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Traveling with a 3-event bag

GailHGailH Posts: 12 Baller
edited July 2010 in Other Stuff
Does anyone have any advice for traveling by air with a 3-event bag?  Southwest says there's a max. charge of $50 for overweight or oversize, but they claim not to accept anything over 80" (l+w+h).  Will they take it in spite of their policy?  Any other suggestions?
Gail Heinrich -


  • ScarletArrowScarletArrow Posts: 767 Crazy Baller
    I've had situations where they charge me extra flying out, but not on the return trip...been charged extra both ways...or not at all. Depends on who is working behind the desk. Airports are frustrating enough, so I just roll with it and don't try to argue too aggressively.
    Anthony Warren
  • Old MS AccoutOld MS Accout Posts: 2,117 Baller
    Use a hard shell ski case or you will pay a much bigger price after they crack your skis in half.

    I am in control of 300 ground workers and have seen it all.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 25,517 Administrator
    If they ask, you have SNOW SKIS not water skies. AirTran does not charge 4 snow skis but will bend u over 4 waterskis.

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  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,584 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    Make sure you don't exceed the 50 pound limit - they check that. Southwest has been pretty good about jumpers for us but we do declare them as skis.

    One trick that helps a bit is to buy the excess bag online. It is a bigger pain for them to redo everything than to just accept your out of spec bag. Also if they resist, it really helps if you are going to a tournament - they often relent.

    Darn jumpers!

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    I am travelling on Sunday with Jumpers for my son on Jet Blue. Hopefully we will get through with no problem.
    Mark Shaffer
  • RichardDoaneRichardDoane Posts: 3,976 Mega Baller
    I've got a Masterline 3 Event Bag, 85", great shape, will sell for cheap, $50. plus shipping, email [email protected]
    BallOfSpray Pacific Northwest Vice President of Event Management, aka "Zappy"
  • thagerthager Posts: 4,261 Mega Baller
    Pretty easy to harden the bag using 3/16 in pegboard and duct tape cut to slightly smaller than bag dimensions.
    Stir vigorously then leave!
  • raynrayn Posts: 361 Baller
    I suggest you print out any rules that you can find online to show the customer service rep. It will say you time and possibly money
    Ray Newmark -
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    I just bought tickets on Southwest to go down to Rini's in late August.  I called customer service asking asbout their policy on ski bags since it's kind of vague in their rules (see "Contract of Carriage" on their web site).  The lady I spoke with stated that she "went to their Help Desk" or called their internal help desk or whatever and stated that whatever she was looking at in their "Notes" section or being told was that with skis they only go by the weight (over 50 lbs) and not the total size of the bag.  I couldn't find this on their web site but she insisted that what she was telling me was the written rule on how it is handled.  She said that they realize that a lot of folks travel with their skis (usually snow skis) and that they didn't want to exclude that group from their customer base with the oversize charge so skis are basically waived from the package size rule.

    I sent their Customer Service an e-mail asking for written clarification just to be double sure but haven't heard back yet.  FWIW my bag is an 80" Masterline.  I'll post their reply if/when I get one.

    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    We got through Jet Blue with no additional charge. Rayn came up with a document from JetBlue's website that said ski bags were no charge but I didn't have any problems at check in. My son's 3 event bag is a 80" Masterline and they never looked at the length.
    Mark Shaffer
  • MattPMattP Posts: 5,973 Mega Baller
    Chef23 how old is your son/what division is he in?
  • GailHGailH Posts: 12 Baller
    Thanks everyone for your tips!!
    Gail Heinrich -
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller

    My son is 11 and he is a first year Boys 2 skier.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Ed_ObermeierEd_Obermeier Posts: 1,339 Crazy Baller
    edited July 2010
    Here is the reply I got from Southwest.  Looks like ski's ride free too!


    Dear Ed,

    We are always delighted to hear from our Customers, and your e-mail is no exception. We welcome the opportunity to respond.

    Snow or water skis will be accepted in substitution for one of the two free pieces of checked baggage at no additional charge when enclosed in a suitable container. Southwest Airlines provides free plastic bags for ski equipment, which are used to prevent the various components of ski equipment from becoming separated. Please keep in mind that skis will be conditionally accepted unless they are being transported in a hard, plastic case or a standard ski bag.

    Snow ski equipment consists of one pair each of skis, ski poles, and boots. Water-ski equipment includes one pair of skis and one life preserver or vest. Snowboard equipment includes one snowboard and one pair of boots. 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 will apply if the ski equipment exceeds 50 pounds). This information is also on

    Please visit our web site at for more specific information pertaining to your questions.

    Again, thanks for contacting us as we never tire of hearing from our Customers. We look forward to an opportunity to serve your air travel needs in the future.


    Margo, Southwest Airlines
    Ed Obermeier - owner, EZ-Slalom Course Systems
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 5,621 Mega Baller
    We got through both flights on Jet Blue with no additional charge.
    Mark Shaffer
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,584 MM Trick Skier / Eccentric Person
    Alaska charged us the standard bag charge for the jumpers (we paid in advance and they didn't look twice). Kirk just went Southwest today with two ski bags at no charge - but he didn't have his jumpers. 

    We Fedexed our bags back from WA. The jump skis ended up in Michigan?! Kirk got some great jump coaching but will have to borrow skis for tomorrows tournament. The trick skis made it home but Kirk's toe ski was damaged (fixed now). I guess it is just risky to travel at all.

    Silver lining, Fedex is shipping them to Boise for us for free. Now if I can just get my Cessna running again I will not have any baggage issues.

  • Thomas WayneThomas Wayne Posts: 550 New Baller
    One tip I would offer that has worked very well for me - make durable plastic signs to zip-tie onto the outside of your ski bag noting your final destination(s).  For example, on my last trip south I had three connecting flights, but my bag had a 4" x 16" white plastic sign attached reading: "final dest: FLL" (Fort Lauderdale).

    A week later, on the return trip I was stopping in Seattle for a while, so that sign read: "final dest: SEA" and later, for the last flight home the sign was: "final dest:ANC".

    A big unbreakable sign with just your final destination's airport code seems awfully hard to miss, and I've never had my ski bag delayed, lost, or sent to the wrong airport.

  • I have never had problems when traveling on southwest. Usually no charge for checked bags
  • dhofertdhofert Posts: 211 Baller
    All this good talk about southwest sure makes me happy. I just booked my trip to The Boarding school for April and am flying southwest.
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