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Warning: Paris airport security isn't fu**ing around


Original Post
Alan Doak · · boulder, co · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 105

Last week I flew back to the states from Charles de Gaulle airport with my climbing gear in my carry-on, and airport security brought the ban-hammer down on me.

They took it, they took it all. Their decision was arbitrary and final, and they gave zero fucks when I told them it was worth 1000 Euros. The supervisor even acknowledged that he knew it was climbing gear, but refused to let me board with it. There was no chance to mail it to myself, so I could either leave it and board my plane, or keep it and book a whole new flight for 2 days later.

I'm not looking for sympathy, or flames about how I was stupid to have gear in my carry-on.... I just want to warn other climbers so that it doesn't happen to them.

In retrospect, I can kinda understand: France (and other European nations) have had some high-casualty terror attacks in recent years and are on high alert. Anything that is in the least bit suspicious is dealt with.

They took it, they took it all.
Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,267

Wow...that really sucks, Alan. Not unexpected though considering all the issues with terrorism in France lately. Thanks, again, for the heads up.

topher donahue · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 185

Charley Fowler used to have this hand made climbing gear carry on. It was a little cube shaped hand bag that he could wedge a full rack into including pins and ice screws. The thing would end up really heavy for being so small. I don't think security in those days ever cared, even about the ice screws. I guess those were the good ol' days of air travel.

Jeff K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 240

Sorry that they took your gear. Same thing happened to me at CDG about 5 years ago, but not to that extent. They took about 5 lockers from me saying I could use them as brass knuckles even though they acknowledged they were for climbing. I still got 2 through that were in plain sight either because they didn't care or just really weren't that concerned. Who knows...

SinRopa · · parts unknown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 50

Depending on your insurance company, you might be able to claim this under renters insurance if you have it. I had climbing gear confiscated in the US, and filed a claim, along with documentation from the TSA's website showing that it should have been allowed in my carry on. It ended up being covered under a "malicious mischief" clause.

Dylan Pike · · SLC, UT · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 35

Thugs. I've had similar experiences flying out of Chicago. Hopefully you can figure something out with insurance.

Raymond Moreno · · Millbrae, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 140

That's crazy.

How do other climbers travel with gear to France?!

In Christ: Raymond

Parker Wrozek · · Denver, CO · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 83
RaymondMillbrae wrote:That's crazy. How do other climbers travel with gear to France?! In Christ: Raymond
You check it under the plane.........
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60
Parker Wrozek wrote: You check it under the plane.........
Yeah, why didn't you just check it when they wouldn't let you carry it on?
Alan Doak · · boulder, co · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 105
t.farrell wrote: Yeah, why didn't you just check it when they wouldn't let you carry it on?
I didn't know they wouldn't let me carry it on until after I: had checked my bags, gone through passport control, and gone through security. At that point, it was way too late to go back to the check-in counter to check my gear.
20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
Alan Doak wrote: I didn't know they wouldn't let me carry it on until after I: had checked my bags, gone through passport control, and gone through security. At that point, it was way too late to go back to the check-in counter to check my gear.
Couldn't you have just rebooked the next flight? Some airlines will allow you to fly standby on future flights at no cost. For those that dont, if you cancel your ticket before wheels-up, you're entitled to keep the value of the ticket less the change fee (which is normally $250).
Alan Doak · · boulder, co · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 105
20 kN wrote: Couldn't you have just rebooked the next flight? Some airlines will allow you to fly standby on future flights at no cost. For those that dont, if you cancel your ticket before wheels-up, you're entitled to keep the value of the ticket less the change fee (which is normally $250).
By the time I got through the security line (they were picking through everybody's bags, not caring at all about how long it took), I had ~10 minutes to make a decision. The gate agent said that all flights were full for at least the next day.

The change fee is normally $300, but if I didn't get on the plane and they had to delay takeoff while they found my checked bag and removed it from the plane (which they're required to do), I assumed they wouldn't be inclined to just charge me the change fee and instead might claim that I abandoned my ticket (or something like that).

This post isn't about the decisions that I did or didn't make in a very intense situation, I can't go back and change the past, it's about warning future flyers.
ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

They really didn't give you an option to have it checked since you couldn't carry it on?

Adding it to my list of places not to go.

I don't know what euro flights policies are but I would assume you could get the cost of it from them or sue them if it isn't listed on a ban item list etc, but this is euro so I don't know how they compare to US.

Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40

The border control in the USA is pretty rediculous too. If I where you, I wouldn't ever go there either.

Bruce Hildenbrand · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2003 · Points: 945

One year flying back from the Tour de France the baggage people at CDG couldn't figure out that one of my pieces of checked baggage was a bicycle. They paged me from the gate, gave me a hi-vis vest so I wouldn't get run over by baggage trains and then led me down into the bowls of the CDG baggage processing center.

They allowed me to unpack my bike and show them that it was a bike and then escorted me back up to the gate. For all my troubles I was first in line to board the plane. Nice.

Sorry they got your gear. I was thinking of bringing back one of Gregger Man's bolt pullers in my carry-on from Denver to SFO, but they have a 7" limit on tools and I didn't want to chance it.

Kees van der Heiden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 40

Once I still had a 13 mm wrench in my backpack. You would think, what can you do wrong with a 13 mm wrench? But still, it got confiscated. That was in Amsterdam. (Viperscale, better put The Netherlands on your list too. There are no rocks here anyway).

It shows, that you must be very carefull with anything in your carry on luggage these days. Not just in Paris.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490

Standard practice for the last ten years at least at any European airport. Carrying anything that could be thought of as a possible weapon or to immobilise people is likely to give you grief and be removed. It´s well enough publicised. Just take no metal objects in hand luggage, it´s simple enough.
Li-ion batteries and resin in checked luggage will be removed and destroyed as well, if the battery is in your drill that goes as well!
Most international airports have a system where you can store rejected items for later collection, but it isn´t cheap.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175
Dylan Pike wrote:Thugs. I've had similar experiences flying out of Chicago. Hopefully you can figure something out with insurance.
Surprises me that it's happening within the US too. I always travel with my rack and rope in my carry on. Even when I flew to Calgary. The worst that's happened to me is they made me pull the rack out of my bag to look it over.
Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35

I just carried on a hefty rack in Milan this summer...

The info I read said that France had a "no carabiner" policy, but Italy was fine with them. I didn't get hassled at all, but I guess I was very lucky!

Tom Sherman · · Bristol, RI · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 416

Yeah I can remember 5 years back doing a little vacationing in EU. Flew out of Amsterdam, Pisa, Dublin, London and then in Paris CDG they took my shaving razor. I mean I knew I wasn't supposed to carry it, but was I supposed to buy a new razor in each city? We weren't allowed to check bags (RyanAir or EasyJet or some BS). It was just sort of comedic that they stole it from me on my return home flight.

divnamite · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 170

Just some data point. JFK/SMF/LAS security has no problem with full rack and rope in carry-on bags.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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