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Airline Surfboard Fees and Charges

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Posted March 21, 2012 by in

Breakdown of Airline Surfboard Fees and Charges | July 2013

Air travel may be more affordable than ever, but times are tight and airlines are cutting costs like never before. Charging for drinks, snacks and check-in baggage is par for the course these days.

It’s not always possible to choose your airline, but taking surfboard fees into consideration when planning a trip can save you big bucks. A cheap ticket ain’t all it seems if you’re gonna get slugged with exorbitant surfboard baggage charges at the airport.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to airline surfboard fees and charges. This information is correct as of March 2014 and we’ll be updating it a couple of times a year.

 

Surfer Friendly Airlines

The best airlines are Air Tahiti Nui, Etihad, Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Lan Chile, QANTAS, Singapore Airlines, SriLankan and Virgin Atlantic.

Your boards are included in your check-in baggage allowance. Stay under your weight limit and fly with your boards for free.

A couple of other airlines, like Air Asia and Air New Zealand, charge a reasonable fee for surfboards. They may not be free, but we reckon this is pretty fair.

 

Airlines to Avoid

United, US Airways, China Pacific and Iberia have hefty charges per board. There’s a bunch of others (see chart below) which will also gouge you for traveling with your boards.

Up to a few years ago a small group of the major airlines would carry your boards for free, but many of them have introduced a range of expensive surfboard charges.

By far the worst is British Airways, which for a brief period banned all surfboards. After a huge surfer-led public backlash, they’ve eventually relented and agreed to take boardbags up to 6’2” on their planes. Which is great if you’re a grommet or a midget, but not much use to anyone else.

 

Random Weirdness

Been hunting? Many American airlines will let you check-in antlers. Just make sure they’re free from raw meat, blood and bad odours.

If you’re flying Ethihad you’ll be pleased to know that you can take your falcon on board as carry-on baggage. First and business class passengers can take two falcons. Handy eh?

 

Breakdown of Airline Surfboard Fees and Charges | July 2013

The list below is provided as a guide only and airline policies change regularly. Make sure you check the specific airline baggage policies yourself.

What are your experiences checking in surfboards? Have we got something wrong?

Leave a comment below and let us know!


 

AIRLINE CHARGES COMMENTS
Aero Mexico $60USD per board One-way fee per board.
Aer Lingus €30-40 per boardbag Boards can be carried free between Ireland and North America if it is your only checked-in bag. Otherwise €30 charge for pre-booked boards or €40 at the airport. Max weight 15kg and length 9′.
Air Asia $30AUD per boardbag Prices vary slightly per destination, but average $30AUD for a boardbag up to 20kg per flight.
Air Canada $50USD per board Fee is per board. Pre-register your board when booking, but boards will only be accepted at check-in on a space available basis. Max packed length 6’8″.
Air France $55-200USD per boardbag Boardbags are charged as ‘specialty’ baggage. If you’re checking in another bag, you’ll have to pay $55USD. Boardbags up to a max weight of 23kg are charged at $75USD for flights within Europe and the Caribbean, and $200USD elsewhere.
Air New Zealand From $25USD per boardbag Surfboards are included a part of your check-in allowance, which generally allows for one free bag. Boardbags over 2m and 23kg are subject to excess baggage fees.
Air Tahiti Nui Free Boardbag is free with a weight limit of 23kg and length of 6’6″.
Alaska Airlines $50-75USD per boardbag $50USD for boardbags up to 6’8″. $75USD for boardbags 6’9″+. Max weight 23kg and length 9’.
American $150USD per boardbag Max weight of 30kg and length 10′.
British Airways Free-$50USD Free as part of your checked baggage allowance, otherwise $50USD per bag. Max boardbag length 6’2”. Yep, you read that right.
Cathay Pacific Free Included in your 20kg check-in baggage allowance. Max length 6’8″.
Continental $200USD per boardbag $200USD for a boardbag with up to 4 boards. Max weight 23kg and length 9’6”.
China Pacific $50-100USD per board First board is charged at 50% of the excess baggage fee, extra boards will cost you 100% of the excess baggage fee. Fees vary for destinations, but you’re looking at about $50USD for the first board and $100USD for each board after that. Max length 9′.
Delta Airlines $100-150 for two boards Two boards allowed per boardbag – extra boards cost the same again per board. $100USD if you’re flying to/from Brazil, $150USD for everywhere else, except for Honolulu-Maui which is $20USD. Max weight 32kg and length 9’6″.
EasyJet £30-40 per boardbag Surfboards are classified as “small” sports equipment with a 20kg limit.
Etihad Free Surfboards are included as part of your 23kg check-in baggage allowance. Max length 9′.
Emirates Free Boards up to 10’ are included as part of your 30kg check-in baggage allowance.
Fiji Airways $50-100 per boardbag Fees vary. Boardbags up to 23kg and 109in will be charged each way.
Garuda Free First 23kg of sporting equipment included in general check-in allowance. Beyond this excess fees apply.
Hawaiian Air $25-200USD per boardbag Two boards allowed per bag. $35USD for flights within Hawaii, $100USD from travel between the US and Hawaii, $200USD for international destinations. For direct travel from Sydney to US, boards are included in your check-in baggage allowance. Max weight 23kg and length 11′.
Iberia €150 per board Max weight 30kg / max length 10ft.
Japan Airlines $150USD per bag Two boards allowed per boardbag. If your board is longer than 100cm(!) they recommend checking ahead of time if it will be accepted.
Jet Blue $50USD per board $50USD per board, one board per bag. No surfboards on flights to Bermuda, Haiti, Santiago and Santo Domingo.
Jet Star $35AUD per boardbag Boards can be carried as part of paid check-in luggage (eg $35AUD for 25kg). Max length 6’2” for domestic and short-haul flights, 9′ for long-haul international flights.
KLM $55-100USD per boardbag Boardbags will be charged at $55-100USD depending on your destination.
Korean Air $50-200USD per boardbag Fee is per boardbag. Max weight 32kg and length is roughly 7’2′ (max of 109 linear inches L+W+H). Contact Korean Air directly for accurate prices.
Lan Chile Free Surfboards included as part of check-in baggage allowance. Max weight 23kg.
Lufthansa $100-200USD per boardbag Surfboards need to be pre-registered. $100USD for flights within Europe, $200USD for intercontinental flights. Max weight 32kg and length 6’7″. Larger than this, boards cost double.
Malaysian Varies Boardbags up to a max length 9’6″ will be accepted, and each kg is charged at 1-1.5% of the ticket price.
Qantas Free Boards are included in check-in baggage limit up to 23kg. Max length 9ft (109in). Boardbags up to 32kg or 9ft will be charged excess. Anything longer or heavier has to be sent by freight.
Ryan Air €50 per boardbag Max weight 20kg. Recommended to be booked in advance.
Singapore Free-$60USD+ per boardbag Boards are included in your 20kg check-in allowance. Beyond this, you’ll be charged for 6kg of excess baggage for the first 15kg, and then for each kg past this. The rate varies from $10-60USD per kg depending on your route. Different charges apply for flights from the US and Brazil – any extra charges will be around $120USD per boardbag.
South African Free Included in your 20kg check-in baggage allowance. Max length 6’6″.
Southwest $75USD per boardbag Max length 6’6”.
SriLankan Airlines Free Included in your check-in baggage allowance.
TACA $125USD per boardbag 3 surfboards allowed per boardbag, up to 32kg and 12’.
TAM Airlines Free Max 3 boards allowed, up to 9′ long. Included in general baggage allowance.
Thai $180USD for one board One board under 9’ is charged at 5kg of excess baggage. Each additional board will be charged on a weight basis. These charges vary for destinations, but average $30-40USD per kg. Contact Thai directly for more specific information.
Tiger Air $60-80AUD per boarbag Fee is charged per boardbag per flight.
Turkish Airlines €30-60 per boardbag Max weight of 32kg. Fee is per leg of total flight – for long flights with stopovers, the fee will be charged per individual flight.
United Airlines $100-220USD per board Fees are charged per board. $100USD for domestic flights, $200USD for flights elsewhere and $220USD to Australia. Max length 9’6” and weight 23kg.
US Airways $200USD per board Fee is charged per board.
Virgin Atlantic Free Boardbags included in check-in baggage allowance. Max length 9’ and weight 23kg.
Virgin America $50 per board Max board length 6’6”.
V Australia Free Boardbags included in check-in baggage allowance. Max length 9’ and weight 23kg.
Virgin Australia Free-$30AUD Boards included in check-in baggage allowance. Depending on your fare type you may have to pay for check-in baggage. Contact Virgin to check max board length as it varies for aircraft type.

 

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19 Comments


  1.  
    colinl

    Travelling to Padang next month and want to take my mal which is 2.75m, does anyone know the length restrictions for Singapore Air and Garuda?




  2.  

    This is what happened to our surfboards flying home from NZ with Qantas on Sunday
    http://sidewalk.nu/qantas-how-did-you-manage-this/




  3.  
    carys

    Sleazyjet (easyJet) since nov 2013 are now charging £60!!!!!! Disgusting increase! Over 100% and baggage is £35…. Thomson much better rates




  4.  
    Antoine

    You’re forgetting Turkish Airlines…!!

    They’ll take it as long as it’s under 32 kg and will charge you 30 EUR for short-haul flights and 90 EUR for long-haul flights with stopovers…!

    I’m a windsurfer so my gear weights a bit more: I need the 32 kg and 30 EUR or 90 EUR is a pretty good deal when similar companies like Thai Airways or Iberia can charge up to 600 EUR for the same 32 kg board bag…

    The worst part of it all is that most of the time, it’s hit and miss with most companies! You might get away with paying 50 EUR but on your return flight (same company, same class) you’ll have to part with 350 EUR… And let’s not forget the bargaining! If you can negotiate and bring down the price, it means they have no real policy and the employees might be taking some of that fee…!




  5.  
    alexis

    air asia will only carry boards to max length 277cm or 9 foot – i found this out the hard way, after i had already booked & paid for our flights




  6.  
    editor

    Be sure to let us know how you go Ollie – it’s always good to hear first hand experiences. We’ve found that airlines are usually very inconsistent in how they enforce their surfboard policies. Good luck!




  7.  
    Ollie

    Ops… I already bought a ticket with ba ( europe to barbados) thinking it will not a problem for 20cm more (my board is 6.2 + 6.1 + bag.. It really looks small when packed.. It’s a small differance)… Shall i take the risk? Any other BA experiance out there?




  8.  
    Pieter

    This is what the lovely helpdesk from Korean Air wrote me after inquiring what it would cost to take a 6’4″ surfboard with me from Qingdao (China) to Bali on a 3 week surf trip:

    “Thank you for choosing Korean air.

    If you check in one baggage (23kg/158) and one surfboard( 23-32kg/159-203cm),

    the fee for the surfboard is USD325 (extra piece USD100 + overweight USD75 + oversize USD150).”

    That would be 650$ for a return flight…. Before May 2012 it was just 75$…. My return tickets were cheaper than the extra fees they are charging for one board! So you have to pay AND for an extra piece AND on top of that you pay extra weight…. Shouldn’t that extra weight already be in the extra piece??? I know one thing: Last time I’ll be flying them…




  9.  
    Biff

    Avoid flying KLM! They have changed their policy on surfboards. I’m flying from the UK to Bali next week and have just got off the phone with them. It’s going to cost 600 euros to take my board. Unfortunately my flight is non-refundable because I booked it through expedia, if it was refundable I would be switching airlines immediately! I’ve flown with several airlines in the past and found that Singapore are the best!




  10.  
    Faustino

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  11.  
    Lars

    air france/ klm has changed the policy.

    “Surfboard between 107 and 300 cm (42-118 in) in length, max. 23 kg (50.5 lbs) is now 75-200€ or $ depending on zone (4 zones apply).” information here: http://www.klm.com/travel/pa_en/prepare_for_travel/baggage/excess/bagagge_piececoncept.htm




  12.  
    Simone

    Ryan air now charges €50! Volotea, a brand new european lowcost airline, “only” €30 within 20kg and €60 within 32kg. Great post mates!




  13.  
    Sav

    very handy, thanks!




  14.  
    Darren

    British Airways were a nightmare, Flew Sydney to Singapore on Qantas no problem, booked to fly back from Singapore to Sydney on BA, I had a coffin bag with three 6’6″ and they refused to take them. I had checked with BA before leaving SYD and they assured me the size of the bag was OK. I had to change my filght to get them and me home “NEVER AGAIN”. On the other hand Garuda, Singapore, Qantas, Malaysian, Air Asia, Emirates, Virgin & even jetstar have been good.




  15.  
    Morgyface

    I flew to the Caribbean with British Airways. I panicked after seeing their 6’2″ limit, but they were very relaxed and let all of the short boards on the flight, some as big as 6’6″. I think ultimately they would turn away a SUP or long-board but your average short-board will get on, and what’s more there’s no charge, so certainly not “by far the worst”.




  16.  
    Caroline

    Air France allowed 2 bag of 23kg each, surfboards are included in these two bag if less than 23kg. So you can travel with a boardbag of 4 or 5 boards plus a bag of 23kg… preaty good deal I ‘d say !




  17.  
    editor

    Cheers for the heads up David. We’ll be in touch with Korean Air and clarify their pricing. 175 quid one way for a boardbag… ouch!




  18.  
    David

    I flew Korean Air with a single board bag UK – Fiji and was charged 175 pounds one way at check in. Their website was ambiguous about surfboard charges and there was no way to get a price in advance. I’m not sure your quoted 50USD for Korean Air could be relied upon.




  19.  
    Belinda

    Nice work guys, very handy. Garuda are board friendly, we brought back 10 boards from perth/bali/Padang/jakarta/Bali/perth for 4 people in an assortment of single, double and quad board bags and the only thing they cared about was they were packed well enough. …just sign on the dotted line for their taking no responsibility. Internal flights they strap 2 singles together and all with a smile!





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