Wednesday, March 13, 2013

TSA policy change affects Tripods in carry-on

Transportation Security Administration LogoTSA Administrator John Pistole, speaking at a conference in New York on March 5, 2013, announced a major policy change for carry-on items beginning April 25, 2013. While it doesn't name tripods themselves, it clearly implies a change in attitude toward them being taken into airplane cabins in the US.

The details of the policy change were detailed in a statement on TSA's website. In the statement on Changes to the Prohibited Items List it says,

“Through TSA’s layered approach to security, and to align more closely with International Civil Aviation Organization standards, effective April 25, 2013 TSA will allow knives that do not lock, and have blades that are 2.36 inches or 6 centimeters or less in length and are less than 1/2 inch in width, novelty-sized and toy bats, billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs as part of their carry-on baggage. This is part of an overall Risk-Based Security approach, which allows Transportation Security Officers to better focus their efforts on finding higher threat items such as explosives.”
In forbidding tripods to be carried into the cabin of airplanes, TSA TSO's (Transportation Security Officers) generally have stated they can be used just like hockey sticks and golf clubs, so they can't be taken on the plane.
In recent years, many, if not most TSA TSO's haven't forbidden tripods from going in planes' cabin, if carried totally inside a carry-on bag, but to say the least, the TSO's have been very inconsistent in making that decision. The have, more often than not, forbidden tripods from being carried directly into planes' cabins, when not totally inside carry-on bags.
This new ruling eliminates the typical ammunition TSA TSO's used to not permit tripods as carry-on. Now that billiard cues, ski poles, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks and two golf clubs can be brought into planes' cabins, TSA TSO's can no longer compare them to hockey sticks and golf clubs to justify banning them being taken into the planes' cabins.
I think photographers continue to need to remove spikes from their tripod's legs or they will still run afoul of the TSA TSO's.

Please note that the Flight Attendants Organization, and others in the aviation industry have asked for this policy change to be reviewed and reconsidered, so this welcome ruling for photographers is still in flux, and not a sure thing.


Charles - Miami said...

Nothing with TSA is easy. Is it?

Ned S. Levi said...


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