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Though this answer relates to an OfficeJet 8710 too big to fit in a carry-on, it does warn:

But more importantly, there was a bomb threat a few years ago that involved toner cartridges and thus the TSA has treated them in the past like potential bombs. While the ban is officially lifted, it just takes one zealous TSA officer to make a mess of your printer. Not advised.

What if my grandparents pack a smaller OfficeJet 3830 in a carry-on, without ink cartridges?

  1. They can happily remove the printer from their carry-on and place it on an Airport Security Tray. Is this necessary though? Is it sufficient simply to notify the airport screener that their carry-on contains an inkjet printer?

  2. Will they face any difficulties with airport screeners?

  • Could you just put it in Checked baggage? Just one comment - printers cost almost nothing in the US, if you're coming to the US. They are less than you'll spend on Starbucks en route you know :/ – Fattie Nov 15 '18 at 7:45
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    Generally, with ALL electronics, I now take the approach to simply inform the security officers about the stuff I carry and let them tell me whether I need to take it out. I have once been "told off" for not taking my ebook-reader out; the next time I left from that same airport I mentioned the reader and was told to leave it in the bag... – Sabine Nov 15 '18 at 8:07
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    What's with the downvotes? It's a perfectly legitimate question. – jpatokal Dec 8 '18 at 1:09
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+50

Surprisingly, the TSA must get asked this enough that they have entries on their "What Can I Bring?" FAQ page about them!

So, to answer your questions:

  1. You will need to remove your printer from your checked luggage into one of the security trays, yes. It's considered an oversized electronic device, and the TSA's entry on printers does mention the need for this. There's no need to remove the ink if you don't want to, as the TSA does claim that they allow you to bring them in your carry-on.

    (If you have TSA PreCheck, however, you may not need to remove the printer from your bag, as one of the benefits of PreCheck is that you don't need to remove large electronics. YMMV.)

  2. Maybe. It's explicitly allowed, but I can't imagine that people often carry-on printers with them, so you might raise a few eyebrows. Print out those pages and have them on your person, and get to the checkpoint a little earlier than usual. Generally, with the "weirder" items, they don't do more than swab for explosives, but it's up to officer discretion. If it's suspicious in the eyes of the officer, even after a further screening, the officer doesn't have to allow it still.

I'm sure though at most large airports, the TSA officers have seen far stranger things go through the checkpoint, so a printer might not be that odd. Now if you don't mind me, I'll be in the security line with my TSA-approved carry-on live lobster.

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