golf clubs on american airlines
American Airlines – oneinchpunch (depositphotos)

*this article has been fact checked for updated information in 2024 by Michelle Magerat

Of course your local course is great but sometimes the desire to try out a new course on a golfing break requires extensive travel. This may lead you to the gruesome airport with its myriad of rules and regulations on baggage.

Key Takeaway
You can bring your golf clubs as checked baggage in American Airlines with this limitation: up to 126 linear inches in size and up to 50 lbs in weight. You can go up to 70 lbs by paying $100-$200. American Airlines charges $30 for the first checked baggage and $40 for the second bag.

We will cover more about golf bag limitations, what you can bring in your golf travel bag, oversize/overweight policies, and more below.

Baggage Policy About Golf Clubs on American Airlines

Here are some key points referring to the baggage policy pertaining to golf clubs on American Airlines:

  • Only one bag per passenger can be a golf bag.
  • Smaller items such as tees and balls can be carried in cabin luggage but clubs may not.
  • The maximum weight for a bag containing golf equipment is 70 pounds (32kg).

What constitutes golf luggage on American Airlines?

American Airlines has a comprehensive list of sports equipment that you can take on one of their flights. Under their jurisdiction for golf bags, you can take the following pieces of equipment: golf clubs, golf balls, golf tees, and a pair of golf shoes. While American Airlines doesn’t stipulate how many clubs you can take on their policy webpage, you’ve got to be realistic. They’re heavy and you’ve only got 70 lbs. If you’re not going to use that two-way chipper on your trip, don’t take it!

If you bring other equipment, be sure to check the American Airlines sports equipment policy.

Can I take my golf equipment instead of my luggage?

In theory, yes! American Airlines doesn’t discriminate on what you take. When you book your flight it’s common to reserve checked baggage at the same time. Most people use this as their primary bag to pack clothes and other essentials. Instead, avid golfers could use this entitlement to take their golf equipment.

As long as it doesn’t impede the checked-bag weight allowance, then you’re free to do so. If you’re traveling with others, you could always get them to pack a few of your clothes! Or just buy new ones when you get to your destination!

Here’s our summary of American Airlines baggage policy. Check it out if you need to arrange other luggage for the flight. If you’re a member of the US military, you’re eligible for discounts in both checked bags and fares.

Oversized or overweight: what’s the difference?

Being oversized means your bag’s dimension is more than the allowed one. Bags must be in keeping with 126 linear inches (320 cm) (length + width + height). This is a very generous limit from American Airlines compared to the other airlines. As most good golf travel bags are sized at 80 linear inches, you’ll have no problem with their oversize policy.

Being overweight means that your bag weighs above the weight allowance of 50 lbs. You can get up to 70 lbs by paying a specific fee but no more than that. Overweight fee is covered below.

Before we continue, if you’re looking for a golf bag that offers excellent protection for your clubs during transit, do visit our top recommendations of the best golf travel bags.

SunMountain Club glider is one of the golf travel bags designed with weight & size in mind
SunMountain Club glider is one of the golf travel bags designed with weight & size in mind – SunMountain

How much does American Airlines charge for a checked golf bag?

American Airlines currently charges $100-$200 for golf bags weighing between 51-70 lbs (23-32kg) as it falls under their sports equipment fee. Note that 51-70 lbs is considered overweight by their checked baggage standards.

The lower end is if you’re flying within the US and the upper end is fi you’re flying to and from Cuba.

However, if you can fit your essential clubs in a bag lower than 50 lbs within the checked-bag dimensions (126 linear inches) you can simply pay for the checked baggage fee, usually $30 for your first bag and then $40 for a secondary bag. Remember, however, that if it doesn’t meet the specifications you could end up paying more.

If you plan to bring a golf bag weighing more than 50 lbs, consider Delta as they charge $100 for golf bags between 51-70 lbs and you can even go beyond 70 lbs. For more details check out our article about Delta golf clubs policy.

Can I just take my clubs with me on the plane?

Taking your golf clubs on the plane with you isn’t an option. The governing body for such issues, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) details that clubs are not allowed in any carry-on bag. This law is definitive and even if you try to claim it’s an antique and should be ruled as such, a golf club will never be allowed in a carry-on.

However, non-club apparatus like balls and tees can be brought onto the plane in a carry-on.

Should I just ship my golf clubs instead?

As a rule, shipping your golf clubs work out more expensive than flying with them yourself. However, a lot of the pitfalls are eliminated. It’s their profession to ship them, so they’ll get the specifications right every time. Ship Sticks works with several logistics companies and typically offers the best rates across America, starting at $49.

Do I need to pack my clubs in a bag?

Yes! Golf clubs are prohibited from traveling on planes as a singular item on US flights. In fact, you’d be hard-pushed to find any flight you’d be able to take without a bag. This is in keeping with the policy that it needs to be contained and kept within the hold.

How to pack golf clubs when flying?

Essentially when you’re putting your clubs in a bag to fly, you want to minimize the amount of movement within the bag. The plane is moving very fast and there’s little way to track just how much the bag will move while in the hold. What you want to avoid is the metal clonking about, potentially damaging the clubs both superficially and lessening the performance. Stuffing the bag with towels or other soft materials will ensure that there’s less movement. Furthermore, if you have head covers be sure to use them. If you have neither, even bubble wrap will do the job to stop adverse rubbing.

If your golf travel bag has room to spare, you might consider to bring personal items such as razor or travel adapter. This is fine, just remember not to stuff something that might damage your clubs in a shaky flight or irresponsible baggage handling.

More about this is covered in how to pack golf clubs for a flight.

Tips on flying with golf clubs

Use non-stop flight

Traveling on a non-stop flight and/or flying with the same carrier on all legs of your journey will ensure you have less aggravation by chopping and changing at the airport, as well as not worrying about meeting different specifications.

Be sure that your bag can be easily identified

If you have a popular brand of golf bag, the last thing you want is to pick up the wrong bag or have someone else walk off with your life savings in golf clubs. A bright nametag with bold lettering should work as a treat.

Take extra measures to protect your clubs

If you’re using a soft-side bag, consider using a stiff arm to protect your clubs. Or, invest in a premium bag that has one built into it. Further to this, you should ensure that your bag is of good overall quality and sturdy enough to withstand the journey.

Find more detailed tips about this in our dedicated articles about flying with golf clubs.

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now you’ll be set for your next golfing adventure and have all the knowledge to pack your bag. Don’t forget to book your AA flight at one of the best flight booking sites to get the best deal.

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