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What airlines are recomended for flying around North America with ski kit?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am likely to be flying from Toronto to somewhere near snow, most likely SFO, at the end of this month and I will have a lot of kit including 2 pairs of skis in a large (~190cm) double bag.  Looking at prices it looks like there is not much in it between the major US carriers (AA, United, US air) and Air Canada is more expensive but direct.  In europe there are well known and significant differences between the different airlines with respect to how they handle skis and checked lugage, but I have no knowledge of what US carriers are like.  Do you have any thoughts on this?

 

Also, I have heard it is worth avoiding connecting through Chicago O'Hare.  Is it really that bad?

post #2 of 15

southwest is very ski friendly. from SFO you can get to SLC, Denver, Reno on southwest direct.

 

here is their ski baggage policy:

 

Snow ski equipment, including skis or snowboards, ski boots, and ski poles. Effective March 1, 2012: including one pair of skis or one snowboard, one set of poles, and one pair of ski/snowboard boots encased in a container(s) acceptable to Carrier.  When substituting ski equipment for a free bag, Southwest Airlines allows up to two bags (containing one set of snow skis, ski poles, and ski boots) to count as one item, even if they are packed and tagged separately.

 

 

O'Hare is the second busiest airport in the US, behind Atlanta, and ahead of LAX. They are in the midst of a huge modernization plan, so it can be hectic, but its an airport...

post #3 of 15

ORD is a huge airport and can be a bit of a hassel. But you can also get to almost anywhere from there, but you can't do it on Southwest.

Southwest only uses Midway in Chicago.

 

You could use Porter from YTZ to Chicago MDW and then onto anywhere SWA flies. 

post #4 of 15

Also, Southwest doesn't really care about the one pair of skis vs. two despite what their site policy says - as long as the total weight isn't crazy.

post #5 of 15

 I'd pay the extra and get the non-stop. I'm sure people will chime in with, X airline is bad, but you can have a bad experience on any airline. Any time you use a connecting flight, your chances for lost bags, damaged bags (not to mention missed flights) doubles of course. So if you can afford that Air Canada flight, I'd do that.

 

O'Hare is second worst for flight delays; the weather there is problematic. It's not always bad; I just connected through there last weekend with no problem. But if you can go nonstop and avoid it, that's much better.

 

Quote:

 

Also, Southwest doesn't really care about the one pair of skis vs. two despite what their site policy says - as long as the total weight isn't crazy.

Neither does Alaska/Horizon. I'm not sure any airline does. Someone here once posted something like, you need to get a gate agent on a really bad day for anyone to care about 2 pair in one bag, as long as it's not overweight, and I think that's true. I also routinely stuff clothes and other gear into my ski bag, which you aren't supposed to do, but no one cares.

post #6 of 15

Our kids come out to visit us at Silver Star from Toronto every year with all kinds of equipement. If they haven't changed the policy, if you pre-register the sports equipement online....the ski bag is free.

post #7 of 15

Within Canada, WestJet is a much better choice than Air Canada. The ski shop where I work at Sun Peaks has a billing/voucher system on our computer for rental skis for Air Canada due to all the skis that arrive a day after the skier. Keep in mind that all of these skiers would be taking a connector flight on a smaller plane from Vancouver or Calgary to Kamloops.

post #8 of 15

I'm going through this for the first time flying Delta (within the US). They also count one boot bag and one ski bag as one check-in. The problem is that their policy says the weight limit before extra charge is 50lbs combined. That is unreasonable because our bag alone is close to 20 lbs so 2 pairs of skis will cost us an arm and a leg.

post #9 of 15

My advice is take only one pair of skis. Since most ski days are not deep powder days, take an all mountain ski and rent a fat ski if it dumps.

post #10 of 15

I'm assuming he's taking another pair for someone else?  I went with a single pair travel quiver years ago.  99% of the airlines have the same 50lb. rule. 

Deal with it,  fly someone else that doesn't charge for a second bag or drive.

Carry on your boots and everything you must have to survive/ski.  Then a roller double that weighs 49.99lbs. with everything else.

post #11 of 15

I agree with Christy319.  Pay a little extra and take the direct Air Canada flight to San Francisco from Toronto.  Aside from the increased risk of lost baggage when you make connections, what I've learned through experience flying in the U.S. is that flight delays are inevitable, as are missed connecting flights as a result.  I can't tell you the number of times I've been inconvenienced by lost luggage when flying in the U.S., or by being forced to overnight somewhere because of flight delays that caused me to miss my connecting flight.  I've never had a problem when flying in Canada or Europe, but I've come to expect problems as a normal occurance when flying in the U.S.  Play it safe and take the direct flight.

 

Are you going to San Francisco specifically to ski, or going there for other reasons and want to do some skiing on the side?  If the first, there are closer cities to Toronto that offer excellent, easier to access skiing options (Calgary, Denver, Salt Lake City, Vancouver).
 


Edited by exracer - 11/16/12 at 9:03am
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post

I'm going through this for the first time flying Delta (within the US). They also count one boot bag and one ski bag as one check-in. The problem is that their policy says the weight limit before extra charge is 50lbs combined. That is unreasonable because our bag alone is close to 20 lbs so 2 pairs of skis will cost us an arm and a leg.

I don't get where you are getting these weights from? I just weighed my boots and that came to 12 lbs. add 2 lbs for the bag and that still leave 36 lbs for 2 pair of skis in a single bag. I seriously doubt each of the pair of skis weighs about 15 lbs (have to subtract some for the bag).

 

If you read the airlines' policy on ski equipment, most say up to 2 pair of skis and 1 pair of boots

post #13 of 15

SFO isn't exactly near snow.  Perhaps RNO works better?

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by voelfgar View Post

I don't get where you are getting these weights from? I just weighed my boots and that came to 12 lbs. add 2 lbs for the bag and that still leave 36 lbs for 2 pair of skis in a single bag. I seriously doubt each of the pair of skis weighs about 15 lbs (have to subtract some for the bag).

 

If you read the airlines' policy on ski equipment, most say up to 2 pair of skis and 1 pair of boots

I misspoke about the 20lbs (my mistake). It was with an almost rugged 8-lb bag (spec says just under 7) and one pair of lightweight ladies AM skis.

 

The boots were a few more than 12lbs (a smaller Lange race boot from a few years back) in a 2+lb bag. So, that was more than 18lbs.

 

So that leaves12lbs for the second pair of skis with no chance for any other items like poles and such. Doable for a short pair of twins and nothing else.

 

And, here is the statement directly from Delta...

"Ski and snowboard equipment are allowed as checked baggage. One ski/pole bag or one snowboard bag and one boot bag is accepted per person. The combined weight of the ski/snowboard bag and the boot bag may not exceed 50 lbs. or excess weight charges will apply. Linear dimensions may exceed 80 inches (203 cm) without excess size charges. All standard baggage charges apply."

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the info, I shall have to bear it in mind with the cost of the flight.

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