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Travel with telescope and tripod in carry on luggage?

Travel with telescope and tripod in carry on luggage?

Old Nov 9, 19, 6:03 pm
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Travel with telescope and tripod in carry on luggage?

I have a small travel telescope with its own backpack that I'd like to carry on. Does anyone have experience with a telescope through carry-on security? It's only 2 feet long, but has extra lenses and prisms that might look odd going through a scanner.
Assuming TSA lets me through without a hassle, should I anticipate any problems international?
Thanks!
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Old Nov 10, 19, 2:16 am
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
I have a small travel telescope with its own backpack that I'd like to carry on. Does anyone have experience with a telescope through carry-on security? It's only 2 feet long, but has extra lenses and prisms that might look odd going through a scanner.
Assuming TSA lets me through without a hassle, should I anticipate any problems international?
Thanks!
Cameras don't bother security, why would a telescope? They're both basically a bunch of expensive and somewhat delicate optics.
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Old Nov 10, 19, 6:28 pm
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Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
Cameras don't bother security, why would a telescope? They're both basically a bunch of expensive and somewhat delicate optics.
True. I guess I was concerned about what it might look like to an Xray examiner as it passes through. But you're right. Worst they can do is look at my bag and I explain it,.
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Old Nov 10, 19, 10:18 pm
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You will be fine. I've flown numerous times recently with a large Celestron spotting scope (so not a telescope, strictly speaking, but very similar for all practical purposes) in my carry on luggage and never had an issue (no extra inspection, questions, or anything). They seem t o be comfortable with it (and I assume the scanners are able to read it fine).
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Old Nov 11, 19, 11:42 am
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A few months ago, my carry-on was pulled for extra inspection (ZRH-LHR, I think) - I had packed a monocular rather than my slightly bulkier binoculars. I pulled out the bits and pieces (electricals, cables etc). All was good when I took this out of its case and showed the function. I suspect they are unusual and therefore a little more likely to cause an alert and check. This was the only point I was pulled on an eight sector trip.
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Old Nov 16, 19, 2:26 pm
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
True. I guess I was concerned about what it might look like to an Xray examiner as it passes through. But you're right. Worst they can do is look at my bag and I explain it,.
Yeah, they likely won't recognize what they're looking at which will mean an eyeball inspection. So what?
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Old Dec 11, 19, 2:51 am
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Travel with carryon telescope?

Tripods will not go as carry-on and must be put in checked baggage. Generally you can take the tripod completely apart and put it in a hard suitcase with your clothing serving as padding. Checking a telescope as checked baggage is a good way to have nothing but shards of glass for your lens or mirror.
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Old Dec 11, 19, 10:19 am
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I've carried expensive custom optics through security without problems many times. Some of them attached to parts that are x-ray opaque, and others in a box with a ton of homemade-ish electronics, and never had problems. I flew internationally with the large box that was at the carry-on size limit and and full of optics and electronics they asked if they could see inside, but when I asked them for a screwdriver they decided to just swab it. The batteries (LiIon batteries at the carry-on energy limit) weren't installed, but were in my backpack. If you think it looks suspicious and you have pics of the inside, it may help to bring them. When I carry stuff like that I try to have photos and published papers describing the object (if there are any) to show if asked, but have never had issues.

Absolutely do not check expensive optics unless you've got a very special case and made arrangements with the airline. A colleague did make that mistake once and did indeed end up with shards at the other end.
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Old Dec 15, 19, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by chrisgeorge View Post
Tripods will not go as carry-on and must be put in checked baggage. Generally you can take the tripod completely apart and put it in a hard suitcase with your clothing serving as padding. Checking a telescope as checked baggage is a good way to have nothing but shards of glass for your lens or mirror.
I've travelled with a tripod in carryon multiple times, for domestic and international trips. I usually take it apart to help things fit overall, but it's never been questioned.
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Old Dec 15, 19, 11:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Pufnstuf View Post
I've travelled with a tripod in carryon multiple times, for domestic and international trips. I usually take it apart to help things fit overall, but it's never been questioned.
Mine is a compact scope with a small tripod. I just push the three legs in, and it fits with ease in a 20Ē rollerboard. I canít imagine why that would cause an issue with TSA.
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Old Dec 16, 19, 7:05 am
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Originally Posted by Pufnstuf View Post
I've travelled with a tripod in carryon multiple times, for domestic and international trips. I usually take it apart to help things fit overall, but it's never been questioned.
Same here. I have a small Manfrotto tripod that fits into my rolling carry-on and it's never been questioned.

I don't suspect a telescope will be an issue. I've gone through airport security in several countries with a large rifle scope in my carry-on without a problem.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 7:23 pm
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I haven't flown with scopes but I've flown with other scientific equipment including a couple of small satellites (yes, actual satellites). TSA swapped the electrostatic bags, otherwise didn't really bat an eye. Items were in Pelican cases every time, with NASA stickers, though not sure that impacted anything.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 9:56 pm
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I have flown with ITAR-controlled infrared scopes/telescopes and been allowed by TSA to fly with them and tripods. I have seen TSA make more of an issue with goggles packaged with video games than I’ve seen happen with scopes of various sorts. It’s ordinarily not a problem.
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Old Jan 16, 20, 7:34 pm
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I was the OP here, and I had no issues at all. Scope and tripod went through fine. But if you google it, you'll see a lot of different opinions and experiences with getting tripods through TSA. Apparently it's not a given
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Old Jan 20, 20, 12:16 am
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Originally Posted by cheaptom View Post
I was the OP here, and I had no issues at all. Scope and tripod went through fine. But if you google it, you'll see a lot of different opinions and experiences with getting tripods through TSA. Apparently it's not a given
Folded-up tripods resemble clubs. I'm not surprised at trouble.
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