Whether heading to a competition or vacationing in a winter wonderland, tourists and athletes alike often travel with their winter sports equipment.
Bulky items like skis and snowboards will need to be checked as oversized luggage; however, smaller – albeit sharper – items like ice skates seem to cause a bit of confusion.
The TSA permits ice skates in carry-on or checked bags but reserves the right to deny any potentially dangerous items from passing through security. While ice skates are allowed on (most) planes, airlines may also have rules about how to transport them. All passengers flying with ice skates should ensure they are appropriately packed and that the blades are safely covered.
This article addresses TSA and airline policies regarding ice skates and the best way to pack them for safe travel.
Can You Pack Ice Skates in Carry-On Luggage?
According to the TSA’s official website, ice skates are allowed in carry-on luggage, and most US-based airlines follow these guidelines.
That said, before packing your skates, confirm with your airline how best to transport them – some airlines may have specific requirements for traveling with ice skates.
Additionally, since ice skates are sharp, the TSA reserves the right to deny passengers from bringing them through security.
Ensuring the blades are properly covered with skate guards or the skates are in a proper carrying case can make things easier and safer for everyone.
Travelers should also inform TSA agents they have skates in their carry-on and may be required to separate them from the rest of their items for inspection.
Passengers should also have a clear reason for traveling with their ice skates.
For example, if your skates are essential for a figure skating competition or a hockey tournament, bring details of the event and proof of a team or club membership.
Having this kind of documentation can help make security screenings go much smoother.
The other thing to remember is that most airlines have size and weight limits for carry-on items.
When traveling with ice skates, ensure they’re packed in an airline-approved carry-on bag within the size and weight allowed.
International Airline Policies on Ice Skates
US citizens hopping on flights abroad must confirm international flight policies on ice skates.
For instance, per European standards, some airlines do not permit ice skates in carry-on luggage, and they must be packed in checked luggage or tagged as special equipment.
If you’re traveling with ice skates to another country, contact your airline ahead of time to avoid any hassle at the airport.
Can You Pack Ice Skates in Checked Luggage?
The TSA and most airlines permit passengers to pack ice skates in their checked luggage.
As with carry-on items, travelers should confirm their airline’s checked baggage size and weight policies to avoid additional fees for oversized or overweight bags.
If passengers are concerned about their checked bags, they can invest in an air tag or other approved luggage tracker and should consider purchasing travel insurance that covers loss, damage, or theft.
What if Your Ice Skates Get Gate-Checked?
While ice skates may be permitted as carry-on items, airlines may require larger bags to be gate-checked when a flight is full.
Gate-checking is fairly rare and usually only happens when there isn’t enough room in the overhead bins for everyone’s belongings.
Typically, gate-checked items are dropped off and picked up at the plane’s door; however, occasionally, these items need to be retrieved from the baggage claim at the final destination.
Don’t worry, though – the airline crew will inform passengers where to grab their gate-checked items when they arrive.
How to Pack Ice Skates for Air Travel
Whether passengers are packing their ice skates in a carry-on or checked bag, they must cover the blades with skate guards and/or soakers and should place them in a snug, appropriately-sized carrier bag.
For additional safety, some skaters also zip-tie the guards around the blades to keep them in place.
When packing ice skates in checked luggage, it’s a good idea to wrap clothes or towels around them to help prevent damage from rough handling or turbulence in flight.
What’s the Best Way to Travel with Ice Skates?
The best way to travel with ice skates depends on the nature of the flight and the final destination.
When traveling within the United States, bringing ice skates in a carry-on bag is fine, especially if the route requires more than one flight.
(The more flights required in a single trip, the more chances there are for checked luggage to get lost.)
Passengers flying with their ice skates abroad must follow the guidelines outlined by their airline.
Some travelers have also considered shipping their ice skates to their final destination.
This method might make air travel easier, but it’s not ideal since the skates could arrive before the skater or much later.
Pros and Cons of Traveling with Ice Skates
Flying with ice skates may require some careful consideration, especially for those who don’t travel often.
Pros of Traveling with Ice Skates
If you’re traveling for a figure skating competition, hockey game, or other special events, bringing your ice skates is likely necessary.
As most athletes prefer their own equipment, flying with their skates is usually well worth it.
Tourists traveling to colder destinations may also pack their skates to enjoy as many winter activities as possible.
These travelers might not have access to skate rentals, especially if they’re headed to remote locations.
Cons of Traveling with Ice Skates
Traveling with anything bulky, especially as carry-on, can make flying difficult or uncomfortable.
While not necessarily heavy, ice skates can be awkward to lug around an airport and can make security slightly more inconvenient.
Additionally, ice skates can take up quite a bit of room in a bag, so travelers may have to forgo other items to keep their luggage within approved weight/size limits.
The TSA and most airlines allow travelers to bring their ice skates in either carry-on or checked luggage.
Ice skates must be packed properly with the blades covered; otherwise, the TSA may decide they are unfit for travel.
While US airlines permit ice skates in carry-on bags, some international airlines do not.
It’s important to contact the airline ahead of time to confirm any rules they may have.
Table of Contents
- Can You Pack Ice Skates in Carry-On Luggage?
- Can You Pack Ice Skates in Checked Luggage?
- How to Pack Ice Skates for Air Travel
- What’s the Best Way to Travel with Ice Skates?
- Pros and Cons of Traveling with Ice Skates