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Flying with avalanche airbag systems

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@jabuzzard, Who did you fly to Friedrichshafen with? Keen to look at flying there, OK for hire cars etc?

Thinking Pieps myself, I cant believe the airport security are so slow on the uptake with ABS given that MUC is pretty close to the Alps....but I guess they are on super high alert and very twitchy at present. Given the amount of tooled-up police about in the airport I guess they are sensitive to anything, they nearly sent me to Room 101 because I'd left my satnav in my rucksack, and didn't take it out, it is apparently a laptop device.....ah well!! wink
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Quote:

Who did you fly to Friedrichshafen with? Keen to look at flying there, OK for hire cars etc?


It was a Ski Freshtracks holiday to St. Anton via Mark Warner. The airline was Germania and was I think a charter flight though there where clearly people who where not skiing with Mark Warner on the flight and coming back it was not full (not sure about the flight out). As such I have no idea what car hire is like. It does however look like a decent option aka less likely to be hit with bad weather than Innsbruck for example given it is not actually in the mountains and still only 1.5 hours to St. Anton.
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Agreed, interesting thanks @jabuzzard,
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Quote:

Or the security bloke had a alu canister and wanted an upgrade to a carbon one.

@dp, He's got 2 now, a spare one in case he needs it. Evil or Very Mad
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@Markymark29, After 5-6 years of hassle with ABS, I've had Pieps Jetforce for the last couple. I pack mine as hold luggage, as even though they are hand compliant, an observant security x-Ray operative would notice a large battery, and wires connecting it to a trigger handle.........
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Quote:

After 5-6 years of hassle with ABS, I've had Pieps Jetforce for the last couple. I pack mine as hold luggage, as even though they are hand compliant, an observant security x-Ray operative would notice a large battery, and wires connecting it to a trigger handle.........


Problem with that is the Pieps Jetforce 24 is a good 3.4kg out of your hold luggage allowance. So unless you are willing to pay for extra luggage allowance that is not really an option for me. Like I said I had no real problems with it as carry on luggage and I suspect as time goes by and more people travel with them, more security operatives have seen them this will only get better. On the other hand the gas canister systems will always be a problem as you will always have a highly compressed cylinder of gas. I guess you could go with the compressed air and travel with an empty cylinder and suitable hand pump to fill at your destination, but that works out quite expensive.

http://www.mammutavalanchesafety.com/2016/11/refilling-airbag-cylinders-with-hill.html
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@jabuzzard, I always carry my ski boots in a backpack as my carry on luggage (my boots won't fit in the Jetforce, and I can't ski without them), and since I travel BA I have plenty of hold luggage allowance, it isn't a problem.

I also guess it is a case of airport security concentrating on 'known' issues (liquids, laptops etc), rather than unknown ones like avalanche packs. I haven't tried flying into the USA with it yet, but I assume you might be asked to power it up, which is the case with any electronic device you have (at least that was the announcement when I landed at Heathrow a couple of weeks ago for anyone transferring to a US flight. It advised people to ensure devices were fully charged).
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So I've had an email saying we can collect the canisters from MUC as a matter of urgency and produce the original paperwork for release but they reserve the right to dispose of within 90 days! That's not much help given that I'm not flying in there until next February. Confused
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PowderAdict wrote:

I always carry my ski boots in a backpack as my carry on luggage (my boots won't fit in the Jetforce, and I can't ski without them), and since I travel BA I have plenty of hold luggage allowance, it isn't a problem.


Which would have instantly put me over the 5kg carry on luggage limit I had on Germania. That was something of a joke anyway, because although my bag was less than 5kg at check in the moment I went through security I added some bottles of water and food that would have taken it over 7kg.

I always pack my boots into the suitcase, and then do some sneaky cross packing into the ski bag, the weight of which nobody ever seems to check anyway and by carefully choosing of what I cross pack including a pair of old salopettes I can manage for a day or two if my suitcase goes missing by hiring some boots.
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Jet2 at Manchester Airport very frustrating after many no problem EasyJet flights with my ABS. I had registered beforehand with Jet2 via Mark Warner and had a print out of email response with copy of IATA regs. I spent 45 minutes at the check in desk (good job I arrive early) . Check in person called supervisor who had a copy of the regs in her hand but had to make a succession of telephone calls to head office, which was usually engaged (6:00 am) to answer a succession of questions. Finally after confirming I only had one bottle I was allowed through. This seems to be a major training issue for Jet 2
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@GlasgowCyclops, @dp,
Hi, Back from a great touring trip to Gressoney so here is some further information on the problems I had with Jet2 / UK Civil Aviation Authority (UK CAA).

Firstly and most importantly, Scott, and the manufacturer of the airbag system used by Scott (Alpride) have been superb in dealing with this. The problem is resolved for Scott Alpride Airbags.

Just to remind you this was specifically regarding a Scott Airbag (which uses two small gas cylinders used for inflation) and the initial refusal of Jet2 to allow me to carry it in Jan & March 2017, notwithstanding no prior problems in 2016.

Further, whilst Jet2 do seem more critical than others in their assessment of Airbags it was infact the UK CAA who refused travel (Jet2 had sought clarification from the Uk CAA due to it having 2 small cylinders of gas) and it was not a decision made by Jet2 itself. Jet2 simply followed the advice given to them by the CAA.

So this problem was caused directly by the UK CAA due to one persons interpretation of the IATA / ICAO rules for airbags. That sounds critical of the UK CAA though in fairness its a problem of interpretation with a set of ambiuous regulations that try to cover all types of self inflating safety devices under many different headings. The UK CAA themselves have been trying to get the IATA / ICAO regs re-written to have just one section covering all self inflating safety devices to remove this ambiguity. The decision to refuse travel has now been reviewed within the UK CAA at a higher level and, following very many emails between Scott, the UK CAA, Alpride and myself, has resulted in the following email being sent to me from the UK CAA.

Start email Quote:
RE: Dangerous Goods Carriage - Avalanche Rescue Airbag.
Ranito Mario <Mario>
20 March 2017, 09:29You
Good morning Mr. Tingle,
I am writing to you to provide you with further information regarding your Avalanche Rescue Airbag.
After a lengthy discussion on the specifications and characteristics of their products, I elected to forward the information back to Eric Gillett, with whom I had previously discussed this topic.
Mr. Gillett is our Policy specialist who participates in the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel and he has a say on interpretation of ambiguities generated by the regulations.
In this particular case he has opted to give a different interpretation from mine, with regards to what is contained in the regulations, which I am transcribing below:
“As the Alpride system has a mechanical trigger without pyrotechnics, I agree that I can be considered to be a self-inflating personal safety device. I also agree that the limit of 50mL water capacity applies to devices other than avalanche rescue backpacks and personal safety devices.
I consider it unfortunate that ICAO did not choose to implement IATA’s proposal to merge the entries for avalanche rescue backpacks and self-inflating personal safety devices as airlines are likely to apply the limits which most closely relate to an item’s description. I also consider it unfortunate that the entry for ‘small cartridges for other devices’ is included under the entry for personal safety devices as this can create the impression that all small cartridges are subject to the 50mL water capacity.
I will be presenting a paper on this matter to the forthcoming ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel Working Group.”

Having said this, it still remains the responsibility of the operator to accept/approve the carriage of such items as baggage.
I am hoping that the above definitely clarifies the issue.
Thank you and kind regards
Mario Ranito
Inspecting Officer (Dangerous Goods)
Flight Operations Specialist Teams & Safety Performance
Civil Aviation Authority
Tel: 01293 573546
Mob: 07393 762847
Follow us on Twitter: @UK_CAA

End Quote.

So as far as the UK CAA are concerned its now fine to travel with the Scott Airbag as a 'self inflating safety device'. They also confirm that the 50ml water capacity limit does NOT refer to Avalanche airbags OR 'self inflating safety devices'. I am writing back to the UK CAA to ask them to specifically advise Jet2 of their change of attitude because I suspect that Jet2 might have it 'blacklisted' otherwise.

As you can see from the email received today from the UK CAA they are part of a working group on DGO regs and are once again trying to get the DGO regs written more clearly. The DGO regs are re issued every January so fingers crossed thay add more clarity and prevent this confusion in the future.

In the meantime, it should be easier to travel with a Scott airbag than perhaps many others now that the UK CAA has specifically said it (by name) can be carried. Of course you still need to ask the airline and get prior permission to get it listed on their flight manifest, but now that the CAA has changed its stance I cannot see why it would be a problem.

Hope all that makes sense.
Happy skiing!
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Having followed this tread and used the BA number provided to great satisfaction, does anyone have a number for JAL that gives similar results. The number I’ve currently got is leaving me hanging.

Many thanks
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