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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:54 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I imagine that at this point, TSA folks are a lot more aware of musical instruments than they had been in the past.


In my experience, it completely depends on the airport and the instrument in question.

On my last trip to Ireland and back, carrying on a flat set of pipes and an Eamonn Cotter flute (for a friend), I got reactions from TSA agents varying from bored indifference (Shannon Airport) to polite interest and conversation about pipes (Boston) to "stop the conveyor, lock everything down, step out of the line over to the Group W Bench, and open the pipe case for a visual inspection and a wipe with the explosive-sniffing wipes" with ill humor at DFW airport.

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Last edited by An Draighean on Tue Aug 28, 2018 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 9:21 am 
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Unfortunately, you're at the mercy of each individual running the check-in, as the above post mentions. If they're having a bad day, you might get some added attention. Even then, I doubt an agent having a bad day would be able to classify an empty PVC pipe as a weapon and disallow it on that basis. Now if it was a lead pipe...

It might help to find whatever EU government and specific airline regs are available online, then print that out and carry it with you, just in case. I plan to do that with my own flute if I ever travel internationally with it. Especially since there are other concerns now with certain wood species and CITES restrictions, which don't apply when carrying a personal instrument across a border unless it's something really exotic like ivory or Brazilian rosewood. But you never know what you'll run into.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:28 am 
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We are going to ireland in a week and I was just wondering the same thing--will they give me a hard time about a whistle in a carry on bag? I have a PVC whistle, that would probably be safer but I'm thinking a whistle might look a bit alarming on the xray machine


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:32 am 
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I've gone on tons of international flights with my flute, assorted whistles, harmonicas, and other instruments in my carry-on bag, and the worst I've gotten was the "open the case and swab it for explosive substances" treatment. A little annoying to have to sit around and wait while they do that, but I think you should be fine.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:15 pm 
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2 weeks ago, I took a non-tunable Chieftain low D on a US flight. No problems.

It's not a flute...but it's essentially an aluminum tube, and probably more dangerous as a weapon than a pvc flute :)

I put it in carry-on (it barely fits diagonally in the largest allowable carry-on roller bag). X-ray dudes always roll my bag back through the x-ray for a 2nd look, but I haven't had them actually question me about it in years.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 5:42 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
We are going to ireland in a week and I was just wondering the same thing--will they give me a hard time about a whistle in a carry on bag? I have a PVC whistle, that would probably be safer but I'm thinking a whistle might look a bit alarming on the xray machine
I have a high D PVC whistle that lives in my shoulder bag and has accompanied me on maybe 30 domestic flights over the last few years. No one at security has even asked for a closer look. (Bit of a let-down, really.)


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:46 am 
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Well I wrote to the TSA here in the states and to my surprise got an actual reply:

"Thank you for contacting the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Contact Center.

Musical instruments are permitted in the cabin of an aircraft or in checked baggage; however, please check with your airline to determine carry-on and checked baggage size restrictions.

We encourage you to be present when your instruments are being screened in checked baggage and recommend that you add at least 30 minutes to the airlines’ recommended arrival window when traveling with instruments.

Please contact your airline to determine the best way to travel with your instrument. While larger instruments are generally placed in checked baggage, some airlines may permit you to purchase a ticket for the musical instrument so that it may be taken into the cabin of the aircraft.

For travel tips and information about our screening procedures and what you can bring, please visit www.tsa.gov/travel.

TSA Contact Center"

So it seem like there's no problem. I'll bring this email with me though


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:41 pm 
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So glad someone else remembers Group W!

A bit over a year ago I traveled through Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, and Dublin airports with flutes (more coming back than going, but that's another story). Same experience as others, generally no issues, one agent checked the aluminum low whistle leaving Dublin, very pleasant about it all. Frankly, if they have any doubt about tubes in luggage, I would hope they would check.

I live in Bozeman, Montana, and often travel domestically with several flutes carried separately, and I use fishing rod cases to carry them. Fly fishing is such a big deal here, no agent ever looks twice at those cases.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:03 am 
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Airlines detail their cabin hand-luggage policy (including criteria and dimensions for musical instruments) on their websites.

What I usually do is print the relevant section out and have it on me in case there's misinformation or an issue at the check-in. I must add that I've never had a problem in regard to carrying into the cabin in hand luggage.


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