Have you been dreaming about going cross country longboarding in Morocco, Peru and Bolivia? This fun-filled activity may not be for everybody. But those who love to combine their passion for backpacking with longboarding would definitely find long distance longboarding an opportunity too good to miss.
But, is it really possible to travel with a longboard? How about flying with a longboard? Yes, it is so much possible to air travel with it. The key here is to make sure your longboard meets the requirement for its height and weight. If not, then you have to look for another airline.
History of Long Distance Longboarding
Long distance longboarding has been around for quite some time now, although it all started among skateboarding enthusiasts. For many, it began as a means of transportation from home to school or office. Then, it eventually grew into a serious hobby until one found it hard to live without.
Today, seeing people carrying longboards at the airport is no longer a rare occurrence. More people have fallen in love with long boarding that they wanted to take their boards with them wherever they go, even if it means traveling by plane. But, how do you ensure that your longboard gets approved by your chosen airline? Check out the following tips:
Helpful Tips When Flying with a Longboard
Note that nobody’s exempted in this process. So, even if you’re someone trying to break Rick Pronk’s skateboarding record of 313 miles traveled within 24 hours, you still need to have your longboard checked before boarding the plane. But how can you make sure that your board can be counted as part of the carry ons? Check out the following tips:
1. Inform the airline company at the time of booking.
Does the airline accept longboards as a check in or carry-on luggage? Rather than browsing the internet for a specific information, might as well cut to the chase and call your chosen airline’s number. Ask them whether they accept longboards on a plane.
Be specific by giving them the dimensions of your long board. Tell them exactly the weight, length and width of your long board. You can even ask their customer support for some advice regarding the handling of your longboard right from the check in and to the boarding process.
Some airlines do accept sports equipment during the trip if it is small enough to fit under the seat or in the overhead bin. Oversized boards may incur extra charge.
2. Protect your longboard from possible damage.
Protecting your precious board is a must. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in your destination with a damaged longboard and not knowing whether it’s possible to obtain a brand new one. To make sure it is safe, you have to purchase a bag specifically designed for skateboards and longboards.
Seasoned travelers cover the deck of their longboard using a bubble wrap to ensure protection. Most of the time, the nose and tail of the board are the most prone to scratches, dings and other forms of damage. But, with a bubble wrap, you can more likely to expect that your board will arrive at your destination unscathed.
3. Get to the airport several hours before your flight.
Every seasoned traveler knows that if you’re traveling domestically you should be at the airport at least 2 hours before your schedule flight and at least three hours if you have booked for an international destination.
Do not forget that you still need to navigate through the maze-like mire of several conveyor belts and chutes before your board and your entire suitcase gets loaded into the plane for it to be at the same destination you’re headed to.
So, give yourself and the airport officer and flight attendants enough time to check your booked ticket and suitcase. Or, risk having your planned month-long shred adventure postponed due to your tardiness.
4. Decide whether to have it as a carry on or checked luggage.
Should you have it as a carry on or as a checked luggage? The decision may depend on two factors. These include fees and airline baggage policies.
Each air travel company has its own set of guidelines in terms of carry on and checked luggage. As a traveler, you have to be aware of the airline’s guidelines regarding the size limitations for items that can be stored in the overhead compartment.
They also have certain policies about bringing sporting equipment and since longboards fall under this category, read these policies well. Check the websites of your preferred airlines to see if they have published rules and regulations for handling your board during air travel.
Another important thing that helps you decide whether your longboard can serve as a carry on baggage or as a checked-in luggage would be the airline fees. Baggage fees differ from one plane company to another. Check their company website for fees or inquire from their customer hotline.
5. Know the right way to place your board.
When on a plane, place your board grip tape down if you’re putting it in an overhead bin. This way, there will still be enough space for other backpacks. The same setup should be done when putting it under your seat to ensure your board wheels do not roll away from your seat during the flight.
It is important to note that most airlines won’t be held liable for any damages that may occur to your longboard. If you see some cracks, snapping, creasing and obvious dings be prepared to shell out extra money to have it repaired or replaced.
6. Pack your longboarding essentials.
Every longboarder knows that a micro fiber towel is a must-bring especially on a trip. This kind of towel easily gets dry and small enough to be easily kept inside the backpack.
Forget about packing extra shoes; instead bring extra breaking soles and extra slide puck. If you’re into serious longboard racing, then don’t forget your aerodynamic helmet and longboarding suit.
You also need to have a smaller backpack where you can place your wheels separately. This is a must considering that wheels are always dirty and you don’t want other things in your backpack to be just as dirty too.
Packing your Longboard for Air Travel
(If you don’t have a longboard travel bag)
What if you don’t have this longboard carry case? Relax, experienced longboard travelers know that travel bags for sports essentials like skateboards can be pricey. If the price is too much for your budget, there are several other ways to pack your board. Of course, it will still be safe and protected whether you’ll have it as carry on or as a checked bag.
Make use of a large suitcase.
Your clothes and any other belongings in there will keep your board padded and shock proofed all throughout the duration of the trip.
Dismount your board.
You can also dismount your board and pack the hardware in a separate bag for easy handling. This will also make your board more acceptable as a carry on and easier to put in the overhead bin.
Pack it in a golf bag.
You can also pack your longboard in a golf bag, which you may purchase for as low as $45. This bag will also serve as a perfect container for your extra wheels, helmet, knee pads and gloves. And if you’re lucky enough, you won’t have to pay an extra charge for it.
Use a kid’s snowboard bag.
You may also use a kid’s snowboard bag which you may purchase for only $35. This bag is designed for smaller snowboards but will most likely fit your longboard.
What to Do If Your Board Didn’t Show
As much as we all wanted to have a smooth trip, unfortunately, luck isn’t always on our side. There will be times when you have arrived at your destination, checked all the baggage and was anxious to realize your board is nowhere in sight. What do you do?
Prepare yourself for a long wait.
A late flight is one reason why your baggage didn’t show. There are also times when your board never made it on board. Consequently, you will have to stick around longer than expected. This is because you have to wait for the next flights to arrive as well and chances are high that your baggage will be on that flight.
Sometimes, they load your baggage into the subsequent flights especially if it’s tagged as an oversized or oddly shaped item. But if you cannot wait any longer, make sure to leave your phone number at the airport’s staff in charge of checking missing baggage.
Depending on the airline company you chose, you may ask them to get your items or your backpack to the hotel or place where you will be staying for the entire trip. Some airlines also employ the help of a third party delivery service in order to bring your baggage to wherever you are. Just be prepared to pay for the delivery fee.
Most of all, never forget to leave your contact number so the air transport personnel can reach you once they get hold of your item.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you transport a longboard on a plane?
You can have it either as a carry on or checked luggage. Some airlines accept sports equipment for checked luggage for as long as it does not exceed 62 inches and with a maximum weight of 50 lbs.
However, depending on the air travel company you are with, you may have to pay a fee like you would for bag service charges. See to it that you are aware of these charges to avoid unwanted surprises during your trip.
2. Can I take my skateboard on a plane?
Most major air carriers do allow skateboards on an airplane. Alaska, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Ryanair and Allegiant are among those who allow skateboards as checked baggage.
Spirit Airlines also allow longboards, for as long as it does not exceed their weight and dimensions requirements for boards falling under the sporting equipment category.
You can have it as carry ons or as checked baggage in United Airlines. But they prohibit transport of any powered surfing and longboarding equipment.
Most companies offering air transport services do accept longboards as a carry on baggage provided that it is not more than 62 inches in length and should not exceed 50 pounds. If it fits under the seat, you can just have it as a carry on so you won’t need another bag.
3. How do you travel on a longboard surfboard?
First, choose a surfing board-friendly company in which to fly. Some of the best choices include Spain’s Iberia Airlines, UAE’s Emirates, Qantas and Ireland’s Aer Lingus. These air transport companies allow you to either have your board fly with you for free or for a small fee.
Next, choose the right board bag. This bag will keep your board protected as you travel from one spot to another. If you don’t have one, you can use a backpack to keep all your outdoor essentials stored in one place.
For a better experience, bring your well-rounded board that will most likely suit the surfing conditions of your target longboarding location.
4. Can I bring my longboard to a skatepark?
Yes, you can but at your own risk. Skateparks are built for individuals who want to perform tricks using their skateboards. This is also the best place for a newbie skateboarder to meet other individuals who share the same passion.
You may be able to see one or two people carrying a longboard at the skatepark. However, there isn’t much they can do especially if their board is built with very basic features, i.e. mainly for commuting.
Fellow longboard enthusiasts understand that it is hard to go somewhere else without their feet’s extensions. This is why they usually insist bringing their hobbies with them even if it means experiencing a lot of hassles. Fortunately, many flight attendants do step in to help passengers who have trouble storing their boards on the plane.