Travelling with Body Armour

A common concern for individuals who own and wear body armour is travel: can you take body armour through airport security safely? In a world where many would struggle to take a bottle of water or other seemingly innocuous objects through increasingly tight airport security, it may seem as though taking a bulletproof vest would be impossible. This is not necessarily the case. There are however several things that you should first take into account before attempting to travel with your protective vest.

Legalities

While there are currently no restrictions against taking body armour through UK airports, you should always ensure that the country you are visiting allows civilians to wear or own personal body armour. In certain territories in Australia, for example, it is illegal for an individual to possess body armour without prior authorisation, while some provinces in Canada require a body armour license to be obtained. It is vital that you first ascertain that your body armour will be permitted in your destination in order to avoid unnecessary delays at the airport or even legal repercussions.

Checked luggage or hand luggage?

Another common concern is whether to pack a protective vest in your checked luggage or carry on. While packing a vest in your checked luggage runs a higher risk of loss or theft, there are also a number of problems that may occur if you pack your vest in your hand luggage, or opt to wear it. If you want to take your vest through airport security you may be concerned about the metal detectors being triggered, and what the potential effects of this may be. The best way to ascertain whether or not your vest can pass through a metal detector is to find out exactly what materials it is constructed from. Kevlar®, the main material used in modern body armour, is a synthetic fabric so will not trigger any alarms. Certain stab-resistant vests are made using chain mail, however, and will not pass through metal detectors unobserved. It is also important to remember that you may be subjected to random searches, and most modern body scanners will be able to detect that a vest is being worn. Airport security personnel are trained to question anything that may appear suspicious, and if you are found with body armour you could be subjected to an extremely thorough secondary search to ensure you are not a danger to other passengers or yourself. Remember that while a vest in itself cannot hurt anyone, it may attract unwanted attention or alarm other passengers. Airlines may also ask you to remove your vest while on board for health and safety reasons.

Before you travel

There are a couple of things you can do in advance in order to make travelling with protective clothing easier. If you have any relevant professional credentials, always take them to the airport with you. This can alleviate some pressure if you are questioned by airport security guards. Most airlines have a list of prohibited items which can be found online – it may help to take a printed copy of this to the airport with you to show security officials. Arrive at the airport early to allow yourself plenty of time in case of complications. Finally, if you have any doubts you should always contact the airport and the airline before your flight. They should be able to advise you of any appropriate steps you may need to take in order to travel with your body armour.