View Full Version : Fishing Equipment & Airline Travel

03-01-2007, 10:21 AM
I suppose the concern comes around again once in awhile and sorry if this is not the category to post the questions but it does relate to having the proper gear for doing what we enjoy and being able to safely transport our essentials.

I have done a fair amount of car traveling with my 2 piece rods but I haven't had the opportunity to fly to my fishing destination since 9/11. After doing some research there doesn't seem to be a clear answer to the question. Can you take a fly rod tube(s) with rod(s) as an airline carryon? Is there a length limit? Can you attach your 4-5 piece rod tube to your laptop, daypack, or kit bag (with legal TSA stuff) and only count as one piece of carryon?

The other part of the dilemma is the transport of the the valuable equipment that is no longer allowed (flies, flyline, nippers, etc.) in a carryon. I suppose the answer is to load those essentials along with waders, boots, vest (fishpond pack etc.) in the check-in baggage and hope that it doesn't get stolen or lost (for the period you are traveling or forever).

I suppose this is the reason why we do not see fly fishing equipment companies having carryon luggage in their product line. But it does beg the question why one would want to use a fly fishing product check-in luggage that announces the contents.

I am planning a multi-purpose trip to central-northern California in middle June and any wisdom would be much appreciated.

03-01-2007, 11:16 AM
I flew out west last summer with 2 sets of gear and I had to check everything. This was on Delta. I did see several people in the airports carrying pack and 3 piece rod tubes.
I flew also in Oct. 1993 with a double 2 piece rod tube and was able to carry it on the plane. They had a small "broomcloset " up front by the pilot cabin that the stewardesses would store long items for passengers. The can and cannots seem to change frequently so I would contact the airlines but be prepared to check everything.
My luggage with the fly rod tubes and gear was opened and checked by the TSA on both outgoing and return trips. They left a note inside my bag as to such.

03-01-2007, 11:31 AM
Hello Nharrier,

I will be glad to give you the details of our trip to Alaska last year. I started out early contacting the TSA to find what was acceptable and what was not for carry on luggage. I was given a different answer each time (3 calls)concerning our two piece rods. Rather than risk a problem we purchased a sturdy rod tube and checked them as regular luggage. When we arrived in Dallas for our connecting flight to Anchorage I saw numerous people waiting to board the same plane with rod tubes of all lenghts, even rods just held together with twist ties, I still cringe when I think of that. On asking several people how they managed to carry their rods on board they said it was never questioned when the boarded the first time in Conneticut and just told everyone after that they had not been denied carrying them on board. I believe they were set aside in a small closet like area while in flight. Our rods arrived in Anchorage undamaged and arrived home the same way.

On reels and flies I was told they could not be carried on either due to the possibility of using line to choke someone I suppose and hooks were considered sharp instruments and not legal. We packed all those items with our clothes and did not have a problem. We stored all our other tackle, knives, nippers, even a hatchet in the checked luggage also and did not have a problem. Waders and boots I don't recall but it seems we checked those also.

I was concerned for my equipment from the day we left until the day we arrived home. I have since purchased 2 travel rods that I am in the process of building vowing to not check my rods again. I don't know what I will do about reels. Maybe carry the frames and check the spools. It is sad but I understand the need to protect people traveling. I can tell you that I am sure some of our luggage was checked by hand. Nothing was missing.

I hope this helps but in my opinion the water, pardon the pun, is still cloudy and open to individual interpretation.

Good Luck on your trip, gary <*))))><

03-01-2007, 03:27 PM
I travel to Colorado to fish at least 3 times a year (for the past 7 years) and have never checked my fly rods or reels, and always carry them as carry ons. I carry one 2pcx7.5' 2w and a 4pcx9.5' 5w in a hard case. I carry the 9.5' with reel attached. I carry the reel for the 2w in a backpack. I have on occassion also carried on full fly boxes in the backpack.

I fly from Nashville and back out of either Denver or Gunnision and have never had anyone question me. I fly either American or United.

Tight Lines

03-01-2007, 05:17 PM
Another option that I have started taking is shipping my gear out ahead of me. Since I have had lost checked luggage, I have relied on Fed-Ex and shipped most of my gear to be held for pickup at a Kinko's/Fed-Ex location. I've never had to really go out of my way to find a location to ship to. I've done it the last few trips to Idaho and Colorado. I get tracking numbers and its insured. I know the exact status of it in case of emergency.


Byron Begley
03-02-2007, 06:01 PM
Paula bought some TSA locks for our luggage. They can only be opened with a key that TSA agents have or you can use your own combination. A button changes colors when TSA has opened the lock. We've used them and they work fine and keep the baggage handlers out of your gear. You can buy them from Travelsmith. Usually you can carry on 4 piece rods. Lately I know customers who have carried on their flies which was banned after 9/11. I'm inclined now to carry on my tackle and if it gets checked at the gate I think there is less chance they will lose it. My trout rods are 5-piece which helps.


03-03-2007, 12:25 PM
I flew to Utah last summer on Delta and I planned on taking my two piece rod on the plane with me. I fly all the time on business and had seen many people getting on planes with rods. When I went to check in the gate agent told me I could not carry the rod on and I would have to check it. I argued but to no avail. I had already checked two bags so I had to pay $50.00 to check the rod!!! I was not happy but had no choice at that time. When I got ready to head back I shipped the rod for $8.00. I complained to Delta when I got home and they said that it was up to the discretion of the gate agents and they could do nothing about getting my money back. Live and learn!!