American Airlines Golf Clubs Policy

You may be eager to take your clubs across the country or even the world. Testing out more greens than on your home turf is a great way to improve your skills, but before you book a ticket with American Airlines, read their rules for carrying clubs. Here are the American Airlines golf clubs policy and rules.

American Airlines allows travelers to bring their golf clubs, but it doesn’t count them as carry-on baggage. When you travel with them, you’ll have to check the clubs in a corresponding bag. It must follow the weight limitation policy because if not, there could be high fees involved in adding golfing clubs to your baggage.

A man looking at a plane with his feet up on a bag

What Is the American Airlines Golf Clubs Policy?

American Airlines is a famous US-based company that flies people to 270 destinations within the country and around 80 international destinations. They have a good reputation, and people trust their company policies and safety.

As with any airline, American also has some rules travelers must adhere to in terms of luggage. When you buy a regular ticket, you can fly with just the carry-on baggage (the bag you put inside the plane) or opt for a checked-in bag (the luggage in the plane’s cargo area).

Checked-in bags typically cost an additional fee, but if you pay for it on time (before reaching the airport,) it’s worth it. There are many types of baggage other than suitcases, though – since you’re asking, well-organized golf bags are allowed on planes as long as they follow the airline’s rules.

Golf Clubs Don’t Qualify as Carry-on Baggage

People can bring instruments and athletic equipment on airplanes without problems. Similarly, you can pack your fitted golf clubs into a corresponding bag and bring them wherever you want. Perhaps you’re starting a golfing career and want to practice on courses where pro golfers won titles – that’s alright, too.

But if you plan to do that, count on putting the clubs into the checked-in baggage area. They must ride in the cargo area because additional luggage isn’t allowed inside the plane. The policy is to only allow bags of a certain size and often weight (usually 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and not more than 17 pounds).

As you can see, those dimensions are unrealistic for a professional golf bag. These range between 50 and 55 inches in length, so that’s the first part where your plan to carry the clubs into the plane would go wrong.

An inside of an airport

How to Pack Your Golf Clubs for Checked-in Baggage

Now that you know your golf clubs and bags must go in the cargo storage on the plane, here’s what American Airlines advises travelers to do when attempting to check in a golfing bag:

  • The dimensions of the bag shouldn’t exceed 126 inches,
  • It’s recommended to protect the bag with a travel club protector or a travel cover,
  • Be transparent about the cargo in the bag,
  • Each piece of luggage goes through an x-ray scanner, so prepare the clubs as told.

You Shouldn’t Exceed the Weight Allowance

Besides the rules above, there’s one that shouldn’t be broken no matter what, and that’s the weight limit. Weight limitations exist so the airplane doesn’t get too heavy to fly or maneuver in the air. That’s why regulations exist – they’re not there to pester you or cause problems; they exist for safety purposes.

Here is the rundown of weight limitations for baggage.

Checked-in baggage allowance50 pounds (23 kg)
Maximum checked-in baggage allowance70 pounds (32 kg)
Carry-on baggage allowanceUsually 17 pounds (8 kg)

The Cost of Exceeding the Limit According to the Airline

If your cargo exceeds the weight limitations above, there’s a good chance that they’ll ask you to throw out stuff so you can be checked in. This, obviously, is highly undesirable and could cause problems along the way.

That’s why you must be ready beforehand. Take out your scale, fill the golfing bag with what you need, and weigh and measure it. Once you’ve made sure the bag fits the measurement scale, you can deduct its weight from 50 pounds and then pack a suitcase that goes up to that number.

It’s OK to be at the upper limit, but starting from 51 pounds and up to 70, you’ll be charged an additional $150. That’s a lot for a single pound over the limit – be meticulous when packing.

An American Airlines plane flying

What to Bring In Your Golfing Bag When You Fly With It

American Airlines also advises what to pack and what’s recommended to leave out. Here’s a quick list of things you can bring in your golf bag:

  • Clubs,
  • Golf balls,
  • Tees,
  • One pair of golf shoes.

As you can see, there’s a hefty amount of stuff you can pack, which is good. You can pack your golfing shoes in this bag, so you don’t have to make room for them in the suitcase.

Something American Airlines doesn’t allow to come with a golfing bag are swing-less club load strips. Swing-less clubs are powered by a strip of five small powder charges, called the Power Strips or load strips. The energy from that charge drives the clubhead.

Considering how airlines don’t allow large batteries or anything with a power charge, this load strip is off-limits, too. Load strips are considered dangerous goods and can’t be packed with checked-in baggage, let alone carry-on.

Golf clubs in a bag

Follow the Policy to Avoid Extra Charges and Problems

As long as you avoid load strips and don’t overpack, traveling with golf clubs will be easy as pie. You can take them anywhere and practice your skills at any golf club worldwide. If you’re ever free to travel to Scotland, you must visit the origin of golf, the St Andrews course near Fife.

Also, don’t try to outsmart the airline – it’s better to be under than overpacked; they can charge you and cause issues with traveling further down the line. Following their rules isn’t that hard, after all. Safe travels!