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Old 05-19-2004, 02:23 AM
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wren wren is offline
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Question Are paints allowed on planes?

I'm wondering of anyone knows whether there are any problems with security checkpoints in airports in regard to taking oil paints in tubes onto planes. I'm going to Europe this summer, and would like to take my oil paint tubes into the cabin with me. But I saw a workshop advertised last year (one in Vermont) where the instructor said painting supplies would not be allowed on the plane and had to be shipped to his address in advance - but he didn't specify that they needed to go by ground transport. That made no sense to me - if they're allowed to be *shipped* on a plane, why couldn't they at least be allowed to be checked in your luggage to go in the belly of the plane? And, for that matter, why couldn't they be taken right on board, assuming you had no medium, thinner, or other chemicals, no metal palette knife, etc. - only paints! I've been planning to pack them in my luggage, but now I'm wondering if I can't just walk right on board with them. Any ideas? - wren

Last edited by wren : 05-19-2004 at 02:26 AM.
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:57 AM
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Einion Einion is offline
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You certainly used to be able to do this but with the tightened regs now it's possible you wouldn't any more, although they represent no threat at all. Why not wrap them well in clothing inside your hold luggage to save any potential problems with an over-zealous security person? Just don't include turps or medium made using it and there shouldn't be any issues.

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Old 05-19-2004, 01:13 PM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Einion
You certainly used to be able to do this but with the tightened regs now it's possible you wouldn't any more, although they represent no threat at all. Why not wrap them well in clothing inside your hold luggage to save any potential problems with an over-zealous security person? Just don't include turps or medium made using it and there shouldn't be any issues.

Einion

Yes, in 2002, I took a big bag of acrylic paints onboard in the cabin to France, so I was surprised to hear an art instructor in Vermont say we wouldn't be able to even check them to Vermont. But what do you mean by "your hold luggage"? I'm not familiar with that term or procedure. What would happen to that luggage if they won't accept them? Would it just be held in that airport till I returned or what? As you can imagine, there's quite an investment in paints at stake. <g> -wren
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Old 05-19-2004, 04:49 PM
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Hi Wren, hold luggage = checked baggage. The 'hold' is the baggage compartment in American, sorta like boot/trunk I guess

I've flown to and from the US and UK with acrylics in my cabin bag also. The last couple of times travelling to the UK, with the increased security I presumed I would at least be asked about them but they didn't even bat an eyelid and on one of those trips I had three boxes of them!

I don't know about what that instructor said being correct, I know for a fact you can ship ammunition in modest quantities on international flights! And in the US when you travel with your firearms there's only one place they can go... so it strikes me as very unlikely that artists' paints are thought to represent any potential problem by those in charge of this sort of thing. But who knows, stranger things are true so maybe you should check with an airline and/or the airport.

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Old 05-19-2004, 05:00 PM
REDart REDart is offline
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

You should be able to have your paints with you or checked with your luggage. I have flown with oil paints since 9/11 to Europe and back without a problem. However, not with most mediums or terps/OMS. Call the airline ahead of time and ask about "artist paint" to be sure, and try to get a materials safety sheet from the manufacturer of the brand of paint you use, or another company. This will tell the airline security people the "flash" point (the temp it might ignite) of the paint, it is lower than they allow. (I think Gamblin has this info on their website) Also, if you have something that proves you are an artist with you, they may have less questions. I had no problem at all. I do know a pastel artist that had her bag carefully checked because the pastels looked like bullets through the x-ray machine. I personally would travel with paint, or anything but a book, checked as luggage for less hassle. Buy your terp/mineral spirits when you get there.

I hope this helps - I don't know about the teacher in VT, but I didn't have a problem, if you call the airline find out from someone who really knows and isn't reading of the general no paint list - art paints should be OK!
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:33 PM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Wren..last October I flew to Paris to paint in Monet's garden. I called my carrier (Northwest Airlines) and asked about oil paints...they looked at their list, um...no, it says no paints...so I explain they are NOT flammable nor are they combustible & I have a letter from Winsor & Newton explaining the flash point is safe for air travel. This person then checks with the people in baggage who DO know these things & they give the OK..so I ask them to place a notation on my reservations that I do in fact have permission to have them in my checked luggage.

I just didn't want to have them confiscated (and have to replace w/high prices in Europe) so I put them in a zip lock bag with a note on them saying
DO NOT CONFISCATE--see my reservation, I have permission with the W&N information attached. I then placed them in the middle of my toiletries which were in another 2 gallon zip lock bag to where they weren't actually visable & they went both ways without a hitch! Good luck! I felt it better to try to educate the airlines!! I bought turps there & tossed them after my painting sessions.
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:45 PM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by REDart
...and ask about "artist paint" to be sure, and try to get a materials safety sheet from the manufacturer of the brand of paint you use, or another company. This will tell the airline security people the "flash" point (the temp it might ignite) of the paint, it is lower than they allow. (I think Gamblin has this info on their website) Also, if you have something that proves you are an artist with you, they may have less questions.

Good ideas - all my paints are by one company, M. Graham, so it should be a piece o' cake to get an email from them vouching for their specs. And I can drag along some photos, I s'pose. Whatever - I'll do everything I can think of - there's quite an investment to protect. I'm even going to check in all my brushes to so that they don't have to think about whether they could be used as weapons with their little metal ferrules <G>. I wouldn't dream of packing anything but paints and brushes, a palette, etc. - no chemicals. I had a little bitty nailclipper taken away last time, by the way, not that long ago - so I've been a bit jumpy at the thought of some of this expensive art stuff being at risk. Thanks, everybody! Love this website...
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Old 05-19-2004, 10:56 PM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Wren I looked at M.Graham paints to take but I needed alkyds. Dianna Graham gave me information that the flash point of their paints, walnut oil & medium I believe was as much as paper....you shouldn't have a problem. Do pack all of your brushes in checked luggage too.
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Old 05-20-2004, 12:31 AM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Thanks for all the info, ArtBabe! My reservation is with Northwest too - although the carrier will be KLM. I just called awhile ago - wish I'd seen your post first - and was told "No paint means no paint." Didn't think to argue. I just let it go, and figured I'd get paperwork form M Graham to enclose in my luggage with the paints - but your idea about putting it right on the reservation sounds great. I'll do all you did. I just found an old WetCanvas article, Plein Air Painting in Europe, in which Phil Levine says he has seen a few students' paints confiscated on the way to France, http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/6365/175/ , so they had to buy all new paints there - but all these measures should prevent that. Thanks again, everybody! - wren
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Old 05-20-2004, 12:38 AM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

wren..call again, you'll probably get someone different & have them check with the baggage people....tell them they are fine art paints which aren't flammable or combustible.

just think of all the women who pack nail polish remover that IS flammable!!
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Old 05-20-2004, 01:19 AM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by artbabe21
wren..call again, you'll probably get someone different & have them check with the baggage people....tell them they are fine art paints which aren't flammable or combustible.

Yes, I thought I'd do that - but what I don't understand is why they'd take my word for it? - wren

Last edited by wren : 05-20-2004 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 05-20-2004, 01:46 AM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wren


Yes, I thought I'd do that - but what I don't understand is why they'd take my word for it? - wren

Get the information in writing from M.Graham (do you have time? if not an email?) and offer to send it or take it to them. But the people who work in baggage know things the people who process tickets do not know & they gave the OK to the ticket processors w/o seeing my paperwork.
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Old 05-20-2004, 06:43 AM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

On a recent flight I had about 25 tubes of oils in my carry on bag, I chose to place them there to avoid any leaks from pressure changes in the baggage hold. The screener checked the bag, fished out the ziplock and had some doubts about allowing them. He called for a supervisor who glanced at them and immediately gave the okay. I guess it's lack of familiarity on the part of the screener, they probably don't see too many travelling artists each day.
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Old 05-20-2004, 10:37 AM
Enchanted Enchanted is offline
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wren
I had a little bitty nailclipper taken away last time, by the way, not that long ago - so I've been a bit jumpy at the thought of some of this expensive art stuff being at risk. Thanks, everybody! Love this website.

My international traveling days were over long before 9/11, and I had some pretty strange experiences on various airlines and in various terminals. I carried a very small pen knife in my pocket in those days, and only one time did I have it taken away from me - and that was by the intra-country airline in Iran. The knife was taken by the "body search" person, given to the PILOT for safe keeping, and returned to me at the destination. Of course when I left my destination, I went through the same procedure. Oddly the pair of scissors I always carried in my shoulder bag - with much longer blades - wasn't taken.

Cameras are another "trouble maker" when traveling in some locales. The most trouble I was given over my camera was in Switzerland, of all places. Usually I could pass my camera around the X-ray machine and have it inspected by hand, but not in Switzerland where they were adamant about putting it through the X-ray machine - with the result that the film was indeed fogged when I had it developed. Fogging again occurred one time when I had a roll of film in my camera in Moscow. Not sure what caused the fogging that time since my camera wasn't X-rayed - but maybe my entire being was! Who knows!!

The worst trouble I almost got into with my camera was in Nigeria (Lagos) where I was threatened with arrest for letting people on the street see me taking photos of street scenes there. Usually I was extra-careful in those countries where taking photos of people without their consent is considered a violation.
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Old 05-05-2006, 09:13 PM
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Re: Are paints allowed on planes?

I know this is digging up an old thread - reading with interest because I'm coming up on a move to Japan. Does anyone know if the Japanese Gov has restrictions on traveling with oil paints?? Custom Issues??? Anything of that nature???

Thanks,
Tina
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