Sewell, NJ - Historically the transportation of compressed air cylinders via commercial aircraft required you to empty the cylinder before checking it. This was true for paintball and SCUBA cylinders. Over the past couple of months the rules have changed. One interpretation of these rules required paintball markers to be treated as firearms and another would have allowed SCUBA tanks in overhead! In an exclusive interview with Ron Sokolov, TSA's Executive Director of Customer Service and Education, Paintball2Xtremes has learned that effective immediately, the rules are as follows:
Transporting Paintball Equipment
Some paintball gear can be transported on-board the aircraft. Please refer to the guidelines below:
* Eye Protective Devices used in the sport of paintball are acceptable as checked or carry-on baggage.
* Compressed gas cylinders are allowed in checked baggage ONLY if the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e. the cylinder has an open end). The cylinder must have an opening to allow for a visual inspection inside. TSA Security Screeners will NOT remove the seal/regulator valve from the cylinder at the checkpoint. If the cylinder is sealed (i.e. the regulator valve is still attached), the cylinder is prohibited and not permitted through the security checkpoint, regardless of the reading on the pressure gauge indicator. TSA Security Screeners must visibly ensure that the cylinder is completely empty and that there are no prohibited items inside.
* Markers (aka Paintball markers) are prohibited from carry-on luggage. These items should be packed in checked luggage. These are not considered a firearm and may be transported in unlocked, soft or hard sided luggage.
If you plan to fly with your cylinder you must do the following:
1. Have a properly trained and qualified person remove the regulator/valve from your cylinder.
2. Go here
and print four copies of the page.
3. Using a rubber band place one copy around your cylinder.
4. Place your cylinder without the regulator/valve in your checked baggage.
5. Give one copy of the page to the person where you check in at the airport.
6. Keep the other two copies for the flight home.
Please note that this is a brand new change for TSA and the airlines. There may still be some risk that your cylinder will be confiscated, so make every effort to inform the screeners and airline personnel. If it looks like they will not allow your cylinder to be transported, you should ship it to your hotel. Please forward this to as many paintball players as possible and feel free to copy and paste it in it's entirety on paintball newsgroups and forums.