Flying with a raft on Southwest - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-17-2018   #1
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 80
Flying with a raft on Southwest

Hi all,
Anyone ever flown with raft? I have a minimax and am considering trying to check it onto a southwest flight for an upcoming trip to PNW. Total weight is ~65lbs but I don't have a problem paying oversized baggage fee. I don't know the overall deflated dimensions but its somewhere around 2'x2'x3'. Trying to figure out what will be needed for wrapping it, and if TSA will try to unwrap it and end up with a huge floppy mess on their hands.

I have friends out there with boats so if this doesn't work out I'll be able to figure something out. But I would like to make this happen! Let me here your experiences or concerns.

Thanks!

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Old 04-17-2018   #2
 
CaptBiggler's Avatar
 
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 43
Yeah I have done it. We flew with a 13' hyside that barley made the 100lb limit (had to carry on the thwarts).


Ours was in a boat bag, and they didn't open it or anything. Probably would be just fine rolled up with a strap.
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Old 04-17-2018   #3
 
., Washington, D.C.
Paddling Since: 95
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 35
Should be good to go

Over 50 lbs is overweight bag fee and like CaptBiggy said don't exceed 100 lbs.
Cover it with something: Tarp, boat bag, or it might fit into a large checked bag.
TSA will x-ray it and send it on since there is nothing to see on x-ray. Just pack it so it is protected as baggage handlers can find some crazy abuse for your boat.
Have fun.
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Old 04-17-2018   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 474
Flying with a raft on Southwest

If you roll it right it should fit into an older NRS Paddle Board bag or something similar.
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Old 04-17-2018   #5
 
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 901
If you don't have to, leave your boat at home. If you do decided to take it, the bag should be heavy duty with strong handles, the easier you make it for the baggage handles, the better chance of it making it to SeaTac airport, in one piece. Plus it will slide around on the conveyor belt without getting all beat up. That is beautiful country, I've flown a B757 in there many times. Have fun.
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Old 04-17-2018   #6
 
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 192
Get a big box at Home Depot and ship it FedEx Ground to one of your friends a few days before the trip. FedEx can ship it in just a boat bag, too. Label is just zip tied to it.

One less thing to lug around in a airport or have the airline lose for a couple days.

Cost is usually a wash or close enough to who gives a shit.
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Old 04-17-2018   #7
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 80
Thanks for the input. I like the idea of FedEx ground shipping. I'll have to look into that.

Right now, the best option of bag I have is a huge REI duffel. And I don't think that's burly enough. Also possibly not large enough. With cost of new baggage/possible heartache of damaged equipment, maybe worth leaving at home or shipping.

I'm still intrigued with the idea for this trip and possibly future trips.

Biggler, did you use one of the NRS boat bags?
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Old 04-17-2018   #8
Pieter Porcupine
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 272
Just buy a seat for your raft. Sit it down, buckle it in, Talk to it about all the good boating you are gonna do. Buy a lot of drinks. When you reach your limit start buying drinks for your boat (then drink them). Make sure you snuggle with it after you are good and drunk. No one ever talks about this but boat need snuggles too.
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Old 04-18-2018   #9
 
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2016
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 26
Do you have someone you can ship it to? Not a raft but when I travel for adventure, I UPS my toys if all possible. I have found it is a lot less hassle, you can insure your stuff.
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Old 04-18-2018   #10
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,384
I have flown with an IK and gear many times on Southwest and Continental, for free,with few hassles.The one time I flew Delta they damaged the boat and when I complained they basically said "tuff shit shoulda' had a hard case".A hard case would exceeded their size and weight limits.I thought SW allowed two bags up to 75 lbs and under certain dimensions.The hardest items to meet the dimension limits were the segments of a two piece kayak paddle.Aren't raft paddles even longer? They might charge for a paddle bag,probably not ,people take all kinds of stuff.Continental ( besides merging)changed their rules.I give Southwest a thumbs up .
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