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Is a Badminton Racquet Allowed in Flight? [All Major Airlines]

I’ve never taken my Badminton equipment on holiday. I’ve never travelled with my Badminton equipment by any others mean other than driving. International players have to take their equipment wherever they go. I can imagine being a little nervous ever letting your bag out of sight. Our equipment becomes very personal and we like to have it close at all times.

So, can a Badminton racquet be taken on a flight as hand luggage? Badminton racquets and bags cannot be taken on flights as hand luggage. They exceed the maximum size restrictions airlines have for hand luggage. Even a racquet on its own exceeds the maximum dimensions. Hand luggage needs to fit into the overhead storage in the plane’s cabin. This is the reason for the maximum size dimensions given by airlines.

So what can we do? We’re travelling by plane and need to take our Badminton equipment with us? What do other people do in this scenario? Read on to find out.

Why can’t I take it on as hand luggage?

All airlines have restrictions on cabin/hand luggage. Size restrictions as well as weight restrictions per passenger. These restrictions are in place for the safety of the aircraft in flight and so that each passenger gets an allocated space for their hand luggage.

The size restriction is because all loose hand luggage must be stored in the overhead compartments provided during takeoff, landing and during turbulence. All the situations that could result in bags etc being thrown around the cabin and could injure someone.

The weight restriction is in place so that the aircraft isn’t overburdened. Being overburdened can put the plane out of balance during flight. It can also result in the plane burning more fuel than anticipated for the trip and result in a diversion for a refuel or worse.

Skyscanner has an article that details the majority of the hand luggage restrictions for airlines here. The airlines with the most generous maximum dimensions are British Airways, easyJet and Jet2. Their maximum dimensions are 56×45×25 centimetres (length, width and depth). Badminton racquets alone are between 66.5 to 67.5 centimetres long. BWF actually have a rule which means they cannot exceed 68 centimetres long. So even a racquet on its own is too long. If you carry your racquets in a racquet bag like most there’s no way you could take that on as hand luggage.

In recent years airports and airlines have become increasingly cautious about what can be taken on board flights, especially in hand luggage. Anything that could be used as a weapon or generally be deemed as dangerous are strictly banned. I’ve struggled to find details, other than size restrictions, on why sports racquets aren’t allowed. I would guess that they could be used as weapons in the wrong hands.

Checked baggage is best

Checked in luggage is your only option for transporting your Badminton equipment for flying. There are a lot fewer restrictions for checked in luggage although there are still some regulations.

Most airlines let you carry up to around 20 kilos of checked in luggage. You can even pay to be able to take more checked in but it can get expensive. Again Skyscanner has a great article covering the major airlines.

The maximum size dimensions for checked in luggage varies a lot more than it does for hand luggage between airlines. Some airlines don’t have any size restrictions for checked in luggage. It’s worth checking which airlines have restrictions and measure up your Badminton bag just in case.

You might find it easier to fold up your normal Badminton bag, if possible, and store it in your normal travel suitcase. You can then pack your racquets in a more compact racquet carrier and have Badminton shoes, shuttles etc stored in a travel suitcase.

How to pack your racquets to avoid getting damaged

So, unfortunately, we have to let our precious Badminton belongings go at the check-in. So what can we do to make sure out racquets get through all the hustle and bustle that luggage experiences during its transport in one piece? Fortunately, there are some easy ways to ensure our equipment stays protected.

Put your racquets back in their original cases. All racquets bought new, and some used, come with either a racquet head cover or a full-length cover to protect the racquet from scratches and scrapes.

Pack your racquet bag or sleeves with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap. Even better, use both! If you don’t have the original racquet case the racquet normally comes with use bubble wrap to give each racquet some protection. The bubble wrap will help minimise scratches as well as cushion the racquet from any impact through transit. If you have a racquet bag then you could also fill the rest of the bag with styrofoam peanuts. These will fill out the remaining empty space helping to keep the racquets from sliding around too much and reduce impact damage. Both are relatively cheap to buy and you can get them on Amazon.

Lost or damaged luggage?

All the statistics show that lost and damaged luggage is declining. SITA is a multinational IT company that services airlines. They have around 400 members and 2,800 customers around the world which is claimed to be 90% or the world’s airline business. They reported that baggage mishandling has dropped more than 70% since 2007.

But what should you do if you’re the unlucky few to experience damages or lost luggage?

Damaged luggage

Most airlines have processes set out for filing a damage complaint normally called a PIR (Property Irregularity Report). This form must be filled out and submitted to the airline you flew with within 7 days although this length of time can vary. There are normally a number of exceptions for things you can’t claim for such as:

  • Superficial damage
  • Damage due to overpacking
  • From weather damage such as rain or snow
  • Fragile items being broken if packed in a container designed for shipping
  • A long list of excluded fragile items packed in luggage such as jewellery and electronics

No two airlines have the same policies when it comes to damaged luggage so it’s always best to check with your individual airline before flying.

Alternative to claiming directly through the airline most travel insurance covers damaged luggage. Insurance companies will be able to aid you in the process but it is the airline that is responsible for any reimbursement.

To avoid any mishaps with luggage and potential damage here are some simple tips:

  • Don’t overpack for luggage, could lead to bursting
  • Pick a suitcase with recessed wheels
  • Choose a fabric suitcase over a plastic or hard suitcase. Plastic/hard suitcases can crack in cold weather or from being crushed by other luggage
  • Buy a cover to protect from scraping and zippers being caught

Lost luggage

The process for reporting luggage lost is largely the same except you normally have 21 days to file the claim. Luggage is officially declared as lost after 21 days. You’ll have to file a PIR in writing or online if the airline provides the ability to do so.

Compensation won’t cover the entire contents of your luggage. One tip is to keep anything expensive or valuable in your carry on luggage if allowed. Compensation is normally limited to:

  • Bare essentials such as toiletries and clothing
  • Partial cost or replacing lost luggage contents

It’s advisable to have photographic evidence of the contents of your luggage. So always take some photos as an inventory whilst packing. They often ask for receipts for any expensive items so try and keep e-receipts and photograph physical receipts. Airlines usually won’t pay out for:

  • “New for old” replacement
  • Anything valuable, fragile or perishable
  • Stress or inconvenience caused

Making the claim

When you have the PIR form whether your luggage is damaged or lost make sure to have all of this information available:

  • Flight details; dates, flight number etc
  • Whether your luggage is damaged or lost
  • Your total monetary claim
  • A full list of damaged or lost items
  • List of items you had to purchase because of lost items. Toiletries etc

Once you’ve submitted your claim make sure to be proactive on chasing the airline. They’ll happily take their time to deal with your case if you don’t chase them. The results of them taking their time or being quick about it will roughly be the same in the end so don’t be too polite, chase them each day.

What items are not allowed in hand luggage? Items such as sporting equipment, sharp objects, alcohol, flammable items etc are all banned for hand luggage. These items are pretty obvious but Skyscanner has a comprehensive guide on carry-on restrictions.

If you found this article helpful return the favour and share it with a friend. If you feel I’ve missed anything out or have other advice, please leave feedback and share your help with others below. Thanks again for reading.

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Written by Liam Walsh who lives in Manchester, England. Working as a Software Engineer but moonlighting as a dad, Badminton player/coach and creator of BadmintonsBest.

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