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Thread: How to get your bag checked at the airport

  1. #1

    Default How to get your bag checked at the airport

    So, I know the topic of flying in diapers comes up periodically. I've done it a number of times now, and never had any problems. However, I noticed something interesting flying this past weekend.

    Although diapers had never attracted any attention (neither on me nor in my bag), security seemed oddly interested in my baby powder. Normally I don't take much powder with me, but I'd just bought a fresh bottle and decided to stash it in my bag for the trip. Both ways, the bag that had the powder in it was flagged for check, and both times they pulled out the powder for a closer look. They ran it past some other machines and dusted it and put it in yet some others.

    In the end, they just handed it back to me and I moved along. Now, I was traveling alone, so I didn't much care. However, I thought this might be an interesting tidbit for anyone planning on flying with diapers in a group, especially if the others don't know about said diapers.

    I'm not sure if the attraction was to the shape/density, or the fact it was powdery, etc. This particular batch is cornstarch based. Anyone else run into this?

  2. #2
    Butterfly Mage


    I've never had a problem with diapers in my luggage. If it got searched, well, it's not illegal to transport diapers

  3. #3


    Of course, they saw my diapers too, and no surprise they didn't care. I've never attracted attention with diapers themselves.

  4. #4


    TSA regulations and those of all countries that signed the international security agreement do not permit containers larger than 3oz. This applies to baby oil, lotion and also to powder, since it is in a container.

    Honestly I am horrified TSA gave you back that large container of powder. Doing so violated their own policies and rules.

    There are travel-size containers of all diapering supplies available. People who travel by airline frequently carry those and thus do not hold up the security line. Think about the possibility you could have been escorted to a locked office for a prolonged "chat" while your background was carefully investigated. Something like that will spoil a trip. It is so easy to avoid by following the well publicized travel packing suggestions.

  5. #5


    I thought that rule only applied to liquids. How does baby powder qualify?

  6. #6


    I guess because the powder had cornstarch in it, the machine could have picked it up as being organic based, much like drugs. Fair enough they checked it.

    But having it checked isn't to bad. Coming out of Vancouver my bag was flagged for an explosives check. I got a bit tense as I was watching them run it through the machine. Haha!

  7. #7


    Actually that's a pretty interesting thought. That would be q pretty clever way to smuggle drugs.

    And haha, yeah, funny how you still get nervous even when you've nothing to hide, isn't it?

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by chevre View Post
    And haha, yeah, funny how you still get nervous even when you've nothing to hide, isn't it?
    Definitely. Although it's not everyday you have to watch your stuff get investigated for explosives... in another country... by yourself... with a horde of authorities right there. Funnily enough though, I found baggage officers in Canada a lot more strict than in the USA. Where there was no problem in the USA, in Canada I got pulled up and stopped for having exactly the same stuff on me.

    However, what was really intense was Australian customs. You go through the usual passport checkpoint, then collect your baggage, then you get questioned and have your bags x-rayed again. This happens for everyone, regardless. (I noticed at LAX they have the same system, but the final x-ray wasn't being used.) You couldn't take anything off the plane that you didn't bring on and you have to declare any food, plant or pharmaceutical item, no matter how trivial it may be. There were literally about 50 officers in this one foyer, although if you weren't fucking around, they were pretty friendly people.

    ...or maybe because I am Australian.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by chevre View Post
    I thought that rule only applied to liquids. How does baby powder qualify?
    This is correct, the regulation only applies to liquids and gels, not powders, or even empty containers.

  10. #10


    Have you read the TSA regulations? They regulate not just liquids but also containers.

    My experience is that all the officers I meet in Canada and Australia are very polite and professional. Things go well so long as we follow the rules.

    Australia must be very careful to keep food, plants and animals out of their country. Most island nations also are careful about that. Same for Hawaii.

    In the older days before 911 Don routinely brought all the technical equipment needed to make nature documentaries with him from Hollywood. Now that Australia especially has such a great selection of such equipment for rental, we only bring one professional digital still camera each. Those are registered with USA Customs prior to departure, are insured and are covered by documents acceptable to Australian Customs. All serial numbers are recorded on entry and double checked on departure, since they want to be sure we did not sell any of this during our visit. In 1998 an expensive 600mm Nikor lens fell into a swamp south of Perth. A crew spent a couple of days looking for that. We knew it was ruined but we wanted to show it to Customs on the way out. Our customs broker had to post a large bond. Eventually, after questioning some of the crew, Australian Customs ruled the lens was lost and we got the bond back. On all the expeditions making countless documentaries that was the only time Don could not show damaged equipment to avoid posting a bond.

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