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Surfboard Travel: Which Airline Do I Choose?

April 12, 2011 1 Comment

We get it. Digging through the baggage policy section of a poorly cobbled together airline site is probably the last thing you want to do before you head out on a surf vacation. Don't panic, we've done all of that for you. Prices and fees up to date at point of post. If there's something we missed, comment below and we'll be sure to update! Below you'll find a color coded table.

  1. The Gold represents the best of the best. These airlines are highly surfer friendly, offering to transfer surfboards at reasonable rates with very few additional fees. Bless em.
  2. Silver airlines are an acceptable alternative to gold. It's still cheaper and safer that shipping internationally, but make sure you read carefully. Some of those policies are pretty absurd.
  3. Next, Poo-colored. These airlines will try and take you for every dime you've got. Crazy fee stacks, unreasonable restrictions, avoid these at all costs.
  4. Finally, White: which are airlines with highly variable fees. Kind of a random grab bag depending on destination and time of year. Better to just call in and ask.
Some tips:
  • Prices are one-way only. Sorry!
  • Linear size is: length + width + height.
  • Remove you fins before you bag your board.
  • Pad your ride (esp the nose and tail) before letting the airline handle it.
NOTE: Based on our research prices and fees were up to date at point of post. If there's something we missed or wrong based on your experience, PLEASE comment below and we'll be sure to update!
Aer Lingus 516-622-4222
*No charge for business class or flights between North American and Ireland. Expect a fee of $40 per surfboard payable online. Maximum board size: 9'2"
Aero Mexico 800-237-6639

One-way per board.

Maximum board size: 9'0".

Air Canada 888-247-2262
Each board counts as 1 x check in luggage. Max linear dimensions (length + width + height): 9'1". Max length: 6'8".
Air Emirates 800-777-3999
Included in your checked baggage.
Air New Zealand 800-262-1234
You can take one sporting item in addition to your check in. For international flights, this will run you 50% of extra bag cost.
Air Tahiti Nui 877-824-4846
Maximum weight: 50lbs. One board to a bag. Additional boards: $150 each.
British Airways 800-AIRWAYS
Boards free as checked baggage. Otherwise it's $60. Boards must be smaller than 75ins x 29.5ins x 25.5 ins.
Interjet (Mexico) 866-285-9525
Maximum weight: 55 lbs/passenger. Every lb over that will run you 50 pesos plus tax.
Jet Blue 800-538-2583
One board per bag. *No surfboards allowed on flights to Santo Domingo or Santiago. Maximum weight 100 lbs.
Lan 866-435-9526
Maximum size: 300 linear inches or 50 lbs.
South African Airlines 800-722-9675
Boards free as part of 2 bag limit. Maximum size: 200 cm or 40 lbs.
Southwest 800-435-9792
This price covers up to 2 boards a bag.
SriLankan Airlines 661-250-8287
One free surfboard. No strings attached, though if you exceed the weight limit, expect to pay the standard fees/lb.
Virgin Atlantic 800-821-5438
Maximum 1 board, 109 inches, and 50 lbs.
Air France 800-237-2747

200 cm and under: $55

Up to 9'7": $200 Above: $273
Air Pacific 800-227-4446
Per surfboard bag fee. Variable Excess Baggage Charge + $22 "Bulky Item" charge. Maximum 115 in. and 50 lbs.
Alaska 800-252-7522
Boards count as checked baggage. Free: Maximum length: 62 in 50 lbs. Over 50lbs: +$50. Up to 80in +$50. Up to 115in + $75.
Bahamas Air 800-222-4262
Costs are per board. Maximum size: 6 ft.
Costs are per board. 2 boards per passenger. $50 to São Paulo and San Jose. Maximum: 115 ins and 70 lbs.
Hawaiian Air 800-367-5320
Two boards per bag. Maximum size: 11ft and 50 lbs. Price drops to $35 between islands. Goes up to $200 to travel to Asia.
Korean Air 800-438-5000
As one of two check in bags: $55. Otherwise: $110. Maximum size: 70lbs and 109 total linear inches (about a 7'2").
Qantas 800-227-4500
As one of two check in bags: free. Must be in a bag. Maximum size: 109 in and 66lbs. Can only be carried to/from/within South West Pacific. Otherwise expect to be billed on weight. Variable oversize fees.
Singapore 800-742-3333
As one of two check in bags: free. Anything in excess of 2 boards will run you $109 each way (US to Singapore). Maximum size: 62 linear inches (now you know why its only silver).
TACA 800-400-TACA
Maximum: 3 surfboards, one bag/passenger. Maximum size: 12 ft and 70 lbs. Prices variable dependent on takeoff location/destination.
TAP Portugal 800-221-7370
Each way per surfboard bag up to 10 kgs. Domestic, Europe, Morocco & Algeria is USD 50. Intercontinental are $100-$140.
USA3000 877-USA-3000
Subject to additional charges.
American Airlines 800-433-7300
One board/person. Maximum 126in and: 70 lbs.
Cathay Pacific 800-233-2742
Costs are per board. Keep your boards in the same bag to avoid the triple cost penalty for additional luggage. No size restrictions.
Continental 800-523-3273
North America: $100/surfboard bag. North America to another continent: $200/bag. Maximum: two board to a bag, 109in and 50lbs.
Delta 800-221-1212
$300 covers your first board. More boards, more monayyyy. Exceed 70lbs, pay more. Avoid at all costs.
Iberia 800-504-8030
One board per passenger. Maximum size: 8'2". If you're stuck using this airline, remember to register your surfboard 24 hrs before your flight. Expect additional charges, taxes, and duties as well.
Lufthansa 800 645-3880
Maximum size: 6'7" and 70lbs. Flying inside Europe: $100, Intercontinental: $200. Exceed the size limit and pay double. Register your surfboard 24 hrs before your flight.
United 800-864-8331
North America (national): $100/surfboard. From North America to another continent: $200. Maximum: two boards per case. Maximum size: 109in and 50lbs.
USAir 800-245-4882
Per board cost.
China Air 800-227-5118
Costs are per board. First: 50% charge, second:100% charge depending on destination. Maximum size: 109in. US to Indo: $109 if you already have two bags.
Japan Airlines 800-525-3663
Costs are per board. First: 50% excess baggage charge, second:100% . Three times the charge if it's over 80 inches. Price varies depending on destination.
Malaysian 800-552-9264
Can be checked in if size reqs met. Per bag costs are 50% of excess baggage charge. Maximum size of 98in.
Thai 800-426-5204
Maximum size: 109in.
Prices and fees up to date at point of post. If there's something we missed, comment below and we'll be sure to update!

1 Response

Samuel Jesse
Samuel Jesse

May 07, 2014

This would of been great in 2011, but I know from a number of airlines this certainly does not apply anymore.

Korean Airlines charged me Oversize Luggage charge, which is more than an extra bag. It would approx $250USD. I managed to talk them down to letting me pay just the extra baggage charge at $130 because we had numerous extra bags we also paid for.

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