Air travel regulations

Information regarding ABS avalanche airbag backpacks on airplanes

Since the Avalanche Airbag System (ABS) cartridge is filled with compressed gas and the release handle is triggered with a pyrotechnic mechanism, the ABS Avalanche Airbag is considered “dangerous” by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The transport of dangerous goods by passengers is typically prohibited, except for a list of certain products including the ABS avalanche airbag. All airlines, which are a member of the IATA, know this list as part of the IATA manual.

Excerpt from the IATA table
With the approval of the operating airline one avalanche rescue airbag per person may be transported, provided that the pyrotechnic trigger mechanism does not contain more than 200mg net of an explosive of Division 1.4S and the cartridge of compressed gas does not contain more than 250mL compressed gas  in Div. 2.2. The backpack must be packed in such a manner that it cannot be accidentally activated. The airbags within the backpacks must be fitted with pressure relief valves.”

Thus, the IATA authorized transport of avalanche airbags. Nevertheless, the permission of the operating airline is required. Therefore, we recommend that you inform the airline about the ABS TwinBag and provide the extract from the IATA table and the data sheet which describes the content of the cartridge and the activation handle before booking your flight. These documents can be downloaded from this page. The airline can thereupon conclude that the product that is to be transported corresponds to the IATA manual. Nevertheless, an airline always has the option to apply more stringent rules. The approval of the airline is therefore no guarantee.

It is very important that both the cartridge and release handle are checked in together with the ABS TwinBag. Please print the section from the IATA table and the data sheet and attach them to your ABS backpack. This is to ensure that the purpose of the cartridge and backpack is obvious to the airport staff. If you check in the cartridge and activation handle separately, they may be confiscated!

Travelling to the USA:
Note that the US American Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) will not allow your pressurized cartridge on board. Discharge the gas cartridge before entering the airport. Only once your cartridge is fully discharged, unscrew the cartridge head from the cartridge and put both in re-sealable plastic bags. Carry them through the TSA security checkpoint so they are visible to TSA personnel. Afterward, the cartridge head can be screwed back on the cartridge by hand. An ABS dealer at your destination can replace the empty cartridge for a new one. In case the cartridge is not emptied and the cap not unscrewed it will be removed by security personnel. The same rules apply to passengers boarding in the US. However, you have the option to only travel with your ABS backpack and find a local ABS dealer where you can rent a cartridge and trigger for the period of your stay.