Air Travel Guide: Can You Take a Cane On a Plane?

Air Travel Guide: Can You Take a Cane On a Plane?

Canes are indeed allowed on planes, but it’s crucial to remember that not all canes are created equal!


Whether you have a classic wooden cane, a sleek folding cane, or a stylish adjustable cane, knowing how to travel with your trusty travel companion can make all the difference in your journey. 


So, let’s dive into the details and explore the best practices for traveling with your cane, ensuring a smooth and comfortable experience throughout your trip.


In this guide, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of air travel with different types of canes. 

Table of Contents

TSA Cane Regulations: What To Do At The Airport

The Transportation Security Administration allows the use of canes as mobility aids and assistive devices for navigating airports and airplanes.


However, these canes are subject to specific rules or screening to ensure safety and security measures are met.

1. Notify the TSA Officer at the security checkpoint

When going through the screening process, it is important to notify the TSA officer about your ability to walk or stand independently.


You can do this by providing a TSA notification card or medical documentation to explain your condition.


This will help ensure a smooth and efficient screening experience tailored to your medical need and requirements.

2. Standard Lanes Screening vs Screening in TSA PreCheck Lanes

Passengers who have mobility disabilities can undergo screening using advanced imaging technology, a metal detector, or a manual pat-down procedure.


Your cane must undergo X-ray screening however, if the item cannot fit through the X-ray, a TSA officer will inspect it manually. You should inform the officer if you need immediate access to your device after it has been screened.


The procedure in TSA PreCheck Lanes remains the same. Passengers with canes will undergo X-ray screening, ensuring a seamless and secure travel experience. 

Different Types of Canes

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to note that not all canes are created equal. There is a distinction between mobility aids and canes used in sports such as trekking and hiking. 


Additionally, it’s worth noting that canes with spikes, blades, and sharp edges are prohibited in carry-on luggage and on planes due to safety concerns. Nevertheless, you can still have them included and inspected alongside your checked baggage.

Types of cane that are allowed on a plane

These types of canes, specifically designed for mobility assistance, are allowed in the cabin along with your carry-on baggage. This accommodation ensures that passengers with mobility challenges have easy access to their walking aids during the flight, providing them with comfort and convenience throughout the journey.

Metal Canes

A metal cane is allowed on the plane as long as your metal cane is a standard mobility aid without these features, it can accompany you in the cabin during your flight. Remember to inform the TSA security officers about your needs to ensure a smooth, hassle-free experience!

Collapsible Cane / Foldable Cane

A collapsible cane is another type that is permitted on board. This particular type of cane is highly favored by travelers due to its portability. It can be folded into a more compact size, making it easy to store during your flight.


Remember, as long as your collapsible cane doesn’t feature any spikes, blades, or sharp edges, it’s more than welcome to accompany you in the cabin.

Regular Cane

A regular cane, similar to its metal and collapsible counterparts, is allowed on the plane as long as it is used as a mobility aid to assist individuals with walking. It should not feature any spikes, blades, or sharp edges that could potentially pose a safety risk to passengers or crew members.


This policy ensures that passengers can comfortably and safely navigate through the airport and during the flight.

Canes with Lithium Ion Batteries

Canes with lithium-ion batteries are also allowed on the plane as a carry-on item. These canes must be packed in carry-on luggage and not checked baggage, and the lithium batteries battery must have a watt-hour rating of less than 100 Wh (watt-hours).


It is essential to check with your airline beforehand to ensure that they allow this type.

Types of cane that are NOT allowed on a plane

As mentioned before, it’s important to note that not all canes are created equal. There is a distinction between mobility aids and canes used in sports.


Additionally, it’s worth noting that canes with spikes are prohibited in carry-on luggage and on planes due to safety concerns.


Nevertheless, you can still have them included and inspected alongside your checked baggage.

Wooden Stick / Walking Stick

A wooden stick, despite its seemingly harmless nature, is generally not permitted in the cabin on flights due to a variety of safety concerns. Also, wooden stick is used for hiking which is considered sports equipment.

Trekking Poles

Trekking poles, essential sports equipment for outdoor enthusiasts, are not permitted in the cabin due to safety regulations. However, you can securely pack them in your checked baggage, ensuring they accompany you on your exciting adventures.

Sports Equipment

Aside from mobility aids such as canes, all other sports equipment may not be allowed on board. This includes but is not limited to golf clubs, ski poles, and baseball bats. These items should be checked in alongside your luggage before boarding the plane.

Folding Walking Stick / Foldable Walking Sticks

A folding walking stick is a type of cane that can be easily folded and stored, making it convenient for travel. As long as it does not feature any sharp edges or spikes, and not used for hiking purposes, this type of cane is allowed in the cabin.

Folding Seat Stick

The folding seat stick, a versatile sporting good that combines convenience and functionality, is unfortunately not permitted in the cabin due to safety regulations.


Its compact design and multi-purpose features make it a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts seeking comfort and support during various activities. 


However, it is advisable to check with the airline regarding their specific policies on carrying such items.

Walking Stick with a Seat

Similar to the folding seat stick, this type of cane has a built-in seat for resting. As long as there are no spikes or sharp edges, it can

Antique Walking Stick

Although antique, it is a walking stick that is used for hiking and can not be carried on board.


NOTE: The above types of canes that are not permitted on a plane do not mean you cannot travel with them at all. You can still bring them along as long as they are properly packed and declared during check-in or security screening. Remember to always check with the airline’s customer service.

A Cane That Meets The Airline Requirements

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A cane that meets airline requirements should primarily serve as a mobility aid for passengers with special needs.


It should be lightweight, compact, and foldable for easy storage during the flight. The handle of the cane should be ergonomically designed for comfort, and the bottom should have a rubber tip for stability and traction. 


It’s important to note that any additional features such as hidden compartments, blades, or sharp points are strictly prohibited for safety reasons.


Moreover, canes with metal elements are allowed but expect them to undergo thorough security screening.


Always remember, that the main function of a cane in the context of air travel should be to assist with mobility and not serve any other purpose.


What is the procedure for bringing a cane on a plane?

Passengers requiring mobility aids will be given priority boarding and will be the last to deplane upon their request. For safety reasons, canes should be stowed in the overhead compartment during take-off and landing. If seated by a window, the cane can be placed next to the fuselage for the duration of the flight.

What are the TSA rules for carrying a cane on an airplane?

Similar to other passengers, individuals traveling with a cane will undergo TSA guidelines for security screening using advanced imaging technology, a metal detector, or a pat-down procedure. These screening methods ensure the safety and security of all passengers. 


Additionally, all canes will be subject to inspection using X-ray technology, which allows for a thorough and efficient examination of the cane to ensure there are no hidden items or security risk. Rest assured that these measures are in place to provide a safe and comfortable travel experience for everyone.

Can you get through airport security with a walking stick?

If the walking cane is used solely as a mobility device for everyday use, rather than for hiking or sports activities, and does not have spikes or any other prohibited attachments, it can be brought through airport security as long as it successfully passes the screening process. 


This means that individuals who rely on a walking cane to assist with their mobility can feel confident in bringing it along when traveling by air. The airport security screening ensures that the cane is safe and does not pose any risks or threats during the flight.

Can I leave my cane on the passenger seat?

As a flight attendant, we do allow canes in the cabin next to you or on a passenger seat. However, during take-off and landing, it must be placed in the overhead compartments as it can be a trip hazard in case of an emergency evacuation.

Let's Wrap It Up!

Navigating airports and air travel with a mobility aid such as a cane can be a smooth experience with the right knowledge and preparation. Canes are generally allowed on planes, though they’re subject to thorough security checks. 


It’s imperative that the cane is primarily used for mobility and doesn’t contain prohibited features like hidden compartments, blades, or sharp points. 


The procedure for traveling with a cane includes priority boarding and deplaning upon request, and safe stowage of the cane during the flight. 


Remember, the main purpose of a cane in air travel is to assist mobility, ensuring a comfortable travel experience for those needing it.


For more information, call the customer service of your airline to make sure you can bring your can in the cabin or visit the TSA.GOV website.


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