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carrying a tripod onboard airlines

Robert J. Denton , Jan 12, 2006; 06:33 p.m.

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


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Lilly W , Jan 12, 2006; 06:44 p.m.

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.

Michael Ging , Jan 12, 2006; 06:48 p.m.

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.

Richard Watts , Jan 12, 2006; 06:49 p.m.

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.

Edward Ingold , Jan 12, 2006; 06:57 p.m.

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.

Carlo Cayetano , Jan 12, 2006; 07:11 p.m.

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.

Nanette Samol , Jan 12, 2006; 07:14 p.m.

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.

Richard Watts , Jan 12, 2006; 07:21 p.m.

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.

Jack Floyd , Jan 12, 2006; 09:29 p.m.

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.

Manoj Iyer , Jan 12, 2006; 11:11 p.m.

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...

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