Article

2013 Surfboard Baggage Fee Comparison

An updated breakdown of airline baggage fees

| posted on January 17, 2013

After you choose the best airline, your next worry is whether your boards arrive in one piece. Photo: Burkard

Every overseas surf trip usually starts and ends with gripes about surfboard baggage fees. We complain that it’s unfair and outrageous (because it is), but let’s face it, prices are only going up from here, so it’s time we do a little research before we go. Here we’ve provided you with a comprehensive breakdown of fees, so the next time you get slapped with a $400 one-way fee, the only person to blame is yourself. *Be sure to note which airlines charge PER BAG and which charge PER BOARD. (Fees are accurate as of 1/17/13)

(FROM THE MAG: Read “Gripes of the Fortunate” for more about our plight against baggage fees.)

AIRLINE
FIRST BAG
ADD’T. BAG
SURFBOARD
NOTES
Aeromexico $0 $0 $76/bag Max length: 9′
Air Canada $0-$25 $35-$100 $50/board WILL NOT accept bags over 6’6″
Air France $0 $75-100 $55-150* *Depending on destination
Air New Zealand $0 $150 $0* *Free if only checked bag, otherwise $150/bag
Air Pacific $0 $0 $50/bag Max length: 9’6”
Air Tahiti Nui $0 $75 $0* If under 6’6″. If over, $150/bag.
American (US or PR) $25 $35 $150/bag Max weight: 70 lbs.
American (to/from Mexico) $0 $40 $150/bag Max weight: 70 lbs.
American (to/from Europe) $0 $60 $150/bag Max weight: 70 lbs.
Alaska Airlines $20 $20 $50/bag up to 6’6″, $75/bag 6’7″+ Max length: 115 in (length X width X height)
British Airways $0 $0 $0* *WILL NOT carry boards over 6’3″
China Airlines $0 $0 $150/board for under 9′, $225/board for 9′+* Varies slightly by destination
Continental (US, PR, Canada) $25 $35 $100/bag* *$200 if over 70 lbs.; Max length: 9’6″
Continental (International) $0 $40 $200/bag* *$400 if over 70 lbs.; Max length: 9’6″
COPA $0 $0 $75/bag* *Two boards max per bag
Delta Airlines (within US and Canada) $25 $35 $150/bag* *2 boards per bag max; Max size: 9’6″ and 70 lbs.
Delta (to/from Caribbean) $25 $40 $150/bag* *2 boards per bag max; Max size: 9’6″ and 70 lbs.
Delta (to/from Europe, S. and Central America) $0 40-$100 $150/bag* *2 boards per bag max; Max size: 9’6″ and 70 lbs.
Delta (to/from Brazil) $0 $0 $100/bag* *2 boards per bag max; Max size: 9’6″ and 70 lbs.
Hawaiian (interisland) $17 $17 $25/bag *Two boards max. per bag
Hawaiian (to/from North America) $25 $35 $100/bag* *Two boards max. per bag
Hawaiian (International) $0 $0 $100/bag* *Two boards max. per bag
Interjet $0 $0 $0 (None)
JetBlue $0 $30 $50/board (None)
Korean Air $0 $0 $200/bag (None)
LAN $0 $0 $0* *$50 if exceeds 50 lbs.
Qantas $0 $0 $0* *If included in baggage allowance. Cannot exceed 9′
South African Airways $0 $0 $0* *WILL NOT carry boards over 6’6″
Southwest $0 $0 $75/bag (None)
TACA $0 $0 $125/bag* *Three boards max. per bag.
United Airlines (Domestic) $25 $35 $100/bag Max length: 9’6″
United (to/from Europe) $0 $100 $200/bag Max length: 9’6″
United (to/from Mexico) $0 $40 $200/bag Max length: 9’6″
United (to/from other international destinations) $0 $0 $200/bag Max length: 9’6″
US Airways (Americas) $25 $35 $200/board (None)
US Airways (Transatlantic) $0 $100 $200/board (None)
Virgin America $25 $25 $50/board *Additional charge if more than 50 lbs.
Virgin America (Domestic) $25 $25 $50/board *Additional charge if more than 50 lbs.
Virgin Atlantic (International) $0 $60 $0* *If included in baggage allowance.
Virgin Australia $0 $0 $0* *If included in baggage allowance.
  • mark

    note;

    if you fly jet blue and check a bag in addition to checking a surfboard, the cost is 90$, 50 for the surfboard and 40 for the additional check bag. i just flew with them two weeks ago, wasn’t stoked on the 40$ added on top

  • Anti Airlines

    So basically with a lot of airlines these days, on a round trip flight, bringing a surfboard is like having to buy an extra ticket. Take that into account when you think you’ve found a “good deal” on a flight. So lame. I wonder how much these airlines charge for golf clubs (which are usually heavier)…

  • http://wisdom-surfboards.com Wisdom

    Flew out of LAX to Bali (DPS) on Malaysia Airlines Nov. 2012. It was $150 per one way. However, when I left Bali a month later they they charged $0.00 for my boards to return back to LAX.

  • Wisdom

    Updated to my previous post… Should have read $150 per board one way.

  • Kekoa Ledesma

    So did Korean air change their policy? Surfline and people who have used them are saying that they charge up to $200 a board!! Right now they have the best deals from honolulu to Bali.

  • Andre Kawa

    A Lam cobrou $100,00 Lima x São Paulo em Dezembro de 2012
    minha capa nao passou do peso e mesmo assim tive que pagar.

  • Kooks McGee

    For people who are bitch about golf clubs, we surfers have not helped the matter by putting broken boards in bags and claiming the airlines broke it. Also Golf clubs don’t get damaged like boards do. But I do agree, it is robbery to charge us this much for boards.

  • Bruce Sanchez

    Put 3-4 finless boards in one huge board sock then duct tape the mess out if it. When they ask you how many the answere is always one. This has worked on tons of Indo trips. The chinese airline people;Eva china air Cathay pacific air china jal don’t know the difference. I’ve never surfed maccaronies but I have had plenty of lasangia. If you ever in Singapore check out the orchard towers!!!

  • Robert

    Double check the Alaska Airlines listing. They list 115 “linear” inches, which means you are supposed to take the length+width+thickness and those numbers added up cannot be more than 115″ otherwise they charge you air freight which is more expensive.

  • coach

    Pretty un-comprehensive list. Volaris doesn’t charge for boards just per Kilo, so keep that in mind. Cathay Pac charges mucho.. I saw why. they have Pods which load the luggage, and the boards will not fit easily in there. Spirit air also a ripoff at $100 per board. but you can throw clothing in and save on other bag fees.

  • Jeff

    It would be helpful to see FedEx rates to ship boards.

  • swizzy

    I called Swiss to take my one board 7.6 back to Switzerland from LAX and they wanted 300$…

  • Chris G

    Just got back from Fiji on Air Pacific, it cost $50 USD out of LAX for a double board bag, they didn’t seem to be checking the numbers at all, the return trip was only $50 Fijian ($28.50 USD) not sure if that always happens, last year my return was free of charge, roll of the dice I guess . Make sure to bring your own entertainment, close to half of the inseat monitors are broken or have a glitch & the planes are dated, new planes are on the way but for now they’re wasting a bunch of money on re-branding, fly Quantas if you can.

  • Brett

    Go Aussie Airlines they know what’s up!

  • michael

    US airlines will not except boards over 6’8″

  • Brian

    Singapore Airlines doesn’t charge for boards going to Asia and is a great airline.

  • Eric

    Thank god I’m a bodysurfer… V-Duck swim Fins = Free. I feel for you all.

  • Davo

    China Southern didnt charge me for my boards (no additional bags) from Melbourne to Paris but I got hit with a $130EUR on the return flight. Not too bad considering I paid $1090 return for the flights). Emirates dont charge when flying with boards.

  • Dan

    Singapore Airlines all day going to Indo/Oz, won’t fly with anyone else!

  • Frank

    Anyone fly on Royal Air Maroc with boards? I’ve heard they don’t charge if it’s your only checked bag. Can anyone confirm this?

  • http://www.elusivesurf.com Nick Clewer

    No charge with Emirates, Sri Lankan, Qatar or Singapore Airlines.

  • mike

    if you’re a regular at some surf destination, might be worth getting a local shaper to make and store a board for you… that’s what I do.

  • Kekoa Ledesma

    Bruce that is a freakin brilliant and (devious) idea!!! Going to try that. Just got to find a baggy old board sock!!! LOL

  • Let surfboards fly free

    Just flew with Qantas…assuming that you get 15kg sporting allowance for boards…no more! After your first free bag, its $90 for additional bags if ya pre book, otherwise like me you get slapped with 150 big ones at the airport for ya sleds…

  • Ruth Walker

    Qantas now charges $100 or $75 if you book online.
    Found out the hard way on a recent trip to NZ

  • Dylan

    Flown to Fiji twice recently. Charged the $50 both times heading over and not on the way back. Second time on the way home they were insistent they were going to charge me but couldn’t find the right paper work or something, haha love the Fijians!! And it’s $50 Fijian flying out of the country.. so basically $25.

    ^Air Pacific

  • Victor

    Garuda airlines no charge for your board bag, max 3 in bag

  • Rob

    Leaving london for Denpasar 15/01/2012 Singapore Airlines wanter £150 per bag. Eventually not paid due to changing check in desk but website now states board charges.

  • sean

    anyone know about asiana or air asia????

  • Al

    To be avoided, Iberia……….150 euros PER board!! Ohhh! and the worst food EVER!!

  • Jamie S.

    Hey guys,

    Not sure when you updated this last but you still list Continental Airlines, which merged with United back in 2011. Anyway, for lots of the airlines that aren’t listed here, I’d definitely recommend surfers check out SurferLiving.com. They list every airline you can think of and it looks like they update regularly.

    http://SurferLiving.com/airline-boardbag-charges

  • LARRY PERLIN

    Has anybody traveled United Airlines to Managua from California during June or July? I see that this data lists United as “PER BAG” but their agents and web site info is very unclear as far as multiple boards. Does anybody have a reference to a hard rule in writing that I can carry with me in case they try to charge for multiple boards packed in one bag. Please copy me at lawrenceperlin@sbcglobal.net. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Matt

    You should have included Singapore Airlines. Please continue to update.

  • matt

    United Airlines official policy (and note that Continental is now United): $200/bag, under 9’6, up to four boards in the bag. Continental’s policy before the merger charged per board (up to $700 for four boards), and some employees that transitioned from Continental to United still haven’t figured out the new policy. Don’t let them hassle you for having multiple boards in a bag, and if you have a long forced layover, make sure to get a receipt ensuring that you have paid for the boards all the way through to your destination, even if you have to collect your bag mid-trip to clear customs. Also, United will let bodyboards on for free.

    Air Asia is usually $50 for a board bag, but you can often get it on for free.

    Frontier Airlines will let your boards on as a normal bag, but the airline is based in Colorado, so it is pretty rare to fly Frontier with boards.

  • Craig in Hong Kong

    Used this before… box your boards up in cardboard so that its a rectangular shape. Tell the checkin staff its ” Art Work” …. No Charges… been doin this for years…. Never been charged… helps not to check in with a copy of Surfer mag under your arm also!

  • jlb

    BA charge £30 online/ £40 at check-in, each way for surfboards. If your only check in bag is a surfboard (ie. no extra luggage) then it’s part of your baggage allowance. Trust me, I learnt this lesson the hard way.

  • Hillary

    <3 Surfer Mag but for airline board charges it's Surferliving.com all the way. They list every airline you can think of. Pretty much all the questions people are asking in this forum you can find answers to on that website.

  • http://s243637212.online.de/2013/04/24/hurtownia-torebek-damskich/ hurtownia torebek

    Good article. I am facing many of these issues as
    well..

  • http://N/A Justin

    Please add Lion/wings airlines on here they charged us 200 000 rps per board irrespective if you have 2 or 3 boards in one bag

  • http://?? Jim O

    Regarding South African Air, even though their stated limit is 6’6″, I flew with a 7 ft coffin bag from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth in May and did not get hassled or charged a fee because it was my only checked luggage (I carried on a small suitcase).

  • Lorenzo Broomfield

    I prefer to ship my bags, boards, ski’s etc., via a company called Bag Voyaage (www.bagvoyaage.com). Prices are very reasonable. No complaints with this company.

  • rob

    air asia – cheap airways and sports allowance is only $15 when ordered online. covered my 2 boards no probs.

  • Mark Augias

    Anyone flown with Saudi? From what I can make out it should be free, part of checked baggage… but when I phoned to confirm they had no idea. They just bounced me between departments, which is always fun.

  • John Lennon

    buying a board specifically to fit within airasia guidelines. the max size they take is 9’1″ – so can get a mal thats 9’0″ and then have to look for a thin case. used t easy in the old days…

  • Iain

    Note for Air Canada: The fine print says wont accept boards over 6’6″. I had a 6’6 and a 6’1 in a 7ft board bag which I got through with seeing as the boards were within limits, the bag is over but it doesn’t state maximums for the board bag. They also charge per board, not per board bag, so I got hit twice.
    Iain

  • richard

    Some of this info is not accurate. I just flew this month (Dec. 2013) Korean Air from Seoul to USA and was NOT charged for my board (checked in one suitcase and one board). a few months ago I flew Virgin Australia (domestic, Sydney – Byron; also Byron – Melbourne) and was charged $50AUS each time (plus they snapped my board in half). I think it’s best you actually talk to people who have flown with boards rather than just rely on airline company websites if you want to write an article that’s truly useful to travelers with surfboards, ‘coz so far you’re wrong in two out of two cases…

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