Flying to a new ski destination is a ton of fun and extremely exciting, but not everyone knows how to bring their equipment along for the ride. Luckily, flying with your skis is pretty straightforward.
My name is Christine, I’ve been skiing for nearly my entire life and have had some fantastic opportunities to fly to unreal destinations across the world. I know how to fly with skis and have experience with getting my gear prepared for air travel.
This post will show you how to fly with skis easily and effectively. I want to make sure you have everything in order so you can simply hop on your flight and get ready for an amazing time in the mountains.
Let’s hop on board and get after it.
Flying With Skis
Bringing your skis with you on a flight is pretty straightforward. You really don’t need to do anything that crazy to get your gear on a flight, but knowing the exact steps can help you pack and prepare better.
The steps outlined below will help you pack and board your plane without worrying about what will happen to your skis along the way.
Step 1: Check Airline Ski Policy
Before you book your flight, it’s a good idea to check the airline’s policy regarding flying with skis. This will give you an idea of any rules or regulations surrounding flying with your equipment. It can also help you decide which airline to go with for your travel.
Some airlines won’t charge you an extra fee to bring oversized luggage such as skis. Others will charge you because your skis are longer than their regulations allow. Most airlines make this information readily available, so it’s easy to figure out.
The airlines that don’t charge for the extra length of skis include Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United. If you use another airline, be sure to inquire about their policy for flying with skis.
Knowing how much it can cost to fly with your skis can help you make a budget or find the most affordable option to your final destination. If you do have to pay an oversized luggage fee for your skis, this will usually cost anywhere from $25 to $50.
Also Read: How Much Does It Cost to Ship Skis
Step 2: Get a Good Ski Bag
A good ski bag is essential for anyone who wants to fly with their equipment. A bag will keep your skis (and any other gear you bring along) safe from damage while in flight. They also make carrying your skis around much easier.
I always recommend a roller ski bag for air travel because this makes it easy to drag your skis around no matter where you want to go. It’s also nice to have a bag with enough room to store your ski clothes, poles, and other warm-weather gear.
There are plenty of ski bags out there to choose from, but I think a soft-sided roller bag with plenty of storage is the way to go. You can get a hard-shell case if you want extra protection, but that will limit how much additional equipment you can pack along.
Step 3: Pack Your Bag
Once you have your bag figured out, it’s time to fill it up. Packing is a pretty simple process, but a few tips can help you make flying with your skis easier. These tips are from my experience packing ski bags for travel over the years.
Always put your skis and poles in the bag first. If you pack your bag with other stuff, you will struggle to fit your skis and poles in. I always open my bag up to access every nook and cranny. Then I lay my skis and poles inside before packing anything else.
If your bag has any straps, webbing, or any other means of securing your skis, be sure to use them before going any further as well. This will prevent your skis from slipping and sliding around the bag, limiting the chance of damage to any of your stuff.
After the skis and poles are secure, you can begin to fill the bag up with anything else you want to bring along. I like to roll all of my clothing and soft ski gear to form a soft layer of padding surrounding my skis.
Once I feel like my skis are well padded, I’ll pack any other items that aren’t foldable or soft – like goggles, electronics, or anything else you want to take with you. This helps keep a barrier between the skis and those products to again limit potential damage.
As you pack, you’ll want to make sure that you keep the bag’s total weight under the maximum allowable limit for the airline that you are flying with. This is typically 50 pounds but can vary from airline to airline.
If you go over that weight limit, there’s a good chance you’ll be charged extra. This again varies from airline to airline.
Step 4: Label and Secure You Bag
Before dropping off your bag with the airline, you’ll also want to make sure that it’s labeled and secured. This will help you keep tabs on everything if the bag gets lost or misplaced while also providing an extra layer of security.
You can use a baggage label provided by the airline or buy your own. Attach this securely to a handle of the bag, so it doesn’t fall off during transit. Be sure to include identifiable information on the label, such as your name and a way to contact you, like a phone number or email.
Some bags come equipped with locks that you should also secure before dropping them off. You can also purchase these separately to prevent anyone except security agents from opening up your bag.
Just make sure to get TSA-approved locks, or else they might get cut off if the security agents need to inspect your baggage.
Step 5: Check Your Bag
Once everything is prepared, packed, and secured, it’s time for the easy part. All you need to do now is drop off your bag at the airline counter and then board your flight. Airline employees will inform you of any further instructions.
Since a ski bag is almost always considered oversized, there is a good chance that you’ll need to drop the bag off in an area that is dedicated to larger luggage. In my experience, this is almost always different than the regular baggage drop but is easy to find.
There will also be oversized luggage pickup areas at your arrival airport. Just keep that in mind before you panic when your skis don’t show up on the moving luggage belt!
Flying with your skis is really pretty easy. As long as you have a good ski bag and have some experience with air travel, you shouldn’t experience any issues at all. Follow the steps above, and you’ll be ready for action when you get to your destination.
Good luck with your next ski adventure, and let us know how it goes in the comments below!