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So Much for Bringing Your Printer on Vacation

by Tom Moccia | November 11, 2010November 11, 2010 6:00 pm PST

In a totally shocking development, the TSA has banned ink and toner cartridges from passenger flights, both within the United States and internationally(not really shocking, but it sounded more exciting). This in the wake of two foiled bombing attempts by Al Qaeda late last month in which the bombs were encased in printer cartridges shipped from Somalia and Yemen. The Department of Homeland Security press release is below:


Toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces will be prohibited on passenger aircraft in both carry-on bags and checked bags on domestic and international flights in-bound to the United States. This ban will also apply to certain inbound international air cargo shipments as well. The Administration is also working closely with industry and our international partners to expedite the receipt of cargo manifests for international flights to the United States prior to departure in order to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence. We are also working with our international and private sector partners on the expansion of layered detections system including technology and other measures.

This statement seems kind of odd considering it specifically bans cartridges exceeding 16 ounces, yet does not limit the number of 12 ounce cartridges that can be transported legally. Most consumer grade cartridges weigh in at less than 16 ounces.

The Department of Homeland Security cites the fact that one of the packages cleared many security checkpoints including high tech scanners and bomb sniffing dogs. The saving grace in this incident was that investigators were able to identify the package and its origin point from provided tracking numbers, and if these measures did not uncover the specific packages in question they surely would have detonated.

Frankly, I don’t see this affecting many business or vacation travelers as most of us don’t travel with ink or toner cartridges, but it does go to the additional security measures that are continually implemented such as full body scans at some airports.

Do you think that this security measure will lead to additional bans? What types of this will the TSA have to ban from air travel to get you aggravated? let me know in the comments below.

Tom Moccia

Tom Moccia is a native of Stamford, Connecticut and moved his family west in 2000 and now calls Stockton, California home with his wife and two...