Flying with Paddles

In a couple of weeks I'm flying to an out of town race. I want to bring my own paddles, but it doesn't seem like JetBlue will let me carry them on. I am a little nervous about checking the paddlebag.

In addition, it seems like the paddlebag will exceed the 62" width+height+thickness limit for standard luggage and require additional payment.

Any tips out there?

Submitted by obrockmeier on Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:00am

I know a guy who sometimes ships his paddle, but I am not sure that's a great idea... He packaged it with packing tape and cardboard. I don't know if it's cheaper.

You could check it as a package instead of inside your paddlebag and just pack your paddlebag into your other checked luggage. Again, I have never done this. I've just heard it being done. Or at least something similar.

#1 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:05am

Ahh man, the title of this thread seemed so exciting until I read it. damnit.

#2 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 9:57am

flying? paddles? oh well, one out of two

#3 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 10:38am

In the past I have just checked my paddle bag. Never had a problem. Knock on wood.

#4 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:37am

I have traveled alot to races with my paddle and so far never have had a problem.Just get a good well padded paddlebag and then I sometimes will go around it w/ some type of packing tape or even bubblewrap my blades first .

Also you can check them in as fragile luggage at the airline counter.The only time I have ever seen a paddle break was when a team mate did not package a wood blade properly and as it came down the conveyer belt it got stuck sideways and we watch as it snapped in half in front of our eyes....this was the day before the big race .......

#5 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 12:25pm

Hotel towels and duct tape works badass.

#6 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 12:55pm

Indeed badass...ugly as heck, but badass...also, get your favorite poke to tag along with a beer as you unwrap the monster.

#7 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 1:17pm

4layers, you just added another line to the first paddling porn. Very creative play on words. I've misunderestimated the folks here on this forum.

#8 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 1:50pm

4layers, yeah I agree, when I unwrap the monster I like to have a beer and a poke. And yeah it can get ugly.

Numero, so much is communicated in the fake word misunderestimated. Thats badass too. I'll have to use that.

Excuse me while I sip my beer......

#9 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 2:13pm

Poops, I cannot take credit for that one, credit is due with GW:

#10 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 3:21pm

Unfortunately, you're gonna have to check them in as baggage and pray like mad they won't smack them up.
A few years ago, you could take them on the plane with you as carry-on - I used to. But now, with the paranoia over terrorism, everything is checked in.

I got into a major argument when I flew Korean Air last year. Checked in all my bags, asked about my brand-new custom-made CF paddles I was carrying over my shoulder in their paddle bag and was told it was fine. Went through customs etc, got to the gate, had to wait 4 hours due to flight delay, finally got the boarding call and only then did someone come up to me and tell I couldn't take my paddles on board with me!
I kicked up a big fuss - no way did I want my thus-far unused CF paddles chucked about, as any fellow paddler can well understand.
They told to my face I was lying when I said the check-in person had okayed me to take them onboard and them threatened to not allow me on the plane and even have me arrested unless I gave them up. Final insult was they said they'd hold no responsibility for any damage done to them!

Touched down in Seoul to change planes and I was then told they'd made a mistake and had sent my paddles out to baggage reclaim, and if I wanted to collect them to take with me on my connecting flight, I'd have to apply/pay for a damn visa to go collect them. Otherwise they'd forward them to me on a later flight. Finally, after 45 minutes of arguing with the officials, one of them finally saw how stupid this all was and went and got them himself. All that arguing meant I missed my connecting flight and had to stay at Seoul airport overnight - at a cost of $150US at the transit hotel.

So did not make for a pleasant flight experience. Add to all that stress was the fact they forgot my special (vegetarian)meal, so I had nothing to eat but a couple of stale buns the 11 hour flight + cramped seats + only one TV for the entire row to watch + headphones only worked in one ear.

Suffice to say I'm not flying with them again. Nor do I recommend them to anyone. Bar masochists possibly.

All this because they told me my paddles consituted a 'dangerous weapon': This from an airline that hands out metal cutlery with their meals!
Quite what damage one could do with a paddle in the cramped confines of a plane is beyond me. Spank someone hard, maybe?

Anyway, back on topic: 4 years ago I could still take my paddles on board as carry-on. But in the last year I've flown with Korean Air, Qantas and Air NZ with paddles and none of them now will allow them onboard. Air NZ used to be really good (=lenient) about sports gear too. Qantas won't even let you bring bottled water you bought in the duty free area on board.

#11 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 4:55pm

Take all your paddles, tape em together, wrap some towels around them at the ends, get two 5 gallon home depot buckets place over the ends and wrap it all together in clear wrap to seal it. When our team flys to Kona thats what we've done before, looks like a big orange tube but protects the paddles enough.

#12 Thu, 06/19/2008 - 5:30pm

Hey, call me lucky. Whether domestically in the U.S., or in the last several years to the south pacific, I've never had any problem w/ checking my paddles as checked baggage (although I guess w/ most carriers now, you have to pay a fee for bags). I did what others mentioned above...wrapped the blades in a beach towel, etc., made sure the edges were protected, put the paddles in a well padded bag (I've also packed all of my "toiletries (liquids, lotions, potions, etc.) in the bag. Then on arrival, I've sometimes picked up the paddles in a oversize pick-up area, or sometimes they come out on the baggage conveyor. The only bitch of it for me is that if I'm trying to travel light, and not have any checked baggage at all (to speed my way through the airport), the paddles require me to check in at the terminal to check in baggage. Hell, I think I just jinxed myself..

#13 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 1:08am

It would be nice to have a hardcase for travel, like a big rifle case

#14 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 9:37am

Seem it would be easier just to ship it.

#15 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 9:38am

It can be scary traveling and hoping that your favourite paddle arrives intact. The last thing you want to be doing before a big race, is trying to source a simular paddle.
I put a "Please Top Load" sticker and a fragile sticker on my paddlebag. Fragile products are seperated in Quantas and Air NZ so they get a little better treatment.
My Xylo paddle bag seems to be padded enough to handle most travel. I guess I could put in some buble wrap to assist the protection if I was really worried. Keeps the weight down and does not use up much room.

#16 Fri, 06/20/2008 - 6:17pm

Korean Air are good and also very considerate about paddles/paddle bags and baby equipment so not sure what was said that would turn out as 'ugly' as you describe above. They also have good connections from HK to Hawaii.

Other airlines which are considerate for travelling international with paddles are Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Qantas - although most will make you sign the 'waiver' when you check in saying they will not be liable which is basically 'poop' because if they are negligent, they are negligent.

It comes down to you - pack your paddles in a proper paddle bag and they shoudl be ok

#17 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 3:20pm

well, you were lucky then.
I did pack my paddles in a proper paddle bag, I asked at the check-in counter if I could take them on-board and was told it was fine, I checked them through customs, I sat right next to the counter while waiting during the delay, even standing at the counter for several minutes asking why there was a delay with them slung over my shoulder and it was only as I was boarding did the guy who I'd spoken to earlier suddenly decide they weren't allowed onboard.
When I told him I'd asked at the check-in counter, he said I couldn't have. i.e accused me of lying. I asked why couldn't I take them onboard and that all I wanted was to have them locked up in the seperate locker where they put baby prams or guitars and he refused to listen to me, telling me again that I must have hidden them from the check-in and if I didn' let him have them I wasn't allowed onboard. He then threatened to call security if I refused to relinquish them. And finally when I said there were fragile and worth alot was told that Korean Air would accept no responisbility for any damage.
Hardly considerate or good.
Nor would he tell me his name so I could make a complaint about him later.
So no, I won't be using Korean Air and I don't recommend anyone else to do so either.
At least with Qantas and AirNZ, they understand about sporting goods, look after them and store them in the fragile section.

#18 Sun, 06/22/2008 - 5:16pm

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