Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Taking Sports Equipment on a Plane: What You Need to Know

do you have to deflate a ball when flying

Sometimes, traveling involves participating in sports at your destination. Whether it’s skiing in the Swiss Alps or surfing in Bali, sports enthusiasts often prefer to bring their own equipment. But can you pack sports equipment in your carry-on? Let’s find out.

Size Restrictions

Carry-on size limitations imposed by airlines may prevent you from bringing certain sports equipment on the plane. For instance, surfboards and skis are too large to fit within the size restrictions. However, smaller items like travel-sized yoga mats usually comply with the rules. To avoid complications, it’s best to check with your airline regarding their specific regulations for sports equipment as carry-on or checked luggage.

Safety Concerns

Some sports equipment can double as weapons, prompting security organizations like the TSA to prohibit their transportation as carry-on items. Examples include baseball or cricket bats, ski poles, hockey sticks, golf clubs, pool cues, sporting or hunting knives, bows and arrows, and martial arts devices. Make sure to pack these items in your checked luggage according to the airline’s rules.

Specific Equipment Types

If you must bring your sports equipment as carry-on, it is crucial to consult your airline directly. Generally, if the equipment poses no security risk and adheres to the airline’s size restrictions, it can be taken as carry-on.

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Most balls, such as baseballs, soccer balls, and basketballs, are allowed in carry-on luggage. Ensure they are securely packed to prevent rolling and loss. Additionally, inflateable balls like soccer balls, basketballs, and footballs should be deflated before placing them in your carry-on. Pressure changes during the flight could cause fully inflated balls to burst.


Ice skates, roller skates, and roller blades are generally allowed in carry-on luggage, although it’s not recommended to wear them on the plane.

Tennis Rackets

Tennis rackets are permitted as far as TSA regulations are concerned. However, it’s advisable to check with your specific airline regarding their carry-on size limitations.

Motorcycle Helmets

Most airlines permit the transportation of motorcycle helmets as long as they meet the size restrictions.


Here are some frequently asked questions about bringing sports equipment on an airplane.

Do you have to deflate a ball when flying?

Although the TSA website does not specifically mention deflating balls, like footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, or volleyballs, individual airlines may require you to deflate them for both carry-on and checked luggage. It’s best to contact the airline in advance to inquire. To be on the safe side, it’s recommended to travel with deflated balls due to the pressure changes experienced at high altitudes.

Can you bring a basketball on a plane?

Yes, basketballs are allowed as both carry-on and checked baggage.

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Can you take a football on a plane?

Yes, you can bring a football on a plane in either cabin bags or checked luggage.

Can you take a soccer ball on a plane?

Yes, soccer balls are allowed in both carry-on and checked luggage. Deflating them before the flight is recommended.

Can you take a volleyball on a plane?

Yes, you can pack volleyballs in both carry-on and checked baggage.

It’s important to note that while sports equipment is allowed on planes, it’s essential to comply with individual airline rules and size restrictions. If you prefer to travel with your sports equipment, make sure to familiarize yourself with the regulations to avoid any issues.