How to Take Ice Skates on a Plane
I am a figure skater. I have been since I was 7 years old and I really try to keep up with it now, even while traveling. If I am to be in any one place for a significant period of time, I take my skates with me. As of this moment, I have taken my skates to Colorado, Scotland and England, and Korea (Twice!). For each of these adventures I have flown. This is how I took my ice skates on a plane.
Let me tell you how to take ice skates on a plane!
Despite what one might first assume, there are not a lot of restrictions on traveling with skates of any kind, be they roller or ice skates. There isn’t a lot of information online to explain this, however, so that’s why I have decided to give a bit of a run-down.
You can travel with your skates:
- In your checked baggage
- Your carry-on
- As your personal item
It seems odd given that they are sort-of less sharp kitchen knives attached to shoes but whatever. God I hope the TSA doesn’t see this and have a conniption… My argument has always been that you’d have better luck bludgeoning someone over the head with a pair of skates than trying to cut someone anyways.
I did have a minor heart-attack once when the TSA pulled my bag aside, but it turned out to be my sour patch kids. No problem with skates, but candy? Now how did I ever overlook that?
I do have a few tips though.
Flying with Skates in Your Checked Luggage
I have done this, but I would not recommend it. Baggage being lost is simply too common. Even if you invest in a tracker for your bag, like TILE, you don’t want to deal with the hassle over something as expensive as skates.
However, if you plan to put your ice skates on a plane in your checked luggage, make sure you pack them well. Stuff the insides with some socks, wrap the blades carefully and try to get all moisture out. Cargo can go through a lot of temperature changes. Not to mention that the baggage handlers occasionally seem to have vendetta’s against bags. Expect it to be crushed and bashed around.
I took my skates to Seoul, South Korea in my checked luggage several years ago but I honestly wouldn’t recommend that. You never know when your luggage will be lost and you’re out $1700 for skates. Yeah.
Update 02/2020: I’ve since taken my skates to Korea again, this time in my carry-on. No problems!
Update 04/2021: The Incheon airport in Korea has recently changed its policy. It will no longer allow skates in carry on luggage when flying out of Korea. So far as I can tell, it’s still fine to fly into Korea with them in your carry on, just not out.
Flying with Skates as Your Carry-On
You want to make them look as non-threatening as possible so that security doesn’t feel like giving you a hard time. I would make sure my skates have completely dried (no rusting allowed!) and then put guards on. If they’ll fit, I’d even put soakers over the guards.
Then, just throw them in your carry-on. Try not to bury them, your bag may be pulled aside and you’ll need to pull them out.
Flying With Skates as Your Personal Item
While a lot of places will talk about them being your “personal item” this isn’t necessary. When going to the UK I simply put them in my carry-on and didn’t have a problem. It doesn’t make sense to waste baggage on just skates.
You can still fly with the skates inside your personal item, as well. I often bring a backpack as my personal item and my skates fit nicely inside.
People honestly aren’t very sure when it comes to skates, there’s a lot of “ummms” “yeah…” and “…sure” comments. It doesn’t tend to fill one with confidence but I haven’t had a problem yet. As always, check with your airline if you’re not sure. I tend to fly American Airlines as that’s where a lot of my points are and they actually fly out of Wichita, where I’m currently based. However, it’s not really about the airline and more about the security. If you don’t give them a reason to look in your bag and you’re in a bigger airport I doubt they’ll look twice.
I also recommend checking with the TSA just before you fly on the off chance they see this post and decide to be mean-er than they already are (if you’re US). Although, they do not specify the kind of skates which is not terribly helpful. Anyways, this is how I do it! Good luck with taking your ice skates on a plane <3
Do you have any questions about how to bring ice skates around the world? Drop them below and I’ll get back to you!
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