Airline Surfboard Fees and Charges
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 2012 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, 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. QANTAS used to be one of the most surfer friendly airlines, but they now charge $367AUS for a boardbag on a flight from Australia-Bali. That’s each way too.
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.
Breakdown of Airline Surfboard Fees and Charges | March 2012
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!
|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 under 6’6″ are included in you normal baggage allowance. If you’re checking in another bag, you’ll have to pay $55USD.Boardbags 6’6″+ up to a max weight of 23kg are charged at $75USD for flights within Europe and the Caribbean, and $200USD elsewhere.|
|Air New Zealand||$25USD per boardbag||Surfboards are included a part of your check-in allowance, which generally allows for one free bag. If your boardbag is an additional bag add $25USD each way.|
|Air Pacific||$50USD per boardbag||Max weight of 23kg and length of 9’6″.|
|Air Tahiti Nui||Free||Boardbag is free with a weight limit of 23kg.|
|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||£25per boardbag||Surfboards allowed as sporting equipment. £25 for 12kg in addition to £28 for 20kg general check-in baggage.|
|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.|
|Garuda||Free||First 15kg 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||Surf boards must be booked 24 hours in advance. For flights to/from Brazil boards are $60USD each. Max length 8’2”.|
|Japan Airlines||$150USD per bag||Two boards allowed per boardbag. Under 6’8″ included as part of check-in allowance, over 6’8″ is $150USD.|
|Jet Blue||$50USD per board||$50USD per board, one board per bag. No surfboards on flights to 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 under 6’6″ and up to 23kg are included as part of your check-in baggage allowance. Boardbags between 6’6″ and 9’6″ 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||$20-$525AUD per boardbag||Boards are included in check-in baggage limit on South West Pacific routes. For flights within Australia, boards are $20AUD, and $105AUD for flights to the Americas. Max weight 23kg and length 9’ applies. If you’re flying elsewhere a 15kg boardbag will cost you $105AUD to NZ & PNG, $367AUD to Bali & Asia (!) and $525AUD to Europe and Africa. These prices are each way.|
|Ryan Air||€40 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||$50USD 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||$60AUD per boarbag||Fee is charged per boardbag per 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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