Avid hikers and those who need some assistance standing and walking steadily naturally include their walking sticks on their lists of travel necessities. Walking sticks range considerably in size and style much like sporting equipment, but all help you get around. When you're planning to travel by airplane, you can take your walking stick right through Transportation Security Administration (tsa.gov) and onto the plane with you.
Many airlines allow you to take a walking stick onto the plane, and it won't be considered your one allowable carry-on bag or piece of carry-on luggage. A walking stick, like a cane, collapsible stroller, or a pair of crutches, falls under the category of a mobility device. There's little restriction on such safety- and health-related items, including walkers, walking canes, trekking poles, and child-restraint seats.
Companies such as United Airlines (united.com) do not count assistive devices or mobility aids as carry-on luggage. American Airlines also does not count mobility aids as carry-on baggage but may require the item be checked with checked bags, at no cost to the user, if there is no space in overhead bins or other storage areas of the plane.
When you board the airplane, ask a flight attendant if she can store your walking stick for you. Many airplanes have closets to store long or irregularly shaped passenger items such as hanging garment bags, walking sticks and canes. Toward the end of the flight, the flight attendant will return the walking stick or you can ask for it.
In the close, confined quarters of an airplane, it's easy to accidentally bump into other passengers. When carrying a walking stick, be extremely careful about moving it when you're in a crowd. If you want to pass it to the flight attendant or slide it beneath your seat, look around to ensure you don't hit another passenger with it.
To help avoid unseen circumstances at the airport, contact the airline you'll be using and ask about its specific policies concerning walking sticks. Ask whether you can keep the walking stick with you on the plane, rather than have to check it with your other checked luggage. Also plan to arrive early to the airport to allow TSA officers or airport security proper time to screen hiking poles or hiking sticks.
TSA rules vary for different walking aids or types of canes, like carry-on items the walking stick may be required to go through security checkpoint x-ray machines. Anything deemed to be a security threat or prohibited item is at the mercy of security who will make the final decision on items participating in air travel.