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ATA says no to HPA
By Bill Mills - June 10, 2003

 



Indiana based airline, ATA has recently become more thorough about enforcing its baggage policies, which do not allow compressed air tanks – empty or filled – to be transported on their airplanes.  

Their polices are publicly available on their web site at: http://www.ata.com/pdfs_docs/atacoc.pdf.  Section 190C of the policy specifically prohibits the transport of compressed air systems.  Under the heading of paintball, the policy says to see the Restricted Articles heading, which includes:  
 

“ATA does not accept compressed air systems, including oxygen generators, oxygen bottles and scuba tanks under any conditions.” 


This issue was brought to the attention of the paintball playing public earlier this spring in a short paragraph long announcement in Action Pursuit Games Magazine’s monthly e-zine e-mail based newsletter.  The ban similarly extends to CO2 tanks.  Some confusion has arisen amongst paintballers because of an e-mail, which ATA has sent to its customers and the paintball media, referring to CO2 tanks for paintball.  While it is not as clearly stated in the letter, a telephone interview with customer relations representative Shannon Manley confirmed that the airline is enforcing the written policy dealing with both CO2 and compressed air systems.

ATA’s main hub is the Chicago-Midway airport, and it has more flights in and out of Midway than any other airline.  ATA has been providing passenger service since 1986.  Due in large part to ATA’s low fares, and the location of the Midway airport, the airline seemed like the logical choice for a number of teams attending the 2003 NPPL Chicago tournament, or planning to attend Renick Miller’s Chicago Open 2003 PSP/NXL tournament.  

When it came to ATA’s attention that passengers departing from Chicago had compressed air tanks in their checked luggage, the passengers were informed they would not be allowed to transport them.  After many discussions, consultation with ATA managers, and even heated arguments, ATA stood firm on enforcing its policies, citing that they are based on the airline’s federal certification.

Most players opted to ship their tanks home, rather than leave them behind.  As a sign of goodwill to their customers who were caught unaware by the policy, the airline is reimbursing the shipping costs.  Officials from ATA have also stated that the airline offered to re-book flights free of charge for players who missed their scheduled flight due to delays caused by shipping their equipment.  

ATA customers who had to ship their compressed air tanks home from Chicago are encouraged to contact ATA with return address and contact information to request a reimbursement at:

ATA Customer Relations
7337 West Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46231
1-877-617-1139

Players planning to travel by air are advised to check with their airline in advance to make sure all of their equipment can be transported.  Due to changes in Transportation Safety Administration policy this year, all checked luggage as well as carry on is inspected by X-Ray, and possible hand search.  
 


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