Airline Ski Travel Tips

Airline Ski Travel Tips
Rules, rules, what are the current excess baggage rules? Here are some tips to get you and your skis or snowboard on that next flight.

If you’re traveling with winter sports equipment and have a soft shell bag, chances are the airline you are traveling with will want you to sign a liability agreement that absolves them of any damage done to the contents of your bag. How can you mitigate damage without dropping a wad of cash on a hard shell case? One idea is to wrap your equipment with your ski clothing. Pay particular attention to covering the bindings. Ski poles can also break easily, so strapping them alongside your skis will help get them thru the transport process. Be careful not to exceed 50 lbs, or excess baggage fees may apply, depending on the airline.

As your bulkiest items are now in your equipment bag, you can use a smaller bag or suitcase for the rest of your items. To avoid paying anything extra in weight on that suitcase, take your ski or snowboard boots on the plane with you as carry on, if you haven’t already packed them in your equipment bag. The added benefit to carrying your boots on, if your other luggage doesn’t arrive when you do, at least you have the one item with you that would be the least comfortable to rent.

It would be nearly impossible to go on a ski or snowboard trip with just one bag, unless you were renting equipment at your destination. So keep in mind that if you have two bags to check, you may want to fly with an airline like Southwest, who is currently not charging baggage fees (unlike all the other airlines). Sending your luggage ahead of you is typically pricey, so you may want to compare those prices with the baggage fees ahead of time.

This year the airlines fees for baggage in general have been changing so frequently, even travel agents can’t keep up with them. If the experts can’t, how is anyone else supposed to? If you’re one of the lucky ones flying to a destination with your ski or snowboard gear, your best bet is to check the website of airline you are flying.

The following links can help you determine what fees you might incur for winter travel with oversized ski or snowboard bags.

Air Canada
US Airways

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