Any pickleball enthusiast would want to take their equipment everywhere they go. But, considering how cutthroat TSA can be, along with the endless restrictions of most airlines, it’s hard to determine a green light for packing your pickleball paddle into your carry-on.
Can you take a pickleball paddle on a plane regardless of the strict flying rules? Yes, depending on the airline and how you choose to pack, there are ways you can walk through airport security without your paddles being confiscated.
Great question! Your pickleball paddles are allowed in both your carry on and checked bags. Safe travels!— AskTSA (@AskTSA) July 29, 2016
To avoid confiscation of your sports equipment, you need to know about the general nature of airport safety and baggage rules.
We’ll go through all you need to know about traveling with sports equipment on flights in the following.
Can I Bring a Tennis Racket on a Plane?
If you are a sports lover who wants to travel to a far destination by plane, you don’t have to stress leaving without your tennis rackets. You are allowed to bring your rackets in carry-on bags on board without facing any troubles during the screening process.
Generally, the highest racket length you can feel free to bring cannot be more than 29 inches. So, when you’re packing for your trip ahead, bear that in mind.
The travel guidelines concerning whether sports rackets can be a part of your hand luggage on the plane or not are universal — meaning this varies from airline to airline and from country to country.
From what we know, according to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) in the USA, the passengers will be allowed to carry tennis rackets to the security checkpoint point. You are not likely to face any restrictions.
Not just the TSA, other agencies worldwide, such as the EU, will also allow you to carry tennis rackets with you. It depends on the respective airlines if they are okay allowing rackets on board.
Most airlines do not provide any clear verdict on tennis rackets in their carry-on policies. The common problem with tennis rackets when traveling on a plane is their length. Most tennis rackets happen to be 69 cm or more than that.
This is longer than most permitted carry-on luggage on board. That’s why airline agencies and security officers are sometimes inconsistent with their decision of allowing you to bring a tennis racket on a plane.
Can You Take Sports Equipment on a Plane?
People travel for various reasons, including the desire to participate in a sports match in a distant location. There’s something for everyone, from skiing in the Swiss Alps to surfing in Miami. Many sports fans own their equipment and would rather travel with it than rent or buy them in a new place.
However, does this mean you can bring sporting equipment in your carry-on bag on a plane?
Usually, sports equipment such as bats and clubs are not allowed in the plane’s cabin. According to the most popular airlines, such equipment will only be accepted as carry-on on local and international flights.
We have learned from our experience that the size of the sports equipment can often cause problems and prevent you from bringing it as a carry-on, even if it’s legally allowed in the travel policies.
One such example can be surfboards. They usually exceed the maximum carry-on size allowed and will not be allowed to be a part of your journey. The same goes for skis too.
But what about pickleball equipment? Are pickleball saddles allowed on planes? The answer is yes. You can pack up pickleball paddles in both your carry-on and checked bags.
To avoid complications at the airport, chances are that specific airline rules can be stricter than TSA’s rules. Just make sure to go through your airline policies. Look up any particular rules about sports equipment.
How Much Does a Pickleball Paddle Weigh?
When packing a pickleball paddle in your luggage, the first thing you should consider is its weight, as it is one of the most important features to assess when choosing one and passing through TSA without hassle.
A regular pickleball paddle ranges from about 6 to 14 ounces, and the weight varies depending on the size, material, etc. Pickleball paddles are more about how you feel while holding and swinging the paddle.
Here’s how it differs –
A light-weighted paddle weighs under 7.3 ounces. Lighter paddles will allow controlled shots with less drive making it suitable for new players. Another advantage of these paddles is that they provide a quicker response. They also go easy on the arm and elbow.
Medium weighted pickleball paddles weigh from 7.3 to 8.4 ounces. They are moderately fast and are perfectly weighted for players suffering or recovering from tennis elbow. We recommend these middleweight options because these balance power and stability simultaneously.
Paddles that range from 8.5 and above are considered heavily weighted paddles. You may find these harder to swing as they are taxing for your arm to maintain control. So if you have an injury, tennis elbow, or arthritis, this might not be the best option for you.
Generously weighted pickleball paddles are more suitable for experienced or professional players who prefer power and agility over comfort.
Different materials such as wood, graphite, and composite are used in manufacturing pickleball paddles. The material used determines the paddle’s weight and how much drag you’ll be experiencing.
Wooden paddles are the heaviest, whereas graphite paddles are the lightest. You will find composite paddles convenient as they are middle weighted and affordable.
Will an Inflatable Ball Pop on an Airplane?
Many studies have proven a low possibility for an inflated ball to burst at high altitudes. The chances of it happening is quite rare, depending on the quality of the ball and pressure difference.
Because the hypothetical chances of a sports ball popping mid-flight are meager, most airlines allow passengers with soccer balls onboard.
What Makes it Pop?
As you might already know, atmospheric pressure drops as you go higher above sea level.
There is a theory that a soccer ball can suddenly pop once an airplane reaches 30,000 feet up in the air. But most airlines tend to keep a reasonable distance of about 8,000 feet or less above sea level to ensure the passengers do not experience breathing issues.
When the aircraft reaches its maximum altitude, the reduced pressure in the cabin causes the air inside the inflated ball to expand and eventually burst. However, as airlines usually tend to maintain steady altitudes, the chance of your inflated ball spontaneously exploding is little to none.
Quality of the Ball
Most sports balls, such as soccer balls, are manufactured so that they will withstand any pressure or force from the inside of the ball. But there is always a limit to its elasticity. There may come the point where the pressure difference between the interior and exterior of the ball is too high for the seams to withstand.
The material and the quality of the ball play a significant role in determining the risk of it bursting. Generally, the chances of the soccer ball popping are higher if it is of lower quality. This is because low-quality balls are usually made with cheap materials and weakly seamed, so they can’t withstand high-pressure altitudes.
On the other hand, high-quality soccer balls with better material and seams can withstand and hold back more pressure. So, their risk of unexpectedly popping during a flight is close to non-existent.
Can you take a pickleball paddle on a plane? To sum it all up, the straightforward answer is yes. Most airlines will not cause a problem with bringing paddles in your luggage.
But to be on the safe side, you need to choose a light or middle-weighted paddle and pack them in your luggage instead of your carry-on.
Remember, baggage rules differ not only from airline to airline but also from country to country. So be extra cautious of your desired location’s airport security guidelines before your journey.
Are pickleball saddles allowed on planes?
According to most airlines, yes, they are. Pickleball paddles can be packed in both your carry-on and checked luggage.
What is considered a lightweight pickleball paddle?
Lightweight pickleball paddles are generally 7.5 ounces or lower.
Can you bring a wooden paddle on a plane?
Most airlines will let passengers bring in paddles of about 9.5 ounces. As wooden paddles are usually over 9.5oz in weight, you might have them confiscated at TSA.
How do I pack my pickleball paddle?
Buy a case or separate bag for the paddle. Cushion the shaft and blade with foam or bubble wrap. For added security, stuff the packed paddle between the clothes in your luggage.
Are balls allowed on planes?
Soccer balls, basketballs, and baseballs are a few examples of sports balls allowed in carry-on luggage. Just ensure that they are securely fastened in your bag so as not to roll around and go missing.