Contrary to what Peter says it is a fact I (and I know others) have never been stopped or questioned about taking a 57cm (length when telescoped) 5m long fishing pole which fits inside my rucksack on lots of Ryanair and Easyjet flights over the last five years, the last time was in May this year. I get my poles from Life's a Breeze. I always keep the rucksack on my back when going through the final departure gate and despite the sack being around 5 cm over length its size has never been challenged by gate or cabin staff. Despite being 5cm over length (Berghaus 35+8 rucksack) it will easily fit end on in the overhead locker.
Laterly on these budget flights I have tended to pay the few pounds extra to get priority boarding then I am through the gate first and am guaranteed room in the overhead lockers, rather than be forced to put the hand luggage in the hold, which of course one cannot do because of the lithium batteries being carried. I have a preference for Ryanair over Easyjet as on Ryanair as well as being allowed 10Kgs weight in the rucksack, you are allowed (at no extra cost) to take a small carry on bag with unlimited weight. A bag of the size allowed can take around 7 Kgs of electronic equipment, such as transceiver, batteries, camera. GPS, Satnav etc. On Easyjet you do not get the option of a free second bag, so everything has to go inside the rucksack or in pockets. The advantage with that over Ryanair is that their is no restriction on the weight of the rucksack. For a short SOTA Tour of 4-5 days with clothing and radio gear my rucksack normally weighs in at around 13-15 Kgs.
Just out of interest has any activator been prevented from carrying on one of the short poles inside a rucksack?
PS Having just read Ed's reply I prefer not to take a hold bag for short tours if I can. This saves waiting around at the carousel for the bag and the significant cost of taking the hold bag. Not having one allows you to get to the car hire desk and to the first summit more quickly! It is not unusual to fly say to Czech Republic from the UK for less than £50 return - take a bag and it will likely cost another £20 - £35.
73 Phil G4OBK