By Jos M. Spijkerman As an International Race Official I’m often travelling by air plane. It’s hard enough to fit your gear into one bag and stay under the weight limit – and that’s made harder because a lot of baggage handlers and air plane personnel don’t understand an inflatable life-jacket with a CO2 gas cylinder.
It has been my experience a couple of times that I’ve been called into baggage handling areas, where I was asked to open my bag. The scanner found the cylinder and was flagged. Usually it ended up me leaving the cylinder there, because I was not allowed to take my bag on the plane otherwise.
Besides being an inconvenience of having a life-jacket that wasn’t functional at an event, it also meant I had to replace the cylinder every time and my own expense.
I always tried to explain that the cylinder wasn’t dangerous, that it would not spontaneously open up and that I had detached it from the life-jacket itself, in the off change it would, that it only expels harmless CO2. And that the effing plane had hundreds of those cylinders on their own life jackets, under the seats……
Lots of IRO take a non inflatable life-jacket because of this reason. But that is much bulkier and – to be perfectly honest – it is a drag wearing it, being three sizes too small for me.
One evening last week at the Delta Lloyd Regatta this subject came up during a jury discussion and one of the judges told us about a couple of papers she puts in the her bag together with her life-jacket explaining what it is and that it is allowed on planes by the IATA (International Air Transport Association).
I asked her to send me those papers so I could share them with you…. read