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TSA interaction: personal experiences

Discussion in 'Travel and E-Cig' started by KiloWatts, Apr 3, 2011.

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  1. KiloWatts

    KiloWatts Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 26, 2011
    West Philadelphia
    Hi all,

    I've read many of the threads in this forum, and glad to hear people are doing okay with bringing PVs and juice through security. I'm a musician, often touring for a month at a time, so I sometimes go through security as many as 15 times in a month. I started vaping last week, and I fully expect to be asked questions by TSA periodically as I pass through, considering the frequency.

    My question is: Who has had interaction with TSA about their e-cigs? What questions did they ask? Did they ever have to bring a "supervisor" over to clear it? Any horror stories? Any confiscations?

    Thanks, I appreciate the response!

  2. XDoctor

    XDoctor Senior Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Apr 19, 2009
    Casper, WY
    I was stopped going through security in Las Vegas because of my Chuck. The lady on the scanner was looking at the screen and I heard her say, "What is that?" I said to her, "Does it look like a flashlight?" She said yes and I said, "its an electronic cigarette."

    She called over a guy to check the bag, he started rooting around in it, I asked what he was looking for and he told me it looked like it might be a flashlight. I told him where it was in the bag and told him it was an electronic cigarette. He pulled it out, looked it over, said he'd never seen one that big. I resisted the urge to say, "That's what she said."

    Then they gave me my bag and I got on the plane. No big deal. Even if they don't know exactly what it is and have never seen one in person, most everyone knows that electronic cigarettes exist. Its not hard convincing them that something innocuous is in fact innocuous.
  3. Valsacar

    Valsacar ECF Administrator
    Social Groups Manager
    Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Aug 16, 2010
    They didn't say anything the one time it was an "issue." They just pulled my ProVari out of my laptop bag, swabbed it, put it back and said have a nice day... oh wait, they did say "have a nice day." That was at MCO.
  4. mwa102464

    mwa102464 Resting In Peace ECF Veteran

    TSA is fully aware of Ecigs, at least in the USA they are, the best way to carry your gear is to put everything in Quart size zip locks and seperate the stuff, batts in one, PV's in another, and juice in the third ziplock. also taking apart your PV's is best so they dont look like a pipe or tube.
  5. ScottinSoCal

    ScottinSoCal Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 19, 2010
    ProVari Nirvana
    Or leave it assembled in your coat pocket and send your coat through the x-ray machine. That's what I've done with my ProVari at LAX, Dulles, Kennedy and White Plains airports and no one has batted an eye. Next week I'll be braving SeaTac.
  6. Beans

    Beans Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Jan 25, 2011
    Missoula Montana
    I also had an agent do a double take at my bag and a silly amount of back up eGo's. I told them what it was and they said ok.
  7. ScooterGirl

    ScooterGirl Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 27, 2011
    A client of mine told me she just had a terrible experience going through security carrying ecig parts for her friend. Says they thought the atomizers were bullets, pulled her out of line, checked for gun powder residue on her hands, yadda, yadda, yadda. Personally I take this story with more than a grain of salt since even the stupidest member of Team TSA should know that bullets aren't hollow on one end and threaded on the other. If they don't we're in for a world of hurt.
  8. KiloWatts

    KiloWatts Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 26, 2011
    West Philadelphia
    Alright, I've flown a bit since my original post, so here are my experiences:

    * I've vaped on every single flight in the bathroom, often going back multiple times. Not the most pleasant place to vape, but I doubt I'd be able to get away with it in my seat next to people.

    * I've vaped in the airport, usually while walking, but a few times while sitting in low-occupied gate waiting areas. I've heard a few people whispering about what I was doing, so I kept it at a minimum. If I'm feeling less-adventurous, I just go to a bathroom stall. (Truthfully, it sucks vaping in airport bathrooms, so I want to get more comfortable doing it elsewhere.)

    * At DFW Airport I asked an "Information" desk person what their policy was on "electronic cigarettes". She said they don't allow it. I mentioned that it wasn't actual smoke and asked why. Her response was "We've had complaints from smokers who don't understand why people are allowed to use electronic cigarettes while they aren't allowed to smoke real ones, so we don't allow it anymore." I can't say for certain if she was being honest about written policy though.

    * TSA has asked a couple times about them and let me through. One said she had never seen one like mine before (a madvapes mod), but it was no problem.

    Overall, so far so good. I'm going to stop by the Information Desk more often, and refer to it as my "Vaporizer" instead of electronic cigarette. Hopefully that will bypass the initial anti-smoking stigma and get to the point. I'll compile my findings for different airport policies and report back.

    Another note: I'm far more comfortable vaping in airports if I'm with another person. That's just me though.
  9. Andtyler2

    Andtyler2 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 16, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Over the last 2 years, I've done a fair bit of traveling (within the US and a few times abroad) with PV equipment and liquid. Generally speaking, I think things are getting easier in the sense that I've been subject to fewer bag searches or questions. TSA screeners have seen millions of PVs by now. Early on, I was stopped for an additional bag search a few times. Flying within the EU, a box of empty cartomizers apparently looked suspicious to one screener and I had to pull them out and explain what they were. Since then, I've put anything related to vaping--batteries, cartos, attys, etc-- in clear plastic bags. I also place those plastic bags in a separate tub (not inside my carry on) when I go through security. That way, if there are any questions or concerns, I don't have to go rooting through my luggage to find whatever it is they want to examine more closely. Making everything visible and easily accessible is the key. (For example, I take my Ego case and unzip it so the contents are visible through the plastic.)

    By the way, cartos are fantastic for traveling. I fill one up with high-nicotine flavorless (36 mg/ml--PG for reduced vapor and no odor) and screw it on the end of a short or mega 510 battery. Great for quick efficient hits that can help get you through a long trip.
  10. EastSkier

    EastSkier Full Member

    Feb 2, 2011
    I had a screener recently ask me if "that was one one of those KR808s" and I said yes. He then said that he really doesn't like cartomizers because they "taste nasty when they run out" and that he prefers a 510 or Ego, I forget which.
  11. Rockproof

    Rockproof Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 27, 2010
    I have been through about 20 airport check points in the past 3 months. Usually I just put everything in a baggie and throw in my carry on (juice, atty's, and my DIY 18650 Copper Mods). Never a problem except 1 time with TSA in Philly...

    I made the mistake of actually taking my bag of vaping gear out and putting it on my coat. Did I mention DIY copper mods...? Well, I got pulled off to the side and asked what the 3/4" copper pipes were for:?:. Answer - "they are elcectronic ciggs sir". Reply - "I've seen electronic cigarettes before but they didn't look anything like this" :facepalm:

    At the same time, there is another TSA employee swabbing the bag, mods, juice bottles...and the swab sets off the machine:blink: Indicates that I am carrying apparently some kind of bad ... stuff...good thing I left plenty of time to catch my plane.

    For a half hour, I was patted down, x-rayed, spoke to two supervisors, had my picture taken, had a picture of my drivers license taken, had my mods, juice, atty all layed out on a table...and a picture taken. We all joke about it but this was the first time I actually thought I was going to get cavity searched8-o. Released with everything still in my possetion.

    Whew, close one. I always carry enough to last me a week in my checked baggage but 6hrs in airports that day and a 4hr plane ride with no stealth vaping would have been rough.

    I took this all with good but the advice on backup plans are prepared.
  12. Torqueguy

    Torqueguy Supplier's Manufacturer - Offline ECF Veteran

    May 14, 2011
    Central Virginia
    I was vaping in the Atlanta crown room last night. I went into one of the phone/laptop cubbies. Had a 7 hour layover coming from Brussels which sucked but I live in Gods country so its worth it.
    Vaped for 7 hours straight. The cleaning lady came by and asked what the smoke was. I told her it was a vaporizing machine for mycopd. She loved the smell
  13. ScottinSoCal

    ScottinSoCal Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Dec 19, 2010
    ProVari Nirvana
    Yeah, the Business Class lounges rock.

    Tangential to the thread, you're TorqueGuy with an air-cooled Beetle? How does that work?
  14. want to quit

    want to quit Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 26, 2011
    Germany/ Atlanta, GA
    I second that. I was in Vegas for 2 days in march with my first PV and they had me take my PV apart cartomizer, battery etc and let me go to the plane. Maybe not a must but for sure a good thing to do to avoid TSA newbs that still smoke.
  15. ec!gg

    ec!gg Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    Wow they took it the extreme with you. At least you didn't have to get cavity searched and they gave all your stuff back.

  16. PTJD

    PTJD Vaping At FL370 Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 20, 2008
    Malaga, Spain
    Yes they can.


    MASTER0FDAMPF Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Mar 22, 2011
    I was asked to take my juice out the plastic bin (with the quart sized ziplock inside) so they could examine the bottles. I have a box of 50 carts with me and they asked what they were too. They did have me open my eGo case and after clicking the button a few times they were convinced that it was nothing. They asked what it was that had a "Trigger" in my bag, and when I was perplexed, realized that it was my XBOX controller. I think it was the controller that threw them and they looked sheepish and thanked me for my time. I was really surprised that they didn't notice the map tank in my bag...I would have though that was the one thing they would want to look at. That was at DIA.

    Surprisingly, when I flew out of philly, I had absolutely no issues. Just a "thank you, have a nice flight."
  18. ec!gg

    ec!gg Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hehe Nice Pic! I like!

  19. GitMoe

    GitMoe Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 3, 2011
    Illy Philly
    I've sold plenty of e-cig gear to a few TSA employees who actually work at Philly International. One of my best friends is a Behavioral Detection Officer there for TSA. From stories I've heard about TSA screeners I'm surprised the majority of them can put their shoes on in the morning let alone guard our country from terrorism. My buddy let's me know when there are security updates about e-cigs. There haven't been any in a while. He also suggests putting everything into separate zip lock baggies and making them accessible on top of your baggage or even in the "change tray" when carrying on. Also, don't ever put anything valuable in your check baggage. Stuff goes "missing" more than you would even believe...
  20. GitMoe

    GitMoe Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 3, 2011
    Illy Philly
    I had a really hard time getting a copper mod into a Phillies game at Citizen's Bank Park. Sucks that a cheap easy to make mod happens to look like a bomb.... lol
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