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delgaudio


Nov 21, 2002, 11:06 AM
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flying with gear
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Anyone have any travel suggestions about flying with gear? Any suggestions or lessons learned from previous experiences would be helpful.


cdb1386


Nov 21, 2002, 11:11 AM
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Registered: May 1, 2001
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Check all climbing items to avoid a problem, but hope they don't lose your luggage oh:


tommyf


Nov 21, 2002, 11:30 AM
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I wondered the something,,, I ask the people at the check in counter,,, Duh,,, now just how hot does the stuff in the bottom of the plane getů


climbjs


Nov 21, 2002, 11:40 AM
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Check them and hope for the best! I brought a crashpad and all my trad rack on a Southwest flight, and they checked everything out. They had no idea what a crashpad was!


climbhigh23


Nov 21, 2002, 11:52 AM
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check everything, but in the same bag that you have all your gear in, take along a catalog or magazine of climbing gear. this way if they are confused as to what something is, you can show them. this helped me out last month.

have fun....



leaverbiner


Nov 21, 2002, 11:56 AM
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I would do just the opposite to what has been suggested . . . I have had my luggage lost too many times to risk checking my gear . . . I pretty much fly by one rule "Check only that which you can live without" Use your carry on for your gear, it is too expensive and often once at a climbing destination cannot be replaced if lost! When we went to Mexico last year I carried on all my gear, a change of clothes and my sleeping bag . . . it would be a weird trip, but I know that I would have enjoyed it even if the rest of my luggage got lost or delayed!!



climbhigh23


Nov 21, 2002, 12:03 PM
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i have also had my luggage lost too many times, but i was told by United when i called before i flew that i couldn't carry-on anything on my rack (sport rack - they said it could be used as a weapon), my rope, or my chalk without being hassled. i would check with the airline, and make sure you are talking to somebody that has the authority to actually answer your questions, not just say "i think that would be ok".


climbhigh23


Nov 21, 2002, 12:09 PM
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one more thing i forgot. before you check your gear (if you do), take pictures of all of your gear. that way, if the airline does loose your luggage, you will have an easier time getting them to replace it. (this is just a hypothesis, but every time they have lost my luggage in the past, they have given me sh1t about what i claimed - never lost climbing gear, but scuba diving gear is almost as bad)


redpoint73


Nov 22, 2002, 11:06 AM
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For us US folks, I am pretty sure carrying-on climbing gear is a thing of the past. The guys who posted above about carrying it on, I suspect this was before Saptember 11, 2001. The stuff is metal, some of it is sharp (nut tools), it can be used as a weapon as far as airlines are concerned.

Check you gear and hope for the best. They lose luggage a lot, but it usually just turns up in the wrong place. Someone correct me if I am wrong. But I know a lot of people that have had bags "delayed" (sent to the wrong destination)-- so you get it several days late. I don't know anyone that has actually had their luggage completely "lost".

If your luggage is completely lost, the airline will usually reimburse you up to around $1000. If you have homeowners/renters insurance, it will probably cover the rest (minus deductible and depreciation). If you don't have renters/homeowners insurance, get it. It will even cover you if someone breaks into your car and steals your gear (happened to me).

As far as packing, Hereis waht I do. Get a big haul bag or gear duffel. Try to get one with wheels, even though they are expensive (usually around $100). Trust me on this one, you will thank me later. Backpacks have too many straps for the conveyors,or may open up on accident. I know people that check their backpacks succesfully. But you stand a good chance of having your pack ripped to shreds by teh conveyor. If you have to, maybe tape the straps so they are not loose?

If you bring a big haul bag or duffel, you can stuff you camping gear, sleeping bag in it also. And maybe carry clothes in another smaller bag. Buy locks for the zippers. More to prevent the bags from opening and dumping the contents, then preventing theft.

Don't even think of packing stove fuel in any form. You'll have to plan on buying it at your destination.



redpoint73


Nov 22, 2002, 11:11 AM
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One more thing. Try to get a direct flight, or as few connections as possible. Every time they have to swith your checked bags to another plane, you double your chances of your luggage getting lost.


climbhigh23


Nov 22, 2002, 12:04 PM
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good point on the direct flight too, forgot about that. if you do lock your luggage though, you are almost 100% sure it will have to be searched. just unlock it for them without being a smart a$$, and you'll be on your way. the guy in front of me checking his bags wouldn't unlock them for the security guard, and they sent him to a "private room" to be searched.


tradguy


Nov 22, 2002, 12:31 PM
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The funny thing about flying with climbing gear is that even though the airport security is supposedly federalized now, they still aren't consistent from one airport to the next. Flying from Indianapolis last weekend, I had 1 large cam in my carry-on (was taking it to a friend's place to repair broken trigger wires). They pulled it out, looked at it, discussed it with supervisor, and decided it was ok. On the way back, after we repaired it, the Minneapolis airport did the same thing, except they decided it could be used as a weapon, and there weren't going to let me take it. When I appealed, they got the "supervisor" who looked at it:

Sup: "Sorry, it's a dual purpose item. You can't take it on the plane"
Me: "It only has 1 purpose, that being to place in a crack to hold climbing falls." Sup: "It could also be used as a weapon."
Me: "How? It doesn't have any sharp edges."
Sup: "It's hard and you could hit someone with it."
Me: "Yeah, well laptops are hard, and you could hit someone with those too, but you let everyone carry them on. And what about liquor bottles? You could smash one over someone's head, and if that doesn't do them in, you could slit their neck with the broken glass."
Sup: "Well that's different."
Me: "How?"
Sup: "Sorry, you can't take it."
Me: "Is there anyone else I can talk to about this?"
Sup: "No."
Me: "They let me carry it on when I came here from Indianapolis."
Sup: "That was their decision. We say no."
Me: "I thought this was a federal operation now. Shouldn't you have some consitency?"
Sup: "I just do my job. You can't take that."

I was then escorted out of the security area and told to either check my carry-on, or mail the cam to myself, at my own expense. It was total BS, but what I learned is that you are completely and totally at the mercy of the supervisor in charge of each particular screening area. If they say no go, you are screwed. They wouldn't even escort me with my bag to the gate to check it there. I had to go back down to the baggage claim area, exit the airport, go up to the ticketing area, and check the bag there. Huge pain in the ass. My harness, shoes, chalk bag, belay device, and biners didn't seem to pose any problems, though.


tradguy


Nov 22, 2002, 12:53 PM
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Airline liability for "lost" luggage is $2500 for domestic US flights, and a certain amount per pound, capped at $450, for international.

I have a good friend who got his climbing gear stolen off the baggage claim carousel in Ontario, CA, because they put the bags out before the passengers were off the plane, and someone walked up and grabbed it. Some of the stuff was recovered when the theif tried to sell the gear at a climbing gym, but much of it was not. It was a pretty crappy deal, when you're planning to spend a week+ in Joshua Tree, and your stuff gets swiped. The airline ended up paying for everything, but it still cost them a few days of climbing, and alot of headaches.


marcel


Nov 22, 2002, 1:00 PM
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I checked baggage with gear from Alaska to Germany last fall. No problems at all. Even with customs coming back into Seattle. They didn't even ask what the gear was for when they looked through baggage.
In the last year I've flown over 60 flights with no lost luggage. It sure seems to me that the airlines have gotten much better about loosing gear over the last few years.


leaverbiner


Nov 22, 2002, 1:45 PM
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I posted earlier recommending carrying gear on the plane and someone questioned whether it was pre 9/11 or post . . . I have done both . . . but I think the follow up regarding the inconsistencies is the most accurate post . . . you may get it through you may not. I would show up early for your flight try to carry it on, and worst case scenario you have to go back and check it . . . I have lost luggage, as in totally lost never recovered, going from Philly to North Carolina! Nonstop! I also lost luggage going to Europe, but got it back a month and a half later. It really sucks, so I now try to carry on the important things . .. but also, as a final note, don't be one of "those people" that brings 2 or more huge carry ons taking up all the overhead space and being a pain to the rest of the passengers . . . I really get annoyed by "those people"!!



rockpossum


Nov 23, 2002, 12:58 PM
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Years ago, leaving Dallas-Ft. Worth, I was detained by a huge State Trooper type (crew cut smoky the bear hat, big pointy badge, even bigger gun on hip) when X-ray tech noticed "shackles" in my carry on. I was able to convince him of the innocent nature of my trip and possesions but I still ended up "giving" my favorite biners to my new friend Smoky. Was happy to end it there as he had very big hands.

Even more years ago was detained with a friend leaving Rome airport due to climbing gear as carry on. This was 2 weeks after a Red Brigade bombing at the very same airport. When they told us we had to relenquish our gear in order to board the plane, my friend blew a gasket loudly pointing out that we were Canadian citizens (yes we do it too)and all that. We were quickly looking down the barrel of a small machine gun, held by a Carabinieri Policemen who looked like he was enjoying some light duty with the tourists. We walked away from our gear.

Moral of the Story: The people with guns at the airports are always right.


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