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Checking in ski equipment for flights

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Never checked in any ski equipment at the airport before. Reading on United's page, there are weight requirements etc for the ski's and boots. I just realized that checking in your ski equipment counts as 1 checked bag, so that means Ill be paying for my actual suitcase of clothes etc. New to this, but at the same a little dissapointed.

Which airlines are the best in terms of accomodating skiers etc?

Any horror stories of ski/boots not arriving to your destination?
post #2 of 22
Go ahead and check your skis - you really don't have any choice. But don't check your boots; instead, carry them on the plane. If your skis are delayed, lost, or damaged, you can always rent a pair. But you do not want to risk having that happen to your boots.
post #3 of 22
I'd go further and say to carry on boots *and* any clothes needed to ski 1 day, in case your ski bag / checked luggage gets delayed or lost.

Generally, I travel like this:

1) Carry on suitcase with essential ski clothes, gloves, goggles, etc.
2) Carry on boot bag (= the allowed personal item).
3) Check ski bag with skis, poles, extra clothes, and anything else not packed in 1 & 2.
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
VERY good advice! I would've never thought to split it up like that, but that makes perfect sense.

Thanks!
post #5 of 22
I am flying Midwest express in a couple of weeks, and according to their website, Ski equipment and golf bags are considered regular bags and not subject to any addition fee (over the regular checked bag fee)

I weighed my two pairs of skis and poles, and they are 28 lbs altogether.

I will check my ski bag paced with other gear (and keep it just under 50 lbs) And in another bag pack my clothes and boots. Take my pack as a carry on and I should be good.

1st bag fee - $15 (each way)
2nd bag fee - $25 (each way)

No overweight fees which can be $50-$75 each way. Just pack smart and weigh your things beforehand.
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier219 View Post
1) Carry on suitcase with essential ski clothes, gloves, goggles, etc.
2) Carry on boot bag (= the allowed personal item).
3) Check ski bag with skis, poles, extra clothes, and anything else not packed in 1 & 2.
Just an FYI:
This has always been my SOP. But yesterday I flew back on Frontier and they were really cracking down on the personal item size. I've heard rumors that the airlines are going to start being very strict on carryon rules in order to increase revenue.

OP: Southwest is the best!
post #7 of 22
No go on the boot bag as a personal item. Maybe you guys have just had good luck / gotten cool airline personnel, but anything larger than a laptop/DSLR camera case/purse/plastic bag full of magazines means you risk having to check it (and pay). Ski boots are WAY too big to get as a personal item in addition to a carry-on bag.

On the flip side, Never, ever, ever pay to check your skis. I've been charged multiple times, and have thrown a fit, and always been reimbursed by the airlines. I now carry a printed copy of their policy explaining that skis and golf bags are not to be charged oversize baggage fees (those are reserved for surfboards and bikes!).

My setup is:

-A two-ski bag with poles, clothes, hat, gloves, base layers, fleece, etc. Basically as much as I can fit in the bag, and I don't think it would be possible to go overweight given the limited size of the bag. I have a rolling one I really like (I think it's from Dakine).

-Carry-on my boot bag with favorite goggles, Ibex 3/4 length baselayer pant, ski pants, boots, helmet.

-Wear my ski jacket, laptop with personal items in case.

I can usually get away with shorter trips like this no problem ,which means no paying for a second checked bag. On longer trips, or if I'm flying with my wife, I check a second duffel bag. She's United Premier-All-World-Ninja-Executive, so she gets, I think, 3 checked bags for free per flight. Plus we get economy plus seating and preferred boarding/baggage handling. No, you can't borrow her for your ski trips (unless you want to pay for my plane and lift ticket, in which case, sure!).
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Currently I only have one pair of ski pants, may not be a bad idea to get a second and go with what Reisen mentioned.

So far from what I have learned here, I know that I would've been SOL if I didn't ask. A ton of great info here for a first time flyer! Much appreciated.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reisen View Post
No go on the boot bag as a personal item. Maybe you guys have just had good luck / gotten cool airline personnel, but anything larger than a laptop/DSLR camera case/purse/plastic bag full of magazines means you risk having to check it (and pay). Ski boots are WAY too big to get as a personal item in addition to a carry-on bag.

On the flip side, Never, ever, ever pay to check your skis. I've been charged multiple times, and have thrown a fit, and always been reimbursed by the airlines. I now carry a printed copy of their policy explaining that skis and golf bags are not to be charged oversize baggage fees (those are reserved for surfboards and bikes!).

My setup is:

-A two-ski bag with poles, clothes, hat, gloves, base layers, fleece, etc. Basically as much as I can fit in the bag, and I don't think it would be possible to go overweight given the limited size of the bag. I have a rolling one I really like (I think it's from Dakine).

-Carry-on my boot bag with favorite goggles, Ibex 3/4 length baselayer pant, ski pants, boots, helmet.

-Wear my ski jacket, laptop with personal items in case.

I can usually get away with shorter trips like this no problem ,which means no paying for a second checked bag. On longer trips, or if I'm flying with my wife, I check a second duffel bag. She's United Premier-All-World-Ninja-Executive, so she gets, I think, 3 checked bags for free per flight. Plus we get economy plus seating and preferred boarding/baggage handling. No, you can't borrow her for your ski trips (unless you want to pay for my plane and lift ticket, in which case, sure!).
I always carry on my boot bag (Transpak) with a suitcase and have never had any trouble. I fly 2-3x a year to ski. If I don't overfill the Transpak it will fit under the seat in front.
post #10 of 22
Flying US Airways transatlantic in Feb.

Getting mixed messages on their website about ski gear, but eventually dug through the small print to see the bit that says ski equipment can be substituted for one checked bag. It also explained that "ski equipment" includes skis poles boots and bindings (yes, bindings are listed separately!).

Anyway, small print duly printed and highlighted in case a Reisen-style fit needs to be thrown.

I guess this is the downside of cheaper air travel. The cheaper the base price the more they have to concentrate on other ways to increase their revenue stream - paying for food, reducing entertainment options, being really strict on weights, closing check-in at the scheduled split-second so you can be charged to re-book! Mind you, my flight to Denver is costing me less than half of what I paid on my first transatlantic trip (to Calgary) back in 1991!

CW :-)
post #11 of 22
No issues with my boot bag -- it's the size of a laptop bag or soft briefcase, and fits the description of a personal item. I have seen boot bags that would obviously be too big.

I think the trick is to put your boots side by side, heel to toe and then tip them so that the cuffs are lined up. Doing this, my bag collapses down quite small, and this with 28.5 shells. My wife's much smaller boots can collapse down to fit in a regular schoolbag/backpack, which also passes as a personal item.
post #12 of 22
For a "Airline Bootbag" I use a small carry on bag with wheels and handle. (7" X 14" X 21") I can fit my boots in the bag nicely. I fill the boots with gloves and other small items. This is the overhead compartment bag. My second carry on is a small backpack that fits under the seat.

I use a SportTube for the skis, poles, and other sundries, then a regular rolling bag for clothes, helmet, etc. It's a good set up for traveling. I wear the backpack and everything else rolls behind me. I can make decent time through the airports to and from baggage claim.
post #13 of 22
delta considers ski equipment to be just like any other checked bag. medallion members still get 2 free bags so if you fly NWA or delta you can take skis and a suitcase for free. i always carry my boots on, sans bag, with a backpack and never have any issues.
post #14 of 22
th airlines charging by the bag really gets me!! If they wanted to be real they should charge by the pound. raise the airfares but don't nickel and dime people with a policy that doesn't make sense, If weight is the issue, charge for it. people that watch the weight of their bags pay the same as people that go the max. If I have to fly with another oversize, overweight carry on riding above my head I'm going to throw a shoe at the airlines!!
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yes... I checked and most of the airlines you can substitute the ski/poles/bingings/boot bag as one piece of luggage. Then any additional bag is about $15 or $25. You can then have a carry on and a backpack.

We have a hard ski case that fits a pair of skis and poles. Im sure I can stuff more stuff in there if needed. It has wheels for easy mobility.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrmnws6 View Post
Yes... I checked and most of the airlines you can substitute the ski/poles/bingings/boot bag as one piece of luggage. Then any additional bag is about $15 or $25. You can then have a carry on and a backpack.

We have a hard ski case that fits a pair of skis and poles. Im sure I can stuff more stuff in there if needed. It has wheels for easy mobility.
Just flew back from Big White on Tuesday. The Kelowna airport being quite small, they did a visual inspection of the hardshell ski case. Since the airline (Air Canada) specifies that only skis and poles can go into the case, the possibility exists that you might run into problems if you pack other gear or clothes into the ski case. This may not be a problem at the bigger airports where they can do an xray, although I seem to recall hearing that they still do (random?) visual inspections of ski bags at U.S. airports.

On the way into BW I wore my ski pants since I was going to be up on the hill by 10:00 am, checked my ski case and boot bag as one piece of luggage, and had 49 lbs in my large suitcase (six days of clothes including a second, warmer set of pants and jacket as well as a few books). Carry ons were my laptop bag (I had to do some work in the evenings) and a backpack with helmet, gloves, balaclava, neck gaiter, goggles, etc. Other than paranoia about lost/stolen luggage, I can't see a reason for not checking the bootbag. Another bonus is that the well padded interior of a ski boot is the perfect storage space for a small jar of peanut butter or a 750 ml bottle of jagermeister, just pack a set of ski socks on top.
post #17 of 22

skis

I ship my skis in a sporttube, easy to track, of couse your gonna pay for it but makes your life out a lot easier. I put my boots/helmet/ski pants/goggles/gloves in my boot bag and that's my carry on. In 15 years of traveling never had a problem..
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by darent View Post
th airlines charging by the bag really gets me!! If they wanted to be real they should charge by the pound. raise the airfares but don't nickel and dime people with a policy that doesn't make sense, If weight is the issue, charge for it. people that watch the weight of their bags pay the same as people that go the max. If I have to fly with another oversize, overweight carry on riding above my head I'm going to throw a shoe at the airlines!!
No kidding. I say charge for weight- of the passengers too!
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
No kidding. I say charge for weight- of the passengers too!

I agree. If they're so concerned about weight they should have a total maximum weight of a passenger which includes bags and body weight. I'm 150 lbs why should I have to pay for the fule it takes to fly a 350lbs fat ass who's rolls are overflowing into my seat.
post #20 of 22
Most of the baggage "x-rays" cannot do long bags. The TSA folks still have to go into golf bags and ski bags. It's not really X-ray technology, more like an MRI but not exactly that either.

Airline policies are all different, but it's more critical to gauge the mood of the person checking you in. Most respond very positively to a patient, understanding passenger. The person that is obviously late, rude, brusque, pushy, or otherwise just a PITA is going to get real scrutiny. Most do not allow clothing in the bag as mentioned above, but I've never had an agent question it.

Here's an issue though...if you pack your bag very meticulously and wrap your tips/tails with fleece or other clothes to try to prevent damage, don't count on seeing it that way at your destination. Even if the airline doesn't care about the clothes in your ski bag, the TSA is probably going to go into your bag and take everything out. No chance they're going to take the 30 minutes to repack what took you 30 minutes to pack the first time. They have about 3 minutes to take stuff out, do their tests and put everthing back. Thank you Osama....
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by NEwes View Post
I agree. If they're so concerned about weight they should have a total maximum weight of a passenger which includes bags and body weight. I'm 150 lbs why should I have to pay for the fule it takes to fly a 350lbs fat ass who's rolls are overflowing into my seat.
Exactly. Many, many times I've had to sit next to some lard ass who's taking all of my arm rest and then some, and snorting deep fried breathe all over me. Bad enough I have to sit next to it but then pay for the privilege.
post #22 of 22
I've found that for trips of a 7-10 days, I can get away with checking one bag: the ski bag, containing skis and poles and occasionally extra clothes (usually on the return leg, when the dirty stuff can get mixed in).

Otherwise, the boots fit in my carry-on bag, which also holds lots of tech layers, my ski pants (shells rule - I don't understand the need for mega-insulated ski pants when tech layers do the trick), goggles, and swim suit. My socks and underwear get stuffed into my boots (the latter in plastic bags). Fits in the overhead bin without fuss (note that I detach the backpack part and seldom take it with me on my travels - it's a weird size).

I also carry my Timbuk2 courier bag, which holds my incidentals: toiletries, laptop, reading material, as well as my gloves and hat. I strap my helmet to this bag. It all fits under the seat.

I wear my shell, sweater/fleece shirt, jeans and shoes.

This has worked many times on many airlines with nary an issue. On smaller regional jets, I sometimes have to gate-check the carry-on bag - no biggie. This is a method I honed after years of travel for ski racing, when it was a challenge to pack light and still bring all the necessities.

It sure beats lugging big suitcases and such around. I find that I seldom run out of clothes (layers = the best), and if I need to, I can hand-wash things at the hotel (tech materials dry very quickly).
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