Carrying a snowboard on a plane can be a bit of a hassle but is not impossible. Because snowboarding is so popular, most airports and airlines are well adapted to handling snowboards and other snowboarding gear or luggage.
Most airlines allow passengers to check in a snowboard as one standard-sized piece of luggage; however, extra fees may be charged for oversized or overweight luggage. Some airlines have specific policies for carrying a snowboard. Before checking in your snowboard, make sure you meet your booked airline’s carriage requirements.
If you plan to take your snowboard bag with you when flying, you’ve landed in the right place. In this blog, I will discuss all things related to carrying a snowboard on a plane.
How Much Does It Cost to Bring a Snowboard on a Plane?
Before you book an airline, we recommend you first to check their policies regarding your snowboard and extra snowboarding gear. Each airline has its own rules and prices regarding size and weight, so make sure to measure and weigh your board before you book.
Unlike, for example, a bicycle, snowboards usually do not come with an extra, expensive oversized baggage fee. However, this can vary from airline to airline. Here are examples of the luggage fees from a couple of airlines:
American Airlines only charge the standard baggage fee of $30 for your snowboard.
Alaska Airlines charges $30 for the first checked-in item. The limit for the bag’s size is 115 linear inches, but you have to pay an oversized fee if the size increases after this amount.
Air Canada does not apply any additional charges for ski, snowboard, or boots if you fly between Canada, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa. Only standard baggage fees apply. One or two checked-in bags are free, depending upon what type of ticket you purchased if you are flying between Canada and the USA.
Delta Airlines’ standard baggage fee is $30 for the first checked-in bag. But there is a weight-limit; the bag can’t exceed 50 pounds.
Frontier Airlines allows passengers checking-in ski or snowboarding gear an extra 30 minutes for check-in. As long as your snowboard boot bag does not weigh more than 25 pounds, your snowboard and boot bag will count as one checked-in item. These checked-in items cost between $30 and $50.
Do You Need a Snowboard Bag to Fly?
It is not mandatory to use a snowboard bag for flying, but it is highly recommended. We recommend using a snowboard bag not only when you’re flying but also for any type of travel. A snowboard bag protects your expensive snowboard and other gear.
Snowboard bags are long, padded bags specially designed to not only travel but to protect your gear. There are a few things to consider before purchasing a snowboard bag:
- Will you be using it every weekend?
- Will you be carrying one snowboard or two?
- Do you plan to take your snowboard on a plane?
Padded VS Unpadded Bag
There are two types of snowboard bags.
A padded bag reduces the risk of scratching and breaking your snowboard. Padded bags have thicker material compartments for other items, and they are also designed with a padded divider in the middle if you want to carry two boards. The padded divider prevents the two boards from clanking together.
On the other hand, unpadded bags also have their benefits as they are lighter and cheaper and they are perfect for those who travel by car, where they can be put easily on the back seat or in the trunk.
Bags with Wheels
If you are planning to fly with your snowboard, then snowboard bags with wheels are best. It will help you in hauling your snowboard bag through airports, streets, and train stations. Such bags are also convenient to carry more than one snowboard. Some wheeled snowboard bags have rough-terrain wheels to make rolling easy over rough and wet ground.
Size of the bag
The most asked question about the snowboard bags is about their size. Does the bag need to be big as a snowboard or bigger than that?
It all depends upon whether you want to carry other items in it or not. If you have a boot bag and a backpack, you don’t need to buy a larger bag to carry other stuff besides your snowboard.
But if you want to carry more items like a helmet, a towel, a flask, etc., you need a more oversized snowboard bag.
If you decide to buy a snowboard bag larger than your snowboard, you can combine other luggage with your board. You can pack clothing around the edges of the bag, which also gives extra protection to your snowboard. You might even fit your snowboard boots but keep in mind the weight to prevent additional airline fees.
What To Look For in a Snowboard Bag?
In this section, we will explain what to look for when buying a snowboard bag:
Your snowboard bag’s durability depends upon the material of the bag. Ideally, you want a tough yet light material, precisely what nylon and polyester provide.
The following various types of straps can be found on and in a snowboard bag:
- Interior Gear Straps
- Exterior Compression Straps
- Padded Straps
Interior Gear Straps are usually made of nylon and do a great job securing your stuff and preventing them from rolling around in your bag while traveling. Almost all wheeled snowboard bags have internal gear straps.
Exterior Compression Straps are also often made of nylon material. These straps are fixed on each end of the snowboard bag. When fastened, these straps tighten and lock your gear safely inside the bag.
Padded Straps are a feature on padded snowboard bags and are used to carry the bag over your shoulder. De padding gives extra comfort when carrying the bag by hand as well.
Everyone loves extra space. Many snowboard bags come with several pockets and compartments dedicated to specific items, and some are for personal stuff. The pockets can be zipped or doubled up.
These pockets can also be used to keep your essential gear close by. Equipment like goggles, gloves, a pocket knife, a screwdriver, and heating pads are always great to have on hand.
If you choose a wheeled snowboard bag, then you should check the wheel size. Go for inline skating wheels as they can take on bags packed with heavy gear. However, some snowboard bags have large wheels made for smooth rolling through snowy treads rough terrain.
I always like to remind readers about the warranty options proposed by manufacturers. Obviously, you will be spending hard-earned money on a product, so you should make sure that you are getting the best value for your money, especially when your bag is broken or damaged.
Last but not least, choose a snowboard bag that matches your budget. Snowboard bags come in all sorts of types, colors, qualities, and prices. Balancing out the cost and the features is important to make the right decision.
How Do You Fly With a Snowboard?
With the winter season’s arrival, people who love snowboarding pack their gear and hit the mountains. Domestic and international airlines allow you to fly with a snowboard, so here are a few useful tips for bringing your snowboarding gear on a plane:
The Snowboard Bag
Snowboard bags are heavier than the average bag you carry while traveling, so as mentioned earlier in this article, always check the weight of your fully packed snowboard bag before booking a flight to avoid extra overweight or oversized airline fees.
The Boot Bag
If your snowboard bag does not have enough space or a separate space for snowboarding boots, then a “boot bag” is a great option. Snowboard boots that fit your feet perfectly are more problematic to rent than a snowboard itself because of the specific size needed for a comfortable snowboarding trip. This is why most snowboarders bring their boots with them, carrying them on the plane in a boot bag as hand luggage.
A boot bag also keeps your gear separated, prevents possible damage to your snowboard, and keeps things more organized.
Backpack with Helmet Holder
A backpack with a helmet holder is also an essential piece of luggage to carry while flying with your snowboard gear. These backpacks have a helmet carrying system that can protect your helmet from damage. You can bring your backpack on the plane with you, so they are also great to carry small essential stuff with you like your mobile phone, tablet, or other electronics that might get damaged in a snowboard bag inside the cargo area of the plane.
How To Pack a Snowboard For Air Travel?
If you plan to fly or travel with your snowboard, packing your gear, clothes, and other stuff is always something I dread and can be a challenge for some, at least for me, can be! But trust me, it doesn’t have to be. So, how to pack a snowboard for air travel? Here we go.
Packing sufficiently is an important part of your preparation because you have to keep the weight and size of the luggage the minimum possible. It is also essential to pack your equipment carefully to protect your board, binding, helmet, or anything delicate from damage.
If your snowboard bag is not padded, then you can use your clothes as padding by stuffing them around the snowboard and roll t-shirts and socks into small gaps around other items. Don’t take too much stuff with you due to the weight limits of the airline. If you are in doubt about whether you really need something, I recommend you leave it behind.
How To Make Life Easier When Flying With Your Snowboard
As soon as you’re at the airport, locate a luggage cart, and stack your luggage and gear on the cart to save your back and keep your hands free. Wheeled snowboard bags are easier to carry, and a boot bag with a strap is also convenient.
Always check the weight of your bags. You can use a bathroom scale at home to ensure that your equipment falls under the airline’s weight requirements.
Flatten your snowboard bindings to create more space in your bag. If you are comfortable with your snowboard bag’s strap at a certain point, mark that point there so you can easily re-adjust them once you arrive.
Make sure your snowboard and other gear are dry before stuffing them in your bags. You can use a towel to dry off your board. If you want your equipment to last longer, we recommend you take good care of your gear.
A padded snowboard bag will protect your snowboard better than a non-padded bag.
Besides your snowboard jacket and pants, also pack warm, comfortable clothes. During snowboarding and you will want to feel warm and cozy after a day of snowboarding.
Airline Ski & Snowboard Baggage Policies
Every airline has a different policy for ski and snowboard baggage. Some airlines treat ski and snowboard bags as regular bags, while other airlines treat them as extra luggage or oversized bags with additional fees. Sometimes airlines count a boot bag and a snowboard bag as one bag.
Here is a list of different airlines and their baggage policies:
American Airlines Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy
Under American Airline and Snowboard Baggage Policy, snowboard and ski bags are treated as regular bags rather than oversized bags. Their baggage policy specifies one snowboard bag and one equipment bag count as one checked item. If the equipment bag exceeds 50lbs and 62inch, the bag will be charged as a separate checked bag, and standard overweight and oversize charges will be charged.
You can read the full American Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
Alaska Airlines Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy
Alaska Airlines’ ski and snowboard baggage policy consider skis or snowboards as checked baggage, provided each piece is packed correctly in a suitable bag or container. Oversized and overweight fees are waived. However, they do not specify whether boot bags are included. One piece of snowboard equipment is defined as one snowboard, plus one boot or helmet bag. If boots/helmets are checked in a bag containing clothing or additional items, standard checked baggage fees will apply to the bag. Snowboard equipment may exceed 62in (linear) without incurring an oversize fee.
You can read the full Alaska Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
Delta Airlines Ski & Snowboard Baggage Policy
Delta Airlines’ ski and snowboard policy allows travelers one ski or snowboard bag and one boot bag as a single bag. But, if these two bags’ combined weight exceeds 50 pounds or size exceeds 115 linear in/292 cm (length + width + height), there will be an excess weight fee.
You can read the full Delta Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
United Airlines Ski & Snowboard Baggage Policy
United Airlines ski and snowboard baggage policy also consider ski and snowboard bags as a checked bag. Your gear must be packed in a secure, suitable bag or container. You can pack up to two snowboards in one bag and take one boot bag with you as well. For these bags, a standard baggage fee applies, and if the weight of the bag or bags exceeds 50 pounds, then the additional weight fees are applied.
You can read the full United Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
Frontier Airlines Ski & Snowboard Baggage Policy
United Airlines ski and snowboard baggage policy also consider ski and snowboard bags as a regular bag. The bag can have one snowboard, one set of bindings, and one pair of boots. The boots (a boot bag) can be checked separately from your snowboard but still counts as one bag if the boot bag does not exceed 25 pounds – If the boot bag exceeds 25 pounds, it will be considered a second bag. Overweight charges still apply to this condition.
You can read the full Frontier Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
Southwest Airlines Ski & Snowboard Baggage Policy
If we look at Southwest Airline’s ski and snowboard baggage policy, they consider a ski or snowboard bag as one regular bag. They don’t charge you for your first or second bag. Your snowboarding bag may include one snowboard and one pair of snowboarding boots as long as they are packed together in one single bag. If you carry a separate second boot bag, they also won’t charge extra fees.
You can read the full Southwest Airline Ski and Snowboard Baggage Policy here:
Moreover, airlines update their policies very often, so always check directly with the airline about the updated policy for your specific flight.
Flying with your snowboard and gear is definitely possible. Ensure you have good quality bags that live up to the airline standards and protect your board and equipment. Also, before you book a flight, check the airlines’ luggage policies and possible fees.
Weigh and measure your bags to avoid additional costs or any unwanted surprises when checking in your bags at the airport and find out you need to pay extra charges because your bag is too heavy or oversized. After researching all this stuff, the fun part begins; Booking your flight, packing, flying, and riding the slopes!