Contributors to this thread:
BAGGAGE FEEs FOR BOW CASE
Wondering what your experiences have been. Flying to New Brunswick in May and Air Canada has a linear dimension of 62" for checked bags before you have to pay an "oversize fee". I'm having a hard time finding a bow case for travel that comes in under that dimension. Have you found most airlines to be reasonable or once they see a bow case are they looking to charge you right away?
i have flown my bow cases many times on southwest airlines with no problems. one time an agent tried to tell me it was too large and i asked for the manager and it got through no problem.
I flew Air Canada last month within Canada. I paid $26 Canadian extra baggage for a 49.5 # rolling duffel with two bows inside, arrows, all my gear including two sleeping bags to fly across Canada. The duffel is the Cabelas Ripcord XL, 42" L x 18" W x 18" deep. Not bad, and no extra bags to check with this system. Good luck!
See if a buddy has one of them hard golf club cases. Many times no extra charges. Pack bow with clothed around it.
I think this golf carrier is the ticket to not getting hassled traveling with your bow!
Certain items are exempt from extra baggage in most cases. Golf bags WITH GOLF EQUIPMENT(They often make that distinction) and bow cases are exempt.
never had an issue, but it depends on the person you get and challenge them at your own peril if you get a problemed agent. many don't take being quoted the rules all that well they will be the last people to see your equipment once you hand it over...............
I agree that it depends on the person checking your bags. I've been charged for oversize luggage only once. Biggest problem for traditional archers is cases that carry long arrows with broadheads require you to pack them in a duffle that will exceed 62" linear inches.
Check your airline policy for "sporting equipment, archery" baggage. More than 10 flights with a huge bow case and never been charged an extra fee.
All compound bow hard cases that I have checked the measurements on are over 62 linear inches.
However, I have never been charged for an oversized bag for my bow case nor have I ever seen a ticket agent with a tape measure.
My strategy is to hope to not pay but if I ever get charged to not let a $50 oversize charge ruin my hunting trip.
Flew several times with Sitka nomand which is over sized and never been dinged, Southwest, delta and American. I don’t expect that to last. I havae also used my single SKB about a dozen times with no issue at all.
I had flown with a bowcase for many years, no problem....... until returning home on American from Phoenix a year and a half ago. The line at check in went around the corner and a lady was walking up and down the line with a tape measure, measuring all the larger bags. Asked me to move to another line..... where they charged me another $150 on top of the $25 for regular baggage. (oversize, still under 50lbs or it would have been ANOTHER fine on top of it) I imagine they move you away from the rest of the passengers so they don't hear the discussion. I calmly pointed out my case was a good deal smaller than most of the golf cases in line, which were exempt. In the end the counter"manager" told me next time don't fly with archery gear. Told him there would be no "next time" with American. Wrote to the company about it as well, who basically told me tough chit, that's the way it is.
Check the baggage policy of whoever you chose to fly with. Print it out and take it with you. In my case they had changed the policy in the middle of my two week trip but I hadn't printed it out and had it with me. WRT American policy my understanding is they have raised oversize to $200 now. And while they exempt golf clubs, they also state you may be asked to open the case and if anything other than golf clubs in a golf case it will be subject to oversize fines.
I used to fly for hunts to CO. Never had to pay for a case. I too adopted using a hard sided golf bag and used clothing to pad the bow and arrows. I generally drive now as the airlines are a pain. Faster travel, but a pain....
I just looked. They have exceptions for sporting equipment, including bows and arrows.
Unless I missed something in your link, it doesn't actually state that archery equipment is an exception to over-sized baggage rules. It just tells you how you should pack it. It also doesn't say they WILL charge you an oversize fee, which many airlines specifically state, so that is a positive but not conclusive.
It states that it counts as a bag and if you exceed your bags there will be a fee. It also states that you must have the case filled with the equipment and not clothes or personal items. This is how I've seen it written on every airline I've flown. The size restrictions are removed on certain items like archery equipment and golf bags. You won't find either of those items under the size requirement. That's why they won't let you pack a golf bag full of clothes to "beat the system". If not exempting it, why would they care what you packed your clothes in. It's simple enough to call and confirm though
"Bows and arrows are accepted as checked baggage." vs
"No oversize charge applies to golf bags."
If they don't specifically say they are exempted from oversize rules as they plainly state about golf bags then they will be subject to the same size requirements as all other bags, normally 62" total L+W+H. Been there..... done dat....
Stating they allow archery gear means they will ALLOW you to fly with your gear, not that it is exempted from size requirements. That's what American told me, that I was fortunate that they ALLOW archery gear on their flights..... but it was not stated exempt as per golf bags. (actually it was when I left on my trip..... not when I returned...) I brought it up asking why they even mentioned it on the site if no longer exempt..... if it had to meet all other baggage requirements, it would just be another bag. Their wording was vague and confusing if it was going to simply treated as normal baggage subject to oversize. They said they felt the need to state that it was ALLOWED to fly. Guess I should'a thanked em.....
Essentially you will be at the mercy of whoever is checking you in at the counter. I have heard you can kind of get around some of that by using curbside porters to check in your bags. I've never done that and not sure how it may work if an international flight.
TD is accurate in his assessment. You are at the mercy of those working for the airline that day
I was charged $200.00 oversize fee for using a SKB golf case with my bow inside by American Airlines out of Phoenix last year on a domestic flight. Golf clubs, no problem. Archery gear, BEND OVER. I canceled my frequent flyer credit card with them and will no longer fly with Walt Disney Airlines in the future if I can avoid it. Pure and total discrimination IMO.
I use the Badlands TerraGlide (black)...With bow, plus clothes and boots 40-45lbs and have never had a problem...My Arrow case goes in another roller bag, plus essentials and that one comes out at about 20-25lbs giving me space to bring back whatever in there...
TD: Good explanation. BTW I used a curbside porter once. Some of my hunting gear (small, expensive items) went missing on that trip. Never had anything else stolen. I'll never use a curbside porter again.
Flown with my bow many times never been charged.
However all airline policies I read seems like they can. Kind of like a golf club case.
Most times both are free but if you get a bunny hugger you might be in trouble!
Wow TD...thx for the heads up with American. Thats terrible.
I've never been charged for my Nomad....or back when I used my SKB double.
The Badlands TerraGlide is too short for any full-length or XL rated bows. Is there a rolling duffel out there that is of similar quality but accepts just a couple inches longer bow (39")?
Bruce, I had never been charged for a bowcase ever before and had flown with one for a good many years. Until then. (remember the good ol' days of 3 free bags up to 70lbs? You could get an elk home no problem....)
I took your advice and picked up a Nomad. After nearly a year searching (and bidding) i found a new with tags for a great deal on ebay. (have a couple of great apps for searching and "snipe" bidding ebay) Got it for about the same price as getting nicked one way oversize with the bowcase. Have only used it once (to Lanai) but the Invasion fits, everything worked well. Technically it too is oversize, (as well as the badlands) but not as obvious or draw the same attention as a bowcase. If pressed I think I can use the compression straps to flatten it, rearrange things some to other bags and get it to the 62" anyway. On the occasion my charm and good looks are not enough.....
Sitka makes a big rolling bow case (the Nomad mentioned above) that looks like a normal soft-sided suitcase and it would fit longer bows easily. I've used it to hold two compound bows and gear easily. Only problem is that it is a little too big and if you don't stuff it with clothes and softer items, then contents can shift around. I usually use a light sleeping bag. Then it becomes a challenge to get it full enough without going over 50lbs. It definitely goes under the radar though since it looks nothing like a bow case.
I also have the TuffPak bow case which just looks like a solid black heavy-duty plastic golf club case. I've used it for both bows and rifles along with other gear and it works great. Super tough and everything inside is safe from the airline gorilla baggage handlers. Biggest problem is that it weighs over 20# empty.
Both of these bags are over the 62" limit and although I've never been charged extra, I'm always nervous. Like everyone already said, it just depends on who you get at the counter and what kind of day they are having.
I am pretty well prepared to get dinged on of these days with my nomad..... figure I used it so much already I am ahead of the game.
My compound bow has maximum length of 43" from bottom of bottom cam to the top of top cam. Could I fit it diagonally in the Nomad?
Do not use golf club bags unless you are willing to pay the oversize fee and maybe overweight.
You used to be able to get away with it but they are cracking down as I used to use to stuff clothes in (no bows) and they have caught me a few times in the last few years.