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View Full Version : The TSA and your Oasis case humidifier--an alert!



Tonya
12-03-2012, 12:59 PM
I frequently fly with my ukulele as carry-on (soprano or tenor). Never a problem (other than being asked to play it by people who obviously don't know about my relatively non-existent skills).

But coming back from Hawaii in November, I was pulled to the side by TSA as we were leaving the Big Island. "Ma'am, we see something in this case that we're curious about; can you step over here?"

They'd run my case through the belt scanner and the Oasis humidifier, set between the strings in the soundhole, appeared suspicious. Okay, I get it--it *is* a gel-based item with liquid but I'd never had it questioned before.

I explained what it was and moved forward to show it to them but I'd forgotten the cardinal TSA inspection rule: the passenger is not permitted to touch the item(s) in question. While the TSA guy was really nice, I had to verbally walk him through carefully removing the Oasis humidifier from between the strings so he could release it from its position to inspect it more carefully.

All went well in this situation (they gave the Oasis humidifier back to me after inspection), but if you don't want to have your ukulele's strings messed with by strangers, my advice is to just remove the humidifier and leave it in checked luggage or in your ZipLoc baggie of under-three-ounce fluid items.

I knew to be alert for carry-on shampoo, toothpaste, etc. but had never thought about my ukulele humidifier before...

Steedy
12-03-2012, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the tip. I followed the link in your sig and discovered you have a way cool uke blog; lots of good ukulele material there! :shaka:

Harold O.
12-03-2012, 04:39 PM
You'd think that the TSA guys in Hawaii would know what they were looking at regarding ukuleles. A lot of people travel to the islands and bring them home.

Trouble is, TSA agents often do not live in the areas they are assigned. So they're not locals. Gotta guess that some are, but they're mostly strangers.

Glad that worked out for you.

Tigeralum2001
12-03-2012, 04:51 PM
This is very timely! Earlier today I was wondering how much an Oasis held and if it was TSA compatible. Good to know; having it in a zip lock to get through security is not too bad. I worry (too much?) about the dry cabin air in flight.

efiscella
12-03-2012, 05:46 PM
You'd think that the TSA guys in Hawaii would know what they were looking at regarding ukuleles. A lot of people travel to the islands and bring them home.

Trouble is, TSA agents often do not live in the areas they are assigned. So they're not locals. Gotta guess that some are, but they're mostly strangers.

Glad that worked out for you.

Most folks in Hawaii don't use a humidifier because it is not needed there. As a result, the oasis is pretty foreign to locals.

Trinimon
12-04-2012, 03:45 AM
Yikes. I'll keep that in mind next time. I went through security without any hiccups on my last trip this past summer, so did my nephew so I guess it depends on which TSA agent is monitoring the x-ray. My brother-in-law got stopped because he bought one of those cheapie pen holders with the blue and clear liquid in it with surfers. The TSA guy unfortunately stopped him and said he couldn't allow him through with it because of the liquid. He was very apologetic and seemed sincere but at the same time, though it was pretty cool and called a couple buddies over to check it out. I wonder if my bro-in-law had put that in a zip-lock bag, they'd let it through?

hoosierhiver
12-04-2012, 03:48 AM
I'll let you guys in on my TSA secret. If you arrive and there is a huge line for customs clearance, go straight over to the main customs desk and tell them you have something you are not sure about. Last time I showed them pressed dried flowers under glass. They will either tell you yea or nay and you are done, no waiting in line.

ksiegel
12-04-2012, 04:18 AM
When I travel, I use the Herco humidifier that lives in my Sceptre case. No problems with it. I also keep a couple of my home-made humidifiers - a pill bottle with the Soil-Moist capsules - but un-hydrated. One for the trip out, one for the trip back. They are cheap (cost me about 10 cents each to make), and I can hydrate them as needed, usually at the destination, but I can do it in the airport, if I have to.

Also, a TSA supervisor told me that if you have an expensive instrument (they didn't define "expensive") YOU have the right to handle it - it is documented in the TSA training. I got that when I asked that no chemical swabs be rubbed on my strings - if they needed to do it, I would be happy to remove the strings from the instrument for them.

On my last trip, the TSA was more interested in the "political" statements on my case ("It's not who you love, but whether you can - Janis Ian") than by the contents.

But then, this was SFO.



-Kurt

dnewton2
12-04-2012, 04:30 AM
I used to travel pretty ferquently and I usually brought a uke. I use the Herco clay humidifiers. I flew on probably 50 or so flights and was questioned a few times about it. They would usually just pull it out and look at it and let it go since there is no liquid present.

Something to consider for your tavels, if you dont want someone messing with your uke tring to get the oaisis out.

Harold O.
12-04-2012, 04:32 AM
Most folks in Hawaii don't use a humidifier because it is not needed there. As a result, the oasis is pretty foreign to locals.

Sure, but if someone from Los Angeles or Phoenix (etc) goes to the islands and buys a ukulele, it will be their best interest to get a humidifier before heading home.

WOBster
12-05-2012, 03:07 PM
I have been told by TSA agents that round things are often objects of scrutiny and from the correct angle the oasis can look round. I have no idea why but got pulled out once for a roll of tape because it was round...(that was when I asked what about a roll of tape was suspicious...)