Model 01 and the TSA: extra scrutiny

I recently took a business trip to NYC and Amsterdam. It was long enough that I decided to take my Model 01 in the Keyboardio carrying case.

At both JFK on the way to Amsterdam and LAX on the return from Amsterdam transferring to a domestic flight I got pulled aside for additional screening including swabbing all my belongings and the full pat-down because of the Model 01 in the case.

At LAX I even got to meet the TSA Explosives Expert on duty. Apparently the circuit boards, wires, and wood case combination really freaks the TSA screeners out. The wood appears as “organic material” and next to the electronics it looks suspicious.

Just a heads up for anyone that wants to travel with their keyboard, you might freak out some TSA agents.


I have a little easel stand for my iPad that’s machined out of solid aluminum. It gets flagged for extra screening at 100% of European airports I’ve departed or connected through (LHR, FRA, PRG, AMS) and about 30% of the time at US airports. I’ve gotten into the habit of setting it aside so the screeners can see what it is (and maybe run it through the scanner again) without making me dig into my whole bag. Sometimes my camera bag gets extra scrutiny as well, so I put the camera bag and the easel stand into one bin for screening, and everything else into another bin so I can recompose everything else while the suspect items attract whatever attention.

So, I guess if I were traveling with a Model 01 I’d also put its carrying case into that bin apart from other objects.

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@fedward I didn’t separate it the first time, but did the second. I will also separate it from now on just in case it helps.

Huh. That’s fascinating. I’ve flown with Model 01s and much sketchier prototypes dozens of times and have -never- had an issue.

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About 3/4 times I’ve gone through TSA, my Model 01 has been flagged. Im going to start taking it out of any kind of case on its own tray and disconnect the ethernet between the two halves.

Weird, I’ve flown many times with my Model 01 too (mainly UK <-> USA) and rarely if ever had an issue.

Glad y’all haven’t had issues. Maybe I’m just shifty enough to draw attention. :joy: