Travelling with a skateboard is no joke. It definitely makes travel more confusing than it needs to be, especially when you’re constantly asking yourself, “can a skateboard be a carry on?”.
Trust me when I tell you I’ve been in the exact same position you’re in now. It doesn’t help that most of the information online is catered to United States airlines and doesn’t address the complexities of international travel with a skateboard.
BUT I’m here to set the record straight! This guide is here to answer your burning questions about travelling with a skateboard so you can decide if it’s the right move for you.
Consider TSA Rules And Regulations
The transportation security administration (TSA) is in charge of the rules and regulations that airlines adhere to. Different airlines have different rules and take things such as weight restrictions and size requirements for bringing sports equipment on the plane.
While some allow it as carry-on luggage that can be stored in the overhead bin, other airlines won’t.
Airlines That Allow Skateboards As A Carry On
Although many airlines require a skateboard to be packed with your checked baggage, I have good news! These airlines will make flying with a skateboard easier than ever:
- Southwest Airlines – Allowed as carry on or checked baggage, however, the wheels must be covered and upright (a trash bag is accepted to cover the wheels).
- United Airlines – Allowed as carry on or checked baggage.
Airlines That Don’t Allow Skateboards As A Carry On
These airlines haven’t fully come around to bringing skateboards as a carry on yet because they are larger than the size restrictions. Most boards are 30 inches in length, which is too long for a carry on.
BUT, they often allow skateboards to be checked in with checked baggage.
*Read my secret hack below to find out how you can avoid paying additional fees for sports equipment!
- American Airlines – Only allowed as checked baggage, however, some people have reported bringing their skateboard as a carry on with no problem. This might depend on the flight attendant you get.
- British Airways – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
- Allegiant Air – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
- Ryanair – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″)
- Alaska Airlines – Only allowed as checked baggage.
- Spirit Airlines – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
- Hawaiian Airlines – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
- Frontier Airlines – Only allowed as checked luggage
- JetBlue – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
- Delta – Can only be carry on within 45 linear inches (22″ X 14″ X 9″), checked baggage also allowed for an additional fee.
My Experience Travelling With a Skateboard (+ My Secret Hack That’s Worked Every Time!)
The first time I travelled with a skateboard was a long journey overseas. I was flying from Toronto, Canada to Cape Town, South Africa. My flight had a layover in London. A few days before my trip, I was constantly worried, wondering “can a skateboard be a carry on?” and didn’t get a firm answer when searching online.
As a last-minute decision, I brought my board as a piece of carry-on baggage, checked my 45L backpack and took a small personal item with my camera gear. Both flights were with British Airways. No one questioned me bringing my skateboard as a carry on from Toronto to London. However, I was stopped in London and told I needed to have it checked.
I explained that I had brought it as a carry on with my previous British Airways flight and they told me it could be “used as a weapon”. Somehow, I managed to get past security and on that flight without checking it but it was a close call.
My Hack To Flying With A Skateboard
For all of 2022, I was flying with a skateboard and realized early on that many international airlines (through Uganda, Egypt, Greece, the UK, etc) would not allow a skateboard in the cabin. Although my 45L backpack can usually pass as a carry on, I can’t have two carry on items so I purchase checked baggage (if it’s not already included). Then, when I get to the airport, I zip-tie my skateboard to the back of my backpack.
I first got this idea from someone working at Ryanair. They zip-tied my board to my backpack that was being checked in and put it right through. I’ve gotten a few strange looks but I reassure them that it’s tightly secured and usually that’s it. If you do this, be prepared to carry your backpack and skateboard combo to the oversized luggage area.
I’ve personally never had an extra charge and don’t pay extra to bring my board!
PRO TIP: Always have a stash of zip-ties on you!
The Best Way To Pack A Skateboard For Air Travel
The above method is what I’d recommend for packing your skateboard with your checked luggage if you’re bringing a backpack or want to avoid extra fees.
However, a duffel bag or suitcase would be the best way to transport a skateboard for checked luggage. You can take apart the trucks and wheels so you can fit the board properly or just leave it as is. I personally couldn’t be bothered to take apart my board and haven’t had anything go wrong just yet!
If you’re bringing your board as one of your carry-on items, it’s best to find a skateboard backpack (or a way to secure it to your existing backpack) so that you draw less attention. If a flight attendant sees you walking on the plane with a skateboard, you might be told it has to be checked last minute or they’ll spend extra time checking to see if it fits the requirements. It’s best to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Skateboarding In An Airport
If you manage to get your skateboard through security at the airport without checking it or dropping it at the oversized luggage area, you can make use of it before your flight.
Each airport has different rules regarding skateboarding through the terminal but I haven’t had issues in North America Airports. In fact, it really sped up my journey from one end of the airport to the other!
Just keep in mind that people are often in a rush at the airport and things can be hectic so watch out for people and be respectful.
Is There An Oversize Fee For Skateboards?
As you’re likely to know by now, each airline has a different baggage policy. Although this is incredibly frustrating, you should be aware of any oversize fees for boards that exceed the measurements allowed. Carry on and checked baggage will differ but you probably won’t have much luck bringing a longboard with you.
The most you’ll be able to get away with, without paying an oversize fee is a cruiser board. Keep in mind that the dimensions of these boards vary and anything over 30 inches in length could be considered ‘oversized’.
Do Budget Airlines Allow Skateboards?
As someone who often flies with budget airlines, I have some bad news. They generally don’t allow skateboards as carry on items because they take up more room on the aircraft.
Of course, this depends on the airline and you should check their size limit for sports equipment. For example, a smaller board, such as a penny board may be allowed.
Consider Your Connecting Flight
Next time you ask yourself, can a skateboard be a carry on, take connecting flights into consideration. Because each airline is different and low-cost airlines might not allow skateboards on the flight, you need to be vigilant in your preparation.
Can You Travel With An Electric Board?
While electric skateboards are a lot of fun and more people have started using them, most (if not all) airlines don’t allow them on the aircraft.
This is because they run on a lithium battery which is unstable in nature and airlines see it as a fire hazard. That doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to travel with an electric board but it might be a while before they’re cleared for air travel.
Is It Worth The Risk?
When deciding whether or not you’re going to travel with your skateboard, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth the risk. You might have to pay an extra fee to check in or get it past the security checkpoint. You also run the risk of your board getting damaged on the flight.
With all that taken into consideration, it might not be worth all the fuss. If you’re thinking about taking your skateboard with you, always allow for extra time at the airport in case it delays your check-in. It’s also worth double-checking with the airline you’re flying with beforehand to be sure. I personally loved having a skateboard with me, especially in Cape Town because there were so many good opportunities to use it!
I hope that answered all of your burning questions when it comes to bringing a skateboard as a carry on. I’ll be back shortly with a new blog but you can keep up with my latest travels on Instagram and TikTok!
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