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Carry-on Tripods

Andrew Johnston , Jun 15, 2008; 02:57 p.m.

I see this was addressed in 2004 and 2005 and briefly last year. I am looking for some assurances that one does not get to Airport Security before being told that the tripod will not be permitted on board for security reasons. Pointed scissors and screwdrivers are permitted but I am nervous about my Hakuba carbon fiber tripod and Arca Swiss ball head. Has anyone out there been told they could not bring a tripod as carry-on? I looked at the TSA website and it does not give much in the way with specifics...Thanks.

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Chinmaya Sn , Jun 15, 2008; 03:03 p.m.

I am not sure if they would allow tripod as carry on. I always check-in the tripod.

Richard Crowe , Jun 15, 2008; 03:08 p.m.

I have been told by the security folks one time that the tripod is legal and another time that it is not legal. I now pack my tripod in my checked baggage to minimize problems.

Matt Laur , Jun 15, 2008; 03:08 p.m.

Wrap it up in a towel or two, and stuff it in a checked bag. Anything that can telescope into a long tube is going to count, most likely, as a no-no. Same reason you can't carry on ski poles, etc.

Berg Na , Jun 15, 2008; 03:14 p.m.

TSA doesn't list tripods in their not-allowable list of items, but if you can't bring a golf club on board, chances are you won't be able to carry on a tripod either. I always check-in mine.

Dan McClain , Jun 15, 2008; 03:37 p.m.

I have seen advice on PN to place your expensive ball head in your carry on and the legs in your checked baggage. Or consider mailing your tripod ahead for better security for expensive legs. I have a fairly cheap combination of Bogen 3001 legs and a Bogen 486 head, so I just stuff mine into a checked bag with no problems so far.

Bruce Margolis , Jun 15, 2008; 03:40 p.m.

Andrew, here's the problem........

While there might not be a specific rule saying you can't take a tripod onboard, all you need is one TSA person to say you can't. If you try to get it through as a carry-on and you can't, now it has to be checked.

You have to get out of line, get in the ticket counter line, and check the tripod. That tripod will not have any protection while it goes through the baggage process.

If you are lucky, you still have time to get through security again and catch your flight. And if you are real lucky, your tripod won't be damaged. Personally, I wouldn't count on either.

I am flying out this week and just like always, my tripod and monopod w/case are packed in my checked bag. It is hardly worth the trouble.

Louie Powell , Jun 15, 2008; 04:06 p.m.

Several months ago, I overheard a couple of TSA folks at LAX disagreeing on how to deal with tripods. One claimed they were too "weapon like" and should be excluded, while the other said they were OK.

That tells me that the rules are open to interpretation, which means that the answer you get may depend on where you are, which day of the week it is, and whether its raining.

Planning to take your tripod as checked baggage is a safe assumption. The choice is to either take a large suitcase with the tripod inside, wrapped in underwear, or else take a separate bag/case for the tripod. I've done both - the problem with the one bag approach is that the bag will be larger, therefore heavier, and may cause the airline to assess an overweight charge. And the problem with a separate bag is that the airline may assess a charge for a second bag. Pays your money, takes your choice!

JDM von Weinberg , Jun 15, 2008; 04:52 p.m.

As said, why struggle with it or the possibilities of security? Checked luggage for sure.

charlie dill , Jun 15, 2008; 09:13 p.m.

Just got back from Portland, Or. Left Albany, NY flew to Philly then onto Seattle. Flight back Portland, Or to Newark NJ then to Albany, NY tripod carried on all flights never any problem.


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