6 Tips When Traveling with a Skateboard

Loaded Boards recently made this great overview of how to travel with a skateboard. Some solid tips in here kids: 

By Arian Chamasmany

Looking up from the paisley floral patterned moo moo that the rotund woman is sporting in front of you, you breathe deeply to displace the anxiousness building in your stomach and chest. “This is it, everything packed, find my seat, ready for take off!”.

National geographic-like images of you skating glorious foreign cloud dotted mountain ranges start swimming through your head, wooing you on. You inch forward down the boarding ramp to the plane, rounding the corner. The last step, the transition from the edge of the ramp to the plane, the final moment of mundane before embarking on the skate adventure of a lifetime!

Then, suddenly, one of the flight attendants catches sight of you. Her blank look of uncertainty means she potentially has bad news. She points over your way, whispering to her colleague while starting to push past the composed business man, moving in your direction.

You may not realize it, but this is the slow burn beginning of what is to be really bad traveling nightmare.

Loading the Bird - Your Skate Adventure Begins!

Your adventure begins here.

She uncomfortably squeezes past the woman with the dress in front of you, then administers the verbal death blow. “I’m so sorry, but we’re going to have to check that skateboard, it’ll be at your destination when you arrive”.

Her choreographed airline industry mannerisms and over-whitened-toothed smile as she takes your precious shred stick lie heavier than an animal rug.

Fast forward sixteen draining hours of airborne stagnation later, and your standing at the baggage claim in a foreign country at some odd hour of the night, blankly waiting for your skateboard to exit through those black plastic flaps guarding the little hole that spits out your worldly belongings.

Alas, the scenario plays itself out just as how you would imagine, nothing shows up on the other end (or if it does, it looks like it was dragged beneath a moving vehicle and then hit with a hammer a dozen or so times).

Now boardless and marooned in a foreign land, your trip takes an unexpected and dismal turn, the nightmare of dealing with the missing / damaged baggage department begins…

The sad fact of the matter behind all of this, is that the situation described above could have been avoided to some degree.

The trick to air travel is finding a way to check as little as possible while yet avoiding the ill-fated circumstances that will ultimately end up with your board being checked at the gate. In some situations however, there is no other option.

All the same, there are some things you can do, and / or acquire, that will reduce the potential of your things getting lost or beaten to death by the air travel equation; allow us to make a few suggestions.

1. Condense Like Soup and Carry On

The ultimate trick to winning the air travel game is to carry everything with you, assuring that it will fit into the overhead bin.

If you have everything on your persons, then there is no reason, other than you maybe spending too much time at the airport bar before your flight, that should result in anything getting lost.

However, in some instances you won’t be able to avoid not having to check your board, in which case we strongly recommend you acquiring something along the lines of a Sector 9 Field Bag, which allows you to condense everything down into one check-able item, and will additionally protect your things from getting mangled.

Condense your skate gear into the smallest possible space

The Arsenal: G-Forms, Orangatang Wheels, and Loaded Boards

Moreover, it’s always wise to make sure you have your most prized possessions with you, including your toiletries and a change of clothes in a backpack.

Pro-tip: if you check a laptop with your bag while traveling in the US, air transit security will search it (one more stop on the conveyor belt to the plane, one more chance for it to get left behind).

2. The Early Bird Gets Their Bags On The Plane

So let’s assume that you have a board bag with everything neatly packed inside that you’re looking to check.

It’s important to keep in mind that after you check your bag with the attendants at the desk / curbside, you still have to factor in the maze-like mire of conveyor belts and chutes your bag will ultimately have to navigate before it finally gets loaded onto a truck. Not to mention then transported across the tarmac and to your flight that is on schedule to leave on time regardless as to whether your stuff is on board on or not.

So, to leave the airline lots of time to do their job, get to the airport two hours prior to your flight.

Travel friendly with a slightly larger skate bag

A month long shred adventure, all in one skate bag.

3. Check Yo'self Before You Wreck Yo'self

If you’re unsure of what specifically you’ll be able to get on the plane, call your airline.

Every airline is different, and domestic flights usually tend to be more lax when it comes to items carried aboard. Sometimes it just comes down to who you ask. Just try to remove as many variables of uncertainty before it actually comes time for you to board that flight.

In most cases they’ll just spit out some airline regulation banter about approved sizes for objects allowed as “carry-on” items by the TSA, but rarely, you’ll get a realist who may be able to let you know whether or not you’ll be able to store that item in an overhead bin.

To relieve some of the headache, check our our list below of regulations, excerpted directly from some of the world's most popular airlines directly:​

Skateboards/longboards can be accepted as a carry-on or checked item, as long as it is within JetBlue’s size limitations.  If checked in, it will only be accepted as a conditionally checked item at the airport. JetBlue will not be liable for damage, loss, or spoilage of conditionally accepted items.


 

One skateboard, maximum size of 50 pounds and 62 inches, is allowed. You’ll be charged the same fee as the 1st or 2nd baggage fee of your destination. If you have excess baggage, you’ll be charged the excess fee for each item you travel with.


United does not accept as checked or carry-on baggage any recreational self-propelled vehicle or device designed to carry one or more persons or goods, and which moves by use of a lithium battery-powered electric motor.United accepts only non-powered skateboards as checked baggage or carry-on baggage.First or second checked bag service charges may apply. Skating equipment carried in addition to the baggage allowance will be assessed at the current excess baggage charge.


Spirit Airlines will not accept electric skateboards for transportation due to Hazardous Materials restrictions.Skateboards will only be accepted as checked baggage, checked baggage fees apply. A limited liability release form must be signed as well. 


Skateboards are allowed as carry-on baggage and standard carry-on size restrictions apply.Skateboards are allowed as checked baggage and standard baggage policies apply.

Skateboard may be substituted for a carry on or a checked bag. If the skateboard fits under the seat, it does not need to be in a bag or covered, but it does have to be stowed with the wheels up so that it doesn't roll. If stowed in an overhead bin, a skateboard must be stowed with the wheels up and needs to be in a bag or have the wheels covered (trash bag is acceptable).

Skateboards must be checked in according to their terms and conditions article 8.4.7.

Skateboards no heavier than 8kg / 17.637lbs and not bigger than 55x40x23 cm and you have no other bags, you can carry it on.

Skateboards no heavier than 8kg / 17.637lbs and not bigger than 55x40x23 cm and you have no other bags, you can carry it on.

Skateboards are subject to our standard checked baggage fees and waivers. We’re glad to waive the oversize fee or overweight fee for the items listed in this section. If contents unrelated to the equipment are included, additional baggage fees may apply.


4. You Gotta Be This Small To Ride This Ride

I’ll say this, and I speak from experience of traveling a lot with a skateboard aboard an airplane.

I myself have gotten away with carrying aboard a 39 inch Loaded Tan Tien (strapped to my backpack) on ALL of my domestic flights within the continental United States, and 90% of my flights around Europe. The only country I flew into that made me check my board was the UK.

That being said, this was as long as I managed to get on the flight early enough to find a space for my deck to fit in an overhead bin.

Skate everywhere - lighter is better

Lighter is better.

Airline regulation will state otherwise. But the truth of the matter is, no one really wants to deal with you or your stuff. Usually if you can make it work, chances are no one will complain.

On the flip side, if you choose to check your board, there are some restrictions. This varies from airline to airline, as explained above. 

5. Battle Of The Bins

As mentioned above, getting to your flight / gate early is going to be key in regards to being there at that exact moment when they call you to board. Some airlines, like Southwest, allow for free (unassigned) seating after they call your boarding group, which, if you’re lucky, will allow you time to get on the plane and find a place to stash your deck.

Others, however, call by row. If you're in the back of the plane, sometimes you’ll be outta luck.

Crossing the Pond

Crossing the pond

In the end, a lot of it simply comes down to the battle of the bins, and you’ll just have to make it work. I’ve found that even if bins are closed, a lot of the time there will be enough room to slot your board in (laid flat) above or under people’s wheelie bags.

Another potential solution is to deconstruct your board before hand, allowing for the deck to be slotted into a bin with greater ease. The trick is to make your shred stick as stow’able as possible, especially when trekking with a deck greater than 32 inches.

6. Damage Control

If you’re dealing with missing or damaged baggage, get ready for a long wait.

If your bag didn’t show, in most cases you got to your flight late, or your bag never made it on board. If this is the situation, sometimes all you have to do is stick around until the next flight comes in, and more often than not, your bag will be on that flight.

Airlines tend to do this when they have overbooked flights and can’t fit everything on board. Skaters usually fall victim to this simply because board bags are often regarded as “oversized" or "oddly shaped baggage".

If you must, you can leave the airport, but you MUST have a phone number / address for them to reach you at so when your bags do show, they can get them to you.

Un-advantageous to you and more often than not, the airlines will employ a cheap third party delivery company to deliver your bags. So if you must, you can further entrust the airport to get your luggage to your final destination (which they’ve already done such a great job of…).

Just make sure that if this is the way you want wade through this quagmire of a situation, be sure to pack a backpack with a change of clothes, some deodorant, a toothbrush, and any important or essential items. Just trust me when I say this, it will seem like a gift from the skate gods when this situation befalls you.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that air travel will always be a fiasco.

Eventually, you will live out that picturesque vision you had while standing in line to board the plane behind the rotund woman with the paisley floral patterned moo moo. And while traveling will never really be quite as easy as all of those airline billboards showing the woman enjoying the best sleep of her life make it out to be, just remember that you will eventually get there, and so will your things, as long as you take proper heed of these six suggestions.

Kody Noble gets ready for the jet set.

Kody Noble, stoked to be in foreign lands.

Thanks for reading, now fly somewhere, and go skate.


6 comments


  • Aaron Lal

    Thanx for sharing such a nice post. Very nicely presented and that too in an understandable way. Looking forward for other post from you soon.


  • Jashua Jeremiah Fernandez

    A question I’ve always wanted to ask. If you can fit your skatedecks in your check in luggage aka the normal big bags. would they care? I mean like since it’s inside the bag there’s no problem right?

    furthermore are trucks, wheels, bearings and or skate accessories (skate tool, hardware etc.) do you know if they’re ok in your carry on? or will they be confiscated 🤔? I’m too scared to try and have my parts confiscated…


  • Stoked Ride Shop

    I’ve never personally flown with Ryanair, Ben, but I have flown with a regular street deck strapped to the outside of a Thrasher duffel bag on a couple of domestic flights without any issues. Hope you also experience smooth travels for your trip!


  • Stoked Ride Shop

    That would be awesome, Peter! Feel free to share your experience with us as we would love to get some more insights on Asian airlines updated ti this post. Thanks a lot and travel safely!


  • Peter

    That was some fine article! Well written. Thanks for those infos.
    About to buy a deck in Manila or Taipeh and will be on Cebu Pacific, Scoot, Eastar Jet and Jetstar Japan in the next month. If I remember, I’ll leave some feedback here for future visitors of this article.


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