The cheapest ways to fly with skis and snowboards
If you have a ski vacation far away in your future, you might be looking at your snow gear and wondering how in the world it’s going to get to the mountain.
Do you have to wear your winter jackets on board the plane? Are skis considered oversized baggage? Should you just rent the equipment instead of flying with it?
The good news is that winter sports equipment is actually one of the cheapest items to check out. Unlike bikes and surfboards, skis and snowboards usually don’t come with additional, oversized baggage fees. In fact, on most airlines, both your snowboard or your skis and boots will be considered regular checked baggage.
Airlines allow passengers one ski / snowboard bag and one shoe bag per person, and the two bags together are considered a checked item. Do not try to put extra items like clothes or souvenirs in your shoe bag or you may be charged for two pieces of checked baggage. Many airlines also have limits on linear inches, which is the sum of the length, height and width of your gear bags.
Here are the snowboard and ski policies by airline:
American Airlines: If all you do is check your ski gear and put the rest of your ski gear in hand luggage, it will only cost you the standard $ 30 baggage fee to check in your skis or snowboard. . The pair of skis or snowboards can measure up to 126 inches and the boot bag with boots / bindings cannot exceed 45 inches.
Alaska Airlines: Ski / snowboard equipment may exceed the typical limit of 62 linear inches. Alaska charges $ 30 for the first item checked. As long as your bags are no more than 115 linear inches, you won’t have to pay oversized fees.
Air Canada: If you are traveling between Canada and Europe, the Middle East or Africa, skis / snowboards and boots can fly at no additional cost. Otherwise, standard baggage fees apply. Depending on the type of fare you purchased, one or two checked bags are free when traveling between the United States and Canada.
Delta Airlines: The standard baggage fee of $ 30 for the first piece of checked baggage will apply, as long as your winter sports bags do not exceed 50 pounds.
Frontier Airlines: Frontier asks passengers who check their ski equipment to allow an additional 30 minutes for check-in. As long as the boot bag weighs no more than 25 pounds, the skis / snowboards and boot bag will count as one recorded item. Checked-in items typically cost between $ 30 and $ 50, depending on when during the reservation process you chose to check-in baggage.
Southwest Airlines: Southwest never charges for the first two pieces of checked baggage, making it a great deal for travelers. When replacing ski equipment with a free bag, Southwest allows up to two bags (containing a set of snow skis, ski poles and ski boots) to count as one item, even if they are packaged and labeled separately. As long as your gear weighs less than 50 pounds, you won’t pay an extra dollar to take your gear to your final destination.
Spirit Airlines: Spirit Airlines subjects snow sports equipment to oversized charges if the skis and snowboards weigh over 40 pounds or measure over 62 inches. Standard checked baggage will cost you between $ 30 and $ 50. It’s cheaper if you buy earlier in the booking process.
JetBlue: Skis and snowboards are exempt from standard size requirements (62 inches), but must still follow weight and other equipment guidelines. The first item checked is $ 30.
United Airlines: You can save up to two pairs of skis or two snowboards in one bag, in addition to a boot bag, for a total of $ 30. Bags weighing more than 50 pounds will incur an oversized charge.
Remember that each of these checked baggage fees is one way. If you and your friends are only planning to ski for a day, in some cases it may be cheaper to hire equipment once there.
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