Can You Bring Magnets On a Plane?After more than two years of pandemic-enforced idleness, the world has eagerly taken to air travel once again. Tourism around the world is up and rising each month. Destinations that rely on revenue generated by tourist dollars are finally recovering.That’s good for economies right around the globe, and air travellers are thrilled to finally being able to get moving again.Because there are so many rules and regulations surrounding air travel, it’s easy to overlook something that might seem minor but, in fact, could cause flight delays or even cancellations. We’re talking about magnets.That’s right, magnets. Some magnets are harmless, like the souvenir fridge magnet you might purchase while on holiday or those found in certain children’s toys. But stronger magnets can cause havoc on planes, depending on how powerful they are. No one wants to be the person causing delays at the security check-in gate because of inadvertently carrying a magnet that’s not allowed.That’s why, in this article, we explain the regulations in place governing which magnets are allowed on planes. Whether you realize it or not, bringing a magnet that’s too strong onto your flight can damage everything from GPS navigational equipment to the data stored on another passenger’s laptop. No one wants to be responsible for that, right? so which magnets are perfectly safe during air travel and which ones should be left at home or transported in another manner?Before we examine which types of magnets qualify as safe, let’s examine why this is so potentially dangerous.
What Risks Do Magnets Pose To Planes?
We live in a highly technical world – laptops, cellular phones, computerized navigational tools – and magnets pose a serious risk to all of them. For example: if you take a small but powerful magnet in your luggage, it has the capability of interfering with the directions set by the global positioning system (GPS) installed in the cockpit of your plane. That, of course, has the potential to throw the pilot’s readings off-kilter, though experts say it’s not likely to cause a disaster.Even weaker magnets can be problematic – not to the plane, necessarily, but to the other folks flying on it. If a magnet exceeds a certain threshold, it might interfere with the software and/or hardware of other passengers’ computers and phones. (Below are the calculations you need to know when deciding which magnets pose a risk on your impending flight).
Types Of Magnets That Are Safe
1- Most Souvenir & Fridge Magnets Are Safe
How many of those delightful fridge magnets have you purchased while on holiday? The ones with, for example, a picture of the Empire State Building and the famous slogan, “I Love New York?” Lots of them, right? You’ll be relieved to know that these popular souvenirs are safe to take on airplanes. Souvenir magnets have the two key qualities of any magnet permitted on planes: they’re small, and they’re not strong.
2- Magnetic Toys Are Safe
There are plenty of toys that have magnetic materials in them, such as building blocks that adhere when your child is building a magic tower, for example. These are safe, and you needn’t be concerned that they will interfere with either the plane’s operational equipment or the hardware and software in laptops.
3- Other Items Often Carried On Planes That Contain Magnets
You may not realize it, but lots of items you may carry aboard a plane have magnets or magnetic material contained within them. For example, smartphones, headphones, laptops, jewellery, DVD players and calculators all have magnets of some sort in them. What’s important to note is that the strength level of the magnets in these goods is low enough that no harm is done to the aircraft’s navigational equipment.All planes, whether it’s a small Cessna or a large commercial jet, have a compass of one sort or another on board. How do you know if the magnetic material you’re carrying can interfere with it and other equipment like sensors?
How Strong Is Too Strong?
A magnet’s strength is measured in milligauss, which is the correct physics term for measuring the magnet’s pull. Airlines use milligauss meters to gauge the magnet’s strength when personnel decide whether an item is safe for shipping by air. It’s always best to get the facts before you head to the airport, so if you are unsure about a magnetic object’s safety, call or go online before heading out.If the magnetic field in a particular item is stronger than 5.25 milligauss at a distance of 15 feet, it cannot be transported by plane. But how are you to know just how strong is too strong and whether the magnetized chess game you bought as a birthday gift for your son can be carried in your luggage?It’s always best to consult the experts, which in this case is the International Air Transport Association. This organization sets global standards for safety in all flight areas. You can reach it at IATA.Another government body that can help is the US Department of Transportation. You can reach it at DOT. And the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) can also help with information. You can reach this department at TSA.If the magnetic materials in any merchandise are simply too strong and therefore unsafe to transport by air – even in a wooden crate or steel-lined box – it has to go by long haul transport, meaning by rail or by truck.
Do Magnets Set Off Airport Metal Detectors?
According to transportation officials, most magnets aren’t strong enough to set off a metal detector when you’re going through security. For example: let’s say the necklace you’re wearing has a magnetic closure. Because it’s just powerful enough to keep the necklace securely fastened by not strong enough to exceed the meter reading, it won’t be flagged by security agents. Still, it’s wise to undo it and place it in the tray so agents can examine it, then return it once you’ve been scanned.
Magnetized Products You May Not Have Considered
Here’s something we bet you may not have thought of prior to booking your flight: will the magnetic eyelashes you wear to be allowed? Do you wear them every day, putting them on as part of your morning routine while getting ready to go to work? Have you become accustomed to wearing them because they are just so pretty and convenient?If so, you should know that they contain magnetic material that helps them adhere to your own lashes. But fear not! There probably isn’t enough strength in them to set off the metal detector when you go through security at your flight’s gate. It’s unlikely, but it is possible, according to the TSA; there is a slight chance this could happen. Therefore, it’s best to carry them with you in a case, so you can put them on the tray while going through security.Examples like this are why it’s so important that you check with officials, either by calling or by going on their websites and reading the regulations online. Knowing just which magnets are permissible and which ones might not ensure your next flight goes smoothly.
Should Magnets Go In Your Carry On Bags or Checked Luggage?
This is up to you, really, according to the TSA. As long as the item is allowed on the plane, how you carry it is your choice. That chess set we mentioned – the one with pieces that stick to the board with magnetized material – can be easily tucked into your checked luggage, safely stored between layers of clothes.
Whether you’re carrying a rare earth magnet (often used in hard disk drives and headphones) or a regular one (regular magnets are made of iron), you need to be sure it’s allowed on the plane. Minor things that we, as consumers, may not think of in advance can potentially cause real headaches for border security personnel.That’s why it is so crucial that you do a little research in advance to make certain that whatever magnetized items you’re taking on the flight – souvenir destination magnets, fridge magnets, etc. — aren’t a problem. It’s all about the strength of the magnet, not the size.Once you’ve checked the guidelines on a government website, you will be all set to fly hassle-free.The final decision of what magnets are and are not allowed on planes rests with airport personnel. If you want to send something overseas in a crate or box – toys for Christmas presents for a family member far away, perhaps? — staff in the cargo shipping department at the airport can give you all the information you require for sending it safely. But if you’re simply carrying some souvenir magnets home from a fabulous holiday to hand out as gifts, you’ll have no trouble taking them through security. Just remember to read the regulations!Knowing how to take magnet-containing products safely on planes (like your smartphone and laptop) means you can relax and enjoy your flight!
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