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flying with trekking poles

jayney

New Member
Hi any Canadians,
that have flown Air Canada. How did you pack your poles? We have been told they need to be in a sturdy container, eg. postal tube or similar.
thanks...Jayne
 
I collapsed mine down as far as they could go & put them in a duffle bag with some other stuff that can't be carried on, like shampoo. I took onboard with me the things that I didn't want to risk losing (like my boots & socks). Once in Spain, I mailed the extra stuff to my hotel in Madrid, which held it for me until I arrived. :)

Kelly
 

trundle

New Member
I sent this question to the Canadian Air Transportation Security Office and got this reply.

Dear Mr. Friesen:

Thank you for your electronic mail message of July 21, 2008, to Transport Canada, regarding hiking poles in baggage. I apologize for the delay in replying.

While hiking poles are not specifically listed on Transport Canada's list of items prohibited in carry-on baggage at http://www.tc.gc.ca/publications/en/tp14628/list.htm, it is important to note that some items, depending on their size, shape or other characteristics, may be classified as penetrating objects and thus prohibited by the screening authority because of their possible adaptability and/or dual use.

The air carrier also retains the right to refuse any item it feels could present a threat to aviation security. If a passenger is unsure whether an item will be permitted in their carry-on baggage, they should pack the item in their checked baggage and/or contact their air carrier in advance of their departure date for more information. Your air carrier may also be able to help you to determine the best way to transport your hiking poles safely.

Thank you again for writing.


Security Communications Desk / Service des renseignements de la sûreté
Facsimile / Télécopieur: (613) 990-5046 | TTY / ATS (613) 990-4500
SecurityCommunicationsDesk@tc.gc.ca
Transport Canada | Place de Ville, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N5
Transports Canada | Place de Ville, Ottawa (Ontario) K1A 0N5
Government of Canada | Gouvernement du Canada

When I check-in in two weeks (Yes, only 2 weeks to go!) I'll have my postal tube ready to use if I have to but will first try to have Air Canada approve my poles.

Regards,

Trundle
 

lanval

Member
I don't know specifically about treking poles, but I was able to check in the walking stick that I bought at the albergue in Roncesvalles. It is a stout, four-foot piece of wood with a metal tip.

As a matter of fact, I flew all over Spain and Germany with it. They all treated it as over-sized baggage (and not one airline charged me extra even though it took me past my baggage limit) and just slapped a tracing sticker on it. It now proudly hangs by my front door in Canada. :)

I would assume of you strap the two together it would be fine. However the postal tube idea would prevent any accidental damage.
 

30daystosantiago

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 solo and 2013 with wife and toddler
I packed my poles in my back pack and then checked my bags...the pole just did fit in my bag in its collapsed form.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
With so many pilgrims' bags going missing, in Madrid, Barcelona, and not arriving in Pamplona, we recommend that they take their backpacks into the cabin and check their poles, cutlery, nail clippers, 100ml+ liquids etc in a postal tube or long box.
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
Hi

I didn't fly with Air Canada but flew with Air Transat from Canada and RyanAir in Europe and in each case I strapped my collpapsed poles securely to my pack and checked in the pack and there was no problem.

John
 

dreamwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis August - October 2014
Wondering if United Airlines allows z-poles as carry-on? I will call them today, or check them along with swiss army knife and extra lotion.
 

Bill54

New Member
I flew from Edmonton to Madrid last September, and had carry-on luggage only. My collapsible walking sticks were in my back pack, but I removed the carbon tips and had the tips in with my toiletries. This way with blunt ends, my poles were not perceived as a possible weapon.
 

dreamwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis August - October 2014
I think I'll place my poles inside my backpack and will remove my tips. I understand that whatever UA tell me today on the phone could turn out to be a different situation for me while entering security. :/
 

dreamwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis August - October 2014
I flew from Edmonton to Madrid last September, and had carry-on luggage only. My collapsible walking sticks were in my back pack, but I removed the carbon tips and had the tips in with my toiletries. This way with blunt ends, my poles were not perceived as a possible weapon.
Thanks, Bill! Well, I did call United Airlines. He said trekking poles were okay, just remove the tips. I'm going to believe him and do just that and what you suggested and worked for you. Decided to buy a swiss army knife in Europe, so we're going strictly carry-on. What a relief. :D Now to weight all my kit and determine how much me thinks I can carry. I loved walking with 13 lbs! Couldn't even feel the pack on me. Hoping I can whittle down to that. :)
 

Walk This Way

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago (2014)
Anybody have any experience with flying with hiking poles? Allowed, not allowed? Do you have to check them or have a "bag" just for them? Can't find any rules to follow on the airlines page. Suggestions or experiences?
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
They are banned from hand luggage in the EU so taking them trough is risky. I once manage to get one through from UK to France but had it confiscated on the way out of SDC.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
This is a tricky one. I was told by the Dublin Airport Authority that I could not carry walking poles unless I needed them for mobility purposes, like a walking stick, but after checking in my bag and waiting to depart I met several pilgrims with theirs strapped to their hand luggage packs. In SDC I checked in my bag with poles, saw poles being taken from some people and checked in for a fee of €20.00 but in the waiting area prior to boarding again saw several pilgrims with their poles strapped to their hand luggage packs. I asked one woman, who we had walked with from Sarria, how she got them through and she said "no one mentioned them so neither did I". So there you have it, take your poles and take your chances. :)
 

rickster

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012), LePuy (2013), Coastal Portuguese( 2013), Norte (Fall 2014)
I think the best advice is hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. I have had TSA reject and TSA pass, same airlines reject and then pass the next time. There is no consistency. Pacer poles present an event bigger issue from the standpoint that they do not fit in the packing tubes and the handles can't be removed, so I may be forced to take the advice of Kelly as a backup plan.
 
P

PANO

Guest
Anybody have any experience with flying with hiking poles? Allowed, not allowed? Do you have to check them or have a "bag" just for them? Can't find any rules to follow on the airlines page. Suggestions or experiences?
Buy telescopic ones, put them in your pack and check it in. Or support the local economy and buy a pair at your starting point. :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

pilgrim b

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances 2013-Ingles 2014-Frances 2015
St Cuthbert's Way 2017-Via Francigena 2018 & 2019
I guess from these answers that you have to be lame , dumb or lucky to carry your poles on board with the airport authorities.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Some poles telescope down more than others. Might that make a difference? I didn't think the poles I used telescoped down far enough so I didn't take the chance carrying them on board with me; instead I put them in a tube and checked them.
 

pilgrim b

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances 2013-Ingles 2014-Frances 2015
St Cuthbert's Way 2017-Via Francigena 2018 & 2019
Now that is interesting information please tell more how do you remove the carbon tips Bill ?
 

pilgrim b

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances 2013-Ingles 2014-Frances 2015
St Cuthbert's Way 2017-Via Francigena 2018 & 2019
We have two threads on walking pole transit at the moment "Flying with Trekking poles" not literally of course. With some info on removing carbon tips and getting through attached to packs. Moderators (the posts probably could be joined together)what do you think?
 

Bill54

New Member
Pilgrim b, I have Black Diamond carbon fiber poles that I bought at Sport Chek [Canadian Sports chain] and they come in set lengths, depending on your height. The tips just screw off. The pole collapses into lengths of 42 cm, so I would always collapse them and put it in my back pack for the night, instead of leaving them in the containers outside the doors of the albergues!

I also bought rubber tips to put over the carbon tips when I was walking on pavement, that way you did not have the annoying clicking sound. Hope that helps!
 

november_moon

Veteran Member
We checked our poles just to be safe. My pack is small enough to be used as a carry-on, but we checked my husband's pack so that we could bring non-carry-on approved items (like a pocket knife and extra sunblock) - and put the poles in with his checked pack.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
Anybody have any experience with flying with hiking poles? Allowed, not allowed? Do you have to check them or have a "bag" just for them? Can't find any rules to follow on the airlines page. Suggestions or experiences?

Tricky one my friend. Each airline seems to have it's own rules:confused:

I've found the most favourable way is to check in my pack with the poles inside. That has been acceptable by Ryanair, EasyJet, Thompson, air tours and First Choice flying from the UK.

Hope this helps.:p
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Before I add my two cents, can I ask where you will be flying from? I have carried my poles on board every year for the last five or six years, never a problem. But I fly US-Spain with no intermediate stops, so things may be different with a different country of departure. Buen camino, Laurie
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
We have two threads on walking pole transit at the moment "Flying with Trekking poles" not literally of course. With some info on removing carbon tips and getting through attached to packs. Moderators (the posts probably could be joined together)what do you think?
Thanks pilgrim b, I have merged them now.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
........ I have carried my poles on board every year for the last five or six years, never a problem. But I fly US-Spain with no intermediate stops, so things may be different with a different country of departure. Buen camino, Laurie
peregrina, do you strap them to the outside of your pack, or do you tuck them away inside? And how long are they when totally collapsed? Thanks much :)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, Charleen,

I take them apart and put them inside a duffel bag, just so that I can check them in a rush if someone in security won't let them through. But that has never happened yet!

Then when I get to Spain, I mail the duffel bag, my airplane pillow and my headphones for the flight in a box up to my hotel in Santiago. When I get to Santiago, I put the poles back in the duffel. I always check them on the way home, because I fly out of Santiago, and many people in the know have told me that the Santiago airport has an absolute ban on carrying on hiking poles. It also gives me a lot of space for bringing home my favorite olive oils, lentils, garbanzo beans, pimenton etc. ;) (And not that you asked, but many people do -- I have never had a breakage with plastic olive oil bottles, usually wrapped in my hiking clothes, etc., but I do pay attention to how sturdy the plastic feels to me. I have also been lucky with glass bottles, but I worry less with plastic).

Buen camino, Laurie
 

petitewalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 fall), Camino Portuguese (fall 2017)
Before I add my two cents, can I ask where you will be flying from? I have carried my poles on board every year for the last five or six years, never a problem. But I fly US-Spain with no intermediate stops, so things may be different with a different country of departure. Buen camino, Laurie
Which airline are tou flying?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Tricky one my friend. Each airline seems to have it's own rules:confused:
Don't blame the airlines. The ban on poles as carry-on items is from the various national air safety authorities. It is applied by the airport security staff, who are, after all, human and we have have to accept may occasionally overlook something in their checking. I don't think one could rely on that.

I have always been amused by the suggestion when it comes up from time to time in this forum that a pilgrim about to walk perhaps several hundred kilometres across Spain would claim that their poles were a mobility aid required to assist them walk the aisle of a plane to their seat! Apart from the obvious idiocy of the suggestion, why would you want to start your pilgrimage with a lie?
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
It seems to me, from experience, that the problem turns up when you go through security. Never when you are checking in, meaning that it has nothing to do with the airline you intend to travel on.
Santiago airport is famous for confiscating your poles at the security post. You should see how many poles are dumped near the guard. It's amazing ( I've seen it)!
We have always been successful taking the collapsed poles in our pack on the plane, until last year, when at security, ( S. José, Costa Rica), they wouldn't allow them through. My husband simply went back to the check in area and had them wrapped up in that plastic wrap stuff and then checked them in. It took him about 15 minutes to do the job and be back through security.
On my outward journey, I would NEVER check in my backpack. There are all the essential things in it! If I lost my poles, then I would simply buy them in Spain. No big deal. But at least, that's only one item and not all the resa of the essentials in the pack. Anne
 
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dreamwalker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis August - October 2014
Just called Alaskan Air and my z-poles are banned by TSA. She was surprised that United Airlines said they were Okay for carry-on. So I'm getting a tube to put them in, also will include our Swiss Army knife and lotion -- will check them all the way to CDG and repack there. She also said buying z-poles were quite expensive in Europe. Good to know now, rather than at the airport(s)! Plan on buying a bag in Madrid for poles/gifts for our return flight home.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
I tried to remove the tips of my poles but it's not possible - only expensive ones like Leki will let you do that. I think the best option for me is to send it to the hotel I have booked the first night and pick them up from there. I sent an email asking in English and then got a phone call in Spanish - we obviously didn't communicate very well but I am hoping to manage a Spanish email next!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Just called Alaskan Air and my z-poles are banned by TSA. She was surprised that United Airlines said they were Okay for carry-on. So I'm getting a tube to put them in, also will include our Swiss Army knife and lotion -- will check them all the way to CDG and repack there. She also said buying z-poles were quite expensive in Europe. Good to know now, rather than at the airport(s)! Plan on buying a bag in Madrid for poles/gifts for our return flight home.

I'm not sure what z-poles are, but a google search brought up pictures of things that look my Leki poles. I've written this many times, including on this thread, but I go through TSA every year and have never had a problem carrying on my poles. I've gone through security at Dallas, New York, DC, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Newark, Philadelphia, on and on, and I've brought them with me. I'm not encouraging you to do something you aren't comfortable with, but I am just reporting my experience. I do always carry a duffel with me just in case I have to do a last minute check-in, but so far so good!
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
I tried to remove the tips of my poles but it's not possible - only expensive ones like Leki will let you do that. I think the best option for me is to send it to the hotel I have booked the first night and pick them up from there. I sent an email asking in English and then got a phone call in Spanish - we obviously didn't communicate very well but I am hoping to manage a Spanish email next!

The problem with shipping ahead from outside of Spain is dealing with Spanish customs, you'll have to pay customs duties on the stuff you are shipping over and I doubt the place you'll be shipping it to will pay for it. It would be cheaper to wrap or box them and check it. If you're flying from the US you're allowed one check in item with your ticket.
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
Really? Customs duty on stuff that isn't even new? I am flying from the UK and never thought this would be a problem inside the EU. Thanks for the heads up though, I'll just help the Spanish economy a bit extra and buy one when I get there, even if it seems a bit wasteful - Santiago must be full of left stuff. Or maybe I can find a left one?
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Really? Customs duty on stuff that isn't even new? I am flying from the UK and never thought this would be a problem inside the EU. Thanks for the heads up though, I'll just help the Spanish economy a bit extra and buy one when I get there, even if it seems a bit wasteful - Santiago must be full of left stuff. Or maybe I can find a left one?

Shipping from within the EU is a different story, from outside the EU, you'll end up paying duties.
 

design4life

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2014, 2015, 2018); Kumano Kodo (2019); Portugués (2020)
Assuming one wants to fly "carry-on" and not risk confiscation of poles, what kinds of poles are available for purchase in SJPP and at what price ranges? Are stores open Saturday afternoon/evening and Sunday morning?
 

DeadFred

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean-Los Arcos ,Sept, Oct 14'
Los Arcos - Logrono-May16'
Next Logrono to ? - Sept 2019
Spent 30 minutes with American Airlines today talking about trekking poles , I called for another reason but decided to tack this on the conversation while I had them on the phone . Gal I talked to ( very nice) didn't have the answer so she checked with the boss and the bosses boss who sent out a search party to find an answer ( slow day?) .. anyway , no policy however like peregrina2000 mentioned TSA is the authority who calls this shot and just like all quagmire bureaucracies there is no Black & White answer . Apparently it comes down to a judgement call by the badge wearer at the time you traverse the TSA threshold . In otherwords ... flip a coin.
 

billmatt

Camino Amigo
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Oct-Nov 2014
CF again Oct-Nov 2019
I got a note from my doctor mentioning my back surgery, heart surgery and steel plate in my tibia from mega-fracture in right leg. She merely stated that my condition might warrant use of poles at any time. I hoped to carry everything onboard.
I have Black Diamond Z-poles which fold very short and I want to keep them in my carryon pack when I fly from San Francisco to Pamplona to begin my Camino on Oct2. As a test run I put them in my carryon bag when I flew from SF to DC a week ago. I had my Dr. note handy but the bag went through Xray and TSA with no question. Same thing on my return flight. I hope this holds for my SF to NY, NY to Madrid and Madrid to Pamplona legs on my way to SJPP. I intend to carry my gear on board on the way to Spain and check it on the way back.
I'll report back how it went once I arrive with or without my poles.
Bill Mattinson
Sonoma County California USA
 

efdoucette

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011 Camino Frances
Since 2011 - too many to list
This is the answer I received from the Canadian Travel Agency.

"On behalf of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), we thank you for your e-mail dated August 15, 2014.

Transport Canada regulates what is permitted on board flights originating in Canada.These regulations are enforced by screening officers at pre-board security.

Hiking stick/poles (i.e. Nordic walking equipment) are not permitted through the security checkpoint; however, they are permitted in checked baggage. The only exception to this is if the hiking stick/pole is being used as a mobility aid (i.e. in place of a cane). A Screening Officer will inspect the stick as part of the screening process. If you are not able to walk through the metal detector unassisted, the Screening Officer will offer you a courtesy non-metallic cane (for temporary use for this purpose only)."
 

NancySpencerTracy

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September (2015)
I just flew from California to Madrid (Sept. 9, 2015) with my hiking poles sticking out of my 40L backpack as carry on luggage. Not a problem with TSA or the new baggage size requirements, even though the rubber tips were sticking out of the bag. I had previously made a bag out of rip stop fabric "just in case" for the poles (so I could check them on separately), but it wasn't needed. I flew on American/British Airways.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Not a problem with TSA
Pay your money, take your chances! There are more success stories than failures, but leaving Santiago, poles seem to be confiscated more often than not. ;)

It would be nice if TSA would make an affirmative declaration that sectioned trekking poles are permitted. Unfortunately, they ignore direct inquiries.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
The OP asked about flying out of Canada. I have no experience with flying out of Canada so cannot speak to that.

But...the question of flying from the USA has really been answered many times here and in many threads. A search will bring up many threads, almost as many as the threads on bedbugs.:)

1. NO ONE has reported here that the TSA has refused hiking poles to be carried through security in the USA. Some people seem to allude to it...but never first hand or specific. Just rumors.
If you have been declined by the TSA...report it here.

2. It makes no sense to ask the airlines as they do not search/inspect your pack after you arrive in the boarding area after the TSA check point.

3. I personally have connected through Frankfurt, Lisbon and Madrid with my poles in my pack. I have gone through security in each place with no question. This is multiple times.

4. You CANNOT carry poles on board in Santiago. They confiscate if you do not want to pay to check them in. I suspect there is a huge market somewhere for the confiscated poles. It seems strange that the only well known airport that denies/confiscates poles is the one place that has a consistent high volume. What do they do with them??

5. The bottom line...you can carry your poles on board in your pack in the USA.
Until someone can show that this is a false statement (with facts) it does not help to keep repeating that it is a problem. This is just adding to the worry of preparing for the Camino.
I will continue to carry mine on. If I were to get declined (for first time) I would try a different line/gate if possible. If not I would then just check the poles...but not my pack.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I am not sure how the TSA site is of any help with the question of carrying on the poles. It does not address them directly...either way. It just leaves it up to question. Don't ask the airlines as they don't inspect luggage.
Every agent of TSA that is asked on the phone gives a different answer because it is not covered.

The bottom line is the actual carrying them in your pack through the TSA security check point.
Every report on this thread and every other one is a positive result. If there is someone who has been declined by the TSA...I have not heard of it.
I recommend that you simply put them in your pack and carry them through. Be sure there are no sharp ends showing. Ski poles are usually denied because they have sharp points.

If that worries you then check them.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Drats, grayland. You beat me to it. This is one of my favorite soapboxes.

I completely agree with everything in those two posts. I don't know why people want to keep stirring this pot. If you are flying from the U.S. there is no reason to check your hiking poles.
 

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