Skis and ski poles are not allowed as airplane carry-ons, but the Transportation Security Administration does allow them as checked luggage items. If you are a regular skier, you may have your own ski boots and skis to pack for your upcoming ski trip. But how exactly does one take them on an airplane when they don’t fit into a conventional checked bag? Read below to understand how exactly to pack a pair of skis for airline travel.
The tips and bindings have the greatest danger of damage, and improperly packed ski gear can also become warped during handling and travel. Packing your ski equipment properly helps ensure they arrive safely and undamaged at your destination. Your ski boot bag will also count as part of your baggage allowance with the airline, so it's important to pack as compactly as possible to avoid additional fees. Have an oversized piece of luggage may be a hassle, but so is paying fees.
Confirm checked baggage fees with your airline before traveling. Additional bags and those over a certain weight require higher fees for air travel. The airline may also have specific rules for packing skis on a flight. It’s best to know the airline’s policy before you arrive at check-in to avoid any surprises.
Cover the tips of your ski poles with tip covers. Alternatively, wrap a length of foam pipe insulation around the tips and hold it in place with a rubber band. This prevents the poles from tearing the ski bag or injuring a baggage inspector.
Pack the skis and poles inside a padded ski duffel bag or dedicated snowboard bag. Do not travel with the skis outside of a bag because they can become caught in the baggage conveyor systems used in most airports.
Place folded or rolled clothing items in the bag with the skis, like the base layers you were planning on packing anyway or any other ski clothing you wanted to take. The clothing provides extra padding and allows you to carry fewer bags on your trip, which helps minimize airline baggage fees.
Include a luggage tag with your contact information on the outside and on the inside of the bag. If the outer tag becomes lost, the tag on the inside can help reunite you with your skis at your destination.
Some ski resorts offer a checked baggage credit on your resort stay. Check with your resort’s baggage policy before flying.
Shipping your skis to your resort via a shipping company or renting skis upon arrival is sometimes less expensive than paying airline baggage fees, so consider this option for your next ski vacation as well. Everyone wants to avoid overweight charges for their travel bags and definitely prefer to have free checked bags, so explore all of your options and know the weight limits of your airline before arriving!
Don’t forget you also have a separate bag to carry on the plane as a personal item, so if packing becomes an issue, placing small items like toiletries in your carry-on may be best.