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23/08/2008 – Airline Fees For Surfboards Wipeout Traveling Surfers?
Yesterday evening I would an interesting article in the Los Angles Times that cited exorbitant fees for flying with surfboards.
While I have not surfed in years (and I do miss it, I grew up spending 7 days a week at the beach all summer long) I have been an avid snowboarder for two decades and see these fees as completely out of line for my fellow ‘boarders.’
Surfboards are being singled out for excess fees while many airlines have no fees for golf clubs or skis & snowboards. Delta Airlines, for example, allows a set of golf clubs, or a single ski/snowboard bag to fly for free if they are under 50lbs, while they now charge a fee of US$175 each way for a surfboard to fly on their US domestic routes and US$300 each way on international routes. Additionally, Delta now charges a US$20 fee, each way for surfboards to fly on Honolulu and Maui routes.
Continental charges US$100 each way for a quiver bag of up to two boards and United is US$85 each way for boards under 109″(277cm) and US$170 for boards longer than 109″(277cm). I see the $170 fee as more of a special handing fee for over-sized items.
Surfboards while longer and wider than golf clubs and skis/snowboards generally weight less than skis/snowboards when packed with boots and they certainly weigh less than flying with golf clubs.
British Airways has actually banned flying with surfboards on their airline since the Fall-of-2007. British Airways has also banned Kayaks, yet it remains a premier sponsor the British Olympic Team and the 2012 Olympics in London. The 2012 Olympics will include the Olympic Sport of Kayaking…….of course no Olympic Kayaker will be able to travel on British Airways.
Airlines are citing ‘higher costs of fuel’ for transporting surfboards. I can see a potential ‘handing fee’ for surfboards due to the size, but the actual weight of a surfboard vs that of a set of golf clubs would indicate a significantly higher baggage fee for golf clubs than a surfboard.
If the airlines are going to cite ‘fuel fees’ they really need to be consistent and not single out a single group of travelers. If airlines want a more consistent source of revenue, single out the golfers. Golfers fly with more weight, fly more consistently for ‘business golf outings’ and are more likely to ‘expense’ the cost when traveling on business.
Are you a surfer looking to enjoy good waves, good weather and no fee to fly with your board? Check out Australia and New Zealand, as neither Qantas nor Air New Zealand is charging to fly with your boards, even when traveling with your quiver.