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1/10/2008 – Can I Carry My Tripod On-board My Flight?
What is the #1 question I am asked by nature and landscape photographers? “Can I carry my tripod on board my flight?”
There is good news for those of you who like to travel with your tripod, monopod or light-stand as carry-on, tripods are most certainly allowed as carry-on when flying within the United States, and for international travel to and from most countries.
Be aware that your tripod may be counted as a ‘carry-on’ item should it cause your bag to exceed the maximum carry-on size allowances set forth by your airline. Making sure that you do not exceed carry-on weight or size is very important.
Give that tripods must conform to airline specified carry-on requirements, it is best to remove the head and pack that in your carry on, and bring only the legs through security separately. For some reason tripods with the head attached cause more problems from misinformed airport security screeners than those with the head removed.
While I don’t often fly with a full-size tripod, I do often fly with light-stands as carry-on. When I fly with a tripod, monppod or light-stand I generally attach them to the outside of backpack, or roll-aboard bag. I made sure the tripod stays as compact and conforming to my bag as possible. Sometimes this requires using a smaller bag to make sure I stay within the carry-on restrictions depending on my equipment needs.
In one trip earlier this year, in the span of 3.5 days, I passed through security in Providence, Philadelphia, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Incheon, Tokyo and Chicago with a Manfrotto 3373 light stand attached to a North Face Surge backpack and no one blinked twice at any security checkpoint.
So next time you wonder if you bring your tripod, monopod or light stand on-board, chances are your fine. Relax, make sure your bag with tripod stays under the carry-on requirements…….then go head to the airport.