Traveling with your skateboard can seem like a daunting task or worse, an expensive addition to your travel costs. Truth is, it can unfortunately be both and for many unsuspecting skaters, they get to the airport and receive some bad news that their skateboard is NOT a carry on and costs them a bag fee.
However, some skaters get lucky and pay zero charge or know beforehand to take their skateboard apart and spread it throughout their bags. Nonetheless, skateboarders have been traveling long enough by air with proven tools and tricks of the trade. For years, they have long been kept a secret but now can be shared to you all.
Additionally, different airlines and airports have different policies when it comes to traveling with your skateboard. We’re going to share in this article examples of large airlines and airports and their policies towards skateboards, so you can have all the answers you need to know How To Travel With Your Skateboard.
In this article we’ll be going over:
- What Airline Companies Won’t Tell You
- Official Weight of a Skateboard and its Parts
- Official Size Dimensions of a Skateboard
- Skateboarding Policies of Largest Airlines
- Tools, Tricks and Secrets for Traveling With Your Skateboard from Pro Skaters
Traveling for a skate trip? Whether you’re headed to San Diego, Los Angeles or a small town check out our detailed guides on How To Skateboard in your travel destination for the most complete, fun and safe skate trip possible.
What Airline Companies Won’t Tell You
One of the major reasons why we decided to craft this article is because of the bad news skateboarders receive right before boarding a plane, telling them their skateboard has to be “checked in.”
There’s no “emotional support” skateboard policy, although we think there should be. Thing is, some airlines don’t list their policy, so you get to the gate and are about to board the plane with your fingers crossed. But more often than not, this leads to you spending an extra $50-$70 (sometimes more) checking your skateboard as another bag. Worst case scenario, you can even miss your flight.
Consider calling ahead and asking your airline their skateboard policy directly, and do so at the airport you’re flying out of. As we get into later in this article, some airports are totally cool with skaters and let them skate around without a gripe.
If you search for specific skateboard policies online, much of the time the airline doesn’t list a skateboard specific policy. Additionally, a skateboard has its own weight and dimensions that some consider on-par with a carry on, while others, even though it fits the required specs, deem the skateboard to be next to a weapon or oversized luggage. That is precisely why we’re going to give you the official dimensions of a skateboard, skateboarding policies of the largest airlines, and tools, tricks, and secrets for traveling with your skateboard from pro skaters.
Official Size Dimensions of a Skateboard
Here are some general dimensions of a skateboard for you to check with your airline policy. Note, your skateboard may have slight changes or if you’re looking for a free online skateboard size calculator– click here.
- The average length of a skateboard is 28” to 32” long.
- The average height or width of a skateboard is 7.5” to 8.5”.
- The wheels are generally 50-57mm as well.
From top to bottom, the skateboard is generally less than or around 6 or 7 inches from the ground.
Official Weight of a Skateboard and its Parts
In case you want to pack your skateboard in your bag or want to take it apart and pack your bags, here are some of the average weights of skateboards and their parts.
- Skateboard Deck: A standard shortboard skateboard deck is made of 7 layers of wood and weighs generally from 1 to 2.2 kilograms.
- Hardware and Grip Tape: The hardware and griptape are essentially non-existent when it comes to weight, weighing in at only 0.1 kilograms.
- Wheels: Nearly all skateboard wheels are made of polyurethane, weighing in from generally 200 to 250 grams.
- Bearings: Bearings, much like griptape don’t weigh very much. But having 8 bearings total, or two for each wheel comes in at 12 to 14 grams.
- Trucks: You probably guessed that your trucks are the heaviest part of your skateboard. Depending on if the trucks are hollow and their size, most trucks weigh just under 350 grams.
Skateboarding Policies of Largest Airlines
For most decades, skateboarders would take their entire skateboard and most airlines had reasonable accommodations for skateboard travel. However, over the years, airlines have done everything to squeeze a few extra bucks, so now even pro skaters are weary about traveling with their skateboards.
Southwest Airlines is one of the major domestic airlines that allows skateboarders to bring their skateboard on the airplane as a carry-on luggage. The statement from their website reads: “Skateboards may be substituted for a carry-on or a checked bag but it does have to be stowed with the wheels up so it does not roll.”
United Airlines is another domestic airline company that allows you to take a skateboard onto a plane as carry-on baggage. The statement from their website reads: “We’ll accept only non-powered roller skates, rollerblades and skateboards as checked bags or carry-on bags.”
Jet Blue Airlines
As we warned you about some airlines before, JetBlue Airlines is a bit ambiguous with their skateboard airline policy. The airline states that you may be able to bring your skateboard on a plane as a carry-on, when it fits the dimensions. While most skateboards technically exceed the length of a carry-on bag, it does state on their website: “a skateboard or longboard will count as a carry-on or checked item, as long as it meets the size requirements.” Generally, at larger airports like LAX or JFK, where these airlines see skateboards and skaters every day, you won’t normally have a problem. Smaller airports and international travel are particularly fickle however.
Apparently, you are not permitted to count a skateboard as a carry-on baggage with American Airlines under the rules of their “sports equipment policy page.” However, on social media and reddit pages, skaters insist they have been able to travel with their skateboards on this airline. Leaving it up to once again the size of the airport you’re in and if the airline employees are willing to accommodate you without extra charge.
Another misleading statement from Delta airlines, since they write on their website: “skateboards are allowed as check baggage and standard baggage rates apply. Skateboards are allowed as carry-on baggage and standard carry-on size restrictions apply.” At 22 inches for length, this would technically exceed the size requirements, once again leaving it up to the discretion of the flight attendants.
Tools, Tricks and Secrets for Traveling from Pro Skaters
Whether you’re traveling for a skate competition, a skate trip to Los Angeles or a skate trip to San Diego, there’s proven secrets to how to travel with your skateboard. Here are some that Pro Skaters have been using for decades that have been revealed by social media.
Take apart your skateboard: This might come as a surprise to a lot of people but taking apart your skateboard is a great way to avoid having to pay an extra bag fee. Your trucks and wheels for example can be placed in your carry on, or maybe even your personal item. You just need a bag to bring your skateboard deck. Which we talk about in our next points.
Buy a Skateboard Deck When You Land: Remember what we said about taking your skateboard apart? Imagine you just brought your trucks and wheels over in a carry on or personal item, now you can visit a local skate shop when you land and buy yourself a souvenir. This helps you avoid at least one way of travel fees and bringing something memorable home in the process.
Have a Bag Large Enough Luggage for Your Skateboard: The strategy of having a large enough luggage bag to fit your skateboard is what’s most common with Pro skaters nowadays. Whether they’re traveling for X Games or The Olympics, these skaters and their sponsors have to make sure they get to where they are going with several skateboard decks. Most large size luggage can fit a skateboard deck, especially the larger duffle bags.
GOSKATE Beginner Skateboard Package Shipped to Where You’re Staying: Want to avoid the stress of traveling with your skateboard altogether? The GOSKATE Beginner Skateboard package can be shipped fully assembled and ready to skate to wherever you are staying. Check out our Beginner Skateboard Package here and our free skateboard size calculator to figure out what size and dimensions work for you.