TSA regulations permit skateboards in both carry-on bags and checked luggage, which is good news if skating is your passion.
However, though skateboards are TSA approved, don’t expect to be able to keep your board in the cabin with you.
Skateboards are too big for most airlines’ baggage policies.
Some airlines will allow you to substitute your carry-on baggage for a skateboard, but the majority of them won’t.
So, if you want to bring your board with you on vacation, be prepared for it to ride in the cargo hold.
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The main reason skateboards are not allowed in airplane cabins is simply because they’re too big.
A full-length skate deck is too long to fit into the majority of airlines’ maximum carry-on sizes.
Here are some popular U.S. airlines’ carry-on lengths to give you an idea of how oversized a skateboard is by cabin baggage standards.
- Southwest: 18.5″ (personal item)/24″ (carry-on)
- American Airlines: Must fit under seat (personal item)/22” (carry-on)
- jetBlue: 17” (personal item)/22” (carry-on)
With these numbers in mind, it’s easy to see that most standard 29-31″ skateboards will not be allowed in the airplane cabin, no matter which airline you fly. (If you want to bring a penny board along, you’ll have far more luck.)
You can always ask if you can bring your skateboard in place of a carry-on (and your skateboard will make it through security), but the gate attendants can still refuse you even if the ticketing agent tells you your skateboard is permitted.
Keep that in mind.
You can think you’ve made it through with your board only to have it checked into the cargo hold at the gate.
So, it’s really best not to try it.
So, how can I bring my skateboard onto a plane?
If you want to bring your skateboard with you on a flight, you should really plan to check it.
The downside to this is your board has the potential of getting lost (or stolen).
But it spares you the worry about whether or not your board will be allowed in the cabin.
And if your skateboard isn’t allowed in the cabin it will end up being checked anyway, so it’s better to be prepared for it to be checked, so you can properly secure it.
How should I take my skateboard on a plane?
While you can check your skateboard in on its own, or strapped to the outside of your suitcase, ideally you should put your skateboard inside your checked luggage.
A skateboard inside a bag has way less probability of getting damaged or snatched.
There are plenty of large bags and suitcases perfect for checking a skateboard.
Here are just a few we’ve found that will fit a standard-sized skate deck:
- REI Co-op Big Haul 120
- Patagonia Black Hole Wheeled Duffel
- NRS Purest Travel Duffel Bag
- SciCon Trolley Bag 110L
- Simms GTS 110L Roller Bag
- OGIO RIG 9800
All of these bags are duffels designed for hauling sports equipment with large enough inner dimensions to fit a full-size skate deck.
But you can also find plenty of very large suitcases that will fit a full-size skateboard.
If you do buy a duffel or soft suitcase for your skateboard, we recommend wrapping your board with bubble wrap (or putting it in the middle of clothes) so it’s padded on both sides.
You should also make sure your suitcase is fairly tightly packed.
This will keep your skateboard from moving around a lot and make it harder to squish.
It’s not really the rough handling of luggage that will damage your skateboard in a cargo hold, but too much pressure on the deck.
So, make sure your deck is well supported on both sides.
So, should I take my skateboard on a plane at all?
Whether you want to bring your skateboard on a plane is entirely up to you.
I mean, we get it, a vacation just isn’t a vacation if you can’t do a little skating while you’re there.
Just know that there is always some risk involved in carrying your skateboard onto a plane.
It’s like any other high-value item.
It might get damaged or broken. It might get lost or stolen.
But, if you can’t imagine a trip to Brazil without having your own board to get in on the skate culture (we don’t blame you!), there are absolutely ways to get it there that are less risky than others.
Got a longboard you want to travel with instead? Check out our post How to Hold & Carry a Longboard to see the best options for taking a longboard on a plane.