Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Flying Can Be A Hair Curling Experience: Traveling With Curling/Straightening Irons

Curly hair. Hair. Some want it curly and some want it straight. Some even prefer no hair (this post won’t apply to them). In my case, I would like more hair, but such is life.

Back to the matter at hand – curling and straightening irons are common travel items we see every day at both the checkpoint and in checked bags. But believe it or not, we get a lot of search hits on our web page from folks trying to figure out if these are permitted on an aircraft. I am happy to report that these items, with the exception of the type that requires a butane cartridge (see below), are permitted in your carry-on and checked baggage.

The only kind of curling and straightening irons you have to be concerned with are the types that take a butane cartridge. These are only allowed in your checked baggage, as long as you only have one and a safety cover must be over the heating element. No spare cartridges are allowed. This type of iron is not permitted in your carry-on luggage.

Remember, you can always use our new “Can I Bring” tool on the
web, or you can go here to download the My TSA app. “Can I Bring" allows you to type in an item and see if it’s permitted or not. If the item is not listed, you can suggest that we add it.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's great that the website offers answers, the problem is when you get to the airport. The staff running security change rules ALL THE TIME. Passengers are confused because sometimes an item is allowed, sometimes it is not.

The answer on your site should be, "whatever the TSA staff decides. Good luck guessing!"

Anonymous said...

I am happy to report that these items, with the exception of the type that requires a butane cartridge (see below) are permitted in your carry on and checked baggage.

Maybe you should train your employees at RDU.

They didn't know this 6 months ago.

Earl Pitts said...

It's been awhile since we had a puppy post. Thanks for obliging, Bob!

Earl

Jim Huggins said...

Thanks for the link to the "Can I Bring" tool ... since I don't have a powerful enough cellphone to run the app, this allows me to try it out.

And just to try it out ... I entered "ice", and lo and behold, the app says that I can bring completely frozen ice through the checkpoint!

Any chance that the ordinary TSA webpages (like this one) will be updated to carry the same information as this fancy new app?

Blogger Bob said...

Hi Anon. Please explain what specific part of it they didn't know and I'll contact RDU on your behalf.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Earl,

It may not be a controversial issue, but as I stated in the post, many folks are searching for this information.

While we take on controversial posts from time to time, the blog is here for us to communicate with the public on all sorts of matters. Not just the controversial ones.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I was told my curling iron must be put in my checked baggage.

Since I didn't have any checked baggage I'm out one curling iron.

Why is this stuff so hard for TSO's to get right?

Anonymous said...

It should also be noted that any TSO, for any reason, can refuse to allow any item past any checkpoint. It won't matter if we show them a link through an app, a print out of the webpage or the blog. As long as TSO's are allowed to invent policy or to ignore passenger guidelines as listed all the posts on the blog are useless.

George said...

It is useful to know the official guidelines as promulgated by the bosses at Headquarters. But in practice it's (too often) a gamble on what specific rules and interpretations will be in effect at the moment you're screened. "Maddening Inconsistency" has become synonymous with "TSA" for many people; it's a major reason for the low regard many people have for the agency.

I don't know whether it's impossible to get anything like consistent application of the rules with the training and the people they have, or whether the bosses actually believe that inconsistency somehow enhances security. The Propaganda Department's attempt to spin the vice of inconsistency into virtuous "unpredictability" suggest the latter-- if you're confused and frustrated, the terrorists must be even more confused and frustrated! But I think the "unpredictability" excuse is more likely just smoke and mirrors to cover up the TSA's intractable ineptitude.

Perhaps there needs to be a disclaimer on any post offering information about what is and is not permitted: Carefully studying and adhering to published guidelines and this official advice will help you reduce the likelihood of a TSO declaring an item prohibited. But please note that TSOs have unlimited discretion to prohibit any item they deem a threat, in response to current intelligence or for other reason. Even an item specifically listed as permitted in published information, or one you have carried dozens of times without question, may be prohibited at any time at a TSO's discretion. The TSO always has the final say, regardless of any published information. If you get to the airport early enough, you may be able to avail yourself of options other than voluntary abandonment should a TSO unexpectedly prohibit an item.

If TSA screening will always be a gamble-- whether due to intractable ineptitude or a genuine belief that "unpredictability" enhances security-- at least be honest about it.

Isaac Newton said...

Anonymous at comment #1 said:
The answer on your site should be, "whatever the TSA staff decides. Good luck guessing!"

You were probably joking, anonymous, but curiously, that is EXACTLY what the answer on the website says. At the end of every single entry, the final paragraph is:

Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.

Which pretty much negates any information prior to that that says something is allowed.

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to believe that anyone thinks curling irons are more... 'important'... a topic than, say: Privacy issues, the uselessness of 3-1-1, the lack of consistency from one checkpoint to the next, etc, etc. But fine. Whatever. Let's go with it..

A curling iron is much more of a weapon than many banned items. The cord can strangle, the iron itself could conceal a knife, or be disassembled to reveal sharp edges. It can be swung around like a flail. And that's not even mentioning the heating capabilities.

On the other hand, a bottle of water can be... drunk.

Hmm.

Anonymous said...

I've got a fun exercise for some news media type (60 Minutes or Dateline would be great high profile people to do it). Find all the items that the TSA explicitly allows to be carried on, bring them in a carry on case and see what items get confiscated at what airports.

* At RDU our curling iron was confiscated.
* At IAD our hand cuffs were confiscated.
* At ORD our 6oz bottle of contact solution was confiscated

Opps I'm sorry none of those items would be confiscated they would be voluntarily surrendered. My bad.

Anonymous said...

And that's not even mentioning the heating capabilities.

I have NEVER seen an electrical outlet on an airplane. How do you suppose it can get hot without being plugged in?
You need to lay off the adult "water" when posting...

DevilDog438 said...

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to believe that anyone thinks curling irons are more... 'important'... a topic than, say: Privacy issues, the uselessness of 3-1-1, the lack of consistency from one checkpoint to the next, etc, etc. But fine. Whatever. Let's go with it..


There is a reason many of us call this "Propaganda Village" (PV) and these types of posts "Puppy Posts".

Anonymous said...

I do not know if it is impossible to get anything like the consistent application of standards in training and those who have, or if employers really believe that the inconsistency in some way improves safety. The Propaganda Department's attempt to turn the vice of inconsistency in virtuoso "unpredictability" suggests that the latter - if you're confused and frustrated, the terrorists must be even more confused and frustrated! But I think the "unpredictability" excuse is probably just smoke and mirrors to hide the incompetence of the TSA intractable.

Anonymous said...

Anon:
I've got a fun exercise for some news media type (60 Minutes or Dateline would be great high profile people to do it). Find all the items that the TSA explicitly allows to be carried on, bring them in a carry on case and see what items get confiscated at what airports.

i believe 'inside edition' did this and was caught with a bottle of water with a camera in it to see if they could get it through and they didnt. it appears that they didnt put it on their show because it didnt get through. its 10/9 today, lets wait and see how many times they trey it at different airports and see if they can get it through. im pretty sure that they wont report about it unless it gets through. this could be considered testing security procedures, if they continue to do it.

George said...

Anonymous, October 7, 2010 12:15 AM:I find it difficult to believe that anyone thinks curling irons are more... 'important'... a topic than, say: Privacy issues, the uselessness of 3-1-1, the lack of consistency from one checkpoint to the next, etc, etc. But fine. Whatever. Let's go with it..

Posting about curling irons is important. They meet the TSA's need to keep us distracted from the fact that they have no intention of actually addressing any substantive issues we might raise (including the issues of people whose curling irons have been confiscated by TSOs who presumably don't know that such items are permitted). This sort of distraction serves some valid security purpose, but whatever that purpose is remains classified and comprehensible only to TSA management.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon. Please explain what specific part of it they didn't know and I'll contact RDU on your behalf.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team



Did you contact RDU? Any response?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I have NEVER seen an electrical outlet on an airplane. How do you suppose it can get hot without being plugged in?


...and because you've never seen it, it doesn't exist?

http://www.seatguru.com/articles/in-seat_laptop_power.php
"In seats equipped with AC Power, all you'll need is the standard wall power brick that came with your laptop or other electrical device. The power on the plane is typically 110V AC and features a semi-universal receptacle that accepts the following types of plugs:...."

You need to lay off the adult "water" when posting...

And you need to learn to use Google. A simple search for the relevant terms returns plenty of results.

fritzonline said...

While I am not offended, I certainly don't think this is an appropriate use of the blog. You want to move on from ID or other topics? Fine. You want to keep things less formal than a press release? Fine. Heck, I applaud that. But I can get news of the weird anywhere. Give us actual substantive topics to yell at you about.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Still no update on your communications with RDU?

Anonymous said...

Bob,
I see you are responding to other threads.

But still no update on your communication with RDU.

Trust and respect is earned

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Still no update on your promise to contact RDU.

I guess you are just another example of the lack of professionalism at the TSA

Anonymous said...

For all of the "Hoopla" regarding the "new" regulations, the American Public needs to get over the false modesty issue. Anyone who travels internationally is already used to this sort of security checks (and a lot more). Try going through almost ANY international airport - Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila, Tel Aviv - they all have much more serious and invasive procedures. Everyone has an option - STAY HOME - Travel via airplanes is not a "RIGHT" If these are the rules necessary to keep me safe, so be it. You rights to privacy stop at the minute they impact mine!!!

derprinz said...

what is RDU ?

Randy Otten said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.