I'm not sure where this should be posted, but has anyone used the RS picnic kit, with the plastic corkscrew? It's supposed to be okay with the TSA, but I wonder if the utensils are strong enough for a three or four week trip. Any feedback? Yes, I know you can buy corkscrews in Europe, but we're taking at least three flights to get to our two RS tours, and it would be nice to have an acceptable corkscrew in our carry-on bags. Thanks for your help.
I can vouch for the durable knives, forks, and spoons, which I've carried loose in my day bag for years, since before the corkscrew and blue case became part of the set.
The RS picnic kit's forks, knives, and spoons are very thick and durable. They don't snap like the plastic utensils you can get at the supermarket, so we found them of great use all over France during our last trip.
I will say that the plastic corkscrew, while fully TSA-compliant, snapped during the first few turns... which, of course, was as soon as we tried to cork a bottle of wine while sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower, waiting for it to sparkle. Awww. But we shoved the cork into the wine bottle and drank it anyway. ;o)
Could have just been our corkscrew, but that was a disappointment. Luckily, the picnic kit was super cheap. Still, we had to get a "real" corkscrew, then leave it behind at the end of our trip (we don't check bags).
So, if I had to do it all over again, I'd still by the RS picnic kit, but I'd buy a full-blown metal corkscrew at my destination as opposed to relying on the plastic one in the kit. YMMV, as the kids these days say.
Corkscrews are fine with TSA. Just don't carry one with a foil knife included. We have a plastic handle cork screw - actual screw part is metal - and it also doubles as a bottle stopper. Carried it for years through TSA with no problems.
Having our kit was never a problem with TSA. It was a problem coming home from Europe and passing through Heathrow airport where they took my corkscrew. The next year when coming back through Paris (CGD), security confiscated my plastic serrated knives. That left me only with forks and spoons. Who knows what they would have taken next, so I decided to just buy a cheap corkscrew and plastic utensils in Europe and leave the kit at home. The kit was a nice idea but it just didn't work for us.
Chances are your hotel will have a corkscrew. There's a neat wine bottle opener that has two metal prongs that are flexible and not at all sharp. You insert the prongs on either side of the cork and coax it out of the bottle. Once you've got the hang of it, it works well. It's small, lightweight and I don't see how it could possibly be construed as a danger.
Thanks for your comments. Scott, you're right. We've never lost a corkscrew to TSA, but we did have one taken in Europe once. The security officials in Rome said I hadn't packed it right, but let me keep it. But then we lost it at the next stop, Amsterdam, I think. We've had a nail file confiscated in Paris, and olive wood cutting boards confiscated in Florence!
Chani, I do have one of those wine openers with the two blades; they don't work well on extremely tight, non-cork corks, but I'll get it out and start practicing with it. And maybe pack a cheap corkscrew, as well. We usually buy a corkscrew, knife, and a couple of forks when we hit Europe, but this time we're taking three separate flights, meaning three chances to have stuff disallowed.
Thanks again, all. I will take a look at the picnic kit, if only for the good plactic cutlery.
Jane, I would not stress about it in Europe. I used to take one with me (yes, I check luggage) but dropped it from my packing list as part of a "lightening up" plan. I was staying in a tiny hotel in Cordoba and on the spur of the moment bought a bottle at the corner grocery store. I explained in sign language what I needed and the hotel owner pulled a corkscrew out of his desk. I can't imagine being somewhere in Europe and being more than a few meters from one. If your hotel serves breakfast, they'll probably have one.
I took the RS picnic kit and the corkscrew was confiscated in Amsterdam :-[
On previous trips, the corkscrew went through just fine. I guess it depends on the airport/agent on duty.
Hi All - I cannot speak for the RS picnic kit. However, I am a constant international business traveler (100+ days a year). I NEVER check my luggage. I ALWAYS take a small corkscrew/bottle opener with me in my carryon. After a number of run-ins with various airport security personal, I have discovered the perfect corkscrew. It is ALL PLASTIC and works well.....and costs almost nothing. its called the Waiters Friends Model 12 THIRST AID. I confess I don't remember exactly where I got it, but have seen it around in the UK and the USA.
As for a picnic set containing Knife/Fork/Spoon, after years of "camping" utensils and plastic disposable sporks, I discovered the new generation of All-In-One travel SPORKS. Made of really tough new-age plastic, it is a combination-but-fully functioning spoon, fork and serated knife edge. It actually works quite well. I've seen them for under $2 and weight 1/3rd of an ounce.
In summary, for occasional hotel-room or roadside dining, for under $4 and 1.5 ounces total, these have served me well for years. Sorry, Steve! I like you stuff but in this case I found a better solution.
Zoe. I think you're right: it depends on the agent you happen to encounter. (Someday I'll relate the tale of losing all our San Gimignano olivewood cutting boards at the Florence airport.) kweaver: that corkscrew looks great. I think I'll pick up a cheapie here, and keep an eye out for that one as well. Thanks, all.
Another thought: it also depends on what's going on in the world. We were flying Naples-London a day or two after the London Tube bombings (great timing!), and I wasn't allowed to carry my SLR camera and lenses on board. Luckily, I had a zippable tote bag with me, and they let me run from security back to the front of the check-in line to check that bag. I also got a stern lecture in San Antonio from a very nervous and upset TSA agent, because I had a jar of face cream. I had never thought about it being a "gel", but something was obviously going on that day. All the staff members were antsy. And testy.
I carry the Boomerang corkscrews. Story goes, American flight attendants started buying these for their own use while at work because they were way superior to the ones supplied by the airlines after 9/11. They are as study as any I've ever handled, and I've handled a few ;-) They have an intergrated cap cutter, but no (dull) blade, so TSA-friendly. NOT European security-friendly, so it will need to be checked for the flight home.
We own them in Formal Black, Bright Red, Screaming Yellow...those colors are for traveling, because they are hard to miss when packing! They come in every color under the sun. Be sure and buy a Boomerang brand, and not a lookalike - they aren't the same quality.
At a maximum of $10 each, if you don't check a bag and it's confiscated, it's not a major disaster. A major annoyance, but you won't miss your next mortgage payment.
Just be aware - TSA (and other countries' security personnel) can be capricious (sigh). They have been known to confiscate plastic utensils (including Sporks), and everything else that is listed on their websites as allowable, so just be prepared for unexpected behavior. Take a deep breath...and let it go. Focus on how much lighter your luggage now is ;-) Chances are, though, you will sail through security just fine.
Have a great time on your tours!
I've done some research on the Waiters Friend that kweaver mentions. Its from England. The company requires a minimum order of two hundred-fifty at three hundred seventy-seven pounds. If logos are to be applied, since this is a promotional product, the set up cost is twenty pounds. Shall we all get together and buy a shipment?
Kweaver, you're lucky to have one.
Thanks for the tip, Eileen. The only thing I've ever resented losing was the cutting boards (bought for gifts). I have also had a nail file confiscated at Paris CGD. And at that same time the security agent called in another agent to discuss my tiny manicure scissors - which they also kept. You never know... But it's all okay.
One thing worth repeating that was implied above, while corkscrews (and other items) are fine with TSA, Europe does have it's own list of items, and that is likely where you will go astray. In Europe the language is "any sharp item that might be used as a weapon" and then specifically mentions corkscrews.
That said, I do have one of the corkscrews that kweaver mentioned, I picked it up from a hotel room in Japan some 6 years ago, love it, very strong, it does have a bit of metal, the edge of the bottle opener. I keep it in a small pocket of my carry on permanently, in many trips in the US, Mexico, and Europe, it has never been questioned, or even examined. I do usually check my bag coming back from Europe, so that does reduce the chances, but the thing must be practically invisible through screening.
I have taken this one with me as part of my "repair kit" a couple of times. While it was not challenged, I have read that you cannot take a corkscrew through security in Euro Zone countries (while I did read that, I will not attest to the accuracy of that statement.) So I not longer take it with me on international flights. The little corkscrew works very well and I take it with me when flying domestically now.
I haven't used the RS utensils, but I take a sturdy plastic knife and fork to use for airplane meals instead of the flimsy ones provided, which often break.
I have also used the boomerang corkscrew and had great luck with it (although now it's probably in a dumpster in the Netherlands). Oddly I was allowed to connect through AMS with it, but the return trip they took it. The security guy mentioned stabbing someone with it - not that it matters but I would have had more luck with a pen, high heel shoe, plastic fork etc... I have since replaced the boomerang and it's the corkscrew I use at home. You could also do the hotel desk thing, I like to have wine when I picnic (like by the Eifel Tower at night) so it's nice to have one for 'emergencies.' I also like to pack a silicone wine cork for leftovers.
I made it through 4 or 5 flights from the US through Europe with a metal corkscrew wine opener in my carry-on luggage but the Barcelona Airport caught it and told me they were throwing it out. I think it probably varies from airport to airport. You're much better off with plastic than metal of course. If it does get taken away, don't be afraid to ask a local if they can open a bottle for you. Offer them a glass and it might be a good way to break the ice.
Hi, everyone; we're back. As it turned out, almost all the wine we bought in Europe came in screw-cap bottles, so although we had to surrender our corkscrew in Barcelona, it wasn't a problem. Until we got to Rome.... There, the wine vendor offered to partially open the cork for us. But when we tried to finish removing it in the hotel room, the cork broke! Well, we took it down to the desk, where the clerk cheerfully pulled the cork for us. Not only that, he showed up a few minutes later at our room with some nice wine glasses! And didn't even ask for his share of wine. So all is well.
Told ya :-) I think they learn to deal with wine corks in kindergarten.
Interestingly, although TSA OK'd, I have had two taken by security personnel, one in Chile, a country with a huge wine industry and last week in South Africa, another big wine producing nation. Never a problem in any of the other 25 or so country's in which I have traveled since 2001 and never on any U.S. or flight from the U.S. Go figure!