Can I Bring My Badminton Racket Onto a Plane?

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You’re planning to go on a trip abroad or attend a badminton tournament in another state and don’t want to incur the unnecessary expenses of buying a new racket just for the event. You must be wondering if you can bring your badminton racket onto an airplane with you instead.

So, can you?

The answer is yes, you can bring your badminton racket onto a plane, but where it’s placed really depends on which airline you’re traveling with. Some airlines will allow you to take your badminton racket with you as a carry-on, while most airlines only allow you to bring your badminton racket as check-in luggage. This is because of the difference in their luggage protocols which means that your badminton racket may be too big to be brought as a carry-on. In most instances, you will have to call your airline to make sure that they allow a badminton racket to be brought onto the plane as a carry-on.

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What Determines if I Can Bring a Badminton Racket Onto the Plane as a Carry-On?

Image-Badminton Racket Under an Airport X-Ray Scanner
Will my racket pass the X-Ray machine?

To answer this question, we need to first identify two very important things:

  • The dimensions of the racket
  • Hand luggage restrictions of each airline

We understand that you will be traveling on airplanes that belong to different airlines so we will try to be as comprehensive as possible in this list.

Typically, you are allowed to only bring with you one carry-on luggage onto an airplane, which means that all your other luggage should be checked in instead. However, your carry-on luggage should still follow the dimensions and weights protocol of each airline.

What is the Dimension and Size of a Badminton Racket?

Badminton rackets have a length of around 26 to 27 inches, a head width of around 8 to 9 inches, and a handle diameter of 1 inch. These badminton rackets usually weigh between 70 to 95 grams.

Badminton Racket Dimensions
Dimensions of a Badminton Racket

Because badminton rackets are light, the only problem that you really need to consider would be their length and head diameter, since these are what usually cause your carry-on luggage to be rejected or make you incur an additional fee, whichever policy your airline has.

What are the Hand Luggage Restrictions of Each Airline?

Let’s get familiar with the size limits of each airline for carry-on luggage so you can determine whether or not you can bring your racket on an airplane as a carry-on.

Here is a list of the major airlines in America and their corresponding size limits for carry-on luggage:

As you can see, most of these airlines have a maximum of only 22 inches in length for carry-on luggage. This means that you will not be allowed to bring your badminton racket in an airplane as a carry-on with airlines such as American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, Lufthansa, AirFrance, and All Nippon Airways.

But wait! The above length restriction is only if you were to put the racket along the longest side of a luggage or bag. You can place objects (in this case, your racket!) diagonally in order to fit these requirements. Anyone remember a2 + b2 = c2

No? It’s just me?

Well, you get to apply it twice since luggage are in the three dimensional space – I’ll do it for you though!

Here are the max diagonal lengths:

So as you can see, pretty much all luggage dimensions that are allowed onto major airlines are capable of fitting a normal badminton racket of around 26 to 27 inches IF you fit it in correctly and optimally. However, it would probably be a tight fit in most cases.

While these guidelines are applied generally in all airplane travel, these can still be subject to changes upon airport security check. We recommend that you check in your badminton racket instead of bringing it as a carry-on.

However, you can negotiate to have your badminton racket as a carry-on with Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and China Southern Airlines. While their luggage size limit is larger than the standard 22”x14”x9”, we still recommend that you check in your badminton racket instead of bringing it onto the airplane as a carry-on.

Three Dimensional Pythagorean Theorem
How to compute the maximum length you can fit in the bag!

This means that unless you negotiate with your airline and the airport security check, you can not bring a badminton racket as a carry-on onto an airplane. Instead, you will have to check in your badminton racket.

How Can I Protect My Racket From Breaking on a Plane?

Since we have set things clear about whether or not you can bring your badminton racket as a carry-on, we understand that you would be concerned about how exactly you can keep your check-in luggage safe from getting damaged.

As sports equipment, badminton rackets need to be safely stored at all times. After all, you don’t want to play with a bent racket or one that has broken strings. Fortunately, there are easy ways to keep your badminton racket safe in your airplane’s storage area while you are sleeping and relaxing in your airplane’s passenger seat.

Firstly, you may want to use your badminton racket’s original case. This case is designed to prevent any unnecessary tension from being imposed on your racket’s frame and handle. Furthermore, your original racket case also serves as an additional cushion, minimizing the possibility of your racket getting broken.

If, for some reason, you no longer have the original racket case with you, it would be a good investment to buy a new badminton bag. You need to remember, though, that these bags need to fit your badminton racket correctly so you will still have the same benefits from having an original racket case. Either way, it’s suggested that you first wrap your badminton with an additional cushion and probably buy a bigger bag to accommodate the extra size.

You should also consider buying styrofoam packing nuts and bubble wrap to provide cushioning for your badminton racket. Furthermore, in instances where you would need to bring more than one badminton racket, it is advisable that you wrap them individually to reduce the possibility of getting your rackets’ frames scratched.

Wrapping Racket in Bubble Wrap
It is advisable that you wrap rackets individually if you are binging more than one.

Lastly, badminton strings can be sensitive to temperature changes. As you will be traveling, it’s highly likely that the temperature will vary every so often. There are badminton bags that take this into consideration, such as the Yonex Pro Racquet Bag (9 PCS), which contains a temperature insulated pocket to keep your rackets at a constant temperature. This will keep your strings from becoming brittle and prolong the life of your racket and strings. See my in-depth review of the bag here.

Putting Strings on Bag Pocket
Keep strings in a temperature insulated pocket.

Is It Better To Check-In a Racket or Bring It on the Plane as a Carry-On?

Because of the size limitations for carry-on luggage, the best option to bring your badminton racket is definitely through check-in. Since your badminton racket is light and the size limitations of checked-in luggage are more varied and flexible, you can expect that you will face no hiccups when you choose this luggage option over a carry-on.

In fact, if you find the weight and size limitation of your airline’s check-in luggage to be too small, you can always choose to add more size and weight for an additional fee.

Are There Regional Differences to Whether a Racket Can Be Brought Onto a Plane?

So far, our discussion has revolved around whether or not you can bring a badminton racket onto a plane.
Now that we are clear about that, the last question that we need to answer is whether or not there are regions that will prohibit the storage of badminton rackets on planes.

The simple answer to this question is no, there are no regional differences. There are some caveats, however. For example, there may be instances where airport security will disallow you to bring your badminton racket, so it is better to check with your area’s airport and call them for any possible protocols that you may violate when you bring your badminton racket.

Final Thoughts

Your badminton racket may cause inconvenience because of its unusual length and size. This is the reason why we highly recommend that you call your airline and airports first to know their specific protocols that concern your racket.

In general, however, you can always bring your racket as check-in luggage since standard carry-on sizes are way below their size.

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