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How to pack for the airlines?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

For the first time, I'd like to travel with two fat skis, one 170 cm and the other 175 cm in length.  They fit in my current ski bag but makes it awkward due to the width of my new skis and heavy. 

What type of wheeled dual ski bag do you recommend?  I saw a discussion on ski bags at www.snowshack.com/whattolookfor.html that was interesting, if not good marketing.  I'm reluctant to get a hard shell ski bag since it could be more difficult to fit into a taxi.

I also have a soft wheeled duffel bag that has enough room to pack my helmet and ski boots along with my clothing.  However, it usually exceeds 50 lbs as a result.  Do most people carry their boots or manage to pack them into the ski bag along with the skis?  It would be more convenient if I could travel with two pieces instead of three.

How many piece of lugguage do domestic US airlines permit?  Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 21
When I fly with my gear, I always carry my boots, ski shell/pants, and an insulating layer in a Transpack, along with a second carry on for laptop etc.  My checked baggage varies based on length of trip/gear being taken.  I have a Dakine Concourse Double, which is a soft-sided 200cm ski bag, easily fits 2 pairs of skis, although doesn't leave much weight left over for gear.

When i travel with 1 pair of skis, i can fit 90% of my gear + skis into that bag and have space left over, and come right around 49lbs.  With two pairs of skis, I just take a 2nd duffel and pack to weight.

Most domestic airlines, at this point, will allow you to take as many bags as you want, you just pay out the nose for them.  Delta charges something like $15 for the FIRST bag, $20 or $30 for the second, then $50+ for each additional.  Supposedly a ski bag + a bootbag counts as 1 item, assuming they're under 50lbs together, but I've never tried to get that past a ticketing agent, and don't know how well they'd do on a busy day.

I've run into the same problem you worried about with my soft bag, and it was nice being able to take the skis out, fold the bag in the truck and stick the skis through the rear-seat pass-thru, but sport tubes may collapse small enough as well, never used one.
post #3 of 21

Some airlines do not cover damage to skis if they are not in a hard case.
Get on their website and print out their policy, You must check the fine print.
Do not trust what someone tells you over the phone.

My skis, two pair, and most extra clothes go UPS or Fedex in a sportube.
Added cost to me far outweighs the trouble and worry about ski transport, loss or damage.
I ship right to where I am staying or direct to the slope.
I carry on my boots in a Hotgear bag.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

Jonrpen:  where on the slope do you ship if you can't ship to where you are staying?  How do you arrange for shipping back to your home if you are staying in an apartment or condo?  Do you have experience checking in the double Sportube?  I read some old comments that the TSA likes to open them for inspection and can not properly close them.  Have they ever opened the Sportube away from your presence (after check-in) and reassembled it incorrectly causing the skis to fall out?

Anyone:  is a double Sportube too difficult to fit in a taxi?  The dimensions look similar to a soft double ski bag.

post #5 of 21
Southwest doesn't charge for extra bags, the annoying bags fly free commercial is always on...
post #6 of 21
When on a ski trip I always travel with a double Sporttube.  No problems with it.  I've had TSA open it on several occasions and they have always put it back together properly.  I do have a note at the lock area telling people to insure that the lock engages both the inner and outer track.

As far as packing other stuff, I have 4 bags for a ski trip:
  • Roller carry on with boots and other stuff.  Fits in overhead compartment (BOOT BAG)
  • Sporttube with skis, poles, out riggers (if needed) or other stuff.
  • Large checked bag packed to weight. (Clothes, helmet, etc.)
  • Backpack for under seat.  (Carry meds, reading stuff, etc. on the plane.)

I haven't had too many problems.  In all bags I have a paper with my itinerary on it along with phone numbers just in case a bag travels elsewhere.

Sometimes I have to take the skis out of the Sporttube to get them in the back of the rental car.  Then the Sporttube collapses down to a nice small size.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by woofcyn View Post  Do most people carry their boots or manage to pack them into the ski bag along with the skis?  It would be more convenient if I could travel with two pieces instead of three.
post #8 of 21
Get a carry-on suitcase that can fit your boots plus a day or two change of clothes. I don't bother to put my helmet in. If it doesn't arrive I have a hat packed as a back-up.

Use a soft wheeled bag to put your skis and clothes into it, along with helmet. When I take a set of MR's and 8k's with me, I take one set of bindings that I pack into my backpack that's also carry on - make the ski bag much lighter.

In many years of traveling to ski, and doing it 6-8 times per season, I haven't had any problems. I shipped once and UPS couldn't find the condo, so they sent them back to me - will never ship again.
post #9 of 21
I like the bag. Great idea. I have sent my stuff ahaed before and felt a lot more comfortable.
post #10 of 21
Look into a Transpack isosoles bag for your carryon.  It's called something like that.  That will fit boots, helmet, gloves, pants, etc.  Basically if our luggage were to get lost & all we had was carry on, we'd still be able to ski w/ demos/rentals.  For skis I use the Concourse double (if there's 2 of us) with pants/fleeces/jackets wrapped around the skis for protection.  I've had no problems with this setup.  On a trip out west with two of us used the same roll-on bag for all of our luggage & then the Concourse double for skis.  That way we'd ordinarily only be charged $15 for 1 bag each.  Although, if you have elite status on airlines you usually don't get charged for baggage.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for everyone's input, apparently people have this down to a science!  I should mention that I live in NYC and have to fit the gear in a taxi...it's rather uncomfortable to dismantle the sportube along with other gear on a crowded street while people are cursing at you, waiting for a taxi in the rain or snow.

Shipping the double Sportube via UPS sounds problematic if the destination is a condo with no receiving.

Can you store your two skis in the Sportube?  Apparently, the bindings have to be closed to fit in the tube, so will this have a detrimental effect on the bindings eventually?
post #12 of 21
My carry on is a boot bag with one complete ski outfit included (gloves, goggles, etc.)  In the event they lose a checked bag, I still have what I need to ski while I am waiting for it to arrive.  You can easily rent skis, but the rest of your outfit is not replaceable without a lot of expense and hassle.

The other issue is the ski bag/tube.  When coming back from Canada they wanted me to unpack it so they could inspect the contents.  We had double ski bags packed tight with two pair of boards and stuffed with dirty clothes.  It was not fun opening all that up on the floor of the airport and then trying to restuff it.  Another time they opened it up and would not let me repack it myself. When you pack you should do it with the expectation that they might unpack and repack it without you being able to touch it, so stuffing bags to the seams is not a good idea.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Airlines have never lost my luggage on a ski trip!  I always checked in all of my luggage, including the boots!  I guess it's a matter of time...

Forget about my earlier question on the double Sportube.  I tried one today.  My skis are too fat!  I also saw the Dakine bag, nice padding, but the bag is too large and too long and difficult to fit in a NYC taxi.  Is there a good soft expandable wheeled double ski bag?  Swix is ok, but the padding could be better as well as the divider between the skis.  It also doesn't have internal straps.  It looks like High Sierra makes one but I haven't seen it.
post #14 of 21
Seems to me your problem isn't hard case vs soft cases. If your skis don't fit in a taxi, it doesn't fit in the taxi! Soft bag or hard doesn't matter.

So I'm back to the recommendation of sportube (hard case) with wheels. They now have a "multi" version that would fit snowboards! If you can't fit your two skis in there, it's you not the skis being the problem.

But why are you taking a taxi??? It's a loser's choice. Get a car service! The driver will be waiting outside your door at the destinated time instead of you standing at the street corner waving your hands. Also, because the cars don't have a partition between the front and back seat, he can simply flatten the front passenger seat back and your tube goes on the passenger side while you sit behind the driver.

At least that's how I used to travelled to the airport. Now I live across from Port Authority, I simply drag my stuff to the airport shuttle bus. Straight to the terminal. As good as taxi/car service, at half the price. :D

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Car service departing is fine, it's car service that never shows when you are arriving that is the problem, and then you're stuck in that taxi line.  Hah, hah!  I also go through Grand Central or 125th Street on trips to VT.  It's a jungle there. 

Jokes aside, I'd like the flexibility to take taxis whenever I think car service is unreliable, especially on those trips to VT.  Normally I take the train to Stamford or New Haven to rent my car rather than renting it in NYC.  I've had powder days in VT that justify bringing two skis.

Actually, I think either the soft or hard case will fit if not too wide.  For the older taxis, I normally place the skis through the bullet-proof window where you pay the driver and rest the skis on the partition and the back seat.

Maybe I'll move to Newark Airport instead.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by woofcyn View Post

Maybe I'll move to Newark Airport instead.

Now that is a singularly depressing concept.

On the real side, I'll second at_nyc's suggestion regarding car service. Talk to your friends and neighbors and get a recommendation for a reliable operator.

As a native New Yorker and former denizen of Fun City, I relish return trips there. I've noticed quite a few of the yellow cabs are now mini-vans. Not much help to you on your outward legs, but upon return to LGA, JFK, or EWR, you can wait in the taxi line with the rest of the folk, then either request one of these vans from a dispatcher, or just wait for one after you reach the head of the line.
post #17 of 21
I also live in NYC and have taken ski bags in taxis.  It's definitely easier to use a car service & just keep it in the backseat with you.  I've done that in taxis as well, although that was with a Dakine Single concourse bag, not the double.  I'm taking a trip to Austria in a few weeks with the Concourse Double.  Plan is to take a car service to the airport & then a taxi when i'm back home.  I guess the plan is to wait for a minivan taxi so the bag fits.
post #18 of 21
On my end, the biggest mistake I see is people checking their boots- then the gear all ends up in Jackson, MS or wherever and they have to wear rental boots. :-0 Make sure you have your boots as a carry on. Wear your ski coat. The rest of the stuff you can demo when you get there. But if you don't have your boots, you're dead in the water. Boots are the most important part of your setup, keep 'em close to 'ya.
post #19 of 21
Say what you want -- carrying skis tips-back, sporting the dreaded goggle gap, hell, even carrying a Ski Tote -- nothing screams "gaper" like checking your boots.
post #20 of 21
Try a Transpak, "sidekick", the boots go in up/down the soles down. much more compact and easy to carry and stow

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post




 
post #21 of 21
You can buy a snowboard or 3 ski sportube (same container) I am able to to Fit HB's (151 tips), Nomads (146 tips) and Pilgrims (127 tips) in the tube plus a pair of poles. It weighed 57 pounds but that's 3 pair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by woofcyn View Post

Airlines have never lost my luggage on a ski trip!  I always checked in all of my luggage, including the boots!  I guess it's a matter of time...

Forget about my earlier question on the double Sportube.  I tried one today.  My skis are too fat!  I also saw the Dakine bag, nice padding, but the bag is too large and too long and difficult to fit in a NYC taxi.  Is there a good soft expandable wheeled double ski bag?  Swix is ok, but the padding could be better as well as the divider between the skis.  It also doesn't have internal straps.  It looks like High Sierra makes one but I haven't seen it.
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