Air Travel With a Multi-tool A.k.a. F-U TSA


Introduction: Air Travel With a Multi-tool A.k.a. F-U TSA

As an engineer that has started to travel for work and needs to be prepared to fix and maintain prototypes on the road this how-to is about getting a useful multi-tool on the plane with you. I hand carry some of my prototypes so that if I am separated from my luggage I won't be completely hosed, and this is also why having a multi-tool on me is important. More of a tip than instructions, but useful none the less.

Step 1: Buy a Utilikey

A company called SwissTech makes a great multi-tool called the Utilikey. It has many of the useful functionality that you find on a leatherman or the like but it is in a much smaller form factor. It looks like a standard key at a glance but its about 1 cm longer. Mine was a gift from a coworker who originally came up with this idea. They generally go for under $10.

Step 2: Attach It

I put mine in the middle of my key ring to hide it as much as possible.

Step 3: The Proof

Just go through security as you would normally. It doesn't matter if they scan the key son the x-ray because it just looks like a bunch of keys, they see hundreds of key rings a day and take them for granted. The pics are from the bathroom of a trans-pacific flight.



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    75 Discussions

    I Take a CD, roll of electric tape and a bandana. Snap the CD in half, wrap the bandana around lower half, secure with tape. A formidable slashing cutting improvised weapon. And all TSA friendly items that can be assemble in seconds if defense is required.

    LOL! The ad accompanying this 'ible (at least for the moment, never noticed how often they change) is for an airline :-)

    1 reply

    I've purchased my last three Leatherman tools from the TSA on ebay, to replace the ones stolen from my checked baggage. This is how they pay for their Christmas parties. You have little or no recourse if they steal from your baggage, although I've stated leaving them notes- written in fourth-grade english- to put them on notice as they ransack my checked bags.

    3 replies

    airlines eat locks for breakfast, if you have a lock on your bag and its being checked, they will cut it off if you wont vouluntarily remove it

    No offense but you couldn't harm a fly with that 1/2 inch blade. Any half decent person could take you down. Best idea is to sneak a ceramic blade somewhere on you. They don't pull off metal detectors

    3 replies

    Sorry about that but it seems that your statement is wrong : according to one of the manufacturer of ceramic blades I met, these are designed to be trigger metal detectors (understandably he didn't tell me how, maybe they add some metallic particles in the ceramic, or the handle ?…)
    To my taste it is better like that : I don't see the point of sneaking something that could be used as a weapon in a plane these days …

    Remember, the intent here isn't to hurt anyone.  It's about the convenience of not having to put your multi-tool into checked luggage.

    Actually, ceramic blade makers put enough iron shavings into the clay to set off airport metal detectors. short of making one yourself, you'll be hard pressed to get passed security with one.

    Are you serious? While the Instructable is definitely useful and informative, I question it's appropriateness. The regulations on what can and cannot go on an airplane are put in place as safety measures, not as inconvenience. If safety is an inconvenience to you, then I recommend getting your own plane and and pilot's license, and not sacrificing the safety of the other passengers on commercial airlines.

    8 replies

    You call it safety? It's all an illusion of safety ;) I mean, if those in power did nothing after someone used something in a dubious manner - they'd be out of a job :p Even better, all you've done is let someone else steal away your security - enough to think it's safe... While you're throwing away your water bottle and taking your shoes off -- I'll show the TSA my box of potentially dubious screw drivers that are permitted as carry ons.... I'll also bring my less than 4 inch sharp metal pointy scissors, corkscrew, cigar cutter, aerosol can + my lighter, etc. Because, for your safety, these items are acceptable for carry on. Hell, with the tools I brought on board + my laptop battery... I'm sure I could recreate the fire explosion battery scenario dell/sony was dealing with awhile ago... As far as inconvenience goes.. Tell that to the TSA and look at the history of banned common lighters... They aren't banned anymore because it was an inconvenience to the TSA :p As I've said for a long time... If someone has truly made up their mind to cause damage - they're going to do it. AND, they're going to do it VIA legal channels, using the permitted items list.

    Also,it would be relatively easy to put a bomb in a laptop shell and smuggle it aboard.Just that shows how damage can easily and stealthily be done.

    Derin, They make you turn on your laptop. Also they x-ray it and, I assume, have some training in what a bomb looks like vs. what laptop innards look like.

    What if you pack the battery with c-4 and disconnect the terminals, then you tell them the battery is dead and you forgot to charge it. then you pull the wall charger out, plug it in, it works fine and they send you on your way? Then you just slip the battery into your pocket, casually walk into the bathroom, pull the smoke detector off and plug the leads into the C-4 and bye bye birdie!

     Except that the chemical sniffers that you have to pass through are calibrated for C-4 and just about any other noxious substance they can think of.