You’ve finally found your ideal ski resort, and now it’s time to plan your trip there. Whether you go by plane, train or bus, there’s going to be a fair bit of lugging around with all the gear. We have summarised the most important tips for ski luggage you should bear in mind when flying. Not only to save money, but also to protect the equipment and make the transport a little more pleasant.
Airlines and ski luggage: what to look out for
*Correct at time of print
It’s perfectly easy to organise taking ski luggage on planes. Generally, airlines have the same rules when it comes to defining ski luggage. It always includes a pair of skis, a pair of ski poles and ski boots. Most airlines allow the sports option for additional bags to be packed full of other equipment such as helmets and clothing, as long as the permitted weight is not exceeded. This also applies to snowboards, which also include boots.
The total weight allowed for the ski or snowboard bag varies by airline, and additional charges often apply. While most allow 20 kg or 23 kg per person, some airlines allow 30 kg or, like Lufthansa, up to 32 kg – and this is even free of charge and as an additional piece of luggage.
Austrian Airlines also allows you to take your ski equipment with you free of charge, provided you do not exceed the total weight limit of 23 kg in Economy Class or 32 kg in Business Class, and you only check in one bag. This can be particularly worthwhile for couples or families. In addition, you still have 8 kg free for hand luggage.
Do your research
It may well be that you get a very cheap flight, but there are additional charges for each piece of luggage, or the total weight allowed is low. Compare not only the airfares, but also the prices and regulations for ski luggage. The bottom line is that a flight with Austrian Airlines or Lufthansa may well be cheaper than on a budget airline.
Some airlines do not define exactly what can and cannot be in a ski bag. For example, you can transport two pairs of skis with one ski bag as long as the weight is not exceeded. This can make sense, especially for children’s equipment.
Maybe you want to take two snowboards with you on your skiing holiday – often this is not a problem! If you can fit all your ski clothing in on top of that – even better!
Our tip: Book any extra luggage online before you take off. The prices are always a lot cheaper than at the counter. Also, don’t forget that the prices quoted for additional baggage are always per person and per route.
Avoid stress during transport
Travelling with lots of luggage can be exhausting. You probably don’t want to trek to the airport with the whole family when you have what feels like a hundred bags weighing two tonnes.
The same applies to the transfer from the airport to the ski resort. If the only way to get there is by train with lots of changes, think twice. A ski resort or hotel that offers a shuttle from the airport makes more sense.
Buy the right ski or snowboard bag
With or without a fragile sticker, not all luggage is treated equally. Use a bag that will protect your equipment.
Use a padded bag, preferably with special sections for skis, poles and boots. You can also pad the equipment with your clothes. When buying the bag, pay attention to the tare weight, because every gram will count!
Think carefully about what you will need urgently on your ski holiday and what you will not. It is normal in most ski resorts to go to dinner or enjoy après-ski in ski clothes.
Checking in ski and snowboard equipment
As ski equipment exceeds the maximum dimensions for normal luggage, it is treated as bulky luggage. This means that you will need to allow extra time when checking in. It’s best to be at the airport two or three hours before departure.
Normally you will get rid of your standard luggage at the counter and will get a label for your ski equipment, which you then have to hand in at the bulky luggage counter.
When you arrive at your destination, it will be the same. Normal baggage on the baggage carousel, ski or snowboard equipment on the bulky baggage carousel. Don’t panic if your skis or snowboard are not on the baggage carousel; you’ll likely find it with the bulky luggage.
The stress-free option: Hire ski equipment locally
If you only go on a skiing holiday once a year, you should consider whether it is really worth having your own complete equipment. If you rent skis, poles and boots locally, you save yourself not only the stress of all that luggage, but also money.
The advantage is that you always get the latest equipment, which is excellently maintained and professionally kept in good shape. If you book a ski school or activity through Skibro, you get discounted prices for ski rental.
The cheap option: send ski equipment
Most winter holidaymakers don’t even think about the possibility of sending their ski equipment by transport company. But there are many really cheap options. All you need is a little more time.
Transport companies such as DPD send ski equipment. UPS or FedEx will also do the job for those in a hurry, although the prices are considerably higher. In any case, find out in advance how long the transport will take and inform your accommodation.