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Collapsible poles allowed on BA?

Camino(s) past & future
June/July 2015
#1
I had planned to zip tie my hiking poles. Are they allowed or would it be easier to buy poles when I get to Lisbon? Thanks!
 

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MikeJS

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis (2011), Norte (2012), VdlP (Apr 2016). Sureste/Invierno (Apr/May 2017).
#2
I have always taken my poles apart and put them in my rucksack and have never had a problem on any carrier inc BA. Don’t forget that walking sticks are allowed for the less able-bodied and they cannot discriminate against anyone that is not less able-bodied!!
 

tillyjones

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2015
VDLP May 2017
del Norte Sept 2018
#3
I have always taken my poles apart and put them in my rucksack and have never had a problem on any carrier inc BA. Don’t forget that walking sticks are allowed for the less able-bodied and they cannot discriminate against anyone that is not less able-bodied!!
I'm not sure about that. Under Human Rights, it's discrimination to enforce a policy that will cause a disadvantage to someone who has a particular need. Its not discrimination to enforce a policy to someone who doesn't have a particular need just because somebody else does.

It would be discrimination to refuse to fly someone who was obese, because they didn't fit into one seat. It is not discrimination to refuse me the right to have two seats to myself when I don't need them.

Anyway, I believe walking poles are banned from the cabin (because of the pointy bit), but it's not consistently enforced. They might let them through if they don't know they're there or they are convinced you have a disability and require them or they don't even know they're not allowed. (Of course if they're a viable weapon, then they shouldn't be on the plane at all and they should just assist someone's transfer into the plane)

And I don't think its the airline that makes the rule...the same rules apply to all airlines I think...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled from León to Santiago (2017)
#4
Hi Kate,

In short the answer is: "it all depends" on the personnel at the airport. I have the same dilemma flying from Dublin. Today, I think I will chance it, tomorrow I think not. My plan is to buy sticks at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and leave them behind when returning home. I think (hope) buying them in SJPdP is less expensive than paying for them with Ryanair (outward) and Aer Lingus (return). They may even stop me bringing my backpack on as hand luggage and if so, then I will feel a right fool for leaving my sticks at home. I guess this is all part of the Camino. The pity is when you get to Santiago you will see lots of sticks left at the Pilgrim's Reception Office -- no idea what happens to them.

Buen Camino

Tony
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 CF
2014 Le Puy-St Jean
2014, 2016 Volunteer St JP
2016 Portuguese
2017 Porto-Santiago
2018
#5
Ki Kate
my recent experiences are that airlines no longer allow walking poles on board even if collapsed in my backpack.
I have been twice stopped in the UK and even flying OUT of Santiago they would not let them on board so I had to check them in. Fortunately no charge compared to leaving the UK and having to pay £30 for checked luggage. If you check luggage you can also include a small knife and other items which can't be taken on board.
Yes it will depend on the security person and they show up inside the backpack through the scanner. A recent fellow I walked with from Seville just buys a cheaper pair on arrival and gives them away at the end.
Good luck
happymark
 

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#6
Here is a general note put together by some moderators and forum members. Please note that this is GENERAL commentary, and that country variations are important to check out. For instance, I continue to carry on my poles through US TSA (as recently as May 17, 2018) and through Madrid security on April 12, 2018. I think Madrid's policy is in fllux now, because I know several people who have been stopped with poles, while others like me, have continued to carry them on. This means that a backup plan for checking is essential, just in case your poles are denied. Or, you can check them, of course, running the risk that they will get lost as mine were years ago, which is what prompted my carry-on policy in the first place.


NOTE FROM MODS:

Several months back, when some of the posts were getting very belligerent on the topic of whether you can carry your hiking poles onto the plane, several members put their heads together to come up with a non-judgmental (yes, believe it or not, some people do get judgmental on this topic) summary of what can be said factually about the topic. People continue to want to do it, either because of short connections, the hassles created if they go missing (that was the trigger for me), etc.

Thanks to those clear thinkers:

1. Written or posted guidance provided by airlines and security agencies often specifies "No hiking poles," without clarification of type or size. However, in many countries, the actual legally binding documents do not say hiking poles are prohibited. If asked, the airlines generally say "No hiking poles."

2. In practice you will likely not be permitted to carry full-size uncollapsed hiking poles into the cabin.

3.Many people who carry folded-up poles are allowed to carry them on (see the last point for the one clear exception).

4.Walking aids are permitted if the passenger needs them for mobility.

5.The security agents at all airports have authority to prohibit anything they decide is a potential hazard. It is not a good idea to argue with them. The security staff are not connected with the airlines.

6. If you want to carry your poles into the cabin, no matter what type, go prepared with time and an alternative packing plan in case you are not permitted to take them.

7. Finally, poles are never allowed through security at Santiago airport, when you are leaving, so you must have them as checked luggage. According to a direct communication from the Santiago airport in early 2018, all airlines will allow passengers leaving Santiago to check their poles for free.

Since these are generalizations, there will be lots of different individual experiences, but this list should help you decide what the risks are and how to go to the airport prepared with a plan B.

Thanks everyone a civil discussioin of what is sometimes a contentious topic!
 

salmburg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
june 2015
#7
Just flew Iberia ( codeshare with BA ) from Chicago to Madrid in May. Had two collapsible hiking poles tie-wrapped together. Asked TSA if they were OK for carry-on. They asked, "are these hiking poles"? They said OK. Coming home, flew British Airways from Madrid to London, and then London to Chicago. Put poles in backpack. No problems. But last year, had flown Madrid-Paris-Toronto on Air France. Poles were put in backpack, and were missing when picked up baggage in Toronto. Filed a lost luggage claim with Air France. They found the poles and mailed them to me in Michigan about 1 week later.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 SdeC, 2014 Leon to SdeC, 2015 SJPP to Estella, 2016 SJPP to Burgos, 2017 SJPP to SdeC
#8
I have flown from UK to Biarritz and once to Santiago with a 65ltr backpack and trekking poles without any problems. The pack is too large to be cabin luggage so has been carried in the hold, using a lightweight zipup luggage bag which takes the backpack with poles cable tied to the backpack has worked each of the five times I have walked on the Camino.
I have seen others who had their poles refused when they were just fixed to the outside of their backpack and intended for the hold.
Hope this is helpful and I express my envy as this is the first time since 2013 I have not been able to walk on the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#9
Ki Kate
my recent experiences are that airlines no longer allow walking poles on board even if collapsed in my backpack.
I have been twice stopped in the UK and even flying OUT of Santiago they would not let them on board so I had to check them in. Fortunately no charge compared to leaving the UK and having to pay £30 for checked luggage. If you check luggage you can also include a small knife and other items which can't be taken on board.
Yes it will depend on the security person and they show up inside the backpack through the scanner. A recent fellow I walked with from Seville just buys a cheaper pair on arrival and gives them away at the end.
Good luck
happymark
I called TSA. They do not allow any kind of walking stick at all inside the cabin of the plane at least out of California.
 

salmburg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
june 2015
#10
Then TSA has variable enforcement of carry-on walking sticks from city to city, and the particular individual who is manning the security station at the airport, or that is their only response over the phone.
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#11
My question is this. If it costs $45 to check my poles, it is better just to buy them once I get there? Flying in to Paris then the train down to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Can I buy walking sticks there or should I just get them here and pay the money? I know nothing about walking sticks but feel they will help me. Or, do I take the chance and then buy new ones if they take them away as they said they would? What do decent poles cost there? Any help is ap
 
Camino(s) past & future
1st 9/18
#12
Then TSA has variable enforcement of carry-on walking sticks from city to city, and the particular individual who is manning the security station at the airport, or that is their only response over the phone.
It is their official stance, but very often it is disregarded. It entirely depends on the TSA agent you get.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#13
I had planned to zip tie my hiking poles. Are they allowed or would it be easier to buy poles when I get to Lisbon? Thanks!
BA isn't going to be looking at what's in your carry-on, but TSA will be. As has been mentioned, hiking poles are technically not allowed, but many people seem to get through with them. You can try, but have a contingency plan.
 

kalavati

One more time!
Camino(s) past & future
May (2014), Camino Frances, SJPdP 28 April. to Muxia
May (2016)- Again,better rain gear
#14
I wouldn't be without my ergonomic "Pacer Poles" They save my knees, esp. downhill, they also give me "Extra Legs" so I can walk uphill. I put them in my pack, separated, and put my pack in a rice bag, and sew it up. (Yes I save the needle and coarse thread, on a bit of thick paper, and shove it in at the last minute. Worked great the last 2 times. I check the whole thing. Saves the pack from damage, again in Sept!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPdP-Burgos, 2015)
Camino Frances (Burgos-Sarria, 2018)
Sarria-Santiago (fall 2018)
#15
My question is this. If it costs $45 to check my poles, it is better just to buy them once I get there? Flying in to Paris then the train down to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Can I buy walking sticks there or should I just get them here and pay the money? I know nothing about walking sticks but feel they will help me. Or, do I take the chance and then buy new ones if they take them away as they said they would? What do decent poles cost there? Any help is ap
You can buy poles in St. Jean. There are shops right on the main street going to the pilgrims office.

I bought poles in Pamplona a couple years ago. I don't recall exactly what I paid, but 40€ sticks in my mind. The salesman said they were neither the best not the worst. He showed me how to adjust them and how to properly walk with them, both very important. Since St. Jean is pretty much dedicated to pilgrims, I'm sure you will find helpful salespeople there as well.

As far as I'm concerned, my walking poles -- excuse me, I mean my beloved walking poles ;) -- are invaluable. I don't know how I would have managed without them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2010), Portugues (2011), Promitivo (2013), VdlP (2014), Camino Ingles (2016)
#16
Hi Kate,

In short the answer is: "it all depends" on the personnel at the airport. I have the same dilemma flying from Dublin. Today, I think I will chance it, tomorrow I think not. My plan is to buy sticks at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and leave them behind when returning home. I think (hope) buying them in SJPdP is less expensive than paying for them with Ryanair (outward) and Aer Lingus (return). They may even stop me bringing my backpack on as hand luggage and if so, then I will feel a right fool for leaving my sticks at home. I guess this is all part of the Camino. The pity is when you get to Santiago you will see lots of sticks left at the Pilgrim's Reception Office -- no idea what happens to them.

Buen Camino

Tony
Some years ago I checked with security at Dublin Airport in advance of my flight. They have no problem with collapsible poles being taken on board the aircraft. Since then I have taken them through many times without raising an eyebrow. I carry them inside my case or backpack.

I have taken the poles through four or five British Airports without being questioned.

I spoke to the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin and was told that the collapsible poles would not be allowed through security at any Spanish airport. The person I spoke to checked this put with Madrid just to be sure. I am glad the airlines are now making an exception in Santiago (see note elsewhere in this thread).

On a trip to Sicily I checked with Palermo Airport and was told the poles would have to go as checked-in baggage. This year I have taken them in my carry-on baggage on flights from Faro and Thessaloniki without being stopped, although I can now take the risk as I have a letter from my GP saying that I need the poles as a result of my PVD (PAD if you are in the US)

Liam
 
#18
My question is this. If it costs $45 to check my poles, it is better just to buy them once I get there? Flying in to Paris then the train down to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Can I buy walking sticks there or should I just get them here and pay the money? I know nothing about walking sticks but feel they will help me. Or, do I take the chance and then buy new ones if they take them away as they said they would? What do decent poles cost there? Any help is ap
It might be a good idea to practice walking with poles at home, before you start your walk. I tripped over mine the first time I used them, on a mountain at home, years ago.
Once walking, you’ll soon find your own rhythm with them ... I found myself doing what I later discovered is called ‘Nordic walking’ with mine.

@Bala .. mine are also ‘my beloved walking poles’ :)
Having said that, my daughter was forever picking them up and asking me if I had forgotten something, after I’d paid for coffees etc. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#19
You can buy them super cheap from the Chinese Bazaars which are everywhere. My brother brought some and they worked well for two weeks, he then gave them to someone else when he left.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#20
I spoke to the Spanish Tourist Office in Dublin and was told that the collapsible poles would not be allowed through security at any Spanish airport. The person I spoke to checked this put with Madrid just to be sure. I am glad the airlines are now making an exception in Santiago (see note elsewhere in this thread).
The sentence I've marked in bold above seems to have it backwards. Poles are never allowed through security at Santiago airport, but collapsible ones are often allowed through at other airports in Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#21
The sentence I've marked in bold above seems to have it backwards. Poles are never allowed through security at Santiago airport, but collapsible ones are often allowed through at other airports in Spain.
Although poles are ever allowed as carry-on on at the Santiago Airport I've read here that all the airlines that fly out of Santiago will allow you to check them in for FREE.
 

witsendwv

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2015)
#22
I wouldn't be without my ergonomic "Pacer Poles" They save my knees, esp. downhill, they also give me "Extra Legs" so I can walk uphill. I put them in my pack, separated, and put my pack in a rice bag, and sew it up. (Yes I save the needle and coarse thread, on a bit of thick paper, and shove it in at the last minute. Worked great the last 2 times. I check the whole thing. Saves the pack from damage, again in Sept!
Your use of the rice bag is a great idea. I hate checking our packs without a cover. I do not use large enough quantities of rice to acquire a bag, but I do have feed bags for horses and chickens that are similar material. I am going to try it out. Thanks for mentioning this.
 

JohnJocys

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata
#23
We had no problem flying out to Madrid with our poles in our packs (carry-on) but on the return flight from Madrid they were confiscated: 'This is not allowed in Spain'.
We had the opportunity to have them sent as hold bacggage but it was Ryanair and their charges would have exceeded the cost of the poles.
So...the airline aren't mithered, it's security at the airports that's the problem.
 
#24
We had no problem flying out to Madrid with our poles in our packs (carry-on) but on the return flight from Madrid they were confiscated: 'This is not allowed in Spain'.
We had the opportunity to have them sent as hold bacggage but it was Ryanair and their charges would have exceeded the cost of the poles.
So...the airline aren't mithered, it's security at the airports that's the problem.
This is a good heads up, since it seems like the policy of Spanish security at Madrid airport is in flux. Several friends and I (coming on different flights) all carried our poles on the plane and through security in Madrid for our transfer to a flight to Almeria in April of this year, no problem. I also had no problem on my return home through Madrid in May. But John''s post highlights how important it is to have a Plan B for back-up. I always have a plan for checking them if need be, but so far, now ten years after I stopped checking my poles when the airlines lost them, I have been lucky.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#25
We had no problem flying out to Madrid with our poles in our packs (carry-on) but on the return flight from Madrid they were confiscated
Can you tell us what type of poles they were? Folding? Aluminum? Carbon fiber? It could make a big difference.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2010), Portugues (2011), Promitivo (2013), VdlP (2014), Camino Ingles (2016)
#26
The sentence I've marked in bold above seems to have it backwards. Poles are never allowed through security at Santiago airport, but collapsible ones are often allowed through at other airports in Spain.
Sorry, Just noticing this now. When I said that the airlines are making an exception I meant that they are accepting poles as check-in baggage at Santiago without charging. I have no first hand experience but that is my understanding from other postings.
Liam
 

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