Small Kitchen Appliances & the TSA
December 1, 2012 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Can I bring a toaster oven through airport security?

Long story short, I want to bring a toaster oven through airport security. The TSA's list of prohibited items does not go into detail about small kitchen appliances, as far as I can tell.

This is for domestic travel within the United States. The airport I am departing from is a small one, with generally friendly and relaxed TSA staff. (Relatively, at least.)

I will not be placing the toaster oven inside checked luggage, because I refuse to pay for checked luggage. I will not be dismayed in the slightest if the toaster oven is confiscated at the security checkpoint.

Has anyone had any experience bringing a toaster oven, or a similar object, through airport security? Thanks!
posted by SpringAquifer to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Well...this is a new one. However, as long as it's within the dimensions of your allowed carry-on, I think they would let it through.
posted by amycup at 8:56 PM on December 1, 2012

Response by poster: I should also note that I have seen the thread on FlyerTalk titled "could i bring a toaster through security into the skyclub". User el_jefe expresses his doubts in post #47. The other posts in that thread do not answer my question.
posted by SpringAquifer at 9:08 PM on December 1, 2012

I guess since you don't want to pay to check luggage you wouldn't want to UPS/FedEx it to yourself either - although that would likely be the easiest option.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:10 PM on December 1, 2012

At this time of year, you'd probably have better odds if it was in its original box and you gift-wrapped it.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:16 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I brought a waffle iron through in my carry on a few years ago... They definitely opened my bag to take a look at it, but they let it through. Fewer exposed elements involved in a waffle iron, though...
posted by brainmouse at 9:16 PM on December 1, 2012

I thought you weren't allowed to giftwrap items going through security?
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:43 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

You're not supposed to but many people do anyway. And unless they're particularly suspicious or bitchy, they don't usually mess up the wrapping.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:49 PM on December 1, 2012

I brought an electric hand blender in my checked luggage a couple years ago. I was pulled out of line and TSA guy was delighted to find out such a thing existed. You might be (un)lucky like that!
posted by rtha at 10:16 PM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Subject always to the caveat that TSA agents can do pretty much whatever the hell they want with no accountability, I think you'll be fine. It'll look funny in the X-ray, they'll inspect it, and they'll shrug and let you through.
posted by bac at 10:28 PM on December 1, 2012

You can see the carry one size limits for many airlines here; the narrow third dimension is going to be tough to squeeze under (I don't think I've ever seen a toaster oven that short).

jenfullmoon writes "I thought you weren't allowed to giftwrap items going through security?"

Gift wrap it so it can be opened. Easiest way to do this with standard small appliance boxes it to just spray glue the wrapping paper to the outside of the box. When you are doing this have one set of flaps open, wrap the paper around them and then just tape them shut.

Please post an up date after your trip
posted by Mitheral at 10:59 PM on December 1, 2012

Best answer: So, um, my "friend" works for TSA. This "friend" said I should register an account for him/her so he/she could answer your question.

My "friend" is a TSO (Transportation Security Officer- the official title of the majority of screeners that you will see at an airport) at a Category X airport. This is the busiest category of airport.

One quick point: TSA employees don't work for the airlines; they work for TSA. So they don't care about the size of what you bring, as long as it can fit through the X-ray. After it is through the checkpoint, it is between you and the airline. (Sure, a few might try to warn you, out of kindness or disbelief.)

That being said, my "friend" said that you should only have minor trouble bringing a toaster oven through the checkpoint. Granted, with a smaller airport, the screeners/agents/TSOs will have screened a smaller quantity of, shall we say, exotic items. But they still have seen some weird shit.

My "friend" advises that you show up a half an hour earlier. This is not because my "friend" expects the toaster oven screening to take an extra half hour. My "friend" says that you will be more relaxed if you know you have plenty of time to deal with any snags. Plus people often underestimate the time it takes to park, check in, go through security, etc. So if you are less stressed, you will make the situation less stressed. This can be helpful if you encounter an overstressed agent. Put yourself in the agent's shoes and imagine what it is like to deal with passengers who
1. bring a 15 pound bag of rice in their carry-on,
2. claim there is no way the precious snowflake passenger could be a terrorist because she is 64!,
3. moan (in a sexually suggestive manner) as they are getting a pat down to make the agent uncomfortable
This can be stressful. According to my "friend," anyway.

Um, getting back to my "friend's" point. Take your toaster. Show up half an hour early. Wrap, don't wrap it- whatever. Ask the first agent you meet about it. If you are willing, smile. Volunteer your rambling story, or not.

posted by "friend" of a TSA Agent at 3:15 AM on December 2, 2012 [20 favorites]

Response by poster: Please thank your friend for me, "friend" of a TSA Agent. And, yes, I will report back later this month, Mitheral.
posted by SpringAquifer at 8:36 AM on December 2, 2012

Sounds like you have your answer, but let me add one more anecdote in its favor: I have carried enormous kitchen appliances through a TSA checkpoint with no problems. I needed to get a KitchenAid mixer (one of the old, all-metal, 30-pound monsters) back from D.C., and wasn't confident in its ability to ride safely in the belly of the plane. So, I boxed it up, wrapped a couple of elastic straps around it, and took it as my carry-on. The guy at the X-ray machine raised an eyebrow at me, but it didn't get flagged as dangerous, and it rode happily under my seat for the trip back. Next to that, I can't imagine a toaster would give you any troubles.
posted by Mayor West at 6:26 AM on December 3, 2012

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