Flying to the mountains remains the quickest and often easiest method to head away on your ski trip.

This page will introduce some of the major routes to get you to the mountains, as well as providing up-to-date ski carriage fees and guidance for travelling with avalanche airbags.


It’s almost impossible to swing a cat in Geneva Airport on a winter weekend without hitting a Brit heading to or from the Alps! Whilst located in Switzerland, Geneva is less than three hours from almost every major French resort. In days gone by, travellers destined for France would fly into a special “french” side to Geneva Airport, but this is now mostly defunct for these purposes as a result of Switzerland’s integration into the Schengen Area.

Some Swiss resorts are reachable via Geneva, too, but its location at the “wrong” end of Lake Geneva means travel times can be lengthy.

Major Airlines: British Airways, Swiss Air, Ryanair, EasyJet, Jet2, TUI


Lyon & Grenoble

For resorts in the southern French Alps, Lyon and Grenoble – actually located very close to each other – act as perfect gateways. Alpe d’Huez, Serre Chevalier and Les 2 Alpes are all between one and two hours away.

Major Airlines: British Airways, EasyJet



The gateway for most Swiss resorts, its direct connection to the Swiss railway network means that almost the entirety of Switzerland can be reach quickly, painlessly and without delay straight from the plane. The same is true of resorts just across the border in Austria, which can be easier to get to from Zurich than Innsbruck.

Major Airlines: British Airways, Swiss Air, EasyJet, Ryanair



A comparatively small airport, it is quick and efficient to pass through and deposits you in the heart of the Austrian Alps. Some of the biggest resorts in Austria are a mere stone’s throw away, meaning short transfer times – perfect for a weekend away!

Major Airlines: British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, TUI



Gateway to central and eastern Austria, Salzburg Airport offers quick and easy access to thousands upon thousands of kilometres of Austrian skiing, both within the Salzburg region and beyond.

Major Airlines: British Airways, Austrian Airways, EasyJet, Jet2, TUI, Ryanair


Milan & Turin

Milan (both Malpensa and Linate) and Turin operate as gateways to Italian skiing, serving the Aosta Valley and Piedmontese regions. Areas like the Via Latte are a stone’s throw from Turin, whilst Monterosa, Cervinia, Courmayuer and Pila are within two hours of Milan. Check your Milanese airports carefully; Linate and Malpensa are located on opposite sides of town!

Major Airlines: British Airways, ITA Air, EasyJet, Ryanair, TUI, Jet2


The closest airport to Andorra and many Pyrenees resorts, Toulouse is the destination for many packages and the best transfer options.


Venice & Verona

These are the best airports for South Tyrol and Trentino, including the Sella Ronda, Bormio and Livigno.


Denver & Salt Lake City

Further afield, Denver and Salt Lake City are the gateways to the Rockies for travellers from Europe. Whilst they may not be your final airports – with connections on to Jackson, Telluride and Vail all available – you will have to pass through to hit the slopes stateside.


Mainline Airlines


Key Destinations

Ski/board bag allowed in place of checked bag?

Necessary to pre-register ski/board bag?

Cost of extra ski/board bag when pre-booked (each way)

Cost of extra ski/board bag at the airport

Weight Limit

British Airways Basel, Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Milan, Munich, Salzburg, Turin, Zurich Yes No £45-60 (depending on UK origin airport and class of travel) £50-90 (depending on UK origin airport and class of travel) 23kg
Air France
Chambery, Lyon, Tolouse Yes No 55-100EUR 23kg
Innsbruck, Vienna, Salzburg Yes Yes 50EUR 23kg

Barcelona No No £32 £40 23kg
ITA Airways

Milan No No 40EUR 50EUR 23kg

many, via Amsterdam Schipol Airport Yes No 20-70EUR 70-200EUR (excess baggage fees apply from 24hrs prior to departure) 23kg

Munich Yes Yes 80EUR 23kg
Bergen, Oslo No No 35EUR 60EUR 23kg
SAS Scandinavian Bergen, Oslo Yes No Dynamic pricing on additional bags 23kg
Swiss Air

Geneva, Zurich Yes No Swiss Air allow an additional ski/board bag for free when at least one checked bag is included in your fare, 23kg

Low-Cost Airlines


Key Destinations

Ski/board bag allowed in place of checked bag?

Necessary to pre-register ski/board bag?

Cost of extra ski/board bag when pre-booked (each way)

Cost of extra ski/board bag at the airport

Weight Limit


Basel, Geneva, Grenoble, Innsbruck, Milan, Salzburg, Turin, Venice, Zurich, Barcelona, Munich, Toulouse No No £37-45 £47-55 20kg/32kg

Barcelona, Basel, Lyon, Salzburg, Zurich, Oslo, Munich, Verona, Vienna, Geneva, Tromso, Milan No Yes 30EUR 30kg
Barcelona, Geneva, Grenoble, Lyons, Salzburg, Turin, Verona No No £30 22kg
Barcelona, Grenoble, Milan, Sofia, Turin, Tolouse No No £45 £50 20kg
TUI Airways Salzburg, Verona, Turin, Geneva, Toulouse, Innsbruck No Yes 65EUR 65EUR 30kg
Wizz Air

Sofia, Lyon, Grenoble, Vienna, Milan, Verona, Venice No No 45EUR 65EUR 23kg
Airline Logo Key (Direct) Destinations Ski/board bag allowedin placeof checked bag? Necessary to pre-register ski/board bag? Cost of extra ski/board bagwhen pre-booked (each way) Cost of extra ski/board bagat the airport Weight Limit
British Airways

Vancouver, Seattle, Montreal, Tokyo* Yes No £45-60 (depending on UK origin airport and class of travel) £50-90 (depending on UK origin airport and class of travel) 23kg
Air Canada
Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal Yes No Air Canada allow an additional ski/board bag for free when at least one checked bag is included on flights between Europe and Canada 23kg
Air Transat Montreal Yes No 75CAD (up to 72hrs prior to departure) 90CAD (from 72hrs prior to departure) 20kg
American Airlines

Seattle Yes No 65-100USD 23kg

Salt Lake City, Seattle Yes No 40-150USD (depending on route and class of travel; prices increase when arranged at the airport) 23kg
United Denver Yes No 40-200USD (depending on route and class of travel) 23kg

Calgary Yes No From 60CAD Checked bag fees increase by 10CAD 24hrs prior to departure 23kg
All Nippon Airways

Tokyo* Yes* No $167USD $200USD 23kg
Japan Airlines

Tokyo* Yes* No 150USD for all additional bags 23kg
* All flights to and from Japan on British Airways, ANA, and Japan Airlines allow two pieces of checked baggage as standard; your ski or board bag may be one of these. Please note this allowance may not apply for other airlines on this route.

Avalanche airbags are a recent evolution in avalanche safety, and still present headaches for airlines when travelling with them. Broadly speaking, avalanche airbags, both gas and battery powered, are able to be carried on planes safely and freely, although a whole host of potential pitfalls lie along the way. It is essential you follow the appropriate guidance when packing and travelling with your avalanche airbag to ensure it all arrives at your destination safely.

The following guide is designed to help you understand the myriad of different procedures for travelling with an avalanche airbag. Whilst International Air Transport Association (IATA) rules do allow for the carriage of both gas and battery powered airbags, this is open to the discretion of individual national authorities, airlines and airports to implement the specifics of the rule.

Please Note – Gas powered airbags are not permitted on American carriers or on flights to/from the USA owing to stringent FAA regulations. A small minority of American carriers may allow empty gas canisters, but this is done at their discretion.

The Ski Club advises following the below steps to ensure your avalanche airbag arrives safely.

Gas Canister Airbags:
  • IATA regulations allow for an avalanche airbag equipped with one (1) gas canister (full or empty) and one (1) explosive trigger to be carried by an individual.
  • Ensure all elements of the system are detached from each other to avoid accidental triggering of the system mid-flight – place each element in clear plastic bags to ensure there is no chance of them linking and detonating.
  • Place the gas canister and detonator elements inside the avalanche airbag – this demonstrates to security staff that the gas canister is part of the avalanche airbag system, and therefore allowed by IATA rules, and not simply an independent canister of gas, which is not normally allowed.
  • It is advisable to slip a copy of the relevant part of the IATA regulations in with the canister – whilst this advice is a few years old from when avalanche airbags were not common items, it can help re-assure airport security staff who may search your bag without you present that this is indeed allowable in your bag.
  • When travelling with the airbag in checked baggage, place this at the top of the bag to allow you to easily access it to demonstrate it has been packed appropriately to airport check-in or security staff.
  • Double-check with your airline whether you need to pre-register your airbag with them – different airlines have different rules on this.


Battery Powered Airbags:

Travelling with battery powered airbags is a much simpler affair. IATA rules allow for one (1) battery below 100kwh rating to be carried in either checked or hand luggage.

American carriers and flights to the USA do allow batteries, but only if the battery or system model has not been part of a previous product recall – this is something that effects a surprising number of battery systems, so check carefully with your airline before travelling.


When flying to the mountains, remember:

  • All skis must be packed in appropriate ski bags
  • You can often save money booking ski carriage in advance, but some airlines won’t allow this
  • Your boots can normally be taken on board as part of your carry-on allowance
  • Major airports will feature a host of transfer options if you are planning elements seperately
  • Most airlines will accept avalanche airbags on their flights; check guidance and regulations carefully, and ensure they are packed appropriately, especially gas canister airbags
  • Full gas canisters for avalanche airbags are not permitted on flights to the US or on US airlinesETIAS pre-clearance is required by any non-EU/non-Schengen Area passport/visa holder who an temporarily access this area without a visa

Ross Woodhall

Have more questions on flying to the mountains?

The Ski Club’s expert Info & Advice team are on hand to help