Figure Skate Traveling Woes
Recently, I have heard reports that some airlines are easing up on the ‘no skates on board’ restrictions. Via the International Adult Figure Skaters Facebook fan page last month, I discovered that several people in the US had been able to bring their skates on-board without any difficulty. I also came across a news item that CATSA ( Canadian Air Travel Security Authority) has lifted the ban on figure skates.
As far as the United States Transport Security Administration is concerned, skates are also not on the list of items that need to be checked-in but I still need to check my baseball bat and spear fishing gun.
I still wouldn’t count on taking your skates on-board yet though. This past spring, a friend of mine was told at check-in that there was no problem taking skates on-board. She even got them through security without a hitch. Unfortunately, the gate agent hadn’t gotten the same email as the security and check-in agents, and refused to let her skates on the plane. She had to return to check the skates as checked baggage but in doing so, the original flight had left. In the end, what should have been approximately a 3-hour flight ended up being a 24-hour trip with an overnight in a city which was in the complete opposite direction of where she was going. I also have heard from skaters that certain European airlines still do not allow figure skates to be brought on board.
It’s important to keep everything in perspective though; missing skates are really not the end of life as we know it. My skates did once visit Toronto without me; I’m guessing this based on what I know of departures from that particular airport on that morning. Unfortunately, neither the airline nor the skates have ever come forward with the exact details of that little side trip, so I will never know the whole truth.
For your video enjoyment this week, I am presenting Canadian National team pairs skaters Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay. Anabelle was forced to withdraw from a Grand Prix event in 2006, when her skates did not arrive. As far as I know, they were never found and she was forced to break in a new pair of skates in mid-season. You’d never know it looking at her and Cody, though.
I recommend checking with your national transportation authority and the airlines you will be flying on for their regulations before you arrive at the airport. It may well that you have to check your skates through to your final destination if one of the airlines you are traveling on does not allow skates on board.
As well, I’m curious to hear from any Europeans what the situation is there. If anyone can report on their experiences of airlines accepting skates as carry on luggage on board their aircraft, please tell me. Stay tuned to my website as the picture unfolds.