My family is planning on going west for Spring Break. We are flying USAirways. We have two sets of skis and a snowboard. Our skis exceed the length limit for free luggage. What is the best, or cheapest, way to take our equipment? Should we put it in separate bags or all together? What else should we do to make it cheapier/easier? Thanks
We travel out west several times a season and have yet to experience any problems on United, Southwest, or Jet Blue. The airlines length limitations generally refer to bags other than sports bags .. give them a call if you are not sure.
Depending on destination flight, we use either a 2 ski soft bag (skis wrapped in underwear fleeces, etc) (non-stop flight) or a hard-shell case (transfers). If you have ever watch luggage change planes your hair would stand on end. We have expensive skis and the thought of those babies being tossed around like cabers, which they do, gives me acid reflex! One important thing to keep in mind is that ski cases are often opened and checked, so be sure to have some sort of re-closure system (we use ratcheted plastic ties) attached to the bag to keep your gear safe.
Oh, yeah -- it's not a pretty thing to watch luggage get tossed around. I was with a group at Eagle Airport in Colorado, and we were watching the luggage guy unload skis from the plane. He kept piling them on the top of a cart (instead of inside the cart) -- about 7 layers deep, and 7 layers too many. He started driving the cart, and as soon as he made a turn -- just as we all expected -- all of the skis went tumbling about 7 feet to the ground, as we watched helplessly in horror with our hands up against the glass window and our mouths dropped open. He didn't even notice they had all fallen down -- he kept on driving.
So, yeah, probably best not to watch that scene unfold.
Skis and snowboards have different airline size rules then regular luggage. I also recommend bringing your boots on the plane as carryon. I can loose my skis but I can not loose my boots. My carryon luggage has ski boots and everything I need to ski with. I wear my outer jacket on the plane. If they loose my luggage I can still ski on rentals with my boots.