What is the safest legal way to carry an Inflatable PFD with you on a commercial airline?

1. Check the air carrier’s website, including all connecting air carriers of your round trip to see if the airline(s) allows you to bring the CO2 Cylinder on their airplanes. For those that allow it, become familiar if they allow it in carry-on, or checked bags only. About one-half of airlines risk management departments have decided that your CO2 Cylinder is too dangerous to carry on their planes. If you cannot carry them, leave the CO2 Cylinders behind, call ahead to a chandlery at your destination and have them set aside a CO2 Cylinder, or two, for your arrival. Bring your Inflatable PFD leaving the CO2 Cylinders at home.

2. When checking in with your airline, regardless whether checking your bags or carrying them on, you are required to announce that you have a hazardous material, describe the CO2 Cylinders and the Inflatable PFD and explain you are following the airlines requirements as stated on their website (it helps to print off the pages from their websites and have them in hand).  Be sure to unscrew the cylinder (required), put it together with your spare cylinder.

Any compressed gas cylinder is considered a “hazardous material” according to the FAA. Your CO2 Cylinder can explode in a fire injuring passengers, crew, or rescuers. It can inflate the PFD while baggage handlers are moving bags, shifting bags in the cargo hold injuring the baggage handler. And there could be subversive uses of passenger CO2 Cylinders that are carried onto an airplane (versus those on PFD’s under the seats on airplanes that were inspected by the FAA upon installation).

The difficulty is that there are at least three different standards, which are not equal. The Transportation Safety Administration, The Federal Aviation Administration, and each Air Carrier.

  1. TSA STANDARD: Self-Inflating Life Jacket- Up to 2 in life vests and 2 spares. The spares must accompany the life vests and be presented as one unit. Both Carry-On and Checked.
  2. FAA STANDARD: A life jacket containing two nonflammable gas cartridges plus two spare cartridges in carry-on or checked baggage.
  3. CHECK YOUR AIR CARRIER AND CONNECTING AIR CARRIER’S WEBSITE: They may ban CO2 Cylinders; They may allow them in checked baggage only; or, They may allow them as carry-on and checked baggage.
Those who intentionally violate the hazardous material regulations in the U.S. are subject to a criminal penalty of up to $500,000 and/or five years imprisonment.

Safety at Sea Committee Member and Safety At Sea Seminar Moderator, Bruce Brown, shares his tips for travel –

  • I photocopy the TSA Guideline document (TSA STANDARD)
  • I laminate it and keep it in the baggage I am carrying containing the PFD and spare cylinder.
  • I include my cell phone number on the document to allow TSA, FAA or Air Carrier to call me if there is a question.
  • I tell the airline (at the counter to check baggage) that I am carrying an inflatable PFD and spare cylinder. I show them a copy of their website page that allows the CO2 Cylinders. I have checked my bag with the PFD inside and have carried it on.

Thank you and safe travels.

  1. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the second largest country in Africa. It borders nine countries: Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
  2. The people of the DRC represent over 200 ethnic groups, with nearly 250 languages and dialects spoken throughout the country. Kinshasa, the capital, is the second largest French-speaking city in the world.
  3. Since the 1960s, the Congolese have endured over two decades of armed conflict with over 5.4 million people dead due to war-related causes, making it the deadliest conflict since World War II.
  4. Congolese armed groups and elements of the army have a long, brutal history of recruiting child soldiers. The United Nations report at least 1,000 cases of child soldier recruitment between January 2012 and August 2013.
  5. The oldest national park in Africa is the Congo’s Virunga National Park. It is home to rare mountain gorillas, lions, and elephants. The park is currently under threat by the UK oil company, Soco, which has begun oil exploration there. 
  6. In the DRC, only 1.8% of existing roads are tarred and less than 10% of the population has access to electricity today. Recently there have been pushes to improve, including the announcement of a $1 billion package from the World Bank for infrastructure.
  7. The Democratic Republic of the Congo hosts the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping mission in the world, with over 21,000 soldiers from approximately 50 different countries.
  8. Due mainly to the ongoing instability in the eastern part of the country, about 450,000 refugees from the DRC remain in neighboring countries, particularly Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  9. The DRC is among the most resource-rich countries on the planet, with an abundance of gold, tantalum, tungsten, and tin – all minerals used in electronics such as cell phones and laptops – yet it continues to have an extremely poor population.
  10. Tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold have been dubbed “conflict minerals.” Armed groups use the profits from sales for campaigns of violence. Some companies are becoming more accountable by tracing their supply chains.
  11. Former NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 1997, he founded a humanitarian foundation to improve the health, education and quality of life for the people in the DRC.


Beyond the Beach


Article By Travel Weekly: 
According to a recent AAA survey, 42 percent of Americans are planning to take a vacation this year, with most planning trips to warm-weather destinations in the United States and abroad. The same study listed experiential travel as one of today’s top trends, while Virtuoso revealed in a separate study that “active or adventure trips” and “beach resort stays” ranked first and second in a roundup of the top trends in family travel—so it’s really no surprise that travelers are increasingly thinking beyond the sun and sand when booking beach vacations. 

The ongoing popularity of beach escapes, paired with the rise in demand for active or experience-based trips, means dramatic changes when it comes to how agents serve their beach-bound clients. According to Steve Jermanok, founder of Active Travels, part of Larjay Travel, in Newtown, Massachusetts, many travelers are looking for more than just time on the sand. “What’s happening now is that a beach is a relaxation component after more adventurous kinds of travel,” he says. 

In Jermanok’s case, that can even include “beach and adventure” combinations in destinations as far flung as Zanzibar. “It’s pretty much all over the world,” he says. “Clients don’t seem to just want to stay on the beach the whole time any more. A lot of people want a more active, adventurous and authentic vacation. It depends on the individual of course, but more and more, we see the beach as just one component of a trip.”

The desire to go beyond the beach is good news for travel agents, according to Ethel Hansen Davy, a travel agent at Premiere Travel Group, a Uniglobe agency in Toronto. “It’s very lucrative to sell off-the-resort day excursions,” she says. “Now we can combine four days on-resort with a five-day excursion. The way we sell travel now, we can pull from all different kinds of suppliers and put it all together to meet the needs of our clients.”

Jermanok is also happy with the current trends. “To me, it’s much more exciting as a travel agent, because then I can design a package that’s much more multifaceted and diverse.”