Air Travel with Tubeless Road Tires?



What to people think about flying with tubeless road tires? Do you just lower the psi (to what level?) before packing?

My concern is about losing the seal at the bead and having to go out and buy CO2 cartridges to seal up the tire again, not to mention having to buy the same sealant in a foreign country, if you lost some sealant. Although I’ve successfully installed more than a dozen tubeless mtb tires, I’ve failed in trying to run my Schwalbe Pro 1s tubeless so I wonder if tubeless road tires are more finicky than mtb tires. Maybe just running tubes are better for air travel.


Jonathan totally disagrees with me on this one.

I fly with tubeless tires pumped up. I also dread losing the seal and having to find an air compressor or go to a bike shop.

I’ve never had a problem. I’m also not pumping up to absolute max air pressure. I’m like 25 for MTB and 90 for road.


Just lower the pressure by some 10PSI and you will be fine. Given that at altitude cabin pressure is only reduced by about 3-4 PSI, I don’t see a real need to deflate tires at all.
I had several instances where due to a small hole in a tire, all air leaked out over night, but it never lost a bead-to-rim seal.


I fly with all wheel configurations, tubeless or not, pumped to 80 psi. Unless you are right at the limit of your setup there’s no chance your wheels will explode while flying. 15-20 psi below the maximum allowed for your setup (rim or tire, whatever is lowest) is safe.

Edit: Simple science addition (please correct me if I’m wrong). Air pressure at sea level is 14.7 psi. Air pressure in space is ~0 psi. If your tires are pumped to 14.7 psi below their maximum at sea level, your wheels will not blow even in space. However, if the airplane you’re in ever enters space you shouldn’t worry about your wheels :blush: Air pressure at 50.000 feet, which is about the maximum cruising altitude of regular airplanes, is 1.61 psi. For simplicity I just keep them pumped at the pressure I ride at, as the maximum for my setup is 130 psi.


I’ve flown a few times with tubeless Schwalbe Pro Ones pumped up to 80psi with no problems. The guy at check in sometimes asks if I’ve deflated my tyres and I tell him I have. The pressure difference when flying is too small to have any significant impact on tyres.