Traveling with a shinken

Discussion in 'Japanese Swords and Sword Arts' started by Ken Morgan, May 23, 2015.

  1. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    Ok boys and girls, finally after all these years of Training, my shinken, my Jo and myself wil be flying somewhere together, Canada to the US.
    What advice do you have for the packaging and general transportation of said weapons? I don't need to get to where I am going and find a bend in the blade!
     
  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't pack it in your carry on...


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  3. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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  4. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    If you have to travel with it then check it in. In a case that is locked and make sure you carry some extra insurance on it. Personally, I wouldn't do it. Then again I do not want to lose my shinken. However, people travel all the time checking in firearms. Contact the airline you will be using and get their process for handling this type of cargo.
     
  5. Blindside

    Blindside Senior Master

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    Checking in a firearm has specialized requirements, checking in a sword is just luggage. You don't need any special permission to stick a sword in your luggage, just pack it appropriately.
     
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  6. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Absolutely Blindside, I travel with knives all the time checked into my baggage. However, he is traveling with some thing a little different and costly than a $100 to $200 dollar knife so extra insurance, locked container, etc. would be very important. It is not like if it gets damaged it is easily replaceable. I mean, my nihongi shinken and why I wouldn't fly with it is that first it is irreplaceable and second it costs more than most cars. Not to mention if he brings it from Canada to the US in checked on baggage someone in the TSA might take a look at it just out of curiosity. These are all things to be considered and why contacting the airlines might not be a bad idea.

    Another idea is that when traveling and teaching seminars I some times have to ship items to a friend, student. Of course in this case placing extra insurance on it would be advisable as well.
     
  7. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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    I have less fear of breakage, and a greater fear of theft, truth be told.
    Yeah I was thinking of a locked gun case.
    How much was the insurance running you Brian?
     
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  8. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Check local laws. If you're traveling to the U.S., the TSA will cut your locks off.


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  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    As DD mentioned above the TSA will cut your locks off so when coming into the United States you will need TSA approved locks. Theft is and would be my concern as well. Whether from a TSA employee or a baggage handler, etc. As for insurance on knives, talibongs, ginuntings I never use any. However, these items are easily replaceable. My shinken is insured through my homeowners policy at this time. For extra insurance contact your insurance agent for your house, car, etc. They can probably get you a good rider on your current policy with a good rate or your current policy may cover it already. Just make sure you estimate your value at true replacement cost ie. cost of shinken, shipping, etc. and your should be fine. There may also be a replacement value with the airline baggage as well as with your credit card. It is worrisome but really there is probably nothing to worry about. In recent years my checked on baggage have been searched almost every time but nothing has been taken.

    Also tie the Sageo in a way so that you will know if it was tampered with. That way you can immediately clean it if someone opened it and touched the blade.
     
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  10. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    A gun case is fine. I think there are tons of swords going on airlines all the time, so it wouldn't be that unusual. The average person working TSA isn't going to know a quality sword from a wallhanger anyway. I'm guessing that it's much more likely that someone's Game of Thrones wallhanger would get stolen than a shinken. A GoT prop screams "collectible" and therefore a quick profit for thieves. A plain jane shinken looks like any other sword to the untrained eye. Anyone who is trained to know what to look for is a JSA practitioner or a collector themselves and not likely to steal something.

    Does anyone have any airline/sword horror stories?
     
  11. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    No sword horror stories but I know at least three people that lost all their baggage while traveling. Nothing like showing up for a vacation without your stuff. :(

    I do have a great knife story though in my carry on. ;)
     
  12. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Master of Arts

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    i havnt traveled with weapons in a long time but what we used to do was pack it in a box with some padding and have the flight attendant store it. it was a "large carry on" we would hand it to the flight attendant as we boarded and take it back as we got off the plane. but that was so long ago. there was no TSA and such back then and they didnt have x ray machines to see what was in the box. i would ask about large carry on packages. if they still do it, they may charge you for it but it would be worth it. i would never trust the TSA my wife had her pro grade camera stolen from the TSA on her way back from Thailand
     
  13. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Want to get a free colonoscopy every time you fly, for the rest of your life?
    Go ahead. Call the airline and tell them you'd like to put a weapon in your carry on.
     
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  14. hoshin1600

    hoshin1600 Master of Arts

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    im sure you would be put on the "no fly list" if you carried it on like we used to. but i am sure people travel with firearms every day and without the actual fire arms and only being a sword im sure there is a solution out there.
     
  15. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure. The solution is commercial shipping.
    You cannot carry tweezers onto an airplane. You sure as hell won't be allowed to carry a weapon.
    Traveling with firearms on a DOMESTIC flight requires that the gun and ammunition be separated, in locked, hard sided cases, with big stickers on them that say "STEAL ME" to anyone interested: Firearms and Ammunition Transportation Security Administration

    International travel will be much more difficult.
     
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  16. Hyoho

    Hyoho Black Belt

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    Ken, remember I had problems even taking wooden swords to Canada. The customs guy insisted I should have declared them as 'weapons'. Took a while to convince him that in Canada they are classed as training equipment. Since 9/11 things have changed. You cant get yourself into the USA let alone carry stuff. Shipping is best. Agricultural tools?
     
  17. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    I have flown all around the US with a number of swords stuffed into a Pelican hard sided case. Being oversized, they have to go through the oversized luggage check where they'll open it and inspect the contents. I use two keyed Masterlocks on mine, and have never had TSA cut them off as I make myself, and the key, available to them when I check in. I have a sign on the outside of the case that says "martial arts equipment, no firearms" but most of the airline folks don't bother to read it. Everyone that I've dealt with at various airports have been very helpful and accommodating when I explain possible issues due to my case having swords in it, but I've not been outside the US with them since before 9/11, so I can't help you there. I think I agree with Colin that shipping them ahead of time would probably be much less troublesome.

    So, where are you going?
     
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  18. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    pgsmith which airline have you used?
     
  19. Ken Morgan

    Ken Morgan Senior Master

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  20. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    Hey Brian,
    I usually use American as I am in their frequent flyer program. :)


    If you know someone that you can ship your stuff to that would probably be the easiest route, but I don't think you'll have too many problems if you check them as luggage. Always refer to them as martial arts equipment, and specify Japanese swords if asked to clarify. Good luck!
     

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