Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 29 Old 12-29-2012 Thread Starter
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Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

Do any of you have experience taking auto-inflate PFDs on to airplanes as checked luggage or carry-on? Do the compressed gas canisters set off any alarms that get them confiscated?


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post #2 of 29 Old 12-29-2012
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Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

I have never had an issue as checkin luggage. Sometimes I've disconnected the cartridge. Other times I haven't.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

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I have never had an issue as checkin luggage. Sometimes I've disconnected the cartridge. Other times I haven't.
From this list it is permitted.

Prohibited Items | Transportation Security Administration
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Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

The TSA regs permit you to carry on one inflatable PFD and one spare cartridge. I found the relevant regulation by searching the Southwest Airlines web site and printed it out and handed it to the TSA personnel at the checkpoint. After about a 10 minute delay they sent me through - they seemed surprised that their regs allowed it.
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

I flew with my PFD in my hand luggage a week ago. They picked it up as it went through the xray machine then did a visual inspection. Eventually they let it through.
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

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Originally Posted by olddog60 View Post
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Small compressed gas cartridges
(Up to 2 in life vests and 2 spares. The spares must accompany the life vests and presented as one unit)
Definitely OK as carry-on or checked baggage.


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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

Never have any problem at the airport. At one time, I almost needed to wear my PDF as I didn't have enough room in my bag. I told the other passengers that my wife wants to be safe in case of water landing.


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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

10 years ago Airport security in Vancouver BC wouldn't let us board with one in carry-on luggage. This was for a flight going to Martinique via Montreal. They didn't like the cartridge (might cause a fire??!!??) uh... excuse me, it's CO2?.....

In the end we had to mail it home, we weren't sure we could get a cartridge where we were going. The irony is that while taxiing for takeoff we went through the safety orientation, including how to don our under-seat lifejacket.. each of which contained two (2) CO2 cannisters .... go figure....

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post #9 of 29 Old 12-29-2012
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

There have been several iterations of the rules. TSA currently allows them through security. And they are on the list of exempted hazardous materials.
HOWEVER... It is up to the aircraft operator, IE individual airline as to whether they will allow it or not.
This has always been a sore spot w/ me b/c most screeners do not know the rules. When I travel I print out a copy of the CFR (U.S. Law) that permits them and wrap that around the life vest. And to make things less of a hassle, I ALWAYS notify the screener that there is a life vest w/ CO2 cartridges in my bag. I do NOT check them for 2 reasons; One I don't want to have any hassles and have them confiscated by some dimwit, and Two, I don't want my life vest damaged by said same dimwit!
I *usually* have very little trouble at security. They want to swab the vest and then send me on my way. Also, when I'm flying to/from some major sailing event they have usually already seen a gazillion others so that makes it easy.
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Re: Taking inflatable PFDs on airplanes?

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Originally Posted by Faster View Post
10 years ago Airport security in Vancouver BC wouldn't let us board with one in carry-on luggage. This was for a flight going to Martinique via Montreal. They didn't like the cartridge (might cause a fire??!!??) uh... excuse me, it's CO2?.....

In the end we had to mail it home, we weren't sure we could get a cartridge where we were going. The irony is that while taxiing for takeoff we went through the safety orientation, including how to don our under-seat lifejacket.. each of which contained two (2) CO2 cannisters .... go figure....

Last time through Vancouver I had a few issues but I did fly with the pfd in checked luggage.

In Calgary it has go through oversize luggage where they x-ray the bag.

In Victoria, I declare it and the agent says "Oh, it you." and through I go.

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