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Old 05-12-2018, 07:16   #1
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CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

Would like some feedback with those of you who have travelled with your inflatable PFD (which utilize CO2) as many airlines have these cartridges as restricted items..(Air Canada for example).I'm heading to San Diego next month and looking at the Spinlock....but when it comes time to travel I want to insure their are no hassles at the airport! BTW I'm trying to contact companies such as United, AA, and others that fly out of Mexico City to see if I can get a letter of compliance regarding this....thanks!

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Old 05-12-2018, 07:26   #2
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

No problems if you declare it at check-in. There are 150+
of these already onboard;-)

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Old 05-12-2018, 07:29   #3
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

30g is a limit I've seen on airline hazardous goods limits.

Sugfest you check with air freight shipping companiea who will give more airline specific advice.
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Old 05-12-2018, 07:49   #4
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

It's been years since I've traveled with a CO2 cartridge, but I've heard it's possible but still a hassle sometimes. It's still up to the airline on whether they will allow them and some only allow in carry-on I believe, so you have to check with each airline, as you are doing.

Still, it's not likely the person at security is going to know all the rules and they will typically assume it's not allowed so you will have to do some convincing. Print out the FAA policy and the airlines policy and politely show them the rules. Give yourself plenty of time for all this added security stuff as well.

Even with all that, be prepared to have to remove the CO2 cartridge and lose it if you have to. Know how to disconnect it and arrange a replacement to be available at your destination.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:03   #5
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

It really depends on the airport. I looked at United website and called customer service and got the ok. Then at check in (at small regional airport) they refused it in baggage. Since each one of these canisters was around $50 for the new vest I just purchased and hard to source in out of the way places I just left the whole thing behind for this trip, returned the vest and bought a noninflatable one.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:16   #6
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

No problems, but you need to check ahead as noted above. I've done this for years on charters and such.
US FAA permits -
One self-inflating lifejacket or safety vest fitted with no more than two nonflammable gas cartridges for inflation purposes, plus no more than two spare gas cartridges. The safety jacket/vest must be packaged to prevent accidental activation. Airline approval required.
Each country has their own air regulations so check with the particular countries you are going through.

As to the airlines, they post their requirements on-line, and that governs what flight-crew permits. Most US airlines permit PFD's either on-board or checked. In the end, it's not the airport that determines what is safe, but the combination of the regulations and the flight-crew.

So your homework is to (1) check both national regulations and individual airlines, and (2) remove the CO2 canister from your PFD to make sure they cannot inflate. After you get the correct page, print several copies out, and put a page in with the checked luggage on top of your PFD and carry another with you. Sometimes the local gate agent or security guy has never heard of inflating PFD's and is just erring on the side of caution. Showing them their own regulations / company guidance eases everyone's concerns. Whatever you do, do not try to use 'logic' such as "there are already hundreds of inflating PFD's on board the aircraft". This is just counterproductive. Give yourself 15 extra minutes, and ask to talk to supervisors about what is permitted.
John Trusty

Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt." -- Eric Sevareid
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:22   #7
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

My experience: inform the airline in advance, as CO2 cartridges are allowed at airline's discretion. If they agree they will also make an adnotation about the fact in your travel records for the given flight(s). This came very handy to me in Spain, where airport security wanted to play boss, I politely asked the airline representative to come with me to security and that was all it took to be let through without further hassle. Once on board stewardess asked me where I put the PFD and how many cartridges it did have. Upon hearing 'one' she smiled and said 'no problem, ours have two each'.
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Old 05-12-2018, 08:39   #8
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

As the saying goes..."Better to be safe....than sorry" and since I've got lot's of time on my hand I will do my due diligence to cover off all of the feedback I've received!
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:41   #9
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

In my experience the cartridge in the inflatable PFD is no problem. However, you cannot separately bring a spare cartridge. ex: check the PFD and carry on the spare cartridge.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:46   #10
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

My only problems have been with TSA. I print out the regulation and keep it and my PFD in my carry on so the airline is a non-issue.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:52   #11
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

I always remove the cartridge from the PFD and tape it to the PFD. In that way if there is an inspection, it is clear that the PFD can't be inflated. I always check it with my luggage even if my luggage is small enough to carry on. I don't want the TSA folks or airline personnel to interpret the regs in a way that would have me end up without the cartridge. It is the save but sure way of traveling and I have done so many times.
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Old 05-12-2018, 09:59   #12
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

For the past several years I've removed the CO2 cartridge from my PFD and carried both in my carry-on bag and haven't had any issues. There have been a few times were TSA personnel have questioned the cartridge as to what it was for but that has been the extent of it. As previously stated there are PFD's under every airline seat and each has at least one CO2 cartridge attached for that "uneventful water landing" that may occur!
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:15   #13
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

I've traveled quite a bit with those. I take it out of the PFD and put it in the package it came in with a note saying that It's for the PFD. Never had a problem doing that. Note - that 's travelling from California to East Coats, Caribbean, and Bahamas.
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Old 05-12-2018, 10:36   #14
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

It doesn't always work.

When my friend flew out to join me ... he did the following:

checked in advance with security - they said it's up to the airline
checked in advance with the airline - they said OK
printed out the airline policy and took it to the airport
declared it on check-in at the airport - they said ok

when he arrived in Gustavus Alaska (an airport in the middle of nowhere with no option to buy a new lifejacket) he came on board the boat, opened his bag, and instead of his lifejacket he found a note from CATSA (Canadian security) saying they had confiscated it anyway.

Needless to say he was a tad annoyed, and he had to spend the trip wearing an old lifejacket that was on the boat when I bought it - dated 1972!
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Old 05-12-2018, 11:12   #15
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Re: CO2 cartridges on Airplanes

Air Canada in its freight instruction, permits 2 more spare cartriges plus the one already installed with the equipment. They need to be tacken as carry on luggage, and naturally declared at boarding time.

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