TSA will let you travel with a motorcycle airbag

If you were wondering if you can take a Helite vest on a airplane in the USA, you can. Ignore internet forums.

I ride with a Helite Turtle inflatable vest. I do not have the miles on it to give a proper review, but I like it enough to have wanted to drag it to Los Angeles with me yesterday, from San Francisco. I am planning to ride my 1976 BMW R90S home from my my parents where I left it last month, thinking a fall ride would be a little cooler than the heatwave temps I endured on the way down. Before leaving, I decided to check online and see if there were any issues.

Internet motorcyclist forum searches all said I was doomed. I did not lose sleep, however. The US Sailing Association website said no problem. Sailors are far more trustworthy than motorcyclists, so I decided to think of my airbag as a Personal Flotation Device when I got to the airport. I also called Virgin America, my airline of choice, and asked if they had any issues. Bring it on board for the party, they said.

The bag checker with a badge at the airport looked at me, looked at the hi-viz yellow vest and asked "PFD?" I said "Yes." TSA person said "Put it thru!" I put the vest, spare cartridge and the materials safety sheets I'd printed out, plus a copy of this TSA guideline on CO2 inflating vests on the belt and watched as it was minimally irradiated for our safety.

Then it came out the other side. I easily repacked the Helite Turtle into my overhead-able carry-on bag and went my merry way.

My flight, and all flights to my destination, were then cancelled due to smoke from California's wild-fires and I took an Uber home where the driver blasted Rammstein's Mutter the entire hour from SFO to my home in Muir Beach. Brutal.

I'll give a more detailed review once I've ridden with the bag for a while. I did a lot of research and decided Helite was the way for me. It looks a lot like the $3 highway hi-viz vest I wore for years. It costs $650 and weighs a few pounds. Mostly the vest feels no different, and in theory provides me with more safety. How much more? Research is out but airbag tech has been commonplace in motorcycle racing, and our cars, for years. It appears to greatly reduce injury in racing, and likely will prove out to do the same for us road riders.

Helite Turtle Airbag Vest via Amazon