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Airline policy on BIG bags

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Has anyone first-hand experience with checking large bags, the size of a fully loaded Head 4Pair (193cm) bag?

What surcharges or size or weight limits might I expect?

Most specifically interested in United, AirCanada, SouthWest and (the) ME airline.
post #2 of 17
I travel with my skis and I fly 3-4 times each winter. They are no longer as long as what you are using (used to be before I got shaped skis), so I can't address the length issue, but I can address carrying a plastic carrier with wheels carrying two pairs of skis (170 cm). As recently as Feb. 2004, I was not charged extra. It counted as one of my two checked bags. A friend of mine has a really long cloth ski bag on wheels and packs her clothes in it too, didn't get charged extra last winter either.

I suggest you read the airlines' websites for their "rules." The major carries are all similar, don't know about using a "budget airline" though. Last winter, major airlines considered a ski bag to be a regular checked bag as long as you only check two bags. Check more than that, and you'll be charged.
post #3 of 17
I carried my skies in a cloth bag with wheels (160s but the bag is much bigger and i stuffed clothes in it) on United, Air Canada - last year. i also took my skis to SLC last year - I just can't remember if it was southwest or Delta.

no problems.
post #4 of 17
They are starting to get real sticky with the 50 lbs./bag limit. I don't use my 4 pair team bag anymore because of it.
post #5 of 17
when I went to Whistler last year, I was concerned about the same thing, just check your bag inside and you should be fine. The airlines told me that specific bags, like hockey and ski bags were not typically charged extra (so long as they were one of the two bags being checked, like said above, if its a 3rd bag you'll pay).

BTW the bag I brought had 4 pairs of skis, 4 pairs of poles, and clothes and towels in it.

Also something to note, that I kinda paniced about when they swabbed my ski bag, ski wax, although it is an accellerant and flamable (and combustable too I thought) was not a problem when they swab the bags for chemicals. When they swabbed it, I kinda paniced since I knew there was wax particulate (and acetone) all over my bag, and she said it wasn't a problem.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks, all!

Manus, you're not nitrating your acetone, are you ? Or putting antifreeze in your CH waxes ?
post #7 of 17
Bonni and I flew to SLC last year and had no trouble with our ski bag or one huge suitcase, the rest of the luggage was OK anyway. When we checked it tho--we chatted up the clerk and he just sort of put them on the conveyor without really looking at the scale.
post #8 of 17
Do you know which airline you are flying yet?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Not final, but it seems a borderline plan to try to check one of these on United at least. Notice snowboards are length limited ???
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD
They are starting to get real sticky with the 50 lbs./bag limit. I don't use my 4 pair team bag anymore because of it.
What he said.

Most airlines' sport luggage policy will let you substitute a ski bag and a boot bag for a regular bag as long as the combined weight doesn't go over the 50 pound limit. A few airlines let you check skis in addition to your 2 bag limit and define ski equipment as 1 pair of skis. Every airline has their policies on their web site and it's worth it to read their policy before you fly.
post #11 of 17
I had a major headach last season trying to check in a 4 pr "burrito"bag with frontier going from denver to nyc. They Told me that I could check a ski bag as a piece of "sports equipment" on top of there 2 bag limit when I called. Upon arrival, they said that the bag cannot contain more then 2 pair of skis and NOTHING else (i.e. Clothes, boots, etc...) I ended up having to leave 3 pair of skis with my friend who dropped me off at DIA. The Funny thing is.... when I left NYC I had the bag full of skis and they gladly took it.. no charge. I think depending on the airline and airport you will get different answers. In NYC I dont think they are so used to handling large ski bags and therefor did not ask how many skis where in there. In Denver, they are quite clued into ski travel and know if you are sneaking in a few extra. Bottom Line Be prepared for anything... no matter what the airline says. Fed-ex has a great service for shipping sports equipment to your vacation destination ( i used it for golf clubs) Shipped it 2 days before my trip and they were waiting at the clubhouse when I arrived. much easier then dealing with the airline... Good luck
post #12 of 17
biggest peice of advice, never attempt road side luggage check with big bags, always go to the counter. I've never had a problem checking large ski bags, and rarely had a problem with large bags in general (had one weight in at 70 lbs, general lugage, and curbside would have cost a bunch more, but I brought it inside, checked it at the counter and it was no problem).
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by coppernyc
Fed-ex has a great service for shipping sports equipment to your vacation destination ( i used it for golf clubs) Shipped it 2 days before my trip and they were waiting at the clubhouse when I arrived. much easier then dealing with the airline... Good luck
Can you describe this service in more detail? Did they box your clubs or were they just shipped in your sport bag? How much, btw.

Last year when I went to Northstar and Mammoth Mt I used Sports Express to ship my skis and boots. From that experience I learned that SE was just a go-between for UPS or FedEx and figured I'd go directly to the shipper the next time. Everything did work fine.

johnny
post #14 of 17
I had no problems checking my skis last year. They did count as a regular bagage though. Now if you ask me about how well the airlines and TSA security will handle your skis that's a totally different story. If they decide to open your bag or hard case, beware of the consequences. For me, they just didn't bother closing the case back up and tossed the TSA approved lock and the keys that were left on the lock. My skis traveled without protection between Chicago and Reno and the case arrived in two pieces. Talk about a nightmare... This was on American Airlines.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus
biggest peice of advice, never attempt road side luggage check with big bags, always go to the counter. I've never had a problem checking large ski bags, and rarely had a problem with large bags in general (had one weight in at 70 lbs, general lugage, and curbside would have cost a bunch more, but I brought it inside, checked it at the counter and it was no problem).
I have had the exact opposite experience. A good tip to a skycap can get any bag on a plane. You can't tip at the ticket counter, and they have to lift your bag onto the belt - or call someone to handle the oversized baggage.
post #16 of 17
The standard scheduled airline policy is it counts as a checked bag with a weight limit of 50lbs for domestic US flights and 70 lbs for International flights which includes travel to Canada from the US. The 50 lbs can somtimes be flexible, especially if you persaude them not to weigh but just to take it direct to the oversize baggage check. However the 70 lbs has now become a virtual maximum for checked baggage and you will find almost every airline will refuse to accept anything over this weight (I have found this out to my cost on transatlantic flights!). The official reason for this is to avoid injury to baggage handlers.

You will occasionally get lucky and get away with a higher weight but it is difficult to rely on and you always run the risk of having to ditch some stuff. Sometimes if you have a high level frequent flier status you will get an additional allowance but not normally over 70lbs. I have never known the physical size of the bag to be a problem, it is just the weight.

Hope this helps.
post #17 of 17

flying with big bags

Last summer I flew out of Boston with a large 4 pair wheeled bag with no problem on Delta. We flew home from Santiago with no problem too.

This past February flying from Manchester, NH, with 3 pairs in one bag I was charged for an overweight bag. I was told "only the US Ski team can fly with team bags on United. We're their sponsor." I had to buy another bag from REI in Denver to fly home. They only allowed 2 pairs per bag. More room for dirty clothes I guess.

Jim
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