Friday, March 21, 2008

Security Checks & Flying with Jewelry Tools

Have you ever tried to take your jewelry-making tools on a plane trip? Did TSA confiscate any during the carry-on luggage check? I answer YES to both questions for 2 separate trips this year. Here's what I just took to Florida & the Bahamas. Due to my own carelessness, I returned home with 1 less tool, however.

Fortunately TSA allows some tools in carry-ons now. I arrived in Florida with my carry-on inspected & approved. But in my last minute toss-&-zip packing to return home to Seattle, I didn't pay enough attention. Look what I stupidly crammed into the zippered toolkit.

TEST YOURSELF: Do you know which of these items is/are prohibited from carry-ons?

I was so scatter-brained that I even tossed in an unopened tub of hummus for munchies. Honestly, I know better. Plus the tool TSA confiscated was the same kind of tool removed in my February trip! Does that qualify as a "Duh"? Or maybe too much sun really can fry a brain cell???

CHECK YOUR GUESSES on the TSA link or keep reading below. Click here for the current TSA list of items prohibited.

If you think I was lucky to lose only 1 tool, you're right. I should have lost the chasing hammer & mallet instead of just the chasing hammer. I believe all my other items are legal because they qualify in the rules as "Tools" & are =< 7". I even considered sawing short the handles on the hammer & mallet, before noticing that hammers have their own special rules, are not governed by "Tools," & are not allowed in carry-ons. Luckily my pointy scissor blades are < 4" long. I keep a printout of the page of TSA rules in the toolkit just in case. Despite kicking myself for losing another chasing hammer, I really enjoyed the flight home to Seattle, as I managed to make some items inspired by the sunny skies & warm weather of Florida & the Bahamas. The severe thunderstorms that stranded us & thousands of others in Dallas for 6 hrs on 3/18/08 made television news, but just gave me more time to make jewelry. So what's not to like? "Colors Bright" and "Sheba" are 2 of the projects I completed during that very long day. Plus the stewardess really liked Sheba :)

I know with absolute certainty that my carry-on with tools will always be flagged for a manual check by TSA & my carelessness will cost me an occasional goodie. Yet I'm hopeful that one day I'll save enough time to THINK while I'm packing! Regardless, the creative possibilities, especially when we're stranded somewhere, are definitely worth the hassle of lugging those tools.

It's nice to be home with my family & 2 little gremlins. To those of you who celebrate this special holiday, HAPPY EASTER :)


Many Faces Of NORIK said...

I also take my craft on travel. I devised a minimal set of tools and tasks to match. So I usually make time consuming wire wrapped necklaces and shape the bookmarks (I forge them when I return, so no hammers and heavy steel block). This way I manage with a cutter, 3 pliers, 3-4-5 bundles of wire and a few bags of small beads/stones. So far I was able to fit everything in a pencil box 9"x5"x2". Creative freedom, when I need it, I exercize on paper, sketching my new ideas.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if ther's a limit as to how much wire jewelry can be packed in your carry on luggage? I have about 100 pieces that I made and want to take from Hawaii to Arizona with out it being confiscated.
Mahalo from Hawaii

Cheryl Z said...

I don't know the answer to your question. Frankly, I'd be afraid that some of the pieces would be missing when you reached the mainland, as the luggage will probably be inspected. Also, the value might exceed the insured value of the luggage if it's lost. In fact insurance might specifically exclude such valuables?? Suggest you call your carrier & TSA w/o giving your name.

Grandmother Carolyn said...

Not a jewelry artisan, but I found this information very interesting....certainly food for thought when wanting to take "hand-y" work along on a trip....
Thanks, Cheryl