Northwest Air and Fishing Gear [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Northwest Air and Fishing Gear

01-20-2007, 01:43 PM
I just got off the phone with Northwest Airlines customer service. Their web page says "no fishing gear allowed as carry-on". And the customer service rep confirms that. I'm aware the TSA web page says to carry expensive fishing items on board.

I've flown NW air for years and never had a problem carrying several rods, reels, and fly boxes. I'm flying to Exuma on February 14, and now have choices to make.

I'm thinking of trying to carry on my backup rod/reel and a small fly assortment. Checking the good stuff. What a nightmare if the good stuff doesn't arrive.

Anybody have recent experience with Northwest and carry-on rods/tackle?


01-20-2007, 02:30 PM
No trouble (doing as you are thinking) in the past. The airline does not check what is in your carry on, TSA does.

01-20-2007, 02:51 PM
I just (Nov. 06) watched NW refuse to allow a 4 pc rod tube cattyon into the cockpit of a 757. They made the person check it on the jetway. No idea why, as it would have easily fit into an overhead.

01-20-2007, 05:23 PM

Uh-oh. What happens when you check it on the jetway? Do they hold it and return it at your next destination? Makes sense to me that if it makes a flight crew nervous, they just tuck it back behind the snacks or something.

What can I do wrong with some fishing gear? The worst I can think of is string up somebody by the nipples with a couple of 'cuda flies or something. Maybe the guy that takes my rod? :hihi:

I've got three flights. Northwest Airlink to Minneapolis - I'm pretty sure they don't care, Northwest to Ft Lauderdale - I think there's trouble on this one, and Delta Connection to Georgetown - I'm pretty sure they don't care.

I'm hoping for some common sense.


01-20-2007, 06:07 PM
That one reason I love flying out of Bozeman, every other passenger is carrying a flyrod tube!

01-21-2007, 07:43 AM
Uh-oh. What happens when you check it on the jetway? Do they hold it and return it at your next destination?

They tag it, normally to the next destination only, and stuff it into the cargo hold of the plane together with all the other bags. Probably less risk of losing it than check-in at the counter, since it is handcarried to the hold as apposed to the longer journey of being put on the conveyor, routed to the drop-off, loaded on the carts, driven to the plane and finally loaded into the hold, all based on the luggage tag. Of course, procedures may vary per airline and airport. You'll probably be ok, but make sure you got a nametag on rods just in case. Trying to find some logical reason for the carry-on restrictions is futile.

Josko, surely no one tried to stuff the rods inside the actual cockpit?

EDIT: On smaller planes with less storage space in-cabin, it's not uncommon that they "valet" tag it and give them back when debarking, separately from the checked luggage. Handcarried all the way. I have no experience with NW. Either flavor of gatechecking would still be preferable to regular check-in, IMO.

01-22-2007, 11:04 AM
Buy one of these the airlines will never know what is in there. Last year I flew NW w/ my 4 piece rod in a sock no hard tube didn't have a problem at all. I recently purchased the product below can't wait to use it.

Tin Pusher
01-22-2007, 07:49 PM
Rods, reels, flies and line may be denied on the aircraft, there are no guarantees either way. If hiding it in a fancy bag fools your airport security I would not feel so comfortable on the flight. Remember it is not a fishing rod and reel, it is a bat/bazooka barrel and rope in the hands of a terrorist. If it is denied hopefully it makes it into the cargo area before you depart. What I tell my friends is get 2 suitcases each big enough for a rod tube. Have one complete setup in each suitcase so if one is lost or delayed you always have the other to fish with.

01-23-2007, 06:02 PM
That sounds like a good idea Tin Pusher. I gather you have an affiliation with the airline industry?

I use a G-Loomis rolling duffel as my main checked bag, but only usually use the rod storage on the return flight. I think I'll put my main 8wt rig and some flies in the Loomis, my lighter 8 in another bag with reel and flies, and carry on a nine as emergency gear. I'm a gear guy, so I want it all, but covering all contingencies makes good sense. At least I don't see a better way.

I understand security needs and surely want the best flight security available. My family is worth quite a bit more than a fishing trip. But talking to NW customer service, there doesn't seem to be any sympathy at all for expensive fishing gear nor a passion for bonefish. Maybe that's the way it should be. There's people passionate about truly dangerous things too I guess.


01-23-2007, 10:07 PM
The inconsistency between airlines and even TSA employees at the same airport; and, the lack of credibility in some of the decisions drives me nuts! If a fishing reel can be considered dangerous because it might be used to bludgeon someone, then any items of similar mass should also be prohibited! Check out the trinkets/souveniers for sale INSIDE the security area! If fishing line is dangerous because it might be used to tie someone up or choke them, why are belts allowed, or boot laces. Is a rod case more dangerous than a hard sided brief case? How about the glasses, bottles, cans, dinnerware, etc provided in the restaurants and shops inside the secure area? The airlines just recently stopped giving cans of pop to passengers. Ten seconds max to make a razor sharp knife with a pop can. The cans are still readily available on the planes. It seems at times like decisions by some TSA employees have more to do with exercising ego building authority and power trips than safety.

One of my fishing partners had the correct size toothpaste, but had it (and only it) in a gallon baggie instead of a quart baggie. TSA refused to allow him to carry it on. Someone please explain the logic here.

Don't get me wrong, I want the flights to be safe also, and the huge majority of TSA folks do an excellent job in difficult conditions. But the inconsistencies and oversight of the obvious while enforcing the insane really destroys credibility, detracts from real safety, and makes me wonder how much freedom we will continue to lose with no real gain in security to show for it.

Do I sound frustrated? Well I feel better for having vented! I don't feel like I can vent to TSA because I'm afraid of them. I FEAR I may have trouble flying again. As an honest member of the American public, should I have to feel this way?

01-24-2007, 08:23 AM
In the "fancy bag" only the rod in the sock is packed not the heavy metal tube. You gotta remember that you still have to check through security. IMO if security says I'm good to go I'm good to go. I also am mucho friendly to all airline personal maybe this helps.. who knows. I havn't had any issues traveling w/ my fly fish (rods and reels- no flies) gear post 911. I've flown a handful of times last year, July to Mexico, and August to MO for family trout trip. Will be flying in March and June this year w/ gear and plan on doing the same.

My 2 rods I'll be bringing are 4 pieces, and I bring 3 reels. This amount to around $4000. If they make me check it fine, but until then it doesn't leave my hands.

01-24-2007, 09:38 AM
My favorite TSA gripe is loosing a box of San Juan river trout flies (size 20 -26) at Albuquerque airport because 'TSA has determined that fishooks are weapons'.