Flying together with your inflatable PDF

PFD_200x150OK…  You’re planning your sailing adventure but feel naked without your trusty PFD. I do. My Type V PFD is comfortable, auto inflating, strobed, has a built-in harness with a McMurdo FastFind PLB tethered in the pocket. 

Why leave it at home? Well, it contains a CO2 cartridge that the DOT and FAA considers a hazardous material with a $1,500 fine. So my options are leave it at home or take without a CO2 cartridge?  Nope. According to CFAR Title 49 Part 175.10 (a) 11 says, “A self-inflating life jacket fitted with no more than two small gas cartridges (containing no hazardous material other than a Div. 2.2 gas) for inflation purposes plus no more than two spare cartridges. The lifejacket and spare cartridges may be carried in carry-on or checked baggage, with the approval of the aircraft operator

So now you’re cleared for takeoff? No so fast. It says, “with the approval of the aircraft operator. ” So Delta, yes… United, no… How to find out? Look it up on their website or email their customer service as I’d like to have it in writing.  I’ve left a few behind after a sailboat deliveries due to the owners choice of my return flight.

Ready to go? Arrive to the security checkpoint early. Then if you’re going toe-to-toe with TSA you can deflate their pat “it will take a while for my supervisor to arrive” ploy. I have ALWAYS have a copy of CFAR Title 49 Part 175.10 (a) 11  and the airline’s policy on top of my PFD. Truth be told I’ve only had one full-on with TSA at BWI over one of my students PFD. Was waved on once when the PFD held up to a supervisor at TPA. These were a couple years ago. All my recent flights have been trouble-free. As sailors we’re always prepared, right?

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