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Sadie*Bear
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:10 PM
How do you travel with a saddle on an airplane? Especially with all the hype and new rules. I'm guessing it cannot be a carry-on. Maybe the special luggage like where the skis go?

analise
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:14 PM
The only reason I'd say it couldn't be a carry on is that it's likely going to be too large/bulky to do so (unless you're carrying it not in a box and just in a carry bag but even then, those overhead bins aren't that big and do you really want people stuffing their suitcases in there with your saddle and possibly squishing it or something?). I'd wrap it up safely in a box and check it.

Grataan
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:16 PM
I NEVER check my saddle. It either goes in the trailer with the horse or as a carry on. And I've traveled with saddle seat saddles, hunt seat, and my western show saddle. I just have it in a padded saddle bag. Fold up the stirrups etc and stick it in the overhead. It doesn't have to be rectangular to be a carry on-just able to fit in the box thingy.

SkipChange
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:33 PM
I thought I was going to have to fly with my saddle but the professional shipper I used said it he had plenty of room and just put it on the trailer with the horse. So I'm not much help! It might be worth it though to drive out to your airport BEFORE the day you plan to fly and check with the airport staff that they will allow you to carry it on. I know when my brother wanted to fly with his fishing rods he went out a week before and they said "No" but he found information on the airlines website that said it was OK so he had no trouble flying with them.

Go Fish
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:05 PM
I fly with my saddle all the time and carry it on. I take the stirrups off and pack them with my checked luggage. I take a polo wrap and wind it around the saddle to make it as compact as possible. Then I stuff it in a quilted saddle bag. Fits nicely into the overhead compartment. I've never had it damaged by other luggage as it takes up the same amount of space as carry-on.

I've had the flight attendants (particularly on Alaska) eye-brow it a couple of times, but have had no problems.

I suppose it's safe to box it up and check it. But do you really want it to end up in Burmuda when you're landing in Dallas? It happens...

heartinrye
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:14 PM
I fly with my saddle all the time and carry it on. I take the stirrups off and pack them with my checked luggage. I take a polo wrap and wind it around the saddle to make it as compact as possible. Then I stuff it in a quilted saddle bag. Fits nicely into the overhead compartment. I've never had it damaged by other luggage as it takes up the same amount of space as carry-on.

I've had the flight attendants (particularly on Alaska) eye-brow it a couple of times, but have had no problems.

I suppose it's safe to box it up and check it. But do you really want it to end up in Burmuda when you're landing in Dallas? It happens...

Exactly, I put it in the overhead- but be sure to check what type of plane you'll be on though. I've been on connections into smaller airports where there is NO WAY a saddle could fit in the overhead. You can go online and check the size of the overhead.

Also- one time there was a PITA airline attendant who was throwing a fit about bringing my saddle on the plane (I had done this many times before, and many times after as well) she was making me 'gate check' it, like what you do with strollers. I figured out the easiest thing to do it take the claim tag and just not use it! The actual flight attendants had no problem with my saddle, and even helped me find room for it. Just don't fly United out of Philly and you should be fine ;)

Dun Ciarain
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:53 PM
I have always checked my saddles. I have a padded saddle carrier that fits around the flaps. I then put the saddle and first carrier in a Baker saddle carrier which prevents the saddle from getting flattened. I've never had a problem so far. It also depends on which carrier and where you are flying. I only had the option of checking the saddle when I flew overseas.

PonyPenny
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:58 PM
My daughter flew to Seattle from California on Alaska Airlines with her old trainer and just carried the saddle on. She even left the stirrups on. It fit fine in the overhead and she had no problems with Airline personnel.

HunterJumperLuv
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:02 PM
In past times you may have been able to carry on your saddle, stirrups and all, but I'm 99% sure that a stirrup.. (heavy metal object) would be considered a weapon. Rather than having security question it when they x-ray, I'd just check the stirrups and carry on the saddle.

Sadie*Bear
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:05 PM
I would be flying from Vancouver (CANADA) to LAX or Denver, then connection on another flight to Tucson, Arizona.

So what I am getting it that it would work to carry on the saddle just make it as compact as possible and check the stirrups.

Please keep weighing in, thanks for all the replies so far!

buck22
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:13 PM
I've never traveled with a saddle, but wanted to say that if I did, I'd never check it. All it takes is one careless drop on cement/asphalt at the right angle and your tree could crack.

why not ship it fedex? overnight would be crazy expensive but 2-3 day might only be around $70-80.

heartinrye
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:13 PM
I would be flying from Vancouver (CANADA) to LAX or Denver, then connection on another flight to Tucson, Arizona.

So what I am getting it that it would work to carry on the saddle just make it as compact as possible and check the stirrups.

Please keep weighing in, thanks for all the replies so far!

Yup, but I would call the airline and check the size of the over heads on the 2nd leg of your trip, since I'm not sure how large the plane from LA to AZ would be.

Go Fish
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:19 PM
Yup, but I would call the airline and check the size of the over heads on the 2nd leg of your trip, since I'm not sure how large the plane from LA to AZ would be.

Yeah, that could be a problem. Some of those commuter planes have no overhead. They do have limited storage at the front of the plane...just make sure you get on first!

You can't get a direct flight to Tucson?

shire_flyer
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:25 PM
With all the carry-on bag restrictions on flights coming into the US from other countries (including Canada) right now, I would highly doubt that you would be allowed to carry-on a saddle. Basically, the only things they are allowing to carry-on at this point are medical necessities, laptop bags (with ONLY laptops in them... nothing else is allowed), diaper bags (with ONLY baby related items in them) and small purses. When I flew home last week (Edmonton to Kentucky), they wouldn't even consider backpacks (even if the only thing in the backpack was a laptop) or rolling suitcases, so I would highly doubt that they would allow a saddle. At this point, it's not a "size/space" issue, but more an "airport security" issue. If you go to the Vancouver airport website, I would bet that they'll have a detailed list of what is "allowed" as carry-on at this time. That being said though, it wouldn't hurt to call the airline as well (and make sure you emphasize that this is a flight going into the US so is subject to the travel restrictions) and see what they say, because in spite of all of the restrictions, they did allow me to "carry-on" my Daschund in her soft-sided carrier, despite pets not being on the allowable carry-on list. On the way back to Canada though, you should be able to carry-on the saddle as long as it complies with the space/size guidelines, since at this time the restrictions only affect travel INTO the US.

Sadie*Bear
Jan. 12, 2010, 02:33 PM
You can't get a direct flight to Tucson?

Nope, tried Air Canada and United and couldn't find any direct flights!

From Arizona back I think my saddle could go in the trailer as it will be coming back. I am just going for one week. It is just getting the darn thing down there!

neutral milk hotel
Jan. 12, 2010, 03:41 PM
I flew last week from Seattle to Florida, and then Florida to Connecticut... carrying my saddle the whole time. I regularly fly across the country with it and have never had any problems. I always keep the stirrups on as well. 90% of the time, I can fit it in the overhead.. I'm just sure to make sure nobody shoves in a big bag or bends it. Occasionally, I have had the stewardess put it in the coat rack area when that is empty. This last time I flew, I took a small commuter jet and it wouldn't fit in the overhead. I tried to explain the worth (emotional and financial!) of my Butet to the stewardess (she rolled her eyes) as I watched them take it away for last minute baggage check (where they put strollers, etc) and it made it okay. The guys down there just don't handle things gently, but sometimes you have no other option. Put a saddle cover on.

Mac123
Jan. 12, 2010, 03:45 PM
I don't know details on what current regulations are due to heightened security, but in times past I have flown with my saddle quite a few times.

I took the stirrups off, wrapped a polo wrap around the flaps/seat to make it compact and round, stuck a saddle cover on it, put it in the overhead compartment. The flight attendants are usually really interested...one lady thought it was a back brace. :lol:

Make sure you know how big your plane will be, though. Most of the planes out of our airport are now small commuter planes, and there's no way I could get my little flat hermes in there, much less a normal sized modern jumping saddle.

TSA did give it careful inspection, but they were also really amazed when I told them what it was. One guy was like "Wow, a saddle! So you're a jockey?" Not wanting to hold up the long line giving an explanation nor dash his excitement, I said yes. He thought it was pretty cool. :D

shire_flyer
Jan. 12, 2010, 04:06 PM
I flew last week from Seattle to Florida, and then Florida to Connecticut... carrying my saddle the whole time. I regularly fly across the country with it and have never had any problems. I always keep the stirrups on as well. 90% of the time, I can fit it in the overhead.. I'm just sure to make sure nobody shoves in a big bag or bends it. Occasionally, I have had the stewardess put it in the coat rack area when that is empty. This last time I flew, I took a small commuter jet and it wouldn't fit in the overhead. I tried to explain the worth (emotional and financial!) of my Butet to the stewardess (she rolled her eyes) as I watched them take it away for last minute baggage check (where they put strollers, etc) and it made it okay. The guys down there just don't handle things gently, but sometimes you have no other option. Put a saddle cover on.

The travel restrictions are only in effect for flights coming from other countries INTO (but not OUT OF) the United States, which is why none of them would have affected you in your travels last week. The OP, however, is trying to fly from Canada to the US and so faces different carry-on regulations in response to the near bombing incident of that plane on December 25.

OP- here's the info about the carry-on baggage into the US as it is right now. http://www.catsa.gc.ca/Page.aspx?ID=77&pname=measures_mesures&lang=en. I think you could make the argument that a saddle is similar in concept to a musical instrument. I would definitely call the airlines to clarify though and would have a back-up plan in the event that the person doing the security screening on the day that you are flying refuses to allow it on the plane (since although your airline can probably give you a decent indication of what would be allowed, they airlines did not make up the regulations, it was the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority that made these rules in response to the new TSA requirements).

spaceagejuliet
Jan. 12, 2010, 04:45 PM
My experience is domestic flights only, so call ahead!

I used to be a consultant with 80% travel, and prior I showed a lot in IHSA and flew at least yearly, no saddles, but I always considered the same things when making my decisions.
If I checked it, and it gets lost or damaged:
-Can I afford to replace it AT the location I'm flying to (is it expensive)
-Can I actually find something to replace it with AT the location (is it custom)
-Without it, is my trip for nothing (do you need this to compete)
-Also, can you tell if (or PROVE if) its broken or missing when you get it back. I'm imagining you getting to your location and having to have this bizarre discussion with an airline attendant on what a 'broken tree' is, how you're just sure it wasn't this way before you checked it, and how this minor wiggle when you pull requires them buying you a new 4 figure saddle.


Personally, I'd plan like this:
-Call the airline for overhead bag size
-CHECK THE INSURANCE values on checked luggage!!!! See if you can purchase more if you plan to check it.
-Remove the stirrups and leathers, pack it in a fleece lined bag and plan to guard it on the plane.
-It sounds silly, but I'd be sure to dress like a normal slightly professional human or even 'rich horseperson' (NOT homeless looking barn person or pajamas) to increase my chances of them thinking this is normal. I've found first impressions go far, esp with airline staff.
-I might even try to get a few large fluorescent stickers that say FRAGILE to stick on your saddle cover, probably $.80 on ebay, in case they do make you check.
-Preferentially check at gate, at counter then at security. I think they are much easier on the 'gate check' luggage than the 'counter check' luggage. I also know its safe sooner. I also have had more things get lost in 'security' check than 'gate or counter' check.

Blupaint05
Jan. 12, 2010, 07:28 PM
When available, I've sent my saddle with the trailer. If not, I always carry it on. Because luggage is often tosed around and stacked, I personally don't trust having my saddle checked in because of the risk of damage and losing it. Carrying it on is a little awk (esp walking down the aisle w/ it) and its bulky but I always stick it in the overhead and have never had a problem. Granted I haven't tried this though since Xmas.

I've never had a problem getting it to fit in the overhead bins w/ the stirrups on too

Kestrel
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:37 PM
Drive, get a ride, or take the train to Seattle (@ 2 hrs from Van.) and fly direct to Tucson. It's a full-sized plane for the flight.

T-storm chick
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:13 PM
You have a pm!

LDavis104
Jan. 13, 2010, 09:43 AM
I flew once with my Dover Circuit and ended up putting it in a zip-up saddle bag, and then put that into my giant square suitcase along with the rest of my stuff. I told the lady when I checked in that I had something fragile in there, and she put fragile stickers all over my suitcase.

I'm glad I checked it in because there would've been no way my saddle would've fit in the overhead bin from Dallas to Abilene!!

Some saddles are just smaller and can fit - my new one can't fit into my locker at the barn, but other girls with smaller saddles can fit theirs.

katie16
Jan. 13, 2010, 10:34 AM
While I have not done it within the past 10 months, I have flown MANY times with my saddle. I have always carried it on and put it under the seat in front of me. I prefer it there, but I wouldn't be opposed to putting it in the overhead bin as long as I got to put it in there, or at least approve of the position it was placed in there.

I will say that I have had problems with the stirrups on there, so now I just pull them and check them in my suitcase. Ironically, I flew down and back (over a four day period) on the SAME airline and had the problem - the difference was the airport screeners. Having the same rules might have been helpful, but I digress . . . On the way down, the stirrups on the saddle were not a problem. On the way back (after my luggage was checked) security woudln't let it through with the stirrups. They said that they could be taken off and used as a weapon. Getting out of line, checking loose leathers/irons was a bit nerve wracking (as my baggage was already on its way I had nothing else to put them in). No use arguing, so now I just check them ahead of time.

For decades the tree and "hidden interior" of the saddle always caused at least a second look on the x-ray machine. I did have to work hard to convince the guy not to pull the gullet/panels apart too much when trying to investigate - maybe being in my early 20's and looking 14 helped! I can only imagine how much of an additional look they would give it today. But I would still greatly prefer to carry it on than have it go with baggage and end up wrong side up with some 100lb suitcase on it for hours on end!

giddybiddy
Jan. 13, 2010, 03:42 PM
I carried my saddle on the plane just last week, with absolutely no difficulties. Well, it did have to be swabbed at security, but they just laughed because when I told them it was a saddle, they knew it wasn't anything threatening. I didn't take the stirrups off or anything...just put it in my fleece lined carrier and put it in the overhead. I flew from Boston to Philly, then Philly to Roanoke. On the smaller planes, you just check it at the gate like a stroller, and I make sure to tell the person I hand it to that it is a saddle, and to be very gentle. I've never had any problems, and I've done this about 6 or 7 times now. Nothing changed with the new security after Christmas...it really isn't that hard.

clairdelune
Jan. 13, 2010, 04:50 PM
I worked as a Flight Attendant for many years in Europe, and I agree as many others have said you really need to give the airline a call and make sure the aircraft over head lockers will be large enough to hold your saddle without it being squashed in.. Check in staff may say it is fine to carry it on but when you get to actually board you may find you encounter a Flight attendant with an attitude (there are many of them) who will tell you it has to go in the hold, so make sure the saddle is well padded and labeled should this happen, and do ask if this happens if your saddle will come off with the main luggage or if it will be off loaded with strollers ect which are sometimes handed to families as they get off the flight, and some unknowing baggage handler could bring your saddle out the hold with the strollers thinking it was some kind of fold up stroller or baby equipment (you just never know at some airports:).
If you can take it on the flight and put it in the overhead,try to make sure that you get it in before everyone else starts loading their own handbaggage, especially if there are a lot of babies or young children on board as you may find that you have to keep moving your saddle so someone can get at a diaper bag, another thing to make sure is that your saddle carrier is waterproof, families with small children do like to carry drinks in their baggage to keep the children quiet on the flight, I have seen passengers with juice dripping on their heads because it has leaked and is now dripping out the locker, you really don't want to get juice stains on your saddle!!
And so very important as I think others have mentioned, make sure that if your saddle is damaged even in the overheads that it iwill be covered by either the airline insurance or your own personal insurance.
Have a safe trip!