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Flying with avalanche airbag systems

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
rob@rar, good to hear that all went OK have fun
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I just went from Nice to Geneva on Easy jet today with a Snow pulse 30ltr bag with no issue.
I informed the guy on the desk he made a quick phone call and it was OK within 2 minutes.

The only downer is that my ski bag weighed 31kg Sad and I had to pay a lot of excess!

Andy
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Snowjet approved my ABS for carrying, Stansted to Sion, carried as handluggage with canister and activation handle in main hold bag. Same with Jet 2 LBA-GVA but they advise carrying canister in hand luggage so long as detatched. Recently travelled with Lufthansa MAN-MUN and all OK, just cleared in advance and carried canister/ handle in hold baggage and sack and hand luggage. Great move forward this year. Smile
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Sorry to hear of your experience at Chambery imorris. Same thing happened to us two years ago. Gendarmes swarming all over, etc. Huge credit to Snowjet whose airport rep stepped in and explained the IATA regs (which we had with us) over and over to the airport security staff, then demanded to see the manager and explained it all again to her. We and our ABS airbags made it onto the plane - just - but it sounds as if Chambery airport security are no more clued up now than they were then. Haven't flown through there since. Currently wondering whether to try taking the airbags on Eurostar. Has anyone done that? Any tips gratefully received!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Fee wrote:
Currently wondering whether to try taking the airbags on Eurostar. Has anyone done that? Any tips gratefully received!
Yes, I did last month. Airbags aren't on their banned list. I emailed their Customer Service a couple of times but they didn't really understand what I was asking and seemed to make no effort to try to understand. I packed the canister inside a ski boot in my wheely case and used the backpack as hand luggage. Both were x-rayed at St Pancras and at Bourg St Maurice without any problems.
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rob@rar, thanks for that, very reassuring.

We're heading out to Ste Foy on Eurostar next weekend. Just watched the Henry's Avalanche Talk clip on kitenski's thread in Snow Reports - eek. Hes' saying that the current state of the snowpack in the northern French Alps means that if the predicted snow arrives later this week, there'll be a high avalanche risk. I shall want my airbag even if we stick to the tree runs. Or the bars...
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Imorris,

also sorry to hear that. I came through Chambery coming back from Val week before Xmas. I'd stashed both my canister and wife's in Ski box and put them through outsize. Within 30 seconds, was still booking in the kids bags when was called on tannoy. Was quite an aggressive "this your's? Yes. Can you open it? Yes. Please sign this document before you open it. Oh right, what does this say that want me to sign? Silence.....So didn't sign.

Then opened ski box, straight away very testy scanner operator commented to colleague it's illegal to carry that. Understood just enough of conversation to say that it isn't, produced regs and the xmas panto ensued with no you can't from them and yes can from me. Few minutes of it I just resorted to get your manager. Another bloke appeared, asked who he was, turned out was supervisor, same debate, asked for airport security manager, he appeared, scanned IATA regs, said no problem and let go through. I got the impression that day that a lot of the staff were being trained and had received fairly limited training before-hand.

So far this year, think done Manchester (several times, different reaction depending on terminal, but sorted after few mins), Gatwick (good once, time consuming on another as tagged my bag to ID it to Security once it had gone off on conveyor.) Chambery as stated. Grenoble, good to extent when started trying to explain to the ground handling agent what it was, was told yes sir, its OK we see a lot of these.

Best reaction so far, of all places has to be Paphos airport in Cyprus. Had e-mailed ahead to airport customer services as was paranoid that airport police would never have seen airbag. Skiboxes were in scanner less than ten seconds, before Police Sgt stuck head out door and asked if had airbag. Turns out they'd beeen waiting for me to arrive as had never seen one, had been researching it on internet and were desperate to see how it worked. Whether the canister was in hold, on person, connected or not didn't even come in to it! Dunno if down to difference between Police and contracted security personnel, but was great, if only more security staff could be like that in the airports more used to dealing with skiers!
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Just checked the IATA website and saw that a new version of the Dangerous Goods Regulations (the 52nd edn) came into force on 1 January 2011.

Problem: it costs £145 to buy online and it's only Reg 2.3 (and Table 2.3.A) that concerns avalanche airbag systems.

Does any snowHead have an electronic copy of the new Reg 2.3 or the table that they could share, by any chance?
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Fee, well spotted. Probably good to email ABS, Snowpulse and BCA to get them to update their websites which include the relevant table from the IATA regs. I'l do that, but maybe best if a few of us get in touch?
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rob@rar, Good idea. I should say that I've no reason to believe that there's any change in the Regs which affects airbags, but it would be nice to be sure.
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Fee, yes, I'm sure that's right. But nice to be able to say to check-in staff that these are the current regs if we have to show them the data (as I did in Tokyo, and it was helpful to do so there).
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Fee, drop me a email tim@ snowshepherd.co.uk and I will send you a copy of the new version its the same by the way no changes
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
livetoski, that's really kind, I have emailed you.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some videos from Facewest on using the SnowPulse system have been added to the OP. Any other useful videos that we should link to?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Question on Filling a Snowpulse.
Anyone here know if the SCBA air cylinders from the worlds fire departments are all identical all over the world. I am wondering what adaptor that I will need to buy so that I can fill my Snowpulse cylinder in a USA fire department. I already have the scuba tank adaptor so I just need to know the thread size of the USA SCBA bottles.
Anyone out there from the firebrigade that can help?
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Anyone taken a Snowpulse to Chile? Currently weighing my airline options but looks like a choice between Iberia (change in Madrid), Air France (change in Paris) or BA/Lan Chile (change in Sao Paulo)
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not to Chile, but I took a Snowpulse on BA to Japan. Told them in advance and they seemed clued up about it, so no problems.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Arno, as Rob says you should be fine with BA, we have had a number of people go trans atlantic with BA and no problems so far wink
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I ended up booking Iberia to Chile (via Madrid) and have been told that compressed gas is not allowed except for medical reasons, so might have to dust off my avalung.

Might send an email to see if they can be persuaded to relent...
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Arno,
Quote:

Might send an email to see if they can be persuaded to relent...

Yep that sounds like a good idea, I would attach the IATA regs as well to backup your mail. Sometimes with the airlines its better to get in touch with senior staff, they tend to have a better idea of the regs.

From the amusing side of things I would say that airbags are "medical" life saving devices wink wink
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livetoski, I actually looked more closely at their website and it specifically allows airbags, although the description is more of the ABS type than a Snowpulse. I'm inclined to email asking them to confirm that Snowpulses are OK given that they don't have the explosive charge
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Arno, let us know what response you get and I'll stick it in the sticky.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Arno, yes most descriptions are abs biased its only because they were first and the iata regs were written for them. Snowpulse is covered as well, they just don't have the explosive charge bit.
The cylinder is within specs actually its smaller.
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Just checked in with minimal hassle. Check in lady checked with her boss who did a bit of checking himself. Just need the bags to successfully transfer at Madrid and all is good Cool
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Arno, good luck for Madrid, and have a great trip. Very envious!
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Have a great tripArno, plus like Rob says green eyed here too
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
One of my customer went back on the Eurostar the other day and had a bit of a job getting getting his new Snowpulse bag on even though he had pre booked it, after some discussion with security he was OK. However I thought for everones interest it maybe worth clarifying the situation, so I have been talking with Eurostars Security Operations manager and the response I had is below, I have removed the personel contact details of the Manager.

Dear Tim

Thank you for your communication regarding clarification if Avalanche Rescues Backpack containing 250ml compressed nitrogen or compressed air cylinder would be allowed travel on Eurostar trains.

I can confirm that there is no restriction on these cylinders being carried; however, I can not guarantee that you will not be stopped at the security point, and your bags subjected to being searched.

I hope I have answered your question but should you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,
L

Eurostar Security Operations Manager
Eurostar International Ltd.
St Pancras International
Pancras Road,
London
NW1 2QP
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
^^^ I took mine on Euro$tar last year without making special arrangements. Got searched in both directions which was tedious but otherwise OK
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
All
fwiw, the CAA have a list of 'what can I carry' that appears "quite similar" to the IATA regs.

see: http://www.caa.co.uk/default.aspx?catid=1219&pagetype=90&pageid=9617
and click on 'what can I carry'.
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hamilton, thanks for the link useful I missed that one, the only thing worth adding, again, is that even if the IATA regs and the CAA says that airbags are OK for carry on, you will not get through security with a 250ml steel or carbon cylinder due to the DOT regs in place at airports
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Arrived back from La Plagne (via Chambery) yesterday. Took the snowpulse and had no problem. The carrier this time was BMI baby. Booked the holoiday with Esprit and informed them by phone that I'd be taking the airbag and they then passed this on to the airline. After a further request Esprit copied me into the e-mail that they'd sent BMI baby and I printed a copy and took it with me.
No problem at all on the way out. I checked the bag in in Bristol and didn't mention the airbag. Everything arrived in Chambery.

On the way back via Chambery I was aware that they x-ray every hold bag before it goes on the plane. You can see it being done as you're checking in. After last years debacle I wasn't going to take any chances and showed them the e-mail. The check in lady called over her supervisor who looked at it, nodded and said it was ok. I showed them which bag the cylinder was in (I was using the rucksack itself as my carry on luggage) and as it went through the x-ray machine I saw them point at the screen, nod again and carry on. Straightforward.

When boarding the aeroplane, the air stewardess checking the boarding cards asked if I could have a word with the pilot concerning the snowpulse. I feared the worst. The captain was under the impression that the cylinder should not be placed in the hold and should be in the cabin. I informed him that IATA regs stated that could go in the hold or in the cabin and was just about to show him my copy of the IATA regs when another member of the crew with a laminated copy of the regs found the appropriate section and showed it to the captain. At the same time a member of the Chambery ground staff came on board and confirmed to the captain that all was well and that placing the cylinder in the hold was ok. The captain was satisfied and I was then politely thanked for my cooperation and shown to my seat.

The most pleasing thing for me on this trip was the much improved knowledge and attitude of the airport staff in Chambery. Long may it continue.
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Nice to hear Chambery getting better - I had to face inquisition and ask for head of security there last year.

Found similar so far this year with easyjet flights. Over xmas/new year did Paphos to Manchester T1 - Manchester to Geneva and reversed route a week later. On return leg had got to gate in Geneva when got called back to info desk in terminal. Wee frustrated looking man approached us, but as soon as said cylinder was snowpulse, nodded, thanked us and that was it. Also got questioned at Manchester by operator on oversize baggage - again- as soon as showed snowpulse - straight through.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hi, I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with travelling with Skymark airways in Japan. On the way out he packs have been cleared with BA with no issues, however out internal flights are with Skymark a local domestic airline. With whom I have had no return of emails regarding the Snowpulse carriage.

Is there a Japanese translation of the IATA regs? just so I can be prepared at the airport (Tokyo Narita).

Cheers
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Nickski88, Welcome to Snowheads, rob@rar, has flown to Japan with his, I am sure Rob will be along shortly to give advice as well.

I have not seen a Japanese version of the IATA regs but if you find some do share the link.

Have a great time in Japan, BA looks like they are pretty well switched on now to airbags.
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Nickski88, welcome to snowHeads.

I took my Snowpulse to Japan last season, flying BA to Narita then JAL to Sapporo. Called BA beforehand to let them know and that was fine, and they said that JAL would be aware as they had made a note I was carrying avybag on my booking. I arrived at Narita and it was less straightforward there - they knew I was carrying an avybag but didn't really know much about them. The check-in agent was concerned and spoke a couple of times by phone to a supervisor. For a little while I thought I might not be able to carry it, but eventually it was OK. What swung it was carrying a copy of the IATA regulations that I think I downloaded from livetoski's website - the check-in agent had a handbook at her desk which included the IAIA regulations (in Japanese) and I was able to point out that the cubic capacity of the Snowpulse cylinder on my copy of there IATA regulations was the same as her handbook.

I was surprised that JAL had so little understanding of avybags as I had assumed with their level of snowfall I would see loads of skiers and boarders with them. Wasn't the case in Niseko when I was there, and the only people I saw with ABS or Snowpulses were Brit skiers in Warren Smith's groups.
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rob@rar,
Quote:

I had assumed with their level of snowfall I would see loads of skiers and boarders with them



Yes they are difficult to get in Japan, the ones I have sold there have all been taken back by people returning to Japan, I have a feeling its the approval systems over there to sell, not use I hasten to add.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've just bought an ABS ultralight bag. Will probably just take the rucksack part as my hand luggage and boot pack the canister and trigger in hold luggage as I'm flying with Lufthansa.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
URGENT SAFETY NOTICE FOR ANYONE WHO HAS A SNOWPULSE from last winter??

There has been a recall on last seasons Snowpulse cylinders! The ones in question are the System 1.0 cylinders from last winter which have a valve gauge on the top. For more information:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150611541264252&set=a.10150611374569252.444121.165344769251&type=1&ref=nf

Safe skiing everyone!
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Latest info from JAL is that they need an email with the products datasheet, product name, dimensions etc
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kitenski, I have copies of those if any one needs them Very Happy
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