Can You Bring a Tennis Racket on a Plane? Tips in 2024

Have you ever thought of traveling with your tennis racket on a plane as hand luggage or part of your carry-on luggage but are not sure of the rules? If so then we got you covered whether it’s a domestic flight or an international one, we will give you the run-down on what to do and what to bring.

Bringing your tennis racket on an airplane can be a tricky task.

It’s understandable why tennis players would want to bring their racket with them while traveling, whether it’s for an important tournament or just to squeeze in a game or two on vacation. However, there are several factors to consider when packing your tennis equipment for a flight.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that different airlines have varying regulations when it comes to sporting equipment whether tennis rackets, baseball bats, golf clubs, or even a lacrosse stick. Some individual airlines allow tennis rackets as carry-on baggage as long as it fits in the overhead bin, while others require them to be checked in as part of your luggage.

It’s always a good idea to check the airline’s specific policy ahead of time to avoid any confusion or complications at the airport and hassle at the security checkpoint.

So that you have a better understanding of whether or not you can take your tennis racket as hand luggage we might take a look at which airlines allow you to do that.

tennis racket on a plane

First up, Delta Airlines. Good news, tennis enthusiasts – Delta allows you to bring your tennis racket as a carry-on item. As long as it fits within the carry-on size restrictions, for those of you who do not know the size restrictions don’t worry I didn’t either but as per Delta Airlines website you are not allowed to exceed 22″ x 14″ x 9″, other than that you’re good to go. They do recommend that you pack it in a protective case to avoid any damage during transit maybe pack it in bubble wrap or a soft bag so that it doesn’t get hit.

Next, we have American Airlines. They also allow you to bring your tennis racket as a carry-on item. However, they do suggest that you pack it in a soft-sided case to fit it more easily in the overhead compartment. The airline’s rule is that you stick to the size limit they provide for your tennis item. Their carry-on allowance should not exceed  22 x 14 x 9 inches / 56 x 36 x 23 centimeters as long as your racket is within the maximum dimensions, you’re good to go. To put your mind at ease, as stated on the TSA website you are allowed to bring your tennis racket as part of your cabin baggage on board American Airlines.

Finally, we have United Airlines. They also allow you to bring your tennis racket as a carry-on item. They recommend that you pack it in a protective case and that it fits within the carry-on size restrictions. But hey, as long as it fits and you’re good to go, right?

Overall, it’s important to remember that airlines can change their policies at any time. So, it’s always a good idea to check with your airline before you fly to avoid any surprises. But for now, grab your racket, pack it securely, and get ready to hit the tennis courts at your next destination.

On the other hand, some airlines require tennis rackets to be checked in as part of your luggage. For example, British Airways states that tennis rackets must be checked in as they’re considered too large to be carried on board. Similarly, Emirates Airlines also requires tennis rackets to be checked in, stating that they can be transported as part of your checked bag allowance.

It’s important to keep in mind that when you check in your tennis racket, it may be subject to additional fees, especially if it exceeds the airline’s size and weight restrictions for checked baggage. It’s a good idea to invest in a sturdy and protective tennis racket bag and not put it in a normal plastic bag to ensure that your racket is safe during transport and to minimize any potential damages that may occur.

Speaking of potential damages, it’s also essential to consider how air travel can affect your tennis racket. Changes in air pressure and temperature can cause your racket strings to loosen or snap, which can affect your performance on the court. To prevent this from happening, you can consider loosening the strings on your racket before your flight, or investing in a racket with a more durable and flexible stringing system.

Aside from tennis rackets, there is other tennis equipment that you may want to bring with you when traveling. For example, tennis balls are usually allowed as carry-on baggage on most airlines, but again, it’s best to check your airline’s specific policy ahead of time. In addition, other tennis equipment such as shoes, hats, and clothing are generally allowed as carry-on or checked baggage, as long as they meet the airline’s size and weight limitations.

While bringing your tennis equipment on an airplane may seem like a hassle, it’s not uncommon for tennis players to face these issues while traveling. In fact, some professional tennis players have even encountered problems with airlines regarding their tennis equipment.

In 2015, tennis player Maria Sharapova had her tennis rackets confiscated by an airport security officer in India. Sharapova’s rackets were in her checked luggage, and the security officer reportedly claimed that they exceeded the size and weight restrictions for checked baggage. Sharapova was eventually able to retrieve her rackets, but the incident caused a stir on social media and highlighted the challenges that tennis players face when traveling.

Another professional tennis player, Rafael Nadal, has also faced issues with airlines regarding his tennis equipment. In 2016, Nadal’s tennis bag went missing on a flight to Rio de Janeiro, causing him to miss his first match at the Olympic Games. Nadal’s bag was eventually located and returned to him, but the incident once again highlighted the importance of proper packing and protection of tennis equipment during air travel.

Our advice For Taking a Tennis Racket on a Plane

  • Do your homework ahead of traveling and look into the airline and the type of airplanes you’ll be flying in so you know the rules on maximum size and weight and also how large overhead bins are.
  • Know your itinerary: If you have multiple journeys, the rules may be different on each leg of the journey, so don’t get caught out.
  • Check your tennis bag and carry the rackets individually. This is something I always do as tennis bags are often too large as carry-ons, especially if you travel with multiple rackets and kit;
  • If you are traveling with too many rackets it will be easier to check them although this always worries me as they’re expensive and there is no guarantee you’ll see them again given the airline’s track records!
  • Wrap them in bubble wrap and strong tape or a hard-sided case before leaving for the airport so you have confidence they will not break.
  • Use your charm, I find that most people are reasonable and if you encounter difficulty be polite and explain that these are valuable items that need protection (maybe try hiding them under your jacket if you get into trouble!)

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, taking your tennis racket on a plane is generally allowed, but it’s important to check your airline’s specific policy ahead of time to avoid any complications.

If you do need to check in your racket, make sure to invest in a durable and protective racket case to minimize damage during transport. This should be something sturdy to protect rackets from damage. Don’t forget to pack any other tennis equipment you may need, but remember to check your airline’s limitations beforehand and be mindful of the TSA and airport security regulations.

Before packing your tennis racket in your carry-on or checked luggage, make sure that you are aware of the current restrictions on size and weight for baggage items. In addition, if possible label your racket case with identification tags to help ensure its safe return.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready to hit the court and serve up some aces no matter where your travels take you. Happy flying.


David Harris

David is the founder and chief writer at Tennis Pursuits. A tennis fanatic, David has extensive experience of the game and has reviewed 100s of products to date. He is passionate about helping others on their tennis journey.

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