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Rooftop13

Traveling with your Rig

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I would like to let all my fellow skydivers know that I was escorted from the Jet Blue Terminal at JFK airport today...all because I had a parachute. My carry on was flagged to be opened and checked, somewhat expected. In turn, I provided all of the proper documentation from the USPA, the TSA and Cypres. I clearly explained what the purpose of my Cypres was, obviously without using "scary" terminology and in a manner that "commoners" could understand. Once I said Automatic Activation Device my whole experience went sour. The TSA was eventually compliant, after checking their procedures, as requested, and ultimately cleared my rig. Jet Blue on the other hand insisted that my AAD, though turned off, was going to somehow engage and pop my reserve. (Please keep in mind I had my rig stored in a gear bag for carry on) When I, begrudgingly, conceded and offered to purchase a hard-sided suitcase from the store and check my rig, I was still denied. They insisted that my AAD was going to engage and then accused my potentially deployed reserve of creating a sound so loud that the oxygen masks would drop and the plane could potentially go down. I spoke with 15-20 people, from customer service reps to managers, and they all came to the same conclusion that my rig was allowed on the plane, as long as I took my AAD out. (Not going to happen!) I was then escorted out of the main security area, into a holding pen, where I continued to be interrogated about my AAD and multiple requests were made for me to extract it. They then told me that I could check my rig (with AAD intact) with Jet Blue security and pick it up on my way back from vacation. That kind of defeats the purpose of a skydiving trip in my book! (That is the equivalent of going to the North Shore or Tahoe without your board...) Since I was not willing to comply, I ultimately did not make it on the plane and they escorted me out of the building. Please keep in mind, that the whole time I kept my composure and acted with dignity and in no way deserved to be treated like a criminal because Jet Blue's security is IGNORANT with respects to my sporting equipment of choice. I am not a CRIMINAL, I am a SKYDIVER!!! Please read this and use caution when choosing your airline. This situation may happen to some, or none, and I am in no way stating that no one should travel with a rig. I am just shining a light on my experience, you can take what you want from it. Safe travels and blue skies!

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In the past seven years, I‘ve travelled with my rig to multiple countries on five different continents. I always check it and have never had a problem. I don’t care to get into the old checked vs. carry-on argument, but generally checking it as baggage is easier and less grief.

One recent note though, on returning from a recent trip to the US, I opened my rig bag to find the main pin pulled, flaps open and an inspection card. This annoyed me; particularly that there was no description of what they had done/moved. I called them, filed their form, wrote a separate letter and included photos – the result is that I’ve just received a cheque from them covering the cost of a full inspection and reserve repack.

I’d suggest others do the same. If they write enough cheques, maybe the supervisors will tell them it’s not worth $70/each to indiscriminately open rigs when they don’t understand how they work.
"Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to attend his classes"

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If you had it in a gear bag how did Jet Blue know it was a rig? If you got through security, I don't understand how Jet Blue would know what's in your carry on....

I flew with them in February and once past security, no questions were asked about what was in my carry on.

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Thanks for the heads up rooftop. What a crazy story! It's not like you were unprepared ! It sounds like you had all the answers to their questions along with proof of validity..... I think that they were just being ignorant and difficult.... It's not like you could easily take the aad out! Besides... you need it for those times when you (or your significant other) go deep in the basement.;) I will never take jet blue after this story!!!!!!!
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Hmmm ... if it were TSA that was causing the problem, I'd say to contact the USPA's Government Relations folks; this is the kind of stuff they want to hear about. You might still start there to see if they have any thoughts or could refer you to someone else at HQ that could help. Here's the contact info from the USPA web site.

http://www.uspa.org/AboutUSPA/USPAStaffDirectory/tabid/151/Default.aspx

Randy Ottinger
USPA Member #8628, D-6041
Director of Government Relations
Extension: 330
GovRelations@uspa.org
Department: Government Relations

BTW, my SO and I have traveled with our rigs on JetBlue (OAK-BOS and back) with no problems; hopefully this was just a single instance and not a systemic problem.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Did you offer to deploy your reserve so there was no risk of the AAD initiating the deployment sequence. A repack would be less hassle than a new flight or a cancelled trip?

What are the rules for removing your own AAD after deploying the reserve. I would have probably done that if it just meant a repack on the other side.

I must say that is a really S^&ty situation to be in. Did you manage to make other plans or did you have to cancel the trip.

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Did you offer to deploy your reserve so there was no risk of the AAD initiating the deployment sequence. A repack would be less hassle than a new flight or a cancelled trip?

What are the rules for removing your own AAD after deploying the reserve. I would have probably done that if it just meant a repack on the other side.

I must say that is a really S^&ty situation to be in. Did you manage to make other plans or did you have to cancel the trip.



Not a bad idea to make the best of a bad situation.

No rules about removing your own AAD; once the reserve is opened the rig's not legal to jump, so you can do whatever you want to it since it'll need to be repacked/resealed to be made legal again.

It's not that difficult to take out an AAD as long as you're careful about it and don't yank the bejeezus out of the wires. I've done it myself so that I could wash my rig before taking it in for a repack.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Did you offer to deploy your reserve so there was no risk of the AAD initiating the deployment sequence. A repack would be less hassle than a new flight or a cancelled trip?

What are the rules for removing your own AAD after deploying the reserve. I would have probably done that if it just meant a repack on the other side.

I must say that is a really S^&ty situation to be in. Did you manage to make other plans or did you have to cancel the trip.



this also depends on where you're going. Some boogeys will not have a rigger on site. But I do agree with you, although usually in a situation like this they will reschedule your flight at no cost.

I always just check my rig, much much less hastle, less questions, less attention, I just want to be left alone like everybody else.

Its really unclear though who was giving you trouble and where. Usually TSA has the last say, and they are suposed to be familiar with parachute sytems and how to handle them. What airport was this?

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Actually, the pilot can tell you that you can't carry it on. But that usually only happens when you just carry it without a gear bag & even then I've only heard of it happening once. If he had it in a gear bag, I can't image how they even knew a parachute was in the bag.

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Hello,

Just to give an update on this particular situation. I was contacted by the OP and given a full history of the incident. I as many actually became upset while I heard the details.

I contacted Ed Scott and Randy O. Within one hour the TSA and Jetblue representatives were notified and supplyed with all documentation needed to rectify this tragedy.

The OP should be safely on his way without incident tonight to enjoy a great skydiving vacation.

It is a testiment to USPA and there close relationship with the FAA and airline carriers.

Maybe the OP can give his version of whether or not the situation was handled expeditiously and professionally.

Rich Winstock

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It is a testiment to USPA and there close relationship with the FAA and airline carriers.


Rich Winstock




Is there a recommended number to call or person to reach at the USPA in situations like this?

I'm flying to Dubai on Sat and bringing my rig. Was going to carry it on as I'm somewhat concerned not having it in my possession at all times.
*I am not afraid of dying... I am afraid of missing life.*
----Disclaimer: I don't know shit about skydiving.----

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It is a testiment to USPA and there close relationship with the FAA and airline carriers.


Rich Winstock




Is there a recommended number to call or person to reach at the USPA in situations like this?

I'm flying to Dubai on Sat and bringing my rig. Was going to carry it on as I'm somewhat concerned not having it in my possession at all times.





IF you have a problem with your travel uspa.org tells you this:

"Problems?
Skydivers encountering problems with screeners should request that the screener's supervisor become involved. Skydivers should insist that the supervisor review "The Parachute Screening section of the Screening Checkpoint Standard Operating Procedure." Skydivers encountering unsatisfactory treatment should contact USPA at (540) 604-9740 or e-mail us. Be ready to provide the airport, date and time of flight, airline and flight number, and names of TSA officials involved."


Do a search in the forums for opinions about how to carry on your rig. I have a rolling carry-on that I put my rig, and just my rig, in. It helped me decide on doing that instead of just carrying it on. But if you do have a problem let USPA know about it so they can fix it. Hope this helps ;)

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Thanks for that info.

I've flown with my rig many times, always carry-on. But, this will be the first time bringing it with me internationally.

Anyone flown to Dubai recently from the states? Any problems to speak of? Checked or carry-on?

Kinda glad I'm connecting through Newark and not JFK given the OP's experience.
*I am not afraid of dying... I am afraid of missing life.*
----Disclaimer: I don't know shit about skydiving.----

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I flew JFK->Dubai and Nairobi->Dubai in the beginning of March.

no problems




Did you check or carry-on your rig? (assuming you had it with you)
*I am not afraid of dying... I am afraid of missing life.*
----Disclaimer: I don't know shit about skydiving.----

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I flew JFK->Dubai and Nairobi->Dubai in the beginning of March.

no problems




Did you check or carry-on your rig? (assuming you had it with you)



carried it on.




cool... thanks.
*I am not afraid of dying... I am afraid of missing life.*
----Disclaimer: I don't know shit about skydiving.----

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