It can be hard to leave some items behind when you travel. For all the stoners out there, that item is a bong.
But where do the TSA stand when it comes to bringing a bong on a plane?
Will you get into trouble? Are there any precautions you should take? Do the rules change when flying internationally?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 Carry on Bag
- 2 Checked Bags
- 3 The TSA isn’t that Concerned With Weed
- 4 What to Do if a TSA Agent Asks What Your Bong Is
- 5 Bringing a Bong on International Flights
- 6 How to Pack a Bong for Flying
- 7 Do You Really Need to Bring Your Bong?
- 8 What About a Grinder, Dab Pen and Other Paraphernalia?
Carry on Bag
If you want to pack your bong in your carry on, it is definitely doable, though your bong should either be brand new, which is the best case scenario, or cleaned so well that is effectively brand new.
This is because weed is illegal on a federal level, which makes it illegal to bring weed on a plane, including weed resin stuck in the nooks and crannies of your bong.
If you pack your bong in your checked bag, it is more likely that your flying experience will go smoothly.
A bong would in your checked bag would be even less of a concern and unlikely to tip off any TSA agents, especially as it just looks like glassware to an airport scanner.
Again, make sure the bong you want to bring is either brand new or cleaned so well that it is as good as new.
The TSA isn’t that Concerned With Weed
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.
Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
In other words, the TSA do not actively search for weed, as they are far more concerned with passengers trying to smuggle anything that would pose a direct threat to aviation security.
But a TSA agent has the duty to report you if they find even weed resin on your bong.
What to Do if a TSA Agent Asks What Your Bong Is
If a TSA agent asks you what you are traveling with, you should always reply that it’s a water pipe.
If your bong is brand new, or you’ve cleaned it so well that it effectively looks and smells brand new, the TSA agent will have no choice but to accept your answer.
Under no circumstances should you say you are traveling with a bong because the possession of drug paraphernalia is illegal.
Bringing a Bong on International Flights
If you have an international flight coming up, we recommend leaving your bong at home, even if it is brand new.
In some countries, it is perfectly legal to own a bong/water pipe, but customs is likely to give you a hard time about why you’re bringing something that looks like drug paraphernalia into the country.
It goes without saying that bringing a used bong on an international flight, even if you think you have cleaned it very well, is definitely a no-go.
How to Pack a Bong for Flying
When it comes to packing a bong for your next flight, there are three things you need to get right:
There is nothing more likely to tip off a TSA agent than your bong smelling of weed.
So make sure you thoroughly clean your bong, then do it again, and again, and again. Your bong really can’t be too clean.
If we’re talking about a glass bong, you need to take measures to protect it from breaking, whether you pack it in your carry on or checked bag.
This means lots of cushioning, through the use of bubble wrap and tape if packed in your checked bag, and a protective case if packed in your carry on.
Bringing a silicone instead of glass bong can be a good idea, too.
The loophole that allows bongs to be sold is that they can be considered water pipes instead of drug paraphernalia.
So, make sure that you don’t pack your bong in a bag that screams that it is drug paraphernalia, or have any items, including wear a T-shirt, that makes it look like you are a stoner
Do You Really Need to Bring Your Bong?
We’ll leave you with the question: do you really need to bring your bong?
If it’s brand new, then by all means, go ahead and pack it in your carry on because you won’t risk getting into any trouble when flying domestically.
If not, we say leave it at home.
No matter how good of a job you think you might have done cleaning your bong, some weed resin may have been left behind. And then there’s the smell to consider, too. The last thing you want to do is arouse any suspicion.
Some alternatives to bringing your bong include:
- Bringing/buying a (clean/new) bowl
- Shipping your (clean/new) bong to your destination
- Buying a new bong at your destination
- Bringing rolling papers instead
What About a Grinder, Dab Pen and Other Paraphernalia?
Bringing a grinder on a plane can be a little tricky if you also want to bring a bong because the two are clearly connected, which could suggest that you are trying to travel with drug paraphernalia, and not just an innocent water pipe.
A dab pen is fine to bring, just as long as it is empty and has no odor or anything else to suggest that it has been or will be used to vape an illegal substance. You can only pack an empty dab pen in your carry on, though.
The general rule is that if the item you want to bring can also be used for a legal purpose, and there is nothing to connect the items as drug paraphernalia, they will be fine to bring.
Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.
Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.
Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).