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Thread: flying with adaptive sports equipment

  1. #1

    flying with adaptive sports equipment

    Has anyone ever flown with something like an adaptive wakeboard, a rugby chair, hand cycle, monoski... or anything of significant size?

    If so, were you charged for it or were you able to get them classified as "medical equipment"? And if you were charged, was it just the charge of a regular piece of checked luggage or was there some ridiculous charge for an oversized item?

    Thanks in advance,


    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***

  2. #2
    I've flown multiple times with a basketball chair on Southwest and we were never charged extra. Call your airline and ask what their policy is, make sure you state that it is an adaptive medical/sports equipment for which ever item you are trying to fly with.

    I love sports! Wheelchair Basketball, Sled Hockey, Mono-Skiing, and Handcycling.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Besidesl ost always flying Southwest which let's you check 2 pieces for free anyways. When I've flown with my sled hockey sled & gear (all in one bag) it has always gone free. The only time I've been charged was the only time I flew with my handcycle...don't remember the airline but it was only $25. When I questioned the charge since it was "medical equipment", the supervisor showed me that airline website & policies clearly stated that adaptive sports equipment would be charged the standard baggage fee. I kind of lucked out, regular bikes cost almost $100 to fly with and handcycles are larger.

  4. #4
    Depends on the airline (and probably on the mood of the agent) - I've taken my handcycle on United/Lufthansa as a second wheelchair and was not charged.

  5. #5
    Sounds promising. Thanks for all the input. I'll report back with how Frontier feels about wakeboards.

    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***

  6. #6
    I travel to paratriathlons constantly, so always needing to fly with a hand-cycle and racing wheelchair. You should be able to get the "over weight" and/or "oversized" bag fees waved by saying the bag contains "medical wheelchair equipment for your disability"... Something along those lines usually works, just be sure to use few of those key buzz words.. Be sure to mention that Frontier (and all other airlines you fly with) hasn't ever charged you in the past.. Even if you haven't flown with Frontier before, a lil white lie is alright, I promise, my mother said so

    As for wrapping your equipment, I always wrap the handcycle and racing wheelchair in bubble wrap roll and then with saran wrap (stretch wrap) roll. Both of these products can be purchased for super cheap on Amazon w/ free Prime 2-day shipping.. The bubble wrap costs $16.97 w/ free Prime shipping and the stretch wrap costs $18.31 w/ free Prime shipping. In my opinion, if you don't want your equipment to get messed up, this is the way to go. Shoot me a message if you have any questions! Enjoy the trip. Sounds sweet!
    "Be stronger than all your excuses...."

  7. #7
    Senior Member wheeliecoach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    East Haven, CT
    I have traveled with my basketball chair. Every time I am not charged for it and I wheel it with me to the gate and I gate check it. That way it goes on the plane at the same time as my everyday chair. I have never had an issue.

    For my sled hockey stuff I have done what sledgrl said above.
    "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Seuss

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Just outside of Philly
    I have flown with my mt bike which is a rather substantial piece of equipment and Southwest did not charge me a dime. I fly with my monoski every winter and have never been charged for that either (multiple airlines).

  9. #9
    Ok now I'm starting to get nervous because I don't have a bag for my wakeboard. I had planned on just popping it in one of those giant, clear, plastic bags they have at the ticketing/check-in desk. That pretty much lessens my chances of getting away with the "it's strictly medical equipment" line, yeah?

    Flying Delta, btw.

    i wonder if I can take it through security and gate check it. I like that idea.

    Otherwise, I'm thinking the bubble/Saran Wrap is probably best. Any other ideas?

    The 7-hour drive (each way) for $100 total in gas obviously would have alleviated all this mess, but I scored a priceline flight for $150 so I thought it was definitely worth it. Now I'm starting to think I could have toughed out the drive. Oh well....

    *** c4/c5 incomplete *** Injured in Summer 2003 ***

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