigarette gear overseas. I'm not particularly interested in increasing the likelihood of being detained outside the US (rightly or wrongly). I know some people who like to take stands about their "rights", but I prefer just to get from point A to point B with minimal fuss.
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Phydeau » Fri May 06, 2011 9:09 pm

This is some great advice. Nothing sucks more than them pulling you to the side to be searched. It's a pain, and it's embarrassing.

Thanks for the tips.
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby ping279 » Sat May 07, 2011 5:18 am

That's good to know. I drip almost all of the time so when I travel I am bringing bottles. I put the bottles in a plastic bag in one of my carry ons and have never had a problem. However it could be that the security in my local airport is pretty lax... last time I flew I accidentally left a box cutter in my camera equip bag and had no problem bringing it on board :shock: I didn't realize I had it until I went in to look for something while at the gate.

Anyway... I have always been worried about the look of the batteries sitting next to eachother but I guess that hasn't been an issue.

Good advice for those of us who use cartos!
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Evil Ernie » Sat May 07, 2011 10:05 am

During my last trip to NJ last week from DEN, I had a hand search in Denver. They thought the eGo batts were empty shell casings. The TSA agent was extremely polite and respectful. He explained what they thought they saw, asked permission to search to which I complied. While he was gently rooting thru my skivvies, he asked if I owned any firearms............heh.............

Anyway, he found my Caselogic pack where my batts were stored and ID'ed them as the 'culprit'. Once he saw what they were he said that he see's alot of these but needs to check them out regardless. Totally cool guy and let me be on my way.
Funny part was they didn't say anything about the two 5 packs of Boge cartos.
On the return trip from Philly airport, nothing was said, it went right thru.

Vaping on Frontier was no biggie. Just stealth it with some unflavored eliquid with a low VG and you'll be good to go!
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Rattlehead » Sat May 07, 2011 11:24 am

Thank you all! I will be traveling in June, and was worried about what to do. I will take your advice to the letter! Pre-filling Mega cartos seems the easiest way to go. :mrgreen:
But I will chew nicoret on the plane, I wouldn't want to make other people uncomfortable!
...............nobody said it was a pretty world but its the price we pay son. Live hard, Vape free. -Shred (touche!)
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Programjunkie » Wed May 11, 2011 2:14 am

Yeah. I'm gonna be flying on American Airlines soon. I hear they are sticklers about ecigs.
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Maddoktor2 » Wed May 11, 2011 8:12 am

My best advice is simply not to fly. If enough people boycott airports that use TSA and other unreasonable search practices, they'll just stop using them - it's basic supply and demand economics.
Of course, people are more concerned with convenience than their alleged constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom from unreasonable searches, so there you have it.
I refuse to fly, take the bus, or ride the train. I'm not afraid to stand up for myself and my rights. Any part of your body that touches mine you will not get back!
If I can't get there by driving, I just don't go - it's really just that simple. When they start setting up roadside checkpoints (wait for it, it's coming - mark my words), I will stop traveling altogether. I hate what this country has become, and am truly glad that the majority of my life is behind me.

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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby Marilyn » Wed May 11, 2011 12:58 pm

Niether e-cigarettes nor e-liquid are on the TSA's list of prohibited items, so it's perfectly OK to take them on the plane. Just put whatever e-liquid you are bringing in the quart sized bag with your other liquid items. I put my inferno gear (batteries and attys) in the bin with my shoes and purse, just so they can get a good look at it. I have never even been questioned about it. Most airlines have banned using e-cigs on the flight, but it is OK to pack them with you.
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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby RockClimb » Wed May 11, 2011 1:20 pm

Thanks for the info! I do not fly as much as I used to, but it is nice to have some idea of what I need to do and what to expect if I ever need to fly again.

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Re: US Air Travel + TSA Advice

Postby DeemoDiablo » Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:07 pm

I know this thread is old and all, but I'll reply anyway.
I recently quit my job that required extensive travel. I would fly typically every 1 to 2 weeks, mostly to other states, sometimes to Germany. I didn't take my inferno on the plane to Germany because I would be there for 8 weeks and was afraid of it along with all my paraphernalia being confiscated by customs. I did, however, use it when traveling CONUS, mostly with Delta and AA. What I would do is explain to the people near me, if any, what the device was, how it worked (if they were interested), and that it was harmless to them. I then asked if it was okay to them if I used it in flight. Most people gave me their consent and I limited my usage of the device while on the airplane, especially around flight staff. As a side note, in the airports themselves, I did get a few jeers, side-eyes, and up-and-down looks from various people. It should go without saying I knew what I was doing was fully acceptable in the airport I was in and could care less what they thought.

tl;dr I used it on planes. Limit use around flight attendants and get OK from adjacent passengers. No problems here.
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