2/1/2012 – Easyjet ski carriage: my attempt at beating the system

My ski bag weighed 27kg - and even then I suspect it was resting against the side of the scales slightly

I usually fly to the Alps with Easyjet, as I find its flights the most convenient, flexible and frequent from my local airport. After noticing in June that the airline’s fee for sports equipment (and therefore ski carriage) had risen to £25 each way – up from £18.50 last winter; see here – I was keen to work out a way still to take all my stuff yet to keep my costs down.

The cost of ski carriage crops up regularly in threads on the ski forum Snowheads, and last summer I “talked” to people on the site who had successfully transported a ski bag stuffed with other clothing and equipment, and not consigned a regular bag (fee: £9 each way).

According to Easyjet’s own website (for relevant section see here), a ski bag is allowed to weigh up to 32kg. (Oddly, if you consign a regular piece of luggage as well, the total weight for both items remains 32kg.)

I decided to make this my new system. I bought an oversized, padded, 190cm Dakine ski bag with two wheels at one end (about £80 from Edge & Wax, including a Ski Club of GB 10pc discount).

In it, on my way back from Italy yesterday, I packed two pairs of skis, my ski touring boots, other hardware such as sticks, shovel and probe, plus my ski clothing and a few other bits and bobs – a good few, actually, including clothing and two bottles of wine I won in a raffle on new year’s eve (one in each ski boot). In fact, all that was left to go in my hand-luggage-rucksack was my laptop, camera and picnic.

After an hour queuing at Milan Malpensa on one of the busiest travel days of the year, the moment of truth approached. The check-in supervisor frowned as he weighed in the ski bag at 27kg and attached to it a “HEAVY” tag. “Just sports equipment, is it?” he asked. I nodded and hurried off to give it to Signor Bulky Items before he changed his mind or suggested opening it up to check.

Plenty of room on the platform for this massive bag, but what about on the train?

The main point of this post, however, is to tell you how deceptively tricky those huge, wheely ski bags are to manhandle around the place, especially if stuffed to capacity. (It didn’t help that I was also probably stuffed to capacity, too, after five days enjoying Alagna’s lovely restaurants.)

Sure, if there are no corners, steps, winding routes or narrow corridors, the bag is quite easy to pull along. But throw in a train or bus journey, a few flights of stairs, a queue, a trip to the loo, a walk along the busy departures hall, a snowy path, or anything that requires you to hold the bag upright or take it around a bend, and it’s a struggle.

So yes, ignoring the outlay, so far the baggage system has saved me an almighty £9. But it was a little nerve-wracking as I am not a good liar, and I did arrive home with rather sore arms…


Filed under Gear, Italy, Off-piste, Ski touring, Transport

7 responses to “2/1/2012 – Easyjet ski carriage: my attempt at beating the system

  1. VickyN

    I was charged by Easyjet on my way back from Grenoble airport because my ‘sports equipment’ board bag was over the alloted 12kg (I’d only paid for sporting equipment). They let me fly out of the UK with the bag at 19kg and slammed me on the way back. At the time (a year ago) there was nothing on the website to indicate the maximum weight for sports equipment. I was told you need to pay for a bag and the additional sporting equipment allowance to go up to 32kg. I still find the info online a little confusing and am cautious of overpacking my equipment bag. Nice to hear you can now pay a little bit more for equipment now and pack the bag to your hearts content.

    • Oh no, what bad luck. Some skis and poles can weigh 12kg on their own so almost bound to be heavier than that if you throw a few other things in… I think it’s well worth carrying a paper copy of the Easyjet baggage rules, which have a diagram of a person, a ski bag and 32kg – it’s pretty clear on the website now – definitely worth printing off as it would be hard to argue with given it’s on the airline’s own site…

  2. Chris Johnson

    Good old Swiss airlines are still not charging for Skis.

    There website says “1 piece of winter sports baggage (max. 23kg) per customer can be transported free of charge.”.

    They get my vote (not to mention the free chocolate inflight!)

  3. peteyates

    BMI baby are the biz. They do sports equipment free (East Midlands at least) and to them ski equipment is a ski bag and a boot bag. Trumps the Swiss and the Irish! Pity they are being eaten by BA who will no doubt junk the ski flights as below their business class self image!!!

  4. Paul Speller

    If you reference the easyjet site baggage table it e plains that one checked bag and sports pack allows you 44 kilos

  5. Bruce Currie

    I’ve booked a ski trip using Thomson as carrier. There are two of us travelling and the weight allowance for each (paid for) set of skis is 15kg. We’ve paid for two sets.

    However, I’ve been told that if I we put both sets of skis into one bag the allowance drops to 15kg for BOTH sets! In addition each traveller is allowed a 20kg hold bag.

    So, I asked about putting both sets into my Series 3 Sportube coffin box and was told that that was OK – but the maximum weight limit was 25kg (for health & safety reasons which is fine). I assumed I would be allowed our additional hold luggage allowance… But was told NO – if you use a coffin-style box it’s 25 kg plus my partner retains her 20kg hold allowance…
    *Using 2x separate ski bags: 2 x15kg plus 2x20kg = 70 kg
    Using 1x coffin box with two sets of skis: 1x25kg + 1x 20 kg = 45 kg

    *Apparently, they are happy for you to have ONE set of skis floating around in a bulky series 3 box – as long as the weight is below 15kg ..and you still retain your 20kg bag allowance!

    • How totally ridiculous… but very entertaining – thank you!

      We have just flown Swiss LHR-ZUR yesterday with two pairs of touring skis and poles and one pair of lightweight touring boots in my large bag (which I donated to my boyfriend-now-fiance so it is part of both our lives!). He also brought a boot bag. He was able to check in three bags within his allowance – a decent sized holdall, the boot bag and the mega-ski-bag. Quite impressive and seems to be easily the best airline for flying with lots of ski gear.

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