Can I Bring Bowling Balls On a Plane? 2024 TSA Rules

Whether you are an avid bowler or it is just something you do once in a while to have fun, it is essential to know whether you can bring bowling balls on a plane or not.

The good news is you can bring bowling balls in both carry-on and checked baggage.

However, it is generally recommended to pack them in checked baggage due to their size and weight.

Traveling with a bowling set like a bowling bag, shoe, pins and bowling balls will depend on your airline luggage policies and If your airline do allow them in carry-on baggage, there is more chance that they will be subject to additional screening or even a manual inspection at the TSA security checkpoint.

Continue reading for more details about traveling with bowling balls and how to pack them for your next flight.

Let’s dive right in.

Can I Bring Bowling Balls On a Plane? TSA Rules

bowling ball crashing into the pins
Image / Unsplash

TSA Bowling Ball

The transportation security Administration ( TSA ) regulates what you can and can’t take on flights within and from the United States.

Their regulations are in place to stop any prohibited or dangerous items from getting on board the airplanes.

According to TSA bowling balls are good to bring through the security checkpoint without any issues.

Here is a screenshot from their website:

The same rules are also applied with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority  Catsa Bowling balls are permitted in both carry-on and checked bags.

But an issue that often arises is that a bowling ball can present a potential harm, when in hand of a bad guy or with a cranky passenger.

I referred to the TSA’s social media to find more details.

This passenger wanted to bring a bowling ball and bag from Albuquerque, New Mexico to New Orleans.

The TSA customer service replied that bowling balls and their bags are permitted through the security checkpoint.

a bowling bad and a backpack

But in the screenshot below they replied to Allen that even if an item is generally allowed it may be subject to additional screening or not permitted if it triggers an alarm during the screening process or poses other security concerns based on size or weight.

The TSA answer on taking a bowling ball through secuity

Meaning that even if the TSA website said OK to bowling balls in carry-on bags the final decision rest to the security officer at the airport.

Can You Take Bowling Balls In Checked Baggage?

The vast majority of airlines will only accept bowling equipment as checked baggage.

Bowling balls typically weigh between 6 and 16 pounds ( 3 and 7 kgs ) and it makes more sense that if you are traveling with a 2 bowling ball bag or more to take them as your checked baggage.

But you still need to consider your airline checked baggage size and weight limits, to avoid any additional charges.

You can minimize the weight of your bag by taking bowling shoes and other equipment on board the airplane, as these items can fit easily in your carry-on bag and are more prone to be lost or even stolen in checked baggage.

For example, here is what United Airlines has to say about traveling with bowling equipment.

We’ll accept one set of bowling equipment per customer as a checked bag.

A set of bowling equipment consists of:

  • One to three bowling balls (we’ll permit up to three bowling balls in one bag)
  • One bowling bag
  • One pair of bowling shoes.

Service charges for first or second checked bags may apply, bowling equipment weighing more than 50 pounds will be subject to current charges for heavy bags.

United Airlines are not liable for damage to bowling equipment.

screenshot from United Airlines website

Can a Bowling Bag Be a Carry-on?

Whether you are using the bag for bowling balls or to glam up your style you will need to make sure that your bowling bag size and weight meet your airlines specific restrictions.

A standard carry-on size is typically 22 x 14 x 9 inches / 55 x 35 x 22 cm, and if your bag is within this dimensions, then most airlines will treat it as a normal carry-on.

And even though most airlines do not enforce a specific carry-on weight in the USA, the bag still needs to be light enough to be handled without any assistance on board the airplane.

If you are planning to take a large bowling bag and other bowling equipment most of the time your airline will accept it as checked baggage.

Please note that some airlines may not allow bowling balls in the overhead bins, so pack accordingly to make your bag fit under the seat in front of you.


Can You Bring Bowling Ball Cleaners On a Plane?

Regular cleaning will prevent your bowling balls from dirt and germs, and whether you are planing to take liquid, gel or aerosol cleaning, cleaning liquids need to follow the TSA 3-1-1 liquid rule when transported in carry-on luggage.

Only 3.4 oz / 100 ml are allowed for each container placed inside a quart sized bag, you can fit as much as you can inside a quart shed bag.

Remember that you can always take larger containers of liquids in your checked baggage.

Traveling With Bowling Balls Internationally

Traveling with bowling balls on international flights is no different.

You can bring them in both carry-on and checked baggage, however; it will mostly depend on your airline luggage regulations.

If you are traveling within or to another country rather than the US you will need to know the specific guidelines and restrictions of your airline.

How Do You Pack Bowling Balls For Travel?

Packing your bowling balls for travel is not complicated, especially if you are already using a sturdy bag.

Here is some simple tips to follow:

Use a solid bag

Use a durable bag, and it doesn’t matter if it is designed for bowling or not.

For example you can use an Under Armour Storm backpack, that is designed for basketball players but it has a dedicated shoe pouch on the bottom and additional compartments for all your other bowling equipment.

Wrap the bowling balls

wrapping the bowling balls with soft clothes or materials will prevent any potential damage and scratches during transport.

Ensure that the bag or the case is secured and doubles check that all fastenings are secure to prevent any accidental opening.

Label your bag

Label your bag properly with your contact information, you can also add some tags inside the bag in case the outer one falls out, this will help identify your bag in case of loss.

Read also: How Often Are Items Stolen From Checked Bags?

Final Thoughts 

Taking bowling balls on planes in carry-on and checked baggage is possible; however, most airlines accept bowling equipment only as checked baggage.

Taking them as carry-on items may be challenging due to size and weight limitations.

Ensure that you use a durable bag or case to provide adequate padding for your bowling ball and equipment to be safe during transport.

We hope this helps

Happy travels

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