search  current discussion  categories  events - nceca 

nceca and tools and sales / airline regs

updated sat 19 oct 02


John Baymore on fri 18 oct 02

Does anyone know what the current thinking about sales and give aways of=

items the airlines now consider weapons is being dealt with.I feel my
travel habbits will be greatly curbed when it comes to luggage and carryo=
rules post 911.


This past August I was a presenter at a woodfiring symposium in Japan....=

and had to bring tools, some raw materials, fired pots, and such over
there. Coming back I had tools and Japanese pots and books and stuff. =

Some of it was in my luggage....some I shipped. =

My experiences here relate to an international flight..... flying JAL....=
but the basic security screenings seemed to be much the same for domestic=

too. The first leg of my flight was Logan in Boston to JFK in NYC on
American..... ditto on the JFK to Logan homeward leg. It didn't seem to
make much difference. Security was tight.

Carry on stuff is a real problem. Play it very conservative. They take =
pretty darn seriously. If they don't recognize the item on the xray.....=

you'll get a hand search. A metal edged trimming tool would NOT be a goo=
thing to have in there . Nor probably a nice toggled cut off wire....=
which could also be known as a garrotte. They were confiscating anything=

with a point or edge....... including stuff like nail clippers. Mainly m=
carry on had my slides (completely irreplaceable if lost in the checked
stuff). I kept all my sharp edged or pointed stuff in my two large piece=
of checked luggage. That included even wooden knives. Small pots woul=
not be a problem in a carry on. Raw materials likely would (see below).

Laptop, camera, and film (in a lead film bag), which were located in my
carry on stuff, all got a thorough xray and hand inspection. Laptop had =
be taken out of the case, as did the film bag and the camera.

My checked luggage going both from the US to Japan and from Japan to the =
had knives of various sorts and cut off wires and needle tools, and all
sorts of stuff. Nothing was confiscated. Going TO Japan..... there were=

no questions about the checked stuff.

However...... coming back from Japan to the US.... in Narita.......... I
had my entire luggage opened up and hand checked. The checked luggage ha=
just gone thru Xray... and then I got asked to step over to the uniformed=

and armed guys doing a hand check. We took it all out. What a mess (it
was packed really FULL!.) The first question they asked me before the=

suitcases were opened was if I had any knives in there. I replied "yes".=
because I did....and told them what I had. Some were potters
I had also picked up some beautiful hand crafted Japanese knives (SHARP!)=

to bring home. Also had one small Japanese handsaw (for wood). So those=

might have shown on the xrays... and triggered a further check to see wha=
the heck all that other weird stuff on the xray actually was. Don't know=

The search of my luggage took quite a while...... annoying with impending=

flight connections. But I would rather have had them be thorough .
Luckily I speak some Japanese and they spoke some English..... so
communications weren't an added complication .

As to raw materials............ I didn't carry any. Hopwever, one of th=
other presenters at the Japan symposium (who was from Wales) told me abo=
one of his experiences presenting a workshop in a European country (in
which he didn't speak the language). He had (unthinkingly) put some
various glaze materials into plastic bags and placed them in his luggage.=

He hit the airport security and the luggage got opened. In a heatbeat he=

said he was facing a bunch of very serious looking guys with assault rifl=
pointed right at him and he was taken away to a small room. He said it w=
a little "dicey" there for a while...... with the language problem making=

it even worse. He said he kept trying to keep one of the guys from tasti=
the glaze materials...... (the standard field test for drugs)!!!!!!! He
eventually got it all straightened out....... but it took a lot of time a=
was not a lot of fun.

One of the other presenters at the Japan woodfire symposium told me that =
got strip searched on the way out of his own country. He wasan't exactly
your "three piece business suit" looking guy ..... which probably had
something to do with it. And he was coming from one of the potential
"hotbed of terrorism" type countries.

Heck....... even blocks of wet clay might appear to be some new form of
plastic explosive to a cursory inspection by someone who doesn't recogniz=
the real thing. Of course it wouldn't be... and would be easy to
eventually clear up...... but it might really slow the trip through the
airport down a bit .

So I'd be a bit careful picking up much in the way of raw materials at
NCECA and putting them in luggage . Tools...... just put them in the
checked stuff. Keep the carry on for pots, books, brushes, and such. Se=
raw mats via UPS or FedEx from the hotel desk.

No... travel is not what it used to be. Americans are now experienceing
what other parts of the world have had to deal with for a long time. =

Reality burger.......... hold the ketchup .

I shipped a lot of my more questionable looking stuff via FedEx to avoid
ending up confronting the issue in a line at the airport either here or i=
Japan. I figured if the white powder (granite dust) I shipped was caught=

at Customs....... at least I'd be dealing with guys in black cars showing=

up here in the US .... rather than in Japan trying to catch a plane . =

And hopefully they'd have time to figure out WHAT it actually was......
before reaching me. (BTW..... the material was precisely labeled with
content, weight, and chemical analysis.)

Check the weight and size allowance for your particular airline for both
carry on and checked luggage. They are really goong after overweight and=

oversize bags. Great source of additional revenue .

Hope this is of use. You milage may vary .



John Baymore
River Bend Pottery
22 Riverbend Way
Wilton, NH 03086 USA

603-654-2752 (s)
800-900-1110 (s)