Dilemma: Fly with skis or rent 'em
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Scott - DCSki Editor
October 31, 2008
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,131 posts
I've got a western ski trip coming up in mid-December and am trying to decide whether to fly out with my skis, or just fly with my boots and rent skis once I arrive.

My last couple trips, I've done the latter, and it worked out well. Boots are pretty easy to check on the plane, and ski shops can quickly adjust demo skis for your own boots. No need to worry about the skis getting damaged, trying to navigate through the airport with them, etc. But on past trips when I've done this, I skied and stayed at one resort the whole trip.

This time, I might ski at several ski areas, and in some cases might be at an area for just one day (or even half a day). I will have a rental car. So I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier just to bring my own skis...

I'll be flying Southwest, which still has a sensible checked baggage policy -- they don't try to nickel and dime you like other airlines. Although it's been a long time since I've flown with skis.. I assume that the boot bag and ski bag count as one checked bag, and that I can then check a second bag (with all my clothes), without paying extra fees -- is that still the case with Southwest? (Navigating through the airport with all this equipment/bags might not be much fun, of course.)

Any advice on which route I should take, given the circumstances? And if I fly with the skis, any advice on how I should pack them? (Hard plastic carrier or padded soft carrier, adding to the padding by stuffing socks and shirts into the padded ski bag?) I'll be flying into Denver from BWI. Any tips are welcome.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
October 31, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,097 posts
Scott,
I still prefer to carry my own equipment. If I find I need something unique, say big boards for bottomless powder, then I might rent for a day while at my destination.
I have a 2pair hard ski case (which really only fits one pair easilly with plenty of room for clothes, etc.). Airlines have always treated my hard ski case and large boot bag as a single piece of luggage.
Should you not carry your skis, then for multiple ski slopes while in CO rent from somewhere in Denver (maybe even the airport), or wherever you might claim as a "home base" and keep the skis for the days you will be skiing, then turn in as you depart.
Have a great time...we are all jealous.
The Colonel smile
tromano
October 31, 2008
Member since 12/19/2002 🔗
998 posts
I have flown with skis many times and never had an issue using a soft case. Skis are tough and not easy to brake. Even if they receive rough treatment your skis will take more punishment than just about any other piece of baggage. I would guard boots more closely. Carry them on, don't check them.
GRK
November 1, 2008
Member since 12/19/2007 🔗
404 posts
Hi Scott

Like the Colonel I have a 2 pair hard case. I have only traveled with them once but when I did I flew Delta to SLC. A lot of people warned that if TSA gets into the hard case they will not close it correctly. Well...that was spot-on. They also got lost in route and the Airline blamed the delay on TSA. I got them back late that night with no impact on our skiing fun, but had to make a special trip back to the airport to get them.

Despite that...I would do it again...I like having my own stuff.

GRK
Chad
November 1, 2008
Member since 12/12/2000 🔗
270 posts
hi scott. a few years back i traveled to utah with a new snowboard and new bindings, packed in a new soft bag. i have skied for 30 years and this was the first "new" equipment i had ever owned. snow was falling when we landed in slc, but the ski bag didnt make it to utah with our flight. they brought it to my folks house in the middle of the night, i didnt even bring it inside until the next morning as we were getting geared up for a few days at solitude.

one look at the once-used board bag revealed why it didnt make our flight. it must have fallen out of the plane on take-off! both wheels on the bag were broken, one was completely missing. both heel loops of the never-used bindings were broken, one was fully cracked through. northwest told me i was out of luck, there is no insurance for sports equipment.

i have since bought a hard case, and am a satisfied customer.
comprex
November 2, 2008
Member since 04/11/2003 🔗
1,326 posts
Originally Posted By: Scott

This time, I might ski at several ski areas, and in some cases might be at an area for just one day (or even half a day). I will have a rental car. So I'm wondering if it wouldn't be easier just to bring my own skis...


Do you want to ski your own skis or something different, something more west-adapted?

Quote:


I'll be flying Southwest, which still has a sensible checked baggage policy -- they don't try to nickel and dime you like other airlines. Although it's been a long time since I've flown with skis.. I assume that the boot bag and ski bag count as one checked bag, and that I can then check a second bag (with all my clothes), without paying extra fees -- is that still the case with Southwest?


Southwest is still nice about it.
Clay
November 3, 2008
Member since 04/11/2006 🔗
555 posts
I would be worried about them getting there. Yeah, most things eventually do show up - but it won't do you any good if they show up 4 days after you get there. Although I guess you could always have the rental as "Plan B" if that happens.

I was going to put here that I wouldn't count on Southwest counting skis and boots as one piece of luggage, but then decided to go look. From the Southwest website (although not particularly easy to find):

"When substituting ski equipment for a free bag, Southwest Airlines allows up to two bags (containing one set of snow skis, ski poles, and ski boots) to count as one item, even if they are packed and tagged separately. (overweight charges may still apply.)"

What a nice policy. I wish I flew them instead of the other nameless areline I put 30k miles on this year.
Jeremy
November 3, 2008
Member since 12/7/2004 🔗
68 posts
Do you have an american express card? Did you purchase the plane tickets with it?

If so, remember they have a baggage insurance policy by default for any tickets purchased on Amex. If anything is damaged they will let you make an immediate claim by calling them.

If your willing to pay a little more for each ticket, you can get a baggage delay policy. If your stuff doesn't make it to your destination, Amex will set you up.

I've heard many stories of folks arriving out west and their skis aren't there. They called Amex and filed a claim. Amex told them to go and purchase everything to replace. They purchased new skis, boots, bindings, etc.

About 2 months later their other skis were finally found and returned to their home and they came out of it with two sets total!

If you have already purchased your tickets on Amex, but don't have the baggage delay insurance, I'm sure you can call them and they will apply it since you haven't flown yet.
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