You are viewing as a Guest.

Welcome to skatingforums - over 10 years of figure skating discussions for skaters, coaches, judges and parents!

Please register to be able to access all features of this message board.

Author Topic: TSA and Skates  (Read 611 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline fsk8r

  • Sharp Skates
  • *****
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1,521
  • Total GOE: 49
TSA and Skates
« on: October 07, 2017, 02:39:38 PM »
I know that I can't fly with skates in the cabin from Europe, but I seem to remember that TSA will allow figure skates in the cabin. Do you know if that works if leaving the US to go elsewhere in the world?
And do you have to remind the officials of anything when they spot figure skates in your carry on?

I've always checked them in whenever I've flown before, but am currently thinking of taking them as carry-on from the US. Can anyone clarify the rules for me?
I'll be flying out of either Newark or Philadelphia if that makes any difference.


Offline amy1984

  • Doing the Fiesta Tangle!
  • ***
  • Joined: Oct 2012
  • Posts: 363
  • Total GOE: 13
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 03:43:36 PM »
I flew Canada to US and back with skates as carry on and no one batted an eye.  I wasn't even asked about them.  If you check the TSA's website, they have a handy tool where you input what you're bringing and it tells you if you can carry it on.  Skates are allowed.  I can't speak to travel in Europe but if you're taking off from the US, I can say that I had zero issues. 

Offline Jf12

  • Beware the Bars of Death!
  • *
  • Joined: Jun 2015
  • Posts: 56
  • Total GOE: 1
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 06:26:20 PM »
Some countries do allow skates and some don't.  You should be fine flying out with them - since when you pass TSA it's not like they know where you're going.  Flying back you will probably have to check.

Offline fsk8r

  • Sharp Skates
  • *****
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1,521
  • Total GOE: 49
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2017, 01:29:37 AM »
Thanks for the advice.
The skates actually need punching and molding and it's currently looking like it's going to be easier to fly with them on a business trip than to find the time to go visit the local skate shop (over 3hours return trip). I want them to come back in the cabin as I don't want to risk them shrinking back with the cold of the hold.
They can fly out from Europe in the hold because I know they need punching, but I don't want to risk them moving on the way back.


Offline FigureSpins

  • CER-A, CER-C
  • Asynchronous Skating Team Leader
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Center Ice: Bullseye of the Deranged
  • Posts: 5,506
  • Total GOE: 142
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2017, 02:11:11 PM »
A skating friend was going to the Obertsdorf competition in Germany from the US about 2 years ago.  She said that skates are not allowed in carry-on bags on international flights.  I know the TSA check-in person knows if you're on an international flight, but you're right that the person controlling the carry on luggage scanner doesn't see your boarding pass.  I usually put my skates in checked luggage on domestic flights.
"If you still look good after skating practice, you didn't work hard enough."

Year-Round Skating Discussions for Figure Skaters - www.skatingforums.com

Offline dlbritton

  • Being Punched out by Boots
  • ****
  • Joined: Aug 2013
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 884
  • Total GOE: 16
  • Gender: Male
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2017, 03:32:35 PM »
If I was needing my skates on a trip I would carry them as carry-on if at all possible. Whenever I fly for a ski trip I carry on my (custom fit) ski boots, because I don't want to have to rent stock boots in case my luggage gets lost/delayed. And ski boots are much easier to rent than good high end skates would be.

As an aside, with the cost of luggage fees it is worth the cost to ship skis to my hotel rather than fly with them. 
Working on USFSA pre-bronze MITF, PSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor, PSIA Childrens Specialist 1.

Offline aussieskater

  • Wearing Evelyn Kramer's Coat
  • ***
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 694
  • Total GOE: 51
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2017, 05:55:59 PM »
A wild idea which may not work - do you have a local tech who could do a simple blade remount if you remove the blades?  That way you could keep the boots with you and send the blades in the hold?

Offline Query

  • Gliding in the "Altitude" Position
  • ******
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Maryland, USA
  • Posts: 2,773
  • Total GOE: 97
  • Gender: Male
    • mgrunes.com
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2017, 06:50:23 PM »
I find it amazing that much of western Europe has stricter rules than the U.S. - a lot of bad things have happened in the U.S.

A wild idea which may not work - do you have a local tech who could do a simple blade remount if you remove the blades?  That way you could keep the boots with you and send the blades in the hold?

It's fairly frequent to accidentally damage the leather, and strip one or more mounting holes, when you remount a blade. It can be fixed, but it takes time and expertise, unless there are unused places to drill new holes behind the unused holes in the metal mount.

If you do do it, be sure to trace the original position of the mounting plates, because there may be unfilled holes that were previously used for other mount positions or other blades. If you can, and you aren't confident, get a good skate tech to remount them.

If you remount them yourself, be sure to press down HARD with your screwdriver when you do it, and don't screw TOO tight - or the hole will strip. Also carry Shoe Goo - it can fill holes, so you can re-use striped holes, though it takes 72 hours to set, though one skate tech I know uses a heat gun to speed it up a bit. Other techniques for filling holes include pounding in a wooden dowel rod that has been sanded to be just barely wider than the hole - which takes skill. Or wrapping a roll of leather to be just wider than the hole, and pounding it in - which takes skill. (Don't forget to drill a guide hole, if you use the Shoe Goo, or get a skate tech to fill them in another way, or need to create a new hole. Otherwise, the leather may split and mess up your hole when you or the skate tech screw in the new screw.

Bill_S on this forum suggests that if you strip a hole, the easiest way to deal with it is to use a #8 screw (which is bigger) to replace the original #6 screws - so carry some of them, in good quality stainless steel, in the right lengths. (Assuming your mounting plates will fit #8 screws.)  E.g., see:

  http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=59.msg4533#msg4533 (gives types for #6 screws)
  http://skatingforums.com/index.php?topic=7808.msg93535#msg93535 (gives types for #8 screws)

(The 1/2" long screws are for the front mount, the 3/4" for the heel mount. Use pan head screws for the permanent mount, assuming your metal plate holes are countersunk - the round head screws fit better in the oval hole temporary mount holes.)

He is probably right - that probably makes a more secure mount, too.

None of these rules apply to skates with synthetic soles, like Edea boots have - I don't have enough experience with such boots to tell you what to do, plus different synthetic sole boots have blades mounted differently - e.g., some techs use bolts and nuts (such as the thin nuts used in some roller skates), which probably won't strip.

Whenever I fly for a ski trip I carry on my (custom fit) ski boots, because I don't want to have to rent stock boots in case my luggage gets lost/delayed. And ski boots are much easier to rent than good high end skates would be.

Ski boots are easy to rent at many resorts, just as rental skates are easy to rent at many rinks. High end ski boots, like high end skates, are not. Custom-fit-to-you ski boots are definitely not.

But are carry-on Ski boots forbidden on international flights? I can see why skis that have metal edges might possibly be.

Security needs have sure made flying with sports equipment messy. I understand they have even given some people flying with medicine trouble. Especially medicines that aren't allowed in one of the countries, or that aren't adequately documented. And some people, including some diabetics, should carry water - but they can be mean about that too. Flying used to be fun.

So maybe you shouldn't fly. Maybe you swim instead. :)

Offline AgnesNitt

  • Asynchronous Skating Team Leader
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: East o' the sun; and west o' the moon
  • Posts: 4,893
  • Total GOE: 495
  • Gender: Female
    • The ice doesn't care
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2017, 06:56:20 PM »
Here's what it takes to remove repair the soles then remount the blades. From this you can extract the steps to remove then remount the blades.
http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/2017/09/boot-repair-you-are-not-paying-your.html
Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline Query

  • Gliding in the "Altitude" Position
  • ******
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Maryland, USA
  • Posts: 2,773
  • Total GOE: 97
  • Gender: Male
    • mgrunes.com
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2017, 07:55:35 PM »
Very nicely done video, for yet another technique. But:

1. As long as you (I assume you made the video?) are fancy enough to sand off the leather ridges, you might as well remove the rust that appeared on those blade mounts. Though you shouldn't see much of a ridge, if a guide hole was drilled before the original screw was inserted.

Guide holes, like you use, make for much neater work, in both wood and leather. Though I confess I haven't always used them, or just screwed in a smaller diameter screw to make the guide hole.

2. The video doesn't say where the gorilla glue comes in. Is it used on the bamboo skewer instead of E6000?

3. Is bamboo strong enough? (Or maybe it doesn't matter - if a new guide hole removes all the bamboo anyway?)

4. If you want to be really, really careful, instead of drilling the new hole in the center of the old one, put the mounting plate back on, and use a countersink punch to get the positions EXACTLY right. Sometimes the original holes strips in part because the original holes were a little off, or were centered based on the hole rather than the countersink, as they should be. Also, it is really, really important to make the guide holes vertical, so the screws will screw in right.

5. Maybe the hardwood dowel technique is more secure? (Especially if you ever want to move the hole, to a place that overlaps with but is not identical to the old hole. You don't want the filler material to shift.) Maybe a hardwood dowel, with adhesive put in the hole first, would be even more so, especially if you aren't good enough to make the dowel fit tightly and exactly.

6. After you tamp down the adhesive with the punch, be sure to clean the glue off the punch, before it dries, with the proper solvent!

7. Why do you need different diameter guide holes, based on the length of the screw? I thought you wanted the guide hole just barely smaller than the thinnest part of the screw thread.

8. When you said oval head screws in the round holes, did you mean round head screws in the oval holes?

9. Now that I think of it, there ought to be a way to fill in the temporary oval mounting plate holes with glue, so they fit and lock in the position of the round head screws almost as well as the countersunk mounting plate holes.

10. Should you should apply the silicone gasket sealer around the edge of the mounting plate too, so it is all well sealed?

11. You don't show screwing in the screws. It took me a long time to figure out that needs to be done with a lot of downwards pressure on the screwdriver (or drill, if you have a screw driving attachment) to avoid stripping the holes, and that if you over tighten too much in wood or leather that strips it too. I guess you assume the person doing the work will understand that - an electrician told me it applies to wood too - but some of us never learned proper shop practice.

12. Your technique takes a lot of time. (Mine, using Shoe Goo, takes even more, because Shoe Goo sets so slowly.) I watched Mike Cunningham do the wooden dowel thing in about a minute - though he has about 50 years of experience with skates, and made it look easy, which it isn't for me, though I did fill one hole that way. It probably took me 5 - 10 minutes, and I felt the need to work very carefully. (Of course he used a power tool to shave down the dowel rod, whereas I used sandpaper, and he had a good quality rubber mallet instead of my dollar store tool.)

One advantage of a faster technique is that if you do over-tighten the screw and strip the hole again, you are only minutes away from doing it over again. Which means you can figure out exactly how tight you can make the screw without stripping it.

Offline AgnesNitt

  • Asynchronous Skating Team Leader
  • ********
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: East o' the sun; and west o' the moon
  • Posts: 4,893
  • Total GOE: 495
  • Gender: Female
    • The ice doesn't care
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2017, 08:24:09 PM »
I disagree with my technician about the use of the silicone sealant because I've been known to want a blade adjustment. He puts the sealant around the holes for blade placement that the skater is happy with.

Here's why you don't put sealant around the whole foot plate, if the seal cracks or breaks, then any water that gets in has a harder time getting out, leaving more time to rot the leather.  That much sealant also makes it harder to clean up the boot when you want to install new blades.

Those weren't my boots by the way.
Yes I'm in with the 90's. I have a skating blog. http://icedoesntcare.blogspot.com/

Offline fsk8r

  • Sharp Skates
  • *****
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 1,521
  • Total GOE: 49
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2017, 11:47:29 PM »
A wild idea which may not work - do you have a local tech who could do a simple blade remount if you remove the blades?  That way you could keep the boots with you and send the blades in the hold?

Given that it's pretty wild to fly boots across the Atlantic to just get the boot adjusted, I was already considering removing the blades if I had to. As they're new, they were only on a temporary mount at the moment and the tech who mounted them was wanting them back to add a few more screws, so I don't think he'll mind too much if he has to reattach the blade (well perhaps a little).


Offline Query

  • Gliding in the "Altitude" Position
  • ******
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Maryland, USA
  • Posts: 2,773
  • Total GOE: 97
  • Gender: Male
    • mgrunes.com
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2017, 12:31:59 PM »
As a matter of curiousity, I just tried fixing a stripped screw hole in the sole of my skate boots, using Shoe Goo. I only let the Shoe Goo dry for one day instead of 72 hours, before inserting the screw. All I did was remove the screw (left the blades otherwise mounted), squirted in the glue, wiped off the excess, and let it dry overnight. Then I screwed the screw back in. It took a total of a couple minutes of my time, plus the overnight wait. Because the glue was still somewhat soft, I didn't bother with a pilot hole.

I tried another screw on another boot - but that time I didn't wait for it to dry. For reasons I'm not at all clear on, with the Shoe Goo in the hole, the screw acted like it wasn't in a stripped hole any more. (In both cases, the screws weren't rusted, and didn't need replacing, though in one case I cleaned gunk of the screw.)

In both cases, it seemed to work - but maybe these were bad ideas? I wouldn't be surprised if the glue never fully sets (gets fully hard), because the screw might block air from diffusing in to react with the glue.

If it goes bad again, I could always remove the screw, drill out the glue, and start over, or move to a larger screw, so it is no big deal - at least for me. For a competitive skater, who worries that the screw could come out during a test or competition, maybe it is a bigger deal. Anyway, there were other screws holding the plates too.

What you say about sealing water in makes sense - if there is any moisture there when you do it. But wouldn't that be true of other sealants, like Sno-Seal or bee's wax, too? Perhaps you could heat-dry the boot? Or does the wax in Sno-Seal diffuse into the leather and prevent rot?

I've heard much the same thing about using Latex paint - that if you paint wood with it, and there is significant moisture in the wood at the time, the wood eventually rots, because (the person claimed) Latex doesn't breath as much as some paints. But I can't confirm any of that. (The person also claimed Latex was more flammable than other paints.)

Offline tstop4me

  • Needs a Helmet
  • ***
  • Joined: Oct 2015
  • Location: USA
  • Posts: 519
  • Total GOE: 136
  • Conserve Angular Momentum
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2017, 05:04:41 PM »
Use pan head screws for the permanent mount, assuming your metal plate holes are countersunk - the round head screws fit better in the oval hole temporary mount holes.

8. When you said oval head screws in the round holes, did you mean round head screws in the oval holes?

You've got your screw heads confounded.  Pan head and round head screws have heads with flat bottoms that mate with the flat surfaces of the elongated slots of the mounting plates ("temporary mount").  Flat head and oval head screws have heads with [truncated] conical bodies that mate with the countersunk surfaces of the circular holes of the mounting plates ("permanent mount").

Offline tstop4me

  • Needs a Helmet
  • ***
  • Joined: Oct 2015
  • Location: USA
  • Posts: 519
  • Total GOE: 136
  • Conserve Angular Momentum
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2017, 05:29:57 PM »
Other techniques for filling holes include pounding in a wooden dowel rod that has been sanded to be just barely wider than the hole - which takes skill. Or wrapping a roll of leather to be just wider than the hole, and pounding it in - which takes skill.

This is way off topic for the original post.  But I want to flag a potential safety issue here.  Plugging a hole by pounding in a wood or leather plug is OK if you just want to seal the hole against water penetration; i.e., if you don't plan to redrill and reinsert a screw in or near the plug.  If you do plan to redrill and reinsert a screw in or near the plug, however, the plug must be properly secured with adhesive [in which case I prefer a loose fit between the plug and the hole]; a mechanically fitted plug can easily work loose under these circumstances and the screw will pull out.

Offline Query

  • Gliding in the "Altitude" Position
  • ******
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Location: Maryland, USA
  • Posts: 2,773
  • Total GOE: 97
  • Gender: Male
    • mgrunes.com
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 05:30:38 AM »
As far as personal safety of not using adhesive - Mike C, who showed me this technique, is considered by many elite skaters to be the best skate tech, or one of the best skate techs, in the world. Maybe he jams it in with a closer fit than you have managed (and maybe that takes a lot of experience), or uses a harder wood.

One could argue that if the center of the new hole position was only SLIGHTLY offset from old center position, so that the two holes almost completely overlap, it would be easy for the plug to move, because it does not need to deform much to shift to the new position. In any event, the original question didn't relate to changing hole positions.

However, for those of us with minimal experience, or who wish to experiment with extremely small position shifts, perhaps an adhesive makes sense. I wouldn't go to the elaborate extent that the video goes, but a quick squirt of a little Shoe Goo is easy - in fact I would now be tempted to use it on any permanent mount.

Perhaps a two-part adhesive (like Epoxy), that doesn't need air to dry, could do a good job more quickly. I.E., you could squirt in the glue, insert the screw, and rely on the glue to set completely and form around the screw in a few minutes. I simply don't know enough about adhesives to find one that will dry hard and strong enough, without shrinking, and stick to a variety of outsole materials (typically, made of leather that has been hardened by infusion of unspecified adhesives, though some figure skates have used synthetic resins for the entire outsole) well enough to trust.

But as you said, this is getting way off topic. The original question was whether or not the blade can be safely removed for flying - and the o.p. has indicated that they blades are only on a test mount, and has decided it is OK to remove them, so the original topic isn't really a question any more.

I do wish that there were still interchangeable runner figure skate blades available. You could simply demount the runners, and ship an extra pair just in case. (The old Ultima Matrix I blades with interchangeable runners that I have weren't optimally designed, because they were mounted using trouble-prone soft aluminum bolts, and didn't use a gasket to create a perfect fit. But the hockey and speed skate worlds have created interchangeable runner systems that work well. (Speed skate mounts also let you adjust lateral offset without drilling new holes.) It's also great for alternating between freestyle, dance and synchro runners.

Some elite skaters instead travel with two pairs of skates, in separate bags. That gives them an out if one pair is lost in transit, and lets one pair be sharpened or otherwise be worked on while they skate on the other pair. It's expensive, but elite competitive skaters spend a lot more money on other things.

Offline loopylape

  • Wearing Rental Skates
  • *
  • Joined: Oct 2017
  • Posts: 3
  • Total GOE: 0
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2017, 09:41:50 PM »
A wild idea which may not work - do you have a local tech who could do a simple blade remount if you remove the blades?  That way you could keep the boots with you and send the blades in the hold?

I've done that and it's worked well.

Offline Nate

  • BladeLock
  • On the Edge
  • ***
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 578
  • Total GOE: 11
  • #AdultSkate
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 02:28:05 PM »
I know that I can't fly with skates in the cabin from Europe, but I seem to remember that TSA will allow figure skates in the cabin. Do you know if that works if leaving the US to go elsewhere in the world?
And do you have to remind the officials of anything when they spot figure skates in your carry on?

I've always checked them in whenever I've flown before, but am currently thinking of taking them as carry-on from the US. Can anyone clarify the rules for me?
I'll be flying out of either Newark or Philadelphia if that makes any difference.
Philly is not an issue.  I flew out of there with skates in my carry on.  They didn't even bat an eye.


I had one issue in an airport where they made me call someone to get them off me, cause I wasn't about to check them...  I complained to TSA and they apologized, stating the skates should have been allowed on board


The website clearly stated they were allowed...


Flying out of Philly will not be an issue.  I think the destination should be checked.


Yes, they're allowed, but if the TSA workers at your destination airport decide to have a fit about them, there is not much you're going to be able to do given you have to catch your flight...  Either you check them, or you have a relative/friend come get them and mail them to you.

Offline Nate

  • BladeLock
  • On the Edge
  • ***
  • Joined: Aug 2010
  • Posts: 578
  • Total GOE: 11
  • #AdultSkate
Re: TSA and Skates
« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2017, 02:32:17 PM »
As far as personal safety of not using adhesive - Mike C, who showed me this technique, is considered by many elite skaters to be the best skate tech, or one of the best skate techs, in the world. Maybe he jams it in with a closer fit than you have managed (and maybe that takes a lot of experience), or uses a harder wood.

One could argue that if the center of the new hole position was only SLIGHTLY offset from old center position, so that the two holes almost completely overlap, it would be easy for the plug to move, because it does not need to deform much to shift to the new position. In any event, the original question didn't relate to changing hole positions.

However, for those of us with minimal experience, or who wish to experiment with extremely small position shifts, perhaps an adhesive makes sense. I wouldn't go to the elaborate extent that the video goes, but a quick squirt of a little Shoe Goo is easy - in fact I would now be tempted to use it on any permanent mount.

Perhaps a two-part adhesive (like Epoxy), that doesn't need air to dry, could do a good job more quickly. I.E., you could squirt in the glue, insert the screw, and rely on the glue to set completely and form around the screw in a few minutes. I simply don't know enough about adhesives to find one that will dry hard and strong enough, without shrinking, and stick to a variety of outsole materials (typically, made of leather that has been hardened by infusion of unspecified adhesives, though some figure skates have used synthetic resins for the entire outsole) well enough to trust.

But as you said, this is getting way off topic. The original question was whether or not the blade can be safely removed for flying - and the o.p. has indicated that they blades are only on a test mount, and has decided it is OK to remove them, so the original topic isn't really a question any more.

I do wish that there were still interchangeable runner figure skate blades available. You could simply demount the runners, and ship an extra pair just in case. (The old Ultima Matrix I blades with interchangeable runners that I have weren't optimally designed, because they were mounted using trouble-prone soft aluminum bolts, and didn't use a gasket to create a perfect fit. But the hockey and speed skate worlds have created interchangeable runner systems that work well. (Speed skate mounts also let you adjust lateral offset without drilling new holes.) It's also great for alternating between freestyle, dance and synchro runners.

Some elite skaters instead travel with two pairs of skates, in separate bags. That gives them an out if one pair is lost in transit, and lets one pair be sharpened or otherwise be worked on while they skate on the other pair. It's expensive, but elite competitive skaters spend a lot more money on other things.


My old Klingbeils had like 15 plugged holes in the soles of each boot.  My SP-Teri's probably had 10+. Holes on top of holes.  Reused holes.  Holes only barely offset from other holes.


I've never had an issue with the holes stripping.  I don't think this is a huge issue, especially once you have a permanent mount with all (or most) of the screws in.


The only time I've had screws come out of my skate, is when using a temp mount for MONTHS (maybe a year+, due to the constant adjustments I had to do to try to make my skates usable), doing everything in them (Moves, Spins, Jumps up to Doubles, etc.).