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Airline Luggage Allowances: The Smart Skier’s Guide

Airline Luggage | Welove2sk
Photo: © TVB Innsbruck.

Steve Wells knows a thing or two about luggage. Not only is he the ski luggage and ski hardware buyer at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports. He also travels to and from the mountains frequently on equipment tests. Here’s his guide to a question that vexes every skier who owns a pair of skis, or can’t fit his or her boots into a suitcase: how much is it going to cost to transport my kit to the Alps by plane?

Not every airline or tour operator will charge you to carry your skis and boots on their flights. SWISS doesn’t. Nor does the British chalet specialist YSE. But for most, it’s been standard practice for years – and it can significantly increase the cost of your journey.

Check out the chart, below, for details of who charges what amongst the scheduled airlines serving the Alps. Unfortunately prices continue to rise, and the pricing structures can be opaque and complicated – especially now that most charge to carry any kind of checked-in baggage, not just sports equipment. But the fundamental point remains the same: always, always take the airline’s luggage allowance policy into consideration when comparing ticket prices.

Airline Luggage | Welove2ski


Current Airline Luggage Allowances and Charges

These figures were correct on March 16, 2016 – for airlines with direct flights to the Alps. If you notice any updates, mistakes or omissions, please email and let them know. Keeping track of the charges, and the way they’re levied, is a mind-boggling business.

Click on the airline names for links to their baggage information pages.

Airline Bags Total weight Price per bag
Price per bag
in airport
Charge for skis
and boots

Air France

1 23kg free free Up to €70-75 each way


1 23kg free free Up to £36-40 e/w


1 20kg £13-24 e/w £32-45 e/w £30-40 each way


1 20kg free free £30 e/w


1 20kg free free Up to CHF70 e/w

Jet 2

Up to 3 22kg per bag from £25 e/w £30 e/w £25-30 e/w


1 23kg free free Up to €50 e/w


Up to 5 20kg £15-36 e/w £36 e/w £25-28 e/w


1-2 15-20kg £15-35 e/w £30-75 e/w £40-£45 e/w


1 23kg free free free


Plane or Train | Welove2ski
Photo: © M.Dariush/Shutterstock.


Additional Information About These Airlines

Air France
Skis are carried for free on Air France if you buy a standard economy ticket, and you can carry your ski boots in a separate bag. But they’re included within your checked-in baggage allowance of 23kg. If you exceed that weight allowance, or you want to bring a separate suitcase, you’ll need to pay extra: €70-75 depending on the size of the bag.

British Airways
Skis are free on BA if you buy a with-baggage airfare – but only if you don’t have any other checked-in baggage and the ski bag is less than 190cm long. If you take skis in addition to a checked-in bag, you’ll pay £36 each way online, and £40 each way at the airport. See full range of charges here. Travelling in a higher grade of cabin increases your baggage allowance.

Prices for normal checked-in baggage are only shown when you make your booking. Skis are classed as “small sports equipment” and must be carried in a separate bag – which costs £30 each way online and £40 at the airport. This payment increases the weight limit for the passenger’s luggage to 32kg.

Our chart shows the allowance for Flybe’s Get More class of ticket. A larger baggage allowance is available on Flybe’s “All In” class – but this still doesn’t include ski carriage. In whatever class you fly, skis must be booked separately through the call centre, and because Flybe’s planes are smaller than most, only a limited number of skis are allowed. The charge is £30 each way.

Provided that you do not exceed your baggage allowance, skis are carried at no extra charge with Helveticbut only if they’re less than 150cm long. The charge is CHF70 each way if they’re longer than that. By paying a fixed fee of CHF40, you can also increase your baggage allowance from 23kg to the maximum of 32kg per flight (but you’ll stay have to pay the extra fee to carry skis longer than 150cm).

Jet 2
Up to 3 bags can be booked by Jet 2 passengers, in advance of travel. With each bag booked the weight allowance allowance increases by 22kg. Skis (up to a weight of 20kg) must be paid for separately. They cost £30 each way if you book at the airport, with a £5 saving online.

Buy a standard economy class ticket for European travel with Lufthansa, and you get a 23kg, one-bag allowance for your checked in luggage. You can also add a separate bag containing a pair of skis or ski boots, at no extra charge, provided it doesn’t exceed your 23kg weight allowance. If it does, you’ll need to pay €50 extra each way, depending on the size of the bag. Either way, you’ll need to ring Lufthansa to register the extra baggage.

You are allowed 20kg of luggage upon payment of the hold baggage fee, but can share your weight allowance over a maximum of 5 pieces of luggage with the combined total weight not exceeding 20kg.Ski equipment must be booked separately from other checked-in baggage, and must not exceed 20kg in weight. Ski carriage costs £25-28 each way online and £35 at the airport.

Ryanair allows you to book up to two bags (of either 15 or 20kg) online when booking flights. Prices vary depending on whether flights are in high or low season. Ski equipment (up to 20kg) costs £40 each way booked online or £45 at the airport.

Skis and ski boots still travel for free on standard Swiss airline bookings, in addition to your checked-in baggage allowance. You can carry your ski boots in a separate bag, too.

Package-holiday charter flights
Most British tour operators allow one free piece of checked-in baggage, weighing 20-23kg, on their charter flights; and charge £30-£40 return for ski carriage.

Airline Luggage | Welove2ski
Photo: © Douchebags.


What Are the Alternatives?

When it comes to ski carriage, prices on some airlines are now high enough to make equipment storage and delivery services look like good value. For example, companies like Piste of Mind and Send My Bag offer luggage carriage, collecting from your home and delivering skis, boards and bags directly to your resort. They can also collect from Alpine resorts and deliver back to your home.

Ski Carriage offers a warehousing and delivery service, as well straightforward door-to-door despatch. Prices for all of these are on application, but they can sometimes work out cheaper and more convenient than airline charges for similar items.

Airline Luggage | Welove2ski
Photo: © Dakine.

About the author

Steve Wells

Steve Wells is the hardware and ski luggage buyer at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports. He has worked for the company for 20 years. His wife grew up on skis and they have a young daughter who is destined to give her dad a run for his money on the slopes. Steve’s favourite resort is anywhere in the Tirol.

"There are now so many options and ways to pack / carry your luggage that staying within airline regulations is simple," says Steve. "The hardest part is deciding exactly what to use. When taking skis I like a double wheelie ski bag - it’s convenient and needn’t add much weight. I can get more kit in there with my skis, such as boots and maybe some clothing too".


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  • When we fly BA my wife and I check one bag each. We manage to fit all our clothes into 1 large suitcase and the skis (2 pairs) go into one hard case which then fly free of charge as it is classed as the 2nd suitcase… easy…..

  • if you buy a double wheelie ski bag you can get one pair of skis, one pair of boots, ski gear and toiletries all within 23K so it counts as your one piece of BA checked baggage. (more difficult with 20K airlines) You can then fill up your cabin wheelie bag (as long as it is the right dimensions) with the overflow as long as its not liquid. If that isn’t enough you buy your cosmetics in duty free.