Flying with a dab rig? Here’s what you should know

By Emmett H.W. Nelson | April 14, 2017

Flying high in the friendly skies hasn’t been so simple as of late. Ever since a few fellows forged their names into the history books with poor navigation skills and questionable political affiliations, the airports within the United States have become inconvenient at best and the bane of all existence at their worst. The inherent stress of air travel is increased exponentially when considering the levels of indignation many face as they try to catch a flight that they’ve paid for in advance but has no doubt been oversold and carries zero guarantee of departing or arriving on-time, if ever.

Airports are misery incarnate; germ infested, claustrophobic dens of inefficiency devoid of any customer service or accountability. While being marred in a Gestapoesqe presence disguised as peacekeeping, generally the vibe killing nature of the Travel Security Administration (TSA) is only surpassed by their ability to offend even the most liberal defenders of homeland security.

This plight is of no concern to billionaires like our president who can afford to privately fly to any one of their many real estate holdings. Nobody is checking or cares about their baggage. For the rest of us in the economy class, whose aunt just died yesterday across the country or South of the border and need to get back in a hurry, it is the cause of unnecessary distress. Security checkpoints packed with disrobing bozos have the look and smell of locker rooms with extra handsy attendants rather than the gateway to a final destination.

There is nothing random about who is secondarily screened at the airport. The sexual harassment offered by TSA is reserved for those who have brown or black skin or a hard to pronounce last name or long unwashed hair or tattoos or flamboyant style or smell like patchouli or question authority—among many qualifiers. Fright and panic are used to ensure obedience while reason and respect never make an appearance.

Should you contest detainment you’ll be deemed a potential threat to national security. Penalties of being declared such are excessive crotch pats, grundle grabs and tongue-lashings from otherwise unemployable scoundrels. Circular reason and appeals to authority are often used to validate these unwarranted episodes of indecency. Any additional disapproval of these methods will summon gentlemen or gentlewomen who look to force obedience through the threat of revoking flight privileges or the promise to “make your life hell”.

By remaining calm in your actions and thoughtful with your words, the trace amount of explosive purportedly covering your clothes won’t prevent a timely boarding. Truthfully, it’s just something they’ll say to justify investigating your most sensitive areas.

To further complicate matters, traveling with cannabis is illegal. Silly as that may sound when bearing in mind that 28 states plus our Nation’s Capital have either legalized the devil’s lettuce or implemented medical lettuce programs— this is not an alternative fact. Aromatic flower may draw the ire of some totally stupid asshole in a blue shirt but hope is not lost. An overabundance of cannabis consumption methods and devices make bringing your favorite herbal intoxicants onto an airplane easier than ever.

First thing to know is that nobody is looking for your weed. The boys in blue don’t care. They’re only interested in gaslighting travelers into admitting they have affiliations or sympathies for ISIS. I sent my retired mother back to Florida with an ounce of worth of pre-rolls and she was compelled to remark upon arrival how smoothly her first experience traveling with marijuana went. With that being said, if the thought of flying with flower still induces an anxiety attack, it is fairly easy to slip a vape pen or edibles through in your carry-on luggage. Even to the most trained and discerning eyeball, through the lenses of x-ray they look just like their non-THC containing equivalents. Resist the urge to check your goodies as the agents behind the scenes have been know to have sticky fingers from time to time.

But what about the terpsucking dabheads who take glob after glob until their tears secrete tetrahydrocannabinol? Flying with concentrates throws a wrinkle into their travel plans. Dabs themselves are not hard to conceal. They are less pungent than raw cannabis flower and carry far less surface area making it easy to tuck them into the pages of your reading material or a zipped coat pocket. If you’re hell bent on pulling a fast one on the schmos with the latex gloves and camouflaging your moves, placing your gear in a clean, empty Carmex ™ jar fools them every time.

The tools of enlightenment needed to dab pose the greatest barrier between ripping facemelters with your cousins before burying a loved one. If finances align with ambition, purchasing an entire set-up upon arrival is the least troublesome way to liven up the funeral. For most it is not feasible buy a new rig, torch, nail, dabber, carb cap and any number of add-ons every time a business trip, wedding, bar mitzvah or graduation pops up and then figure out what to do with them when it’s time to go back home.

Right off the bat traveling with a blowtorch is a red flag. Even if it has been drained of all butane, sticklers that they, TSA will investigate and confiscate or burden you with a lecture lifted right off an irate middle-school vice-principal lambasting a group of teens he just caught boozed up at a school dance. That’s to say you’ll be forced to hear their point of view without any recourse or an opportunity to state a case at the conclusion of the verbal penetration. The assumption of hijacking by blowtorch is only absurd until it happens so entirely ruling out this safety precaution is counterintuitive though I presume they serve crème brûlée in first class from time to time. Safe passage with a torch isn’t unheard of but allot a bit more time in your logistical planning for security checks.

For the intrepid traveler consideration has been taken with the purchase of an electronic nail that rarely begs as much investigation as its combustible counterpart. Investment in such an item is advisable in the way TSA Pre-Check makes sense if you spend a lot of time racking up frequent flier miles or trying to pick up flight attendants and pilots from airport bars during their layovers. Test any hardware with the traveling rig to ensure compatibility prior to takeoff. Failure to do so may cause tremendous mental anguish should any components not operate at optimal levels.

The most fragile element of the traditional dab kit is the glass rig itself. We’ve all been victim to a best friend’s waggin’ tail waggin’ where is shouldn’t have been waggin’ or a clumsy colleague pulling a Brady Bunch on your favorite piece. To be lucky is to escape with only a chip on the shoulder or a broken neck. A totally compromised and demolished rig is a demoralizing sight. The echoed sound of shattering glass is burned into the psyche of most practiced potheads and immediately conjures a mental image of the most offensive incident involving fallen glass they’ve been observant to.

how to fly with a day rigPelican Case

Gold standard to the glassblower and collector alike, the Pelican Case ™ has been adopted by the cannabis community as its defender and presents a semi-custom option to keeping precious cargo safe from inherent vice. Sizes range from wallet to lunchbox all the way up to tool chest and have been designed for supreme protection. In the event of turbulence, items may shift or become dislodged.

As with anything of great importance keeping your case in eyesight at all times is the only way to safeguard against a disenfranchised union worker treating your payload like a sack of potatoes in the bowels of the airport. A sensibly sized (small) and cost-effective rig is practical for travel and can be placed inside a backpack while still in its case or carried directly on to the flight via the Pelican’s ™ durable handle. For added shock value consider attaching it to your wrist via handcuff.

A general rule of thumb in the dab game is, if you can’t afford to replace it you shouldn’t have it in the first place. Heed this and pack accordingly.

In a pinch, a straightened out paper clip, Holy Cross or a Cornicello substitutes for a dabber so this is the least imperative instrument required for a safe landing. Keeping in mind any metal object with a pointed edge is considered contraband, leaving the Happy Daddy Master Katana at home is a best bet. Flat edged or glass dabbers are mostly safe to travel with and are best kept in a toiletry bag to avoid inquest.

It’s always best to have a freshly cleaned rig in the event of inspection though not vital to the flight plan. While any number of agents may sanitize a rig for travel, the old standby method preferred in enlightened circles uses only isopropyl alcohol to remove residual concentrates from the inside of your glass. Simply fill said piece up with the alcohol and run it under a very hot faucet for a couple of minutes. The reclaim will sink to the bottom and easily pour out. Rinse out the rig with a continuous flow of hot water for an additional few minutes to remove any remaining alcohol. A spotless rig is a thing of beauty and will be a welcome sight after touching down.

Incurring the wrath of the Border Patrol Agent flunkies at the Travel Security Administration is a merit badge for the Weed Heads of America rolling joints at 35,000 feet in the lavatory when then the fasten seatbelt sign is not illuminated. They’re a resilient bunch that doesn’t succumb to pressure easily. If you tell them they can’t do something, they do it, and then post it to the Internet.

At this time, your portable electronic devices must be set to ‘airplane’ mode until an announcement is made upon arrival. We remind you that this is a non-smoking flight. Tampering with, disabling, or destroying the smoke detectors located in the lavatories is prohibited by law.

Safe travels.

Emmett H.W. Nelson

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