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I'm planning on taking two guitar pedals, carry-on, onto a plane flying from Vancouver to Toronto. Has anyone had problems clearing airport security with pedals or attenuators. I have one of each. It apparently wasn't a problem a few years ago...I'm wondering if it's a problem now. Thanks!
 

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Never had a problem with pedals, even flying to the states...
Actually just once, in Havana they didn't want to let me enter my Line6 POD because they thought it was a computer power supply.
 

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I sent a note to CATSA several year ago, and inquired about that very topic. In particular, I was eager to find out what potential there was for DIY pedals to elicit alarm bells. Their response (which may have been predicated on different notewrthy events, and different technology available at the time) on the matter was reasonable, and emphasized that the least problematic approach was to simply ship the pedals ahead of time. If not, simply declare that the item is there.

I could post their verbatim response, but the free wi-fi at the hotel we're staying at in Glasgow seems to be blocking my use of the search function in the forum where I originally posted the note-exchange. I'll see if the next place we stay at lets me do it.
 
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I could post their verbatim response
Allow me.

I was curious about getting DIY pedals past baggage screeners without difficulties, so I wrote to the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) several years ago and explained the situation to them. Here's what I wrote:

I have a technical enquiry, to which an answer would be helpful to myself and a
great many acquaintances and friends. I will pose the question below, but introduce
the nature of the subject matter first. I belong to a community of hobbyists that
make, modify, and repair special effects units ("pedals") for electric guitars and
other similar musical instruments. As is the case with many hobby enthusiasts, we
like to bring some of our handiwork along when visiting friends. In some instances,
people will attend trade shows and bring prototypes along to show others. The
devices in question will normally be situated within a small metal enclosure (to
screen out electrical interference from transformers and such), with controls
mounted on the outer surface, and contain electronic circuit boards, and usually a 9
volt battery supply. Sometimes, they look professionally made, and other times the
appearance can be somewhat amateurish, depending on the skills of the builder. If
you consult this webforum thread -
Pictures! - you will be able to
see literally thousands of examples of what I'm talking about. Of course, as
slightly unusual objects, these will no doubt elicit much closer scrutiny by
screeners, that can be intimidating to the owner of the device, and frustrating to
those behind them in line who may be delayed by such extra scrutiny. We understand
the purpose of such scrutiny, and support it. of course, that does not make it any
less uncomfortable or inconvenient. What I am wondering about is what sort of
procedure to follow when transporting such devices that might give baggage screeners
and any other security personnel the sorts of assurances of passenger/flight safety
that they need to confirm for EVERY traveller/flight, while at the same time
providing the least possible inconvenience and delay? Is there some way that any
traveller carrying such items can prepare them for easier and less disruptive
inspection, while still permitting the same rigour? For example is it preferable to
remove any batteries from the device prior to boarding? Should they be stored with
regular baggage or openly presented with carry-on? Alternatively, is the best thing
simply to avoid baggage screening completely and mail the devices ahead of time? I
ask these questions sincerely on behalf of a community of over 10,000 people
world-wide, many of whom have expressed either frustration with past experiences at
airports, or some trepidation about bringing such items with them, lest they find
themselves detained for questioning. I am sure you are aware of the many
folk-legends that abound about people being detained for hours over innocuous items.
We're just trying to find a way to balance air security, national security, and our
love of our hobby. Any simple and straightforward advice you can offer to achieve
that will be deeply appreciated. I know many of my builder friends are perhaps less
skilled at drafting such a query, so I'm hoping your reply will permit me to set
things straight for them with an authoritative reply.

Thank you in advance. Mark Hammer Ottawa


And here is what they wrote back:

Dear Mr. Hammer,

On behalf of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), we thank you for
your e-mail dated March 24, 2009 in which you enquired about traveling with special
effects units ("pedals") for electric guitars and other similar musical instruments.

CATSA plays an integral role in the Government of Canada's air security initiative.
Our mission is to protect the public by securing critical elements of the air
transportation system, including the screening of passengers and their belongings
from Canadian airports. Our mandate is to deliver a consistent, effective and
highly professional service that is set at or above the standards established by
federal regulations.

When traveling from a Canadian airport, permitted and non-permitted items are
regulated by Transport Canada and are enforced by pre-board screening officers.
According to Transport Canada regulations, electronic devices such special effects
unit for guitars are permitted in carry-on or checked baggage. As with all items in
your possession, all electronic devices must be screened when going through
security.

In order to facilitate your passage at the pre-board screening checkpoint with such
items, we suggest the following options:

1. Sending said items by courier service is obviously the best way to avoid problems
at security checkpoints.

2. Another option is to place it in checked baggage. Ensure that the item is not
cluttered together as much as possible (i.e., remove batteries - if batteries are
lithium then they are not permitted in checked baggage- external cords and wires,
etc. and place them in distinctly different parts of the bag), and do not place
organics in the bag such as peanut butter, rubber, fruitcakes, etc.

3. If you do wish to carry these items in your carry-on baggage, declare them to a
screening officer before they go through the X-ray machine, remove them from the bag
and place them in the trays provided for screening, on their own.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,

Client Satisfaction / Satisfaction des clients
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) /
Administration canadienne de la sûreté du transport aérien (ACSTA)
Toll free 1-888-294-2202 (8:30-17:00 ET)
Facsimile / télécopieur: 613-949-2725
www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca <http://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/>
 

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I sent a note to CATSA several year ago, and inquired about that very topic. In particular, I was eager to find out what potential there was for DIY pedals to elicit alarm bells. Their response (which may have been predicated on different notewrthy events, and different technology available at the time) on the matter was reasonable, and emphasized that the least problematic approach was to simply ship the pedals ahead of time. If not, simply declare that the item is there.

I could post their verbatim response, but the free wi-fi at the hotel we're staying at in Glasgow seems to be blocking my use of the search function in the forum where I originally posted the note-exchange. I'll see if the next place we stay at lets me do it.
Are you touring my homeland? I'll be down in Devon/Cornwall in a couple of weeks.
 

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I once brought a Roland guitar synth (big one with expression pedal) along with a Strat with the neck off in a carry on duffle bag, stuffed with a week's worth of clothes, they intently looked at it through the x-ray but thank F I didn't have to take it out.

Another time I had a Microkorg synth and some pedals, I had to take out the synth but no swabbing or anything.

Both of those were in/out to USA a few years ago, the tightest security I found was recently coming through Amsterdam - they swabbed and picked apart a bunch of gifts I had purchased (and were most interested in a candle, of all things).
 
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