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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Avoiding Theft/Damage/Confiscation by TSA when flying (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Steven True
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Reading all of this makes me wonder how long people like Blackstone or Houdini would be held up at the airport. I know it is for our saftey and all. This is all pretty new to us in regards to airline travel. I guess we just grin and bear it as best we can. I am glad that I don't do a lot of traveling. I did not fly before 9/11 and I still will not fly now, but that is my choice. Just don't like the big birds. Nice to see this thread though. I just never really thought about you pros that travel a lot. Good luck with it all.

Happy Magic
Steven
MichaelKent
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I had an ATA case built that is the exact maximum dimensions that airlines will allow (height+length+width=62"). The case acts as my main table onstage. Steven Kline, who is a member here gave me some good tips. The most important one being: Always carry enough material in your carry on to be able to do a good 45 minute show. Anything I can put in my duffle, I will. This a) brings down the weight of my checked case and b) ensures if, for some reason, the case gets lost I can still put on a good show. In addition to the one checked case, I check my nest of boxes in a separate cardboard box.

Inside the case & box, I also put several laminated 8.5x11" signs like Walt suggested above. Mine don't go into as much detail as Walt's, but they do claim "NOTICE: CONTENTS ARE MAGICIAN'S PROPS. PLEASE HANDLE WITH CARE AS ITEMS ARE FRAGILE." The signs have my business card on them. I put two of the signs in the big case and one in the top of the box. All the fragile contents have bubble wrap pre-made "sleeves." When all is said and done, here's what I travel with:
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SpellbinderEntertainment
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Great additions to the conversation Michael!
Not easy the life of a magical road-warrior.

Would you kindly specify the exact dimensions,
length, width, height of your maximum ATA Case?

Do you then have a custom cover to convert
your luggage case to your table?

The signs on the interior have saved my bacon,
as has having enough material in my carry on,
or shipping it FedEx ahead of my arrival.

Mark Burger at House of Magic makes a totally clear,
Lucite Harbin-style folds-flat table that also fits into carry-on,
and is suitable for a trade-show floor performing surface.

Thanks for your two-cents!
Magically,
Walt
MichaelKent
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PM'd you the specifics, Walt.

I don't cover the case with anything. Just work from it. When loaded, I can't get it down to 50 lbs. The case alone weighs 33. It's usually between 60-63lbs, so I have to pay a $25 overweight fee. I don't mind it. I'll even throw in some clothes and my toiletries in there.

I've had luggage confiscated before. Even on checked bags, they've taken lighters (including my collector's workshop "zippo"), and even rubber cement.

I don't like the idea of shipping my equipment separately. My idea of an ideal show on the road is to arrive with all my gear, do the show and leave. Arranging for pickups at the hotel, etc. is messy and leaves me with stuff to worry about.
Dynamike
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I hope no one looses their props. A friend of mine sued for his missing baggaged, and won.
SpellbinderEntertainment
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Magician’s prop shuts Palm Beach International Airport for two-hours!

A magician who recently performed for a Super Bowl party at the Versace mansion inadvertently caused flights to be shut down for two hours Saturday at Palm Beach International Airport when screeners checking his bags found a butane canister that allows him to shoot flames from his wrists.

Illusionist Simon Winthrop, who has relatives in Delray Beach, had packed the equipment in his luggage for a flight to Los Angeles. The Transportation Security Administration discovered the tank in his checked bag about 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office brought its bomb and arson squad to investigate. At 9:30, the airport evacuated the entire first floor and part of the second, forcing at least 1,000 passengers, ticket agents and airport employees to wait outside.
The sheriff's office sealed off roads leading to the airport in suburban West Palm Beach, and the Florida Highway Patrol diverted traffic from the Interstate 95 airport exit.

Passengers from 16 arriving flights were held on their planes for up to two hours while the terminal was closed.

While the magician was on his plane, federal agents tracked down Winthrop's mother and knocked on the door at the home of his brother, a local attorney.

Relatives explained that he performed last weekend at a Super Bowl party former Dolphins coach Don Shula attended at the former Versace mansion, Casa Casuarina in South Beach. They then showed the agents pictures of Winthrop shooting flames out the arms of his suit.

Winthrop's Web site, , includes a picture of Jessica Simpson watching the same trick, and his picture made the National Enquirer last year, his mother said. Susan Winthrop said the butane canister looks nothing like an explosive, but sheriff's spokeswoman Teri Barbera said the bomb squad found it suspicious.

The whole incident, Susan Winthrop said, was "kind of embarrassing."

Winthrop is based in Las Vegas and performs for private parties and corporate events all over the country. A video on his Web site shows a sleight-of-hand where he slips a watch from Chelsea Clinton's wrist and makes it reappear several feet away in Bill Clinton's hand.

Winthrop obviously is not a terrorist and will not be charged with a crime, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.

Agents questioned Winthrop, 35, when he got off the plane to make his connection in Dallas, Orihuela said. He was allowed to continue on the second leg of his trip to Los Angeles.

The federal government could fine Winthrop if the materials in his checked luggage violate TSA rules, but a spokesman said Saturday said he didn't know if the items were prohibited.

Airport spokeswoman Lisa De La Rionda said the scare unfolded during the busy midday period airport employees call "the noon balloon."

Hundreds of people trying to make flights or pick up relatives got stuck in the traffic jam on surrounding roads. Many got out of their cars to ask for information, and a few set off for the airport on foot. Two plopped down in beach chairs on the side of the road.
As planes landed, pilots explained they would be stuck on the tarmac until the terminal reopened.

Passengers whipped out cellphones to call relatives, and many could see police cars from the runway. But most said the episode was nothing more than an inconvenience. "I don't really think of West Palm Beach as a terrorist target," one said.

The airport reopened for commercial flights at 11:30 a.m., with delays into the early afternoon.

Officials from the sheriff's office, airport and FBI said they hope passengers with unusual possessions, like flame-throwing butane tanks, will anticipate attention from the TSA and declare the items in advance. "You can't just bring this sort of a thing on a plane," Orihuela said.

Kathleen Chapman, The Palm Beach Post

Ooooops,
Magically,
Walt
DStachowiak
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The recent publicity regarding "electronic homing devices hidden in coins" has had me worried about carrying my coin gaffs on flights, has anyone had any problems with these?
Woke up.
Fell out of bed.
Dragged a comb across m' head.
Bill Palmer
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I pack all my coins in one of those memory card cases. When they are stacked together, they look like a bunch of coins in a memory card case. They get right through.

Once in a while, if I purchase several sets of cups, I might get my luggage looked at, but I usually just tell them that they are magician's props, and they let it go at that.

A friend of mine has a special box he packs his whole act in. It is made of fine hardwood. On his way back from the Castle a few months ago, TSA destroyed the box trying to get it open. It had simple flip latches. Stupid ********!


One other thing. If you are traveling to a foreign country and planning to do paid performances, make sure you have the proper visa. If you don't, you can be sent right back home.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
hiwese1
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Thanks for all of the info. I will definitely use this the next time I fly.
Magic Mike Japan
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I was flying out of Manila (Philippines) a couple of months ago with a few of my magic tricks in my checked-in baggage. The security guy made me take out everything and explain what things were one-by-one! I ended up performing a mini-show for the guy. Never pass up the opportunity to practice in front of a live audience, even at the airport!
"There's no limit to what one man can accomplish, as long as he's willing to let someone else have the credit." (These words were inscribed on a small brass plaque which sat on President Ronald Reagan's desk in the White House during his second term.)
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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2006-12-03 23:42, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
Thanks for your list of do’s-n-don’ts Bill!

Here are my air travel tips:
(Did you know if you are a musician and travel with a Bass you must purchase only a First-Class seat just for the instrument and show proof of insurance?)

I knew you had to buy another seat if you were going to put the thing on the seat next to you... I didn't think it had to be 1st Class! (Unless of course, that's the only way you travel!)

I remember in the book "Coffee, Tea or Me?" the stewardesses had a run-in with a musician who'd purchased a ticket for his bass. Seems he'd had <his> two drink maximum and he wanted to know why his "friend" didn't get <his> two drinks (which of course, the musician would be more than happy to consume for him since the friend didn't really drink!)


What's weird is that we at Wal*Mart <sell> special TSA approved locks that have a red diamond on the center of them. These locks can be opened by TSA without causing damage. Since TSA doesn't seem to be able to open <unlocked> cases without damaging them, I don't see the point in spending extra money on special locks!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
clantz
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How about additional insurance for checked baggage?
Anyone know of a company that sells stand alone baggage lost/delay insurance?

All I have been able to find is complete trip insurance that covers cancelation/medical/etc./etc.
MadUncleAndy
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Quote:

1) Carry anything on that you can that is legal to carry. If you need it for your act, you should take it with you on the plane. Obviously, this means that you will have to pack your knives and other contraband. But coins, cups, balls, cards, etc. should go in your carry on.


I travel a lot,...for my day job, which is in the airline industry.

Both as a traveller, and as someone in the industry inside, I recommend Bill's advice not only for magic, but for everything possible. If it's valuable, fragile or essential, either carry it on, or ship it via UPS/FedEx/similar. For that matter, carry at least one set of clothes on with you as well. There's nothing worse than wearing yesterday's boxers and socks while trying to get your luggage back.

My own company will not allow us to check expensive or fragile company equipment under most circumstances...the problem really is that bad. "Free" shipping is not so cheap when your stuff is stolen, broken, or lost.

Also, be aware that gimmicked stuff quite likely looks gimmicked on X rays. If TSA wants to examine it, let them. If they ask what it is, tell them. That is not the time to worry about exposure. Also, expect to take a long time in security if you carry this sort of stuff. If this worries you, ship it.

I often carry a TT, and some coins, both gaffed and otherwise, in one of Carl Andrews' pocket pockets. It gets TSA's attention every now and again. I've found telling them I'm a magician and offering to show them a trick helps speed things up. Thus far, nobody has ever taken me up on the offer of the impromptu show, but said cheesily enough, you fulfill their expectations of a magician. Smile
Pete Biro
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I won't bore you with details, but try tavelling as a pro photographer with fragile cameras and 3-foot long $5,000.00 lenses and tripods. At least now that we're digital I don't have to worry about idiots ruining film in the X-ray machines. I used to have to buy film (not always available tho) when I arrived for a shoot and sometimes have it developed by a lab in a strange town and would suffer a loss in quality. Argh.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2006-12-05 12:41, silverking wrote:
A note regarding any effects devices which include magnets.
The machine we popularly refer to as the "X-Ray" machine displays any magnet in a manner that the machine operator will ask (or should ask) to see it.
If you travel with any magnets, pack them at the top so you can bring them right out to show the security folks.


YOU don't get to take things out of your luggage. This is done by a TSA rep. The reason is very simple. Suppose you were trying to smuggle an explosive device onto a plane. Who better to trigger it manually than the terrorist who packed it.

There is another way to do this. I just got back from a trip to Nashville. On the way up, my carry on bag was searched because of an odd-looking "thing." It was the extra battery for my laptop. So, on the way back, when I put the laptop into the tray, I put the extra battery in with it. The attendant asked why I'd done that, so I explained that it was to save them time. He approved.

So, if you have a wad of magnets, just put them in a plastic bag, and either put them in the tray that you put your shoes in, or put them near the top of the carry on so the attendant can get to them quickly.

I usually put my watch, rings, pocket change, car keys and money clip into a plastic bag, so I can retrieve it quickly. I always set off the alarm when I go through, because I wear suspenders, and the metal parts ring the chimes. The TSA people are cordial about it. I obviously know the drill, so the inspection only takes about half the time that it does with someone who hasn't rung the bell. After the inspection, I thank them for paying attention to our security.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2007-12-20 21:33, clantz wrote:
How about additional insurance for checked baggage?
Anyone know of a company that sells stand alone baggage lost/delay insurance?

All I have been able to find is complete trip insurance that covers cancelation/medical/etc./etc.


The Air Travel Association and the Airline Passengers Association offer this kind of thing.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2007-06-02 18:03, mandrake01 wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-12-03 23:42, SpellbinderEntertainment wrote:
Thanks for your list of do’s-n-don’ts Bill!

Here are my air travel tips:
(Did you know if you are a musician and travel with a Bass you must purchase only a First-Class seat just for the instrument and show proof of insurance?)

I knew you had to buy another seat if you were going to put the thing on the seat next to you... I didn't think it had to be 1st Class! (Unless of course, that's the only way you travel!)

I remember in the book "Coffee, Tea or Me?" the stewardesses had a run-in with a musician who'd purchased a ticket for his bass. Seems he'd had <his> two drink maximum and he wanted to know why his "friend" didn't get <his> two drinks (which of course, the musician would be more than happy to consume for him since the friend didn't really drink!)


What's weird is that we at Wal*Mart <sell> special TSA approved locks that have a red diamond on the center of them. These locks can be opened by TSA without causing damage. Since TSA doesn't seem to be able to open <unlocked> cases without damaging them, I don't see the point in spending extra money on special locks!


If you have a bass viol, and it is in a case, the only place it will fit is in first class. A cello will fit in tourist class. I traveled with a fellow who had one on my last flight.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Josh Chaikin
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For those still worried about traveling with props, putting this insert in your luggage might ease your fears.

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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2006-12-05 03:49, Bill Palmer wrote:
*I am a banjo player. I can make fun of them all I want!


I'm not and I can too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAHCVNTiwM4
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Slartibartfast
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http://tinyurl.com/2rjhfn

TSA: Missing Luggage Totals $31 Million Over Three Years

Federal records obtained by FOX 4 News show that in the past three years travelers have reported tens of millions of dollars in goods missing from their luggage. It was there when they checked the bag at the airport, but gone when they reached their destination.

...

A rarely released Transportation Security Administration database reveals that in a three-year period nearly 42,000 travelers have reported items as lost from their luggage at an estimated value of more than $31 million. We are not talking lost for a couple of days. We are talking lost for good. Listed as MIA are medicine, clothing, fine jewelry, laptops, perfume and even cell phones.

...

She said the best time for luggage to be tampered with is when it's in the baggage hold area. That's where it is stored before it's loaded onto the plane.

"You will have one person down there and all they are doing is transferring bags to different carts," said the former baggage handler. "It only takes one person. So you would just be in a room by yourself."

She said one way to get away with the crime was to rifle through a bag and then put it on the wrong plane headed to the wrong city. When the luggage is finally located, it would be unclear where the crime took place.
If you can pull it off in a biker bar without being violated by a corn dog, more power to you.
-- Gwyd, the Unusual

"YOUR Signature...speaks volumns (sic) as to your lack of understanding."
--T.V.
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