Flying with an “Avalanche Rescue Backpack” IATA regs, (this does not cover flying internally in the USA)
You are allowed to fly with "avalanche rescue backpack" and cylinder on airlines regardless of the gas in the cylinder and any trigger handles as on the ABS branded bags.
You should follow the procedure below to make sure that your flight goes as smoothly as possible.
Inform your airline that you are travelling with one "avalanche rescue backpack" as allowed in the IATA regulations table. Make sure you do this within 2 weeks of flying and ask them to confirm, via email (print off a copy of this and take with you when flying).
Print off two copies of the IATA table 23A 2014, put one copy with the airbag and the other copy keep with you’re own documents when flying.
(Please see pdf link at the bottom of this page)
Always check in the whole airbag to go in hold luggage, do not try and take on as hand luggage. (it says you can in the regulations but this is not advised)
Make sure the cylinder and or triggers are not attached to the airbag and that the shipping caps on the top of the cylinder are in place.
Many people find that you will be called to outsize luggage by airport security to explain what is in your luggage, so allow a little extra time for this. Explain what the item is and show the regulations and information you have from the airline about flying with the airbag. If the normal security people are difficult be firm and ask to speak to a manager. This usually works the more senior members of airport security have better training and know about avalanche rescue backpacks.
When talking with airport security try and avoid using the term "airbag" and use "avalanche rescue backpack"
I have only heard of one customer who has had a problem, and this was because they tried to take on board with them as hand luggage; please don't try this with the current security at worldwide airports they do not allow it.
If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. You might also find the topic, Flying with Avalanche airbag system on Snowheads Forum useful there is lots of information from people and some of our customers about their flying experiences.
UPDATE for 1st January 2013 The new IATA regs have dropped the size limitation on the gas cylinder, it now just states one cylinder per person on the backup notes it still says a small cylinder so it will be interesting to see how this is applied by airport security, any feedback most welcome.
UPDATE for the 1st January 2014, there were no changes.
fOR 2015 The drafts we have seen are no change again, if in doubt please contact us.