Flying With A Longboard Skate: Can You Carry It On A Plane?

flying with a longboard

Flying with a longboard can be a source of uncertaintly and even anxiety as you’re never really sure if you’ll be able to carry your longboard with you on the flight, whether you have to check it in at the airport, and if there will be additional fees for it.

Most regular airlines official rules accept skateboards are either standard checked baggage or standard carry-on. However, the size limit for carry-on baggage is smaller than most longboards. Some airlines explicitly list skateboards as exceptions to these size limitations, while others don’t. Most airlines will often let you carry on your board if it fits in the overhead compartment. Low-cost airlines, however, tend to make you check in your longboard and charge you for it.

In the rest of this post, I look at the policies of major U.S. airlines regarding flying with a longboard and discuss the extent to which they enforce them.

Can you take a longboard as carry-on on a flight?

Most airlines accept skateboards and longboards on flights, however not all of them will let you carry it on with you on the plane. This depends on a number of factors such as:

  • Which airline you’re flying with
  • The size of your longboard
  • The size of the plane
  • Your travel location
  • How you’re carrying your longboard

Airline you’re flying

While most airlines have policies regarding sporting equipment and skateboards in particular, the rules and how clear they are vary. Also, some airlines are more lenient than others in enforcing their policies. See below for an ariline-by-airline longboard policy review.

Longboard size

Airlines are more likely to let you take your longboard with you on a plane if it’s small enough to fit under your seat or at least in the overhead compartment. Very big boards are more likely to be checked in. Also, even as a checked baggage, really big longboards may incur an oversize fee.

Size of the plane

Airline staff tends to be less lenient on smaller planes and flights (and overbooked flights) where space is more of a concern than on bigger planes.

Your travel location

In general, TSA and U.S air travel staff tend to be more relaxed with regards to carrying skateboards on a plane compared to European and other regions of the world. Many airports in the EU other continents tend to treat longboards as a “blunt instrument” than can potentially be used as a weapon. This applies to decks and trucks alike.

How you’re carrying your longboard

The way you carry your longboard, e.g. strapped to a backpack, in a big duffle bag, etc, the total number of bags you have, whether your board is fully assembled with trucks or not, and even how relaxed and confident you are, can all impact whether the airport staff will let you carry your longboard on the plane vs have you check it in – and perhaps even charge you.

With these important factors in mind, let’s now look at each major airline and see how each deals with flying with a longboard.

Flying with a longboard on Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s policy is that you can substitute your longboard for a carryon or a checked bag. If the board fits under the seat, it’s considered a persona item and doesn’t need to be in a bag or covered. You have to stow it with the wheels up so it doesn’t roll.

If it doesn’t fit under the seat, you have to stow in an overhead bin with the wheels up. In this case it has to have the wheels covered (even a trash bag will do) not to damage other items in the bin.

Regarding size: the official max dimension for a carry-on is 24x16x10 but chances are your longboard is longer than that. See this thread for user comments.

Taking a longboard on an American Airlines flight

AA’s official policy on skateboards is that you need to check in your board since it’ll typically be longer than 22″, the maximum carry-on length. They charge you the normal check-in bag fee (the cost depends on how many bags you have). The maximum weight and size for checking-in a longboard is 50lb and 62 inches.

In practice, however, American Airlines typically will let you to take your longboard as carry-on. If the overheads are full, an attendant will put it in the coat closet. If you know the flight is going to be packed, it’s probably smart to take the trucks off and stuff them in your bag. If your longboard is small enough, though, strap it onto your backpack.

Frequent flying longboarders say it’s easier to get away with taking your board as carry-on on bigger planes as they’re less space-constrained than on small flights.

Taking a longboard on a Delta Airlines flight

Delta allows skateboards both as checked baggage and carry-on baggage. As checked baggage, you wouldn’t have to pay oversized baggage fees since the max size is 62″ combined dimensions (length+width+thickness).

Their policy states:

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

But the max carry-on size is 22″x14″x9″! So apparently, that limitation doesn’t apply to skateboards, otherwise, they would not officially allow them as carry-on. Or are only Penny boads allowed? They do allow “small musical instruments” as long as they fit in the overhead.

After calling them up, it seems you can bring your longboard on the plane as long as its length does not exceed 45 linear inches. This means I can officially take my Loaded Poke with me on the place (34″x9″x? = a little over 43″ total) provided I remove the trucks. Not sure about my 36″ pintail.

Bringing a longboard on a United Airlines flight

United also accepts longboards as both checked baggage or carry-on – though it specifically prohibits powered boards. For checked baggage, they will give you the normal allowance and, depending on the number of bags, you may get charged for first, second, or excess checked bag. Their policy also states:

Skating equipment is subject to applicable overweight and oversize excess baggage charges.

Most longboards, however, fall within the max checked baggage size of 62″ linear (length+width+width). For carry-on, the official maximum size is 45″. So again, it’s safer to remove your trucks to reduce your longboard’s overall linear size and increase your chances of taking it with you on the plane.

In practice, flyers generally get to take their longboard (including larger ones) with them on United flights, e.g. in a large duffle bag, as long as it fits in the overhead bin.

Traveling with a skateboard on Alaska Airlines

Alaska officially treats longboards as check baggage and applies standard fees and waivers. In their general policy, they explicitly state they’ll waive the oversize or overweight fee for skateboards. However, since 2017 they have a new policy regarding sports equipment that says sporting equipment that exceed normal checked baggage weight and dimensions flies for $30 (raised from $25 initially). Not sure what this means for your longboard – are the oversize fees waived or do you get charged $30?

Regarding taking your longboard with you on the plane as carry-on, as with most airlines they’ll let generally you do it as long as your board fits in the overhead bin or a coat closet. Even if they let you keep your board with you at check-in, there’s a possibility that the onboard crew sends it downstairs due to scarce space, so wrap it decently just in case.

Note than Alaska lists small instruments and fishing rods as allowed carry-on exceptions, so there are good chances a reasonable size longboard will be accepted in most cases.

Taking a longboard on a Jetblue Airlines flight

Jetblue also states it will accept your longboard either as carry-on or checked item, but as long as it meets size limitations. This means the usual 62″ linear for checked items and 22″x14″x9″ for carry-on. So again, the official policy treats your longboard as checked material unless it’s a tiny one.

Jetblue also specifically states that if checked in, your longboard travels at your own risk – the airline declines any liability for damage or loss.

Like other airlines, though, in practice, Jetblue will typically let you take your longboard on the plane with you as long as you can easily stow it in the overhead compartment with your backpack.

Carrying a longboard on the place with a low-cost airline

Generally, low-cost airlines will not let you take your longboard as carry-on mostly because most flight are tightly packed and because they want to charge you extra for any services they can.

Ryanair‘s policy clearly state skateboards are only accepted as checked items (see article 8.4.7). Same for Spirit Airlines (see this FAQ on their site), they’ll also treat your longboard as a standard checked bag (provided it falls within the 62″ linear range) and make you sign a liability waiver in case of damage or loss.

The good news is, they generally don’t charge you a special sports equipment fee for a skateboard/longboard like they do for a surfboard or a bicycle.

In practice, longboarders have a harder time getting away with carrying on their longboard on low-cost airlines as on other airlines. If you fly one, be sure to remove the trucks and strap your deck to your backpack (if it’s not too big), and be prepared to wrap it up for checking it in if you’re forced to.

Summary

Although most airlines will often let you get away with carrying your board with your on the plane, nothing garantees it, so you should expect the possibility of having to check it in – if that happens, you should be prepared to wrap your longboard properly to protect it from damage.

To reduce the likelihood of having to part with your longboard on the plane, try to choose the smallest board you can – and one that definitely fits in the overhead bin on the plane, remove the trucks to make it leaner and flatter, strap it onto your backpack if you can, be nice and relaxed with the staff, try to avoid European and low-cost flights as much as possible!

Add comment

About me

Big Kahuna

Hi I'm Jesse. All my life I've been passionate about the board riding lifestyle. Some years ago I got into longboarding, and in doing so, I discovered a whole new universe and a fantastic community. There's something for everyone in longboarding regardless of age, gender, size, and fitness level. Ride on!

Affiliate disclaimer

Ridingboards.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.