Kites as carry-on?

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I'm flying on Delta Airlines from Minnesota to Florida (Ft Pierce, Key Largo, Key West, Fort Myers) next month for a get-warm vacation including some kite flying. I hope to carry on (not check as baggage) some kites (Solus Std and UL, Ocius SUL) which if broken down are about 36" in length (normally about 68").

I'm thinking of packing my kites in either a 4" x 42" cardboard mailing tube (about $6.50 at a FedEx store) or a 4" tube I can make from PVC (thin wall drain pipe, any length I want) for about $10 in parts.

1. Will I get past security with my kites? Does TSA allow carbon spars?

2. Will the kites and/or tube be allowed by Delta as carry on? What is max allowed length? Would a fabric kite bag be more likely allowed than a tube?

3. If I get past security but the tube is disallowed by Delta at the gate, I hope they will put it in the plane's baggage hold but still count as carry-on. If so, do you think the cardboard tube will be OK or should I make one from the (stronger) PVC pipe?

  Other suggestions and comments are welcome.


Mick P:
TSA will allow kites or PVC pipe with no problem. The issue is at the gate, you dont want to find out at the gate that your baggages are oversize and pay checked bag fee. A quick check at the Delta web site tell you that overall linear dimensions of carry on cannot be more than 45 in and 2 bags are allowed each person. If you have a backpack and your 3 kite bundle, you should be ok. Airline agents are sometime flexible on the overall dimensions but they absolutely are strict on the two item limit, it's federal rule.
With all that said, I tried one time to have with me one carry on baggage, one backpack with my two kites (36" long) inside and off course they sticked partly outside the bag. The agents were okay to let me pass.

I would put it into a heavy duty PVC tube, sealed with zip ties on one end and a glued cap on the other and just check it in as sporting equipment through the baggage.  Pack some extra zip ties in the tube for the return flight home.  The problem is that it all depends on the people running the counter, some may not have a problem with the rods, others may freak out.  If you get there and they say NO WAY, then you are stuck trying to check a cardboard box in through the luggage - which will most likely end up with broken or lost pieces.

The other problem is that you may be just fine flying out of MN with the carry on bags, but when you get to Florida they may say NO and make you check it in.  Again you would be stuck.

I would just check it in and not worry about it.  Oh, and insurance may be a good thing. :)

Dont make jokes with tsa, be courteous, polite, and prepared to go thru security. When asked say they are kites. Not clubs or anything else. Expect that they will go thru xray and gladly let them inspect them
I have flown and hand carried my kites with le broken down and a few velcro strapped together.
Make sure any container you have is easily opened
Sometimes you can make friends with the flight attendant and they can put the kites in the 'closet' they have up front.
If you feel ok with the strength of your case then they can sometimes go in the overheads first. The irregular shape of the bin and the luggage sometimes makes a little gap.
When in doubt let the bin fill up first and then put the kites in. Sometimes you can put them in the empty spaces. Beware!, the attendants will use the force of zeus to close the bin's door.

As DD says, YMMV, but I've had no problems carrying kites on planes.  I've taken revs with me many places, and only had to check them once - on Southwest - and that's because I had too many bags.  Due to the KP auction last year, I came home with an extra suitcase of kites . . . . So I (nervously) checked my primary rev bag, which was stuffed pretty full with kites, and had no problems.  I usually don't carry that many with me, but hey, it was kite party.  9-10 kites made a pretty solid bundle in the bag.  If I were checking 2-3, I'd want them to be in the hard shell case. 

2-3 kites will fit in a cardboard document mailing tube, and I've never had a flight attendant or gate agent ask about it.  They just assume it's documents, and let you carry it on the plane.  The mailing tubes usually fit at the back of the overhead bin, or on top of the suitcases.  There are some folks who've purchased fishing rod cases, and used them for traveling with kites as well.  I bought a plastic expandable blueprint tube & used that for a few flights as well.  No questions from anyone. 

As an alternative, you could buy or make your own travel frame for your kites.  I did that earlier this year for my revs & can now fit the frame & a couple sails in my roll-aboard suitcase or even my backpack.

By the way, if you are bringing a kite stake, I'd recommend checking your bag instead of trying to carry the stake on the plane.  A couple people on the forums have some short ones that they say pass muster, but I'd rather not push my luck with the TSA.  Plus the short ones might not work so well on sand.


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