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I am flying out of the US (to a European destination) and I need to take four (4) mechanical keyboards (computer keyboards) to a destination with me.

Each of the mechanical keyboards has the size of a typical desktop keyboard but being mechanical they weigh a bit more than two pounds (a kilogram) each.

I intend to place them in my backpack which I will take into the cabin as my carry-on luggage. The reason is they are somewhat pricey (and brand new) and I would like to avoid having them being thrown around with the rest of the hold luggage.

Do you foresee me having any problems during baggage screening at the US airport ?

My only concern is that the TSA agents might find it odd that someone is travelling with so many keyboards, given also that they are rather unusual, i.e. heavy (compared to the vanilla keyboards the TSA might be more accustomed to seeing). Due to the mechanical switches they employ I also have no idea whether they appear "scary" under X-rays. I am worried that in the worst case scenario they might ask me to discard them (under some unknown rule, e.g. weird type of electronic equipment).

Should I be worried and is there anything I can do to make this as uneventful as possible ?

  • Have a good, proven reason to do it. Bring a printout of a mail where you promised someone a cool new keyboard as a present or whatever. Having four of them can lead to the idea you are going to sell them, which can lead to problems with customs, not "just" TSA. – skymningen May 11 '17 at 6:51
  • @skymningen Good point. But, just to be clear on this, customs allowances (as far as the US is concerned) are only applicable for inbound international flights, right? The don't apply to outbound ones. I understand I have to be within the customs allowance upon arrival at my destination but my question is specifically about the US departure airport. – Marcus Junius Brutus May 13 '17 at 1:28
  • US airport don't have routine customs inspection as you depart. See whether this answers your question Also, I'd suggest that you might want to have the a product spec sheets, just in case you asked, as you go through security. If the does answer it, we can close this as a dupe. – Giorgio May 13 '17 at 23:54
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Do you foresee me having any problems during baggage screening at the US airport ? Should I be worried and is there anything I can do to make this as uneventful as possible ?

I don't foresee you having any problems whatsoever. TSA agents are not completely stupid although a few incidents makes one wonder. They know what keyboards are and are extremely unlikely to construe those as weapons. Very very unlikely worst case scenario, they ask you to check them. TSA has literally seen it all. Like someone wrote you might want to have the a product spec sheets, just in case you asked, as you go through security.

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I do not fly with four keyboards but I always have one. And it's a split keyboard (which I actually use vertically) so it looks really weird to boot. What happens at security? I'd say about 3 in 4 cases no one gives a hoot, 1 in 4 cases they remove it from the bag to ask what the ... is that? And I tell them, it's a split keyboard. And that I work remotely, I am away for extended period of time, I need a good keyboard. This typically takes less than a minute and then they swab it and off we go.

So yeah, be ready with an explanation and you are good to go. Security is not customs or immigration to care whether you can import these things or whether you are allowed to work at the other end. It's not a weapon, it's not an explosive, everything is fine.

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