Use to have similar hassles with automatic life vests when flying to a sailing destination.  Had to printout the airline rules because their personnel were often ignorant of their own rules.  Life vest CO2 cylinders are water or manually activited, no explosive charges. Odd when you think that there is an automatic life vest under each airline seat with its own CO2 cartridge.
Maybe you should just wear a couple life vests.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Leigh Daboll
To: [log in to unmask] href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, November 04, 2012 03:36 PM
Subject: [SKIVT-L] Flying (or not) with ABS avi packs

PSA here:
I was at one time thinking about buying one of the new ABS packs for backcountry use and specifically for the cat/hel trip this year. I was shocked, however, to discover that attempting to carry one onto a US aircraft (either checked or carry on) without specific prior approval can result in immediate arrest, and upon conviction, a jail sentence measuring in years and a fine running well into six figures.  Yes, really. 
So that puts a bit of damper on my plans to buy one of these packs (as well as the extra weight and the sky-high price).
Partial international regulatory pdf is here,
This doesn't tell the whole story, including how your trip/life could be ruined by an overzealous TSA staffer (the US regs are much stiffer) I couldn't lay my hands on a exact link, but here is recent online quote that appeared on the Aspen Expedtions website, from an TSA explosives expert:

I am an Explosives Specialist for TSA, and I want to clear up some bad information in this article.  First off, regarding travel restrictions:

No avalanche rescue air cylinders, regardless of what you choose to call them, are allowed through TSA security unless screeners can visually verify that the cylinders are empty.  For ABS systems, that means a punctured burst disc.  For others, the cylinder head/valve must be removed to show an empty cylinder. Additionally, ABS trigger handles are not allowed through security if they contain a live explosive cartridge.  Only expended handles are allowed. Determination of whether or not they have been activated can only be made by an Explosives Specialist, not a screener.

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