Transporting Test Kit via Plane

gmason86

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
43
Ontario, Canada
#1
Hi all,

I live in Canada, but will be down in New Orleans in April for a conference, so I figured I'd pick up refills for my TF-100 Test Kit while I'm there.

I wondered what your thoughts are with regards transporting it on a plane. Last time I bought the full kit, I was driving, so that was easy to take it home. But this time, I'll be flying. Would you advise against this, or should it be fine?

I spoke to Rebecca at tfteskits, who said that it should be fine as she's sent kits via plane in the US before. However, she did note that high altitudes can cause leaks so I should make sure to ziplock everything just in case since it would obviously need to be in my checked luggage.

So I thought I'd ask for anyone else's experience before... Has anyone flown with a test kit (the full reagents in my case) in their checked luggage before? Or have any advice/thoughts?

I do have a colleague driving to the US in May, and she'd be happy to bring it back for me. However, I'd rather not impose if I can get it back safely myself. But if people think it's too big a risk, I'll ask.

Oh, and for anyone that has flown with it back to Canada, any problems with customs, etc.? It wasn't an issue driving, so I'm assuming it's fine flying, but thought I'd check.

Thanks!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,644
Tucson, AZ
#2
Shipping and passenger flights are two very different security/inspection standards. Depends on how picky the TSA screening agents will be. A bunch of liquid chemicals in small bottles might trigger a body-cavity search if you look shifty enough :confused:

Worse comes to worse, they’ll get confiscated and you’ll be out money and reagents (you won’t get them back...)
 
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gmason86

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
43
Ontario, Canada
#3
Would they just notice them in the checked luggage via the scans they do after you've dropped it off?

They wouldn't be in my carry-on luggage as they're too big, so they'd definitely be going in my suitcase. Not sure if that makes it any more or less likely to cause any bother.


I do have the backup of sending to my colleague on her vacation in May. The only downsides to that are that I'm imposing and therefore if I need to ask for a future year it becomes another favour I'm asking, and if for any reason the delivery doesn't make it to her hotel, then I'm pretty stuck as I then have no backup for getting the reagents (TFTeskits don't deliver to Canada and we pay way more here for the Taylor ones).

But if you think flying with them is going to cause problems, either for leaking, or some kind of search/confiscation, maybe it is better to send to my colleague who will be driving...
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,644
Tucson, AZ
#4
I don’t fly much but the last two times I have flown my luggage has been opened and searched (and damaged....but, they leave a very nice pamphlet inside informing you of their right to search and destroy your things, their complete immunity from any liability and your complete lack of any legal recourse against their intrusive searches....but I digress). If they scan your luggage the reagents will almost certainly look suspicious and there’s a high probability that your luggage will be opened. Chemical substance like reagents would almost certainly get confiscated as the agents will not know what they are and they will likely ere on the side of caution and remove them.

That’s just my guess....you’re certainly welcome to try it and see what happens.
 

Donldson

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
In The Industry
Jun 12, 2009
3,300
NW Ohio
#5
The refills will come in a plastic bag. Take that bag and put it in another ziplock bag with a print out your receipt, and then put that in your checked bag. TSA may check it if they find it suspicious upon X-Ray, but all of the bottles are clearly labeled and your receipt will show that they are swimming pool testing supplies. Odds are very low that they would confiscate it from there. Not zero, they have pretty broad authority for that sort of thing, but still low.

We have flown with alcohol bottles in checked bags and had no issue, friends of mine returning from a cruise had their bags inspected because of the rum they purchased but it was not removed.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,729
Laughlin, NV
#6
Must be your hair style Matt! We travel extensively and have not had our bags opened in years. Of course we have Global Entry with TSA pre-check.

gmason - do you have NEXUS?

Not sure were you are in Ontario (big province) but mail drops at the US border are a great way to ship things so you can pick them up and drive them back home.
 

HeyEng

Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
98
Oklahoma City, OK
#7
I have flown commercially hundreds of times in my life and have have lots AND lots of bag inspections (at one time, I had over 75 of the courtesy notices that were in my bags over the years as a "collection" of sorts) and I have *never* had anything confiscated. This includes some crazy military type equipment that isn't easily identifiable. I think you will be just fine...
 
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gmason86

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
43
Ontario, Canada
#8
Thanks for the replies, all!

Unfortunately I do not have NEXUS. I don't travel to the US often enough (maybe once a year at most) at the moment. Perhaps in future! Although having a look, it's only $50 for 5 years - that isn't too bad at all! Any idea how quickly the initial one would get approved? I'm travelling in April, so would want it in time for that. Will it make much of a difference for travelling from Toronto airport, given you pre-clear there anyway? And more importantly, would it make any difference for bringing back pool chemicals? Or are you thinking for any driving trips to the border?

I'm just east of Toronto. So probably about 2 hours to any border. Although I believe I need to be out the country for more than 24 hours to gain the exemptions.


Yep, I've definitely flown with alcohol, etc. before and never had any issues. But never a bag of chemicals, haha. I do like the idea of printing out the receipt and info. Rebecca from TFTeskits had previously also sent me the MSDS info, so I could always include that too.


Decisions, decisions... :)

Hoping someone stumbles across this that has flown with them back to Canada before.

In terms of weight, any idea what the full set of reagents might weight approximately? The hotel I'm staying at have a handling fee of $5 and up (depending on weight), but I don't imagine these would be especially weighty!

Thanks!
 
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gmason86

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
43
Ontario, Canada
#10
So people now seem generally comfortable they wouldn't be confiscated.

How about the chances of them leaking and therefore being ruined? Of course I'll tighten everything, put in a ziplock bag (or more than one, haha) just in case it spills, but I'm hoping to avoid that scenario entirely. I guess US-Canada is unlikely to be at an extremely high altitude.

Thanks!
 

HeyEng

Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
98
Oklahoma City, OK
#12
So people now seem generally comfortable they wouldn't be confiscated.

How about the chances of them leaking and therefore being ruined? Of course I'll tighten everything, put in a ziplock bag (or more than one, haha) just in case it spills, but I'm hoping to avoid that scenario entirely. I guess US-Canada is unlikely to be at an extremely high altitude.

Thanks!
They aren't going to spill/explode or anything crazy like that. I am a former Air Force "jet jockey" and have only once had a can of Coke let go when I foolishly put it in a "very cold" area of the plane to cool it rapidly...which it did. :)

I do like the idea of just sending them via FedEx or UPS...no hassle at all there.
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,039
#13
Yes, that should work.

It looks like the UPS Store has 5 locations in New Orleans.

They can box it and ship it for you.
 

mknauss

Mod Squad
May 3, 2014
12,729
Laughlin, NV
#14
I would not suggest using UPS or FedEx. We discontinued sending things to Canada as the Customs process is costly. You will pay customs along with very high shipping charges.

The NEXUS, I believe, marks you as having been pre-screened, fingerprints on record, etc, and thus, the likelihood of having bags searched drops.

I doubt you can get Nexus prior to April. You must go to a US/Can border to go through the interviews by both Canadian and US CBP.
 

HeyEng

Silver Supporter
Nov 7, 2018
98
Oklahoma City, OK
#15
The NEXUS, I believe, marks you as having been pre-screened, fingerprints on record, etc, and thus, the likelihood of having bags searched drops.
Perhaps it does drop, but I was on the trusted traveler list about 10 minutes after it was available (even as a govt flyboy, I still had to go through the application/interview process which was a pain) and *still* had my bags searched about a 1/3rd of the time I traveled.

But I agree the odds of getting it approved before April are very slim.
 
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gmason86

Bronze Supporter
May 13, 2017
43
Ontario, Canada
#16
Ah yes, good point with regards UPS/FedEx costs as I've certainly had that in the past. I find if things are shipped via USPS, they often avoid that process or it's much cheaper charges. I may do this in future years as my wife's brother is looking to move to Miami (from the UK) and we can therefore have reagents, etc. sent to him and ask him to send them up if we aren't going to be in the US for any reason for that season.

So for this time, I think I'll go with either having it delivered to my hotel when I'm in New Orleans, or my colleague when she's in the US in May and can drive it back.

I've certainly been reassured that the chance of them leaking/spilling/exploding are slim! And realistically they're unlikely to confiscate them, providing I give the receipt, etc. so they know what it is. Would you also include the MSDS that Rebecca sent? 2000 Complete, Alkalinity/Chlorine (hi range), FAS-DPD/CYA/Hardness/pH So hopefully doing it myself, rather than relying on a favour from my colleague, will work out fine. Absolute worst case if they all spill, or get confiscated, I can get a new batch sent to my colleague when she heads to the states in May and she can drive them back. It'd still work out a lot cheaper than buying them here in Canada, even if I had to buy them twice!!! :)

Thanks again for all the help!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,644
Tucson, AZ
#18
Must be your hair style Matt! We travel extensively and have not had our bags opened in years. Of course we have Global Entry with TSA pre-check.

Probably the fact that I abhor passenger flight (I would rather have a root canal than be shoved into those flying human cattle cars and I’m not subtle about my displeasure) and that I have flown precisely twice in the last 10 years...so I’m not their model of a satisfied customer....

Anyway, it will be an interesting data point to see if the bags get searched and/or reagents confiscated. ....I say go for it and report back. Though, if the R-0004 pH reagent leaks, be prepared for a very smelly (phenolic odor) pile of clothes to wash....
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
13,039
#19
If you are a Canadian importing personal effects into Canada, then you may eligible to an exception on any duties and taxes on your goods.
While travelling abroad, you may wish to send some goods back to Canada. On arriving back in Canada, you must declare these goods on Form E24, Personal Exemption Customs Declaration.
I would think that sending personal effects would qualify for exemption.

Even if you have to pay, is it a lot?
 

Flying Tivo

Well-known member
Jan 24, 2017
566
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
#20
Remember Liquids do not expand as altitude increases, only Gases! What i always do is push out all the air in the bottles and retight the caps fully. This way it dosnt matter how high you go. Zip Lock bags are mandatory for transporting liquids.

good luck
Felipe