carrying a tripod onboard airlines

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by bob denton, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Has anyone tried boarding a flight with a tripod along with your camera gear? I'm worried
    that the idiot security folks will decide it could a dangerous weapon.

    Any thoughts?

    Bob Denton
  2. I've done so many times since 9/11 w/out any difficulties from the TSA folks at all, and mine is quite hefty. Courtesy and willingness to reveal all will get you far. Consider ample padding on the head to avoid damaging the head or the head damaging whatever may come its' way.
  3. I have carried it both as checked baggage and carry on with out any problems. I would do checked baggage ,which gives you more room for things like film in your carry on.
  4. My experience has been the same as Lilly's. I've flown with aluminium, carbon fibre, ball and P&T heads and never had a problem.
  5. I save a pocket in my carry-0n Computrekker for the ball head and put the tripod in checked baggage. In a pinch, I can get replacement legs anywhere, but a good ball head can take days or weeks.
  6. The TSA guidelines don't specifically prohibit tripods, but they do leave it up to the individual TSA agent to make the call. If they see it as something that can be used as a club or weapon (e.g. baseball bat) then they may not allow it. Search the forums to see what others have said. I guess it also depends on your airport - if it's a big city, they may disallow it. Then again, even security at small airports may view it the same way. Try going to FlyerTalk and search those archives for other responses.
  7. I think it all depends on who the airline is and what customer service rep is serving you.
    I've just return from five months abroad and didn't have any troubles until I took a flight
    with Thomas Cook airlines. They wouldn't even allow me to bring my camera bag as hand
    luggage! I had it checked in and it was supposed to be along with the fragile baggage
    claims. Needless to say I was quite upset when it came rolling down the conveyor belt!! As
    for my tripod, I had a larger one packed in with my checked luggage and hoped to take my
    smaller one on board with me. They wouldn't allow it, so now I have a tripod abroad (with
    family). I doubt I will use Thomas Cook again.
  8. I wont be using Thomas Cook either if that is their attitude! I've only flown major airlines like qantas, air NZ, alaskan, delta and so forth. With them I routinely carry a tripod as hand baggage or checked without any problems.
  9. My center post with or without attached ballhead IS a dangerous weapon.

    So I just check mine: why take the chance they'll nix it when it's too late to put it in checked luggage?

    BTW, my experiences with TSA have been FAR superior than with the "private sector" cut rate rent-a-dork security.
  10. I think it depends..., first time I tried to take my tripod (was attached to my camera bag) I was asked to check it in, now I always check it in... but atleast they were polite abt it...
  11. The TSA has told me that a tripod is a "tool" and is therefore not allowed to be carried on to any airplane in the US. All tools longer than seven inches must be in checked luggage. Tripods are confiscated, so do not take them onto the plane. Put them in your checked luggage. It makes no difference what they are made out of. I no longer take a ball head onto a plane. The TSA stopped me once thinking it was some sort of grenade. I am not going to take the risk with a ball head less than seven inches. Just check it and make life easier for everyone. Read the document you can find at this link. It is the updated list:

    Joe smith
  12. The TSA can pretty much do whatever they want, depending on how grumpy the flunky with
    the gun is feeling that day. My advice is to be obsequious and fawning. Now that we live in
    a fascist police state, you're lucky to fly at all.
  13. It is up to the security agent; but ones who denied it into the cabin did pull out their book which does include photography tripod.
    I remember a photojournalist's who claimed to have used the tripod in act of self defense. So I just check it from then onward - in a padded bag inside hard shell suitcase.

    I have seen others with tripod in the cabin but to be denied carry on and rechecking the bag is just too much hassel; also when you recheck there might be issue of late arrival.

    Camera gear stays with me physically. If an airline has a problem with that, they are not the only airline in the world.

    "Be Prepared" B.P.
  14. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    The TSA does not specifically ban tripods, but leaves it entirely up to each individual screener to determine whether your particular tripod is permitted at the particular moment you arrive at his or her station. And just because the screener on one flight let you carry it doesn't mean the screener on your connecting or return flight will allow it. The TSA recently announced that "unpredictability" is an essential element of their "security strategy."

    You can always check a tripod, or put it in a checked bag. But then you'll have to spend time (possibly a lot of time) in an extra queue for checking baggage, and then run the risk of the tripod and/or bag being lost, damaged, delayed, or stolen somewhere in the chain of TSA inspectors and airline baggage handlers. But that's the price we should all be glad to pay for improved security.

    I think if you really need a tripod, the best thing might be to rent one at your destination. Or else buy a cheap "flimsy-pod" at your destination, one that you're willing to "voluntarily abandon" at the screening station should your screener make the determination that it's too dangerous to go on the plane (and do remember to thank him or her for keeping us safe after you "voluntarily abandon" the tripod).
  15. I guess, I have to suggest that if you really lived in a facist police state then you've obviously alerted them to your intentions by calling the security people idiots. Too late now. Too bad you didn't do a search first as this question comes up a lot. Now I guess you're just screwed.

    What's more bothersome is that the more photographers liken their gear, especially monopods and tripods, to dangerous items, the more likely eventually those responsible for security will begin to look more closely at them and decide maybe photographers are right, they are potentially dangerous.
  16. In my experience it varies among airline and the individual people you deal with...I would either call ahead or have accomodations in mind to check it should there be a problem. My Grandfather left me his prized fly the airport following the funeral the United Airlines ticketing agent insisted it was a deadly weapon and would need to roll around in with checked luggage in a plastic sack she offered; I requested to speak with security and they allowed it thru without even the slightest quibble...

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