Vibrators, weeds, plants: What can you take on a plane?

Elyse Welles was traveling from Athens, Greece, to Newark, New Jersey, last spring, when it finally happened: she was set aside for an additional period Security screening at his doorstep.

After some time searching through Welles’ backpack, the officer finally grabbed a bullet-shaped object vibrator of the bag and waved it in the air. “Is it an electronic cigarette? asked the agent. “No, it’s a sex toyshe replied with a smile, how her personal items were rapidly came back to her and she was free to go.

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Welles, a writer and life coach who lives in Artemida, Greece, said she didn’t shy away from traveling with her vibrator in tow.

Whereas sex toys are accepted as carry-on baggage in most countries, including the United States, there are certain restrictions regarding e-cigarettes on flightsas the devices could catch fire during transport.

Like the air number travelers is increasing, returning to near pre-pandemic levels, as are questions about protocols and flight rules – particularly what travelers can and cannot pack in their carry-on luggage when traveling to the States -United. For example: is guacamole a solid or a liquid? (It’s a gel, which falls under the same restrictions as liquids and isn’t allowed in your carry-on – unless it’s in a 3.4-ounce container.)

Here’s a guide to help you navigate the more ambiguous transport rules – with a few quiz questions throughout to test your knowledge too.

Can I take my vibrator without causing a scene at security?

Let’s talk a little more about vibrators. Although most sex toys, including vibrators, are allowed in your carry-on, according to the Transportation Security Administration, they can still lead to arrest, as in Welles’ case. There are ways to reduce the chances of these uncomfortable encounters, especially if something starts to buzz.

Shan Boodram, intimacy expert and host of the Lovers and Friends podcast, suggests removing all batteries or running the batteries on rechargeable toys before packing them. “Or, find a hard case to put it in slightly larger so the power button is less likely to be pressed when pressure is applied to your bag,” she said.

There are also vibrators with travel settings now, to prevent them from triggering at an inopportune time, like the rechargeable silicone Surge vibratorwhich has a built-in travel lock.

What’s the cash rule again?

“The most common mistake we see people in terms of items prohibited at airports, it’s large liquids, gels, and aerosols in carry-on baggage,” said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein.

TSA is widely publicized The 3-1-1 rule states that passengers can travel with liquids, gels and aerosols as long as they are in 3.4 ounce containers in a liter size resealable bag. So while a bottle of water won’t pass the pre-flight check, what about something in a more nebulous category, like a jar of peanut butter?

“If you can spill it, spread it, spray it, pump it, or pour it,” Farbstein said, “it’s a liquid, gel, or aerosol.”

This is why a Magic 8 Ball, which is filled with liquid, is not allowed to pass a TSA checkpoint. The same goes for a snow globe. Unless, of course, as Farbstein points out, it’s a version small enough to fit in a of the traveler Bag 3-1-1.

The 3-1-1 rule was imposed after terrorists in Britain tried to smuggle liquid explosives into planes in August 2006. It is this type of explosives that dogs are research for when they sniff passenger bags at airports, Farbstein said.

Is it OK to fly with weed now?

“The TSA isn’t looking for drugs,” Farbstein said. “Our dogs sniff out explosives; they don’t snort drugs.

But just because they’re not looking for drugs doesn’t mean the officers won’t ever find them. If they do, TSA agents are required to report suspected violations of the law to police, Farbstein said. And although marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in 19 states and for medical use in 37, it is still illegal under federal law and is therefore restricted on airplanes, even though it is technically legal at the time. on departure and on arrival. destination States.

I bought a plant during my trip! Can I take him home?

Some plant lovers may want to go home with a new addition to their collection.

Plants are allowed on flights as long as they fit in the overhead compartment or under the airplane seat, according to the TSA website. Back with potted plants from abroad, however, is prohibited, although a limited number of bare-rooted plants (not in the ground) are permitted, as long as they meet certain criteria set by the zoosanitary inspection and phytosanitary from the Ministry of Agriculture Service. There is also additional information for travelers arriving in the continental United States from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

“I am always on the lookout for beautiful, healthy specimens of rare plants, so I like to grab them when I see them,” said Lexi Osterhoudt, a doctoral student in Columbia University’s Integrated Cellular, Molecular, and Biomedical Studies Program. Often, she says, her plant souvenirs are impulse buys that she buys while traveling in the country, or they are great finds that are more affordable than they would be if she bought them in New York, where she currently lives.

“I’m going to Saran Wrap the pot to keep the soil together, put them in a paper bag and stick them under the seat in front of me,” she said.

Is my Harry Potter wand OK?

If further clarification is needed, the TSA has provided a comprehensive and searchable list where travelers can search for any item it is concerned about to bring. Knitting needles, for example, are allowed in your hand luggage, as are live fish, provided they are in water and in a transparent transparent container. But wait – isn’t there a rule about liquids?

“Live fish are indeed allowed to be transported through a security checkpoint,” Farbstein said. “And of course, to keep them alive, they have to be in the water. TSA officers will examine the container of water the fish are in. The examination process will take longer. Live fish in the water need not follow the 3-1-1 rule.

Cremated remains get a little more complicatedwhile cricket bats and chopping boards are best left unchecked luggage. Musical instruments such as violins are allowed after passing a TSA check, but for brass instruments it is suggested to check them. And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, never fear, wands are allowed. flights.

Despite TSA rules, there’s one item in particular that Farbstein says he still sees confiscated all too often: knives. “We see knives every day,” she said.

Up to 4 tons of different types of knives and large tools are confiscated from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey in an average year, according to Farbstein. The TSA then sends them in bulk to the state of Pennsylvania, she said, which sells them for a profit at a surplus store in Harrisburg.

Travelers should remember that knives of any kind are not allowed on flights, Farbstein said.

Something that won’t be confiscated? A duffel bag containing eight Goetta sausage rolls. However, it could land you on the TSA instagram Account.

(This article originally appeared in The New York Times.)

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