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Old 11-15-2003
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rwcat is on a distinguished road
Airline Security Take Equipment!

FYI: Last week, after 3 flights from USVI to North Carolina, I discovered that security had taken two 38 gram pressurized CO2 cylinders from my checked baggage. One was taken out of my SOSuspenders life vest/harness and as well as a separate spare bottle. The cylinder in my vest was unscrewed to prevent vest inflation. I have traveled with these in my checked baggage several times, and have never had these taken before...even when discovered during searches of my checked baggage (in my presence). I have been advised by flight attendants that these would be no problem.

So...beware! Apparently they are not ok to take. I guess I''ll have to get other gear?

Being a licensed USCG Master (having to submit to an FBI background check), I would think that professionals should be able to get some type of security approval to carry such equipment and even to possibly get through security checks a bit easier. Having to fly 1-way most of the time, I''m almost always checked and checked!!! Now that I was found carrying "illegal" stuff in my checked baggage, I can''t help but wonder if my name is now in the database for perpetual searches!!!

Any comments!!!

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Old 11-15-2003
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Airline Security Take Equipment!

Pressurized CO2 cylinders have always been restricted as far as I know. Even small ones used to inflate PDF''s and BC''s could also be screwed into a homemade gun and shoot a projectile with compressed air. I looked on Alaska Airlines website and found it in the list of prohibited items and I heard someones story about trying to buy a liferaft in England and having a problem with getting it on the plane.


What items are restricted from being in my baggage?

Many common items used everyday in the home or workplace may seem harmless; however, when transported by air, they can be very dangerous. In flight, variations in temperature and pressure can cause items to leak, generate toxic fumes or start a fire.

Items that may not be packed in your carry-on or checked baggage include:

Explosives: Fireworks, gunpowder, signal flares, sparklers or other explosives
Flammable Liquids or Solids: Fuel, paints, lighter refills, strike anywhere matches, sterno
Household Items: Drain cleaners, solvents, other caustic or corrosive solids or liquids
Pressurized Containers: Butane fuel, scuba tanks, propane tanks, CO2 cartridges, self inflating rafts, spray cans (limited amounts of personal toilet articles, such as hair spray, are allowed)
Undeclared Firearms: Firearms may not be placed in carry-on baggage. They may be included in checked baggage if they are declared, unloaded, and properly packaged. Special restrictions apply for flights to/from Canada and Mexico. For details call 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522).
Cutting Instruments: Cutting instruments are allowed in checked baggage only. No cutting instruments of any kind (regardless of size or composition) are permitted in the cabin or beyond the security check point. This includes knives of any kind, carpet knives, box cutters, scissors, razors, ice picks or other folding or retractable blades. Security may also confiscate other sharp objects or items that may contain sharp objects such as manicure sets and cork screw type wine openers.
Dry Ice: Please see the limitations for dry ice in baggage in the question below. Dry ice in excess of those quantities must be shipped as air cargo.
Alcoholic Beverages: Up to 24% alcohol by volume has no restrictions. More than 24% up to 70% alcohol by volume is allowed under the following conditions: 1. Must be in retail packaging 2. Each single container must not exceed 5 liters 3. Total per person is 5 liters 4. More than 70% alcohol by volume is not allowed in passenger baggage
Other Hazardous Materials: Gasoline-powered tools, wet-cell batteries, camping gear with fuel, radioactive materials, poisons, infectious substances.

The items above are classified as Dangerous Goods by the U.S. Government and are prohibited from being placed in your baggage. The shipment of unauthorized dangerous goods may result in criminal or civil penalties. For further information, contact Alaska Airlines at 1-800-ALASKAAIR (1-800-252-7522) or Horizon Air at 1-800-547-9308.


Life in the age of security paranoia isn''t as easy as in the past. Since those CO2 cartridges are pretty inexpensive, I would say to either keep bringing them and expect to lose a few here and there, or look for a marine or scuba store that you could buy replacements at your destination. It sure isn''t convienient, but if the alternative is to not fly, I guess I would adapt.

Did they leave any note when they confiscated them? I am hoping they did, since they were altering a piece of safety equipment not to mention taking someones personal property.

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Old 11-16-2003
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bvicaptn is on a distinguished road
Airline Security Take Equipment!

This is an interesting discussion on several boards. I believe those cannisters are listed officially as a no-no. Some airlines allow them, some don''t. The funniest part of the whole thing is that I believe you can find a CO2 under every seat in the airplane! Remember? Just pull on the cord and the life vest will inflate! Oh, well, I take them in my carry-on and if they confiscate them I buy some more at my final destination.
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Old 11-20-2003
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Airline Security Take Equipment!

SOSpenders that are armed are actually illegal to ship. Anything pressurized, hazmat, etc. has been on the **** list for years and years. Das whye **** take so long at Budget Marine - tall come by bot. KW
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Old 11-23-2003
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Airline Security Take Equipment!

Last night I searched the FAA site and found some info on hazardous stuff including the "brochure" they pass out at airports.
I found an item that states that self-inflating life jackets are specifically allowed - with permission of the aircraft operator.
See 49 CFR - 175.10(a)(25).
FAA Office of Security and Investigations, Hazardous Materials Division, ASI-300.
No doubt there is confusion among the baggage checkers, but ask the specific airline about their policy.
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Old 11-23-2003
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Airline Security Take Equipment!

Wow...thanks for the responses! Here are some additional comments:

I emailed a "compliant" to the gov, but it came back as undeliverable. I''m posting it below FYI, as it addresses a couple of comments in replies to my original posting.

And thanks to the reply and the CFR reference. Taking them in carry on baggage may be the way to least if they are confiscated, I will immediately know about it! I will try and follow upn this with my next flight/airline and let you know my results. Here the text of my email:

You have received this email from the TSA website Customer Service.

RW Catlette

Complaints - All Other Complaints

Re: Probibited Items and suggestion to reduce passenger searches, Airlines

What Happened:
At some point between USVI and RDU, security searched my checked baggage and removed
two 38gram compressed CO2 cylinders. One was removed from a self inflatable life vest, the
other was loose in my baggage as a spare. The cylinder in the life vest was unscrewed to
prevent the vest from inflating should the cylinder seal be broken.

My Complaint:
My cylinders were taken and I was not advised. Although I am aware that these items are
''listed'' as prohibited, it was my understanding that prohibited cylinders were applicable
to ''commercial'' (large) cylinders and/or those with flammable and/or oxidizer contents.
I base this on the following:

1. I have asked airline industry personnel, e.g. agents and flight attendants about
carrying these items, and have been told there should be no problem.

2. On multiple occasions, when my checked baggage has been previously inspected in my
presence and these items observed, there was no indication that they were a problem. I was
even asked about them on one search and I advised that they were life saving equipment.

3. These cylinders are similar (if not the same) as those cylinders typically found in
the self inflating life vests found on many commercial aircraft.

My comments:
1. I am a licensed USCG Master and make my living typically delivering private vessels
(boats)for owners. Because I work offshore, I have a self-inflatable life vest/harness for
safety purposes. The cylinders are not readily available except at major marine
chandleries and therefore not typically available. I would like to offer that exceptions might
be made for carrying such items.

2. As a licensed USCG mariner, I was subject to an FBI background check for my license
application/processing. I am sure that there are many other ''licensed'' lawful citizens
that have had some type of security checks. Why cannot some type of ''clearance id'' be
issued to help reduce the congestion of security checks at the airports. I personally feel
rather imposed upon as I am subjected to such searches routinely, as most all of my air
travel is 1-way, either to get to a vessel or to return from one.

Your consideration and comments would be appreciated.


RW Catlette
USCG 100 Ton Master

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Old 11-24-2003
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SailinJay is on a distinguished road
Airline Security Take Equipment!

The prohibition against CO2 cartridges and other hazardous materials may only seem to be the result of recent heightened security precautions, but the regulations severely restricting such items on board aircraft have been around for years. To the comment regarding CO2 cartridges in the cabins of aircraft for life vests, those are known and accounted for. The primary issue regarding passengers bring hazardous materials aboard an aircraft either in carry-on or checked baggage is that they are undeclared and unknown to the airline. One or two CO2 cartriges may not make a difference, but how about a hundred or more? There have been quite a number of incidents involving fireworks brought aboard in checked baggage that have ignited during loading or unloading, causing injuries to ground personnel. Other materials have leaked during flight, causing fires in cargo compartments. Some materials react to the pressure differential at altitude.

The regulations governing hazmat shipped by air are much more restrictive precisely because there is not much the crew can do about a fire or explosion in the cargo compartments during flight. Think of the ValuJet accident in May 1996, and the tragic consequences.

How do I know all this? Well, when I''m not on the water sailing, I manage a Federal hazmat enforcement program for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Check out the web site at
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Old 11-25-2003
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Airline Security Take Equipment!

The ability to ship, either in checked baggage or carry-on, a life vest with charged cannister has always been left to the discretion of the individual airline. This was recently validated yet again by Yachting Monthly, who called a series of international carriers to inquire about their policy...and found the answers varied depending on which airline and which office answered the question. I have personally found employees of the same airline differ in their answers. To my knowledge, this has been true since 9/11 as well as before. As was pointed out above, each aircraft is loaded with these came cartridges so there is nothing inherently dangerous in carrying one more aboard.

OTOH everyone is obviously jumpier these days about ANY issue that might lap over into ''dangerous cargo'' from a more benign category of ''unusual item''. I''m especially impressed by the immense number of federal security personnel working at our airports these days, making up in numbers what they lack in pleasant behavior or a reasoned approach to their job. There''s no ''discussion'' in dealing with them, it seems, and so the best option is probably to pack the lifevest, with cannister, and see what happens. Needless to say, you can arrive at the other end without a cannister AND no local means in the near term of replacing it.

For the professional seaman who responded above and pointed out that, like law enforcement personnel and military personnel with ID, he perhaps should be warranted a bit more latitude in what he carries aboard an airline, there was much of this logic aired immediately after the intense restrictions post-9/11 were applied to airline travel. I recall hearing from the Secretary of Transportation, in testimony before Congress, that this kind of allowance would be built into their procedures as they were refined over time...perhaps much like taxes will be lowered and govt. streamlined. Still, it''s probably not a viable expectation given the ''zero defects'' mentality operating today; even servicemen used to hijack airliners to Cuba.

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Old 11-25-2003
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rwcat is on a distinguished road
Airline Security Take Equipment!

I did a brief web search using the CFR reference that was given by a previous responder to my initial posting. It was very enlightening.

As a result, I printed some post card size tags that had in red "SECURITY PERSONNEL - PLEASE READ" Below that in regular black type was the referenced 49CFR paragraph regarding CO2 cannisters. I plan on attaching them to my PFD and to my spare cylinder. I will also ask when I check baggage, as to whether these should be in checked or carry on baggage. I''ll advise results after my next flight.

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Old 12-26-2004
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rwcat is on a distinguished road
Airline Security Take Equipment!

Well it''s been a year and several flights. Since I posted the "tag" on the zipper to my sea bag and another in my SOSpenders around the CO2 cylinder and a third taped to my spare cylinder, I have had NO problems, in spite of finding many "notices" that my bag was searched. The tip someone gave me about looking up the CFR was the best advice.
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