What's the problem?
You can be lucky and transport your LED light & Fire props by plane without any problem. But sometimes (and it is more often than we would like), you can run into troubles, and in worst cases, you can have your equipment confiscated!
TSA Agents (Transportation Security Administration) usually don't know much about the flow props. They look at it with suspicion, especially when it comes to large/long props like staff or unusual shapes like buugeng. Many suitcases suitable for transporting these props look like gun cases or even are ones(gun cases are perfect for buugeng). The guards' biggest concern is the batteries in the LED props and in the case of fire equipment the smell of the fuel combined with the dirty look of fire props.
Is it a problem to transport flow props by plane alone, or do other transports have the issue as well?
Usually, it is trouble only on plane transport, as the security measures are the most strict. You should be able to use other transport methods (bus, train, public transport, etc.) without the problems.
How to travel by plane with the LED Light props?
You want to fly to the special Gig, fantastic festival, or just to hit the road, you have your Flight tickets ready, and now it's time to pack your LED Poi, Fans, Buugeng, Staff, Hoops,...
And how to do it to travel with these props safely around the globe? Is it even possible?
The short answer is YES. It's possible to travel with all this equipment and without an issue! All you need is to prepare yourself and your flow props for any security check.
Let's go through the tips:
From easy & basic ones to the technical details that should convince any security agent!
Be polite, communicative and friendly. In most cases, you can show at the airport to the security personnel your flow skills, make them happy, and they will let you go.
2. Have the note ready
If you don't have your equipment at your hand (when you have it in checked luggage), we advise you to print out a note like this and add it to the device:
"In this luggage, you can find professional artistic LED-light props and tools. Some of these items contain batteries, which are integrated and non-removable. I hereby declare they are within approved Watt-hour limits. In case of any question, please contact me at XXX XXX XXX."
3. Arm yourself with the facts
This section is a bit more technical. But full of handy info helping you to understand what is the issue to travel with LED props. The security has trouble with the batteries. We have already experienced that even airport personnel do not know the limits and regulations regarding electric equipment and batteries. The problem is with Li-ion batteries and the fact that they could, in rare cases, start a fire. These batteries are in all your tech - not only in LED props but also in cell phones, laptops, etc. And the regulation states clearly, that you should remove all removable batteries from the prop (if possible) and carry them protected with yourself. In case the batteries are hard built-in from the manufacturer (like Lighttoys), it is OK to travel with it (same as a laptop). And the limit of power is that it should be below 100 Watt-hour. In reality, no LED prop has a battery with bigger power than a laptop. For example, even the strongest Lighttoys prop LED cube has only 42 Watt-hour. With this info and numbers, you know you are allowed to travel. We had the experience that the flight personnel didn't know all this, and we needed to persist and persuade them. Then another agent came and confirmed we are right.
4. Nothing works, and they asked you to trash your precious LED gear?
It shouldn't happen if you follow all the info and steps above. We have never been in this situation (and we have over 100 flights with the LED props in big numbers among our experiences). But we've sorry to hear some crazy and unfair stories about security personnel refusing to let the LED gear on board. What to do in this unfortunate situation? You need to stay positive and improvise. You can try to go back to check-in and try luck with a different security person. You can also go to the airport's information center and call other security personnel or somebody from the airport management to look at your case. You should be allowed to travel with your gear - don't give up! We believe that with proper communication, you can solve this issue.