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2017 Surfer’s Airline Baggage Fees Guide

2017 Surfer’s Airline Baggage Fees Guide

surfers airline baggage fees

2017 AIRLINE SURFBOARD BAGGAGE FEES & RULES

Travelling with your surfboard is getting harder year on year but as long as you do your homework it should be trouble free. Support the airlines that support surfers then everyone should be happy.

Here’s the current state of surfboard / sports equipment fees as of the start of 2017.

EU law doesn’t allow bags over 32kg, due to it snapping baggage handlers spines off, so make sure you’re always under weight for your chosen carrier. Most European routes limit you to 20kg and further afield 23kg. But sporting goods, if you’re paying extra, sometimes allow you more. Make sure you always double check the regulations and if in doubt call the airline before booking.

Here are the main airlines that us surfers will encounter flying from the UK and Ireland seeing as that’s our turf.

Speak to friends, get their recommendations, the main takeaway is be super careful when dealing with US carriers and of course Iberia they’re to avoided like the plague.

Travel with surfer friendly flyers, the days of free board carriage are all but done but those that are happy to take boards for a transparent fee like Easyjet etc are to be admired, while they still allow us at least.
Add your recent taking boards on board comments on the FB post and we’ll add the best ones here as they come in.

Compiled by Sharpy All info correct as of 2/1/17

AER LINGUS
Ireland’s national carrier and a good option for hopping further afield as Dublin is a decent hub for the US.
Max weight: 23kg
Max length international: 2.77m/110in
Max length regional: 2.05m/80in
Fee: To North America part of standard baggage allowance.
Other destinations €40 per leg.

AIR ALASKA
If you fancy exploring in the US these guys take two boards in a bag.
Max length: 115in unless on a diddy plane in which case total dimensions: 115in
Max weight: 23kg
Fee: $75

AIR ASIA
Air Asia are a budget carrier based out of Kuala Lumpur and they’re great for connecting to Indo and onwards from Malaysia.
Pre-book board bags as way cheaper and you’re limited to 20kg if you just check in without pre-booking. They’re sticklers for fees but their excess weight fees are real world not crazy. Must be in a boardbag.
Max length: 2.77m/109in
Max weight: 32kg
Pre-book fees per leg: 30kg:£16

AIR CALIN
New Caledonia’s carrier is groovy when it comes to boards, letting you take a 23kg boardbag in addition to your 23kg hold bag. Good work fellas.
Max dimensions: 3m
Max weight: 23kg

AIR CANADA
Amenable to surfers and good way to connect to Hawaii or Central America without having to suffer through US custom queues. Not to mention the mysto cold water Canadian coasts. Board bag counts as one of your checked bags. You can pre-register when booking.
Max length: 80in
Max weight: 23kg
Fee: $6.50 Canadian Dollars per leg handling charge. Not always enforced in our experience.

AIR FRANCE
Free as your checked luggage item (except for Economy Mini and Basic fare tickets).
Max length: 3m
Max weight: 23kg
Fees: €65 to €125 depending on route, mainly the Americas. So slightly confusing all round.
Reader comments: Peg Leg Rik, Paul Phelan and many others strongly urge you avoid Air France at all costs.

AIR NEW ZEALAND
Historically along with Virgin one of the legends of international surfer travel. Board bags no bother as long as in regulation and you can pre-book a board bag as an extra hold bag.
Max length: 2m
Max weight:23kg

AIR TAHITI NUI
For those of you fancying a pop at Teahupo’o or some other Tahitian dreams you might be worth checking Air France. Baggage rules a bit restrictive. Unless you’re going to hit Tea-ah-poo-poo on your 5’8”. Bags between 1.8 and 2m need to be sent as cargo. Board bags over 2m not accepted due to ickle planes.
Max length: 1.8m/70in
Max weight: 25kg
Reader comments: Board bags up to 2.5m ok according to Paul Lenfant

AMERICAN AIRLINES
The American airlines that are left have taken real anti-surfer stance which is pretty ironic considering the Californian roots of most of the world’s idea of surf culture. Anyhoose. AA at least don’t outright ban them like some other carriers but one to be avoided if possible.
Max length: 126in combined dimensions
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: $150USD

AVIANCA
You can take a triple board bag in addition to your hold bag with Colombia’s national carrier.
Max dimensions: 3.7m
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: $125-100 depending on destination

AZORES AIRLINES
Additional 10kg allowance for boards.

BRITISH AIRWAYS
Board bag considered checked baggage as long as it’s in weight. But watch out for the tiny length restriction.
Max dimensions: 1.9m/75in
Max weight: 23kg

DELTA
Allow max two boards in a bag and charge you for it. Like most US carriers best avoided.
Max length: 115in
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: $100-$150 depending on route

EASYJET
Our preferred European budget airline makes it easy to pre-book a board bag and extra hold bags if needed. They take canoes and windsurfers also so bag size rarely an issue. Never had an issue so far and they’ve got the Euro surf destinations down. One sports equipment per person. 6 max per booking.
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: £70 return

EMIRATES
One of the main carriers from Europe to wave rich wonders of Asia features modern planes and a stop off in pleasurable, if not a tad pricey, Dubai. Board bag goes as part of your checked allowance.
Max dimensions: 118in
Max weight: 23kg

ETIHAD
A relatively new player that’s also surfer friendly. Board bag is part of your checked allowance.
Max length: 3m
Max weight: 23kg

FLYBE
A handy UK airline for getting around our islands and across to Ireland. Not the biggest planes but good fares and for SW surfers having a hub at Exeter is a treat. Leave a bit of time to pay the bag fee at the airport.
Max length: Depends on plane, between 1.67m and 3m.
Max weight: 20kg
Fee: £30 per leg payable at the airport

GARUDA INDONESIA
Free boardbag in addition to your hold bag. Good work fellas. This is how it should be.
Max weight: 23kg
Max length: 3m

HAWAIIAN
Boards included in the baggage allowance. Limit of two per bag. Which seems a bit mental.
Max length: 115in
Max weight: 23kg
Fee: Inter island $35, Hawaii to US $100. Price varies from free to NZ/Oz to $150 per leg depending on destination.

IBERIA
There’s no bones about it, in the last few decades of surf travel Iberia undoubtedly top the list when it comes to horror stories about fees. Seems they’ve changed to allow boards as part of checked baggage allowance for long haul. One board limit. Fees apply for extra bags. €45 for short/medium haul.
Max length: 3.5m
Max weight: 23kg
Fee: €45 per leg

ICELAND AIR
Book in advance to ensure carriage and there’s an each way fee for ‘medium’ sports equipment depending on route.
Max length: 2.5m
Max weight: 23kg
Fee: UK to Iceland: £57

KLM
KLM let you take a board bag as part of your allowance. If you want a case as well then you can pay for an extra bag. On European routes you just prebook the standard hold baggage fee. If you want a hold bag and a board bag it’s €68 each way.
Max length: 118in
Max weight: 23kg

LATAM CHILE
No stress with Chile’s national carrier either your bag goes as your allowance as long as it follows the rules. Handy in a county so long that internal flights are pretty essential unless you really love 30 hour road trips.
Max dimensions: 3m
Max weight: 23kg

LUFTHANSA
Not an airline we’ve used but like KLM they can be good value and hopping to their European hubs not a bother. Well. It wouldn’t be if they didn’t charge for boards.
Max length: 2m
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: €100

MALAYASIAN
Carried as part of free checked allowance and Malaysian have an awesome free checked allowance of two 30kg bags which makes them a very worthwhile option. Prices are good too. Hook up with Air Asia from KL and you’re sweet for Indo.
Max length: 2.5m
Max weight: 30kg

NORWEGIAN
Europe’s award winning budget carrier is a growing player and has a modern fleet and good prices, especially to the US. Boards are paid up at booking time.
Max weight: 25kg
Max length: 2.5m
Fee: short haul £33 – 38 GBP (online) 43 – 52 GBP (airport). Long haul £47 GBP (online) 52 GBP (airport).All items are charged per item, each way.

QANTAS
As you’d expect from Australia’s main airline they take boards for free. As with all the big players keep inside the rules or you’ll get stung excess.
Max length: 2.7m/109in
Max weight: 32kg

QATAR
Another of the Middle Eastern airlines that are your ticket to the joys of Sri Lanka, the Maldives and beyond. Doha is a pretty functional but sparse airport but their prices tend to be good and free board carriage as part of your checked allowance. But double check if you’re taking a hold bag too.
Max dimensions: 118in
Max weight: 30kg

RYANAIR
Ryanair always get their pound of flesh but they’ve committed to being more human and simplifying charges. Their fares are also ridiculously cheap. But when you add the board fees then there’s not much budget left about it.
Max length: Standard board bags always go with no problem. Hard to find a specific length on their site.
Max weight: 20kg
Fee: £50 each way for ‘Large sports equipment’

SAS
Let you take a boardbag as your free checked bag. Additional bag fee if you want an extra hold bag. Thanks Paul Milner for the tip.

SINGAPORE AIRLINES
Flying to Singapore is a joy, it’s one of the world’s leading airports and not a bad place for a layover. Singapore airlines run a new fleet of them fancy double decker Airbuses so you can really travel in style. Board bags are part of your checked allowance also.
Max length: 2m
Max weight: 32kg

SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS
A tricky one with SAA, board bags under two metres go as a free additional bag. Over two must go as cargo. So make sure you get your small print sorted if venturing to J-Bay.
Max length: 2m
Max weight: 23kg

SOUTHWEST
Another US airline you’ll only encounter if you fly code share to the US.
Max length: 80in
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: $75 each way

SRI LANKAN
Your go to outfit for Sri Lanka or the Maldives are understandably cool with boards. Hell they used to sponsor surf events too! Nice weight limit too.
Max length: 118in
Max weight: 30kg

TAP PORTUGAL
The main carrier to Portugal that isn’t budget will actually take longboards which is a rare treat these days. Pity about the fees.
Max weight: 32kg
Fees: Up to 2m €50 over 2m €100 per leg!
Editors comment: Had my hold bag delayed by two days then an amateur hour scenario where rather than courier to hotel I had to go collect from a bus station. Fourth time I got told it would be there it was. 48 hours in limbo. And the bag padlock had been cut off and GoPro burgled. So. Try and go with Easyjet eh?

THAI AIRWAYS
Perplexing rules but it ain’t good. Doesn’t count as your free baggage and only one board allowed.
Max length: 109in
Max weight: 30kg
Fee: $100 if under 2m $200 if over!

THOMAS COOK
The British package holiday operator has their own planes on some routes, like the Caribbean, and don’t mind you taking a sled for a fee. But generous weight and no stress on longer boards. (2016 info from Tom Shep).
Max length: Longboard
Max weight: 32kg

UNITED
With a fee scheme like this it’s a surprise any surfer would book with United. Two hundred bucks each way?!? You guys are loco.
Max length: 115in
Max weight: 32kg
Fee: $150 each way in US airspace and $200 each way international?!?

VIRGIN
Board bag goes as part of your checked allowance. But the new length allowance is daft. If you want to take a hold bag and board bag then it’s £65.
Max length: 75in
Max weight: 23kg
Readers comments: Be warned, they told Joel Gray they won’t take boards at all on any route. As with all if in doubt get it in writing like we did!

WOW
Fancy an Iceland excursion? easyJet is cheaper for boards but if you score a cheap flight with WOW it might be worth checking.
Max length: 109in
Max weight: 20kg
Fee: £71.99 each way.

IMG_1446

BOARD BAG GUIDE

If there is one thing that sucks more than anything it’s arriving on your surf trip, opening your board bag and finding dings or worse… I had one snapped in three by Air France once. The tail was literally cut. Never seen anything like it. No explanation, no compensation. No idea how they managed it.
Luckily these days most airlines are on the ball, and board bags are better than ever, but there are still a few tips that will help you protect your quiver. One thing at the airport if the board doesn’t go down the oversized belt but goes into one of those trolleys make sure you see it being wheeled away. They can occasionally be forgotten…

1. Put your biggest board on the bottom wax side up. Stack the others the same way and try and align the rockers.
2. Most board bags have internal separators or a day bag. The day bag comes in handy the other end so if you don’t have one get one. If you need extra padding between boards use a towel, rashes, boardies, or wetsuits.
3. You can use pipe insulating foam to add extra protection along the rails from the nose and tail. Just grab a decent length, cut it down the middle to fit the length of your rail (or tail) and whack it on both sides. If you don’t have this pack the tail with boots, reef boots, or your wetty. (Heaviest items at the tail if you have a wheeled bag). For the nose use any other boardies, T-shirts, clothes you have. If you a worried about them getting damp, put them in a plastic bag first. You can reduce you hold luggage like this so maybe save some coin.
4. Wax, wax combs and the like I put in a string bag and place down the tail (on the wheels) for more protection, or tuck in the bottom corners of the bag.
5. If you have fixed fins get some polystyrene blocks. Cut to the same size as your tail and put slits where the fins are. Use masking tape to secure.
6. If you are really scared get a little extra bubble wrap for packing for exposed deck/bottom and nose and tail areas. You shouldn’t really need it with these bags, but there are always horror stories.
7. Be careful with leashes. Don’t let them run free. You’d be amazed the pressure ding you can get if a leash is stuck between two of your sleds for the duration of a flight.

* Always
• Double check airline bag policy and book your boards before you get to the airport.
• Check your bag weight and airline limits (overall dimensions and weight) – luggage scales are cheap or balance on your bathroom ones at a push.
• Get there well early so your board goes on first and the check in staff are in a good mood.
• Pack a solar activating ding kit. Great innovation. Even ding repair guys use them.
• Take a plastic bin bag, wetsuit or dry bag. Always good if you have last minute surf and need to pack wet things!
• Duct tape. Always useful.

france // spain travel guide

france // spain travel guide

// France

VanTripper

VanTripper have been renting camper vans to surfers for over 7 years. Based just north Hossegor, in the quiet pine forests of Les Landes, we have a new fleet of VW vans. We enjoy keeping life simple; low prices with no hidden costs and easy online booking.
www.vantripper.com
info@vantripper.com

Progress Surfcamps

Our lovely campsite on the Atlantic Coast of France is the perfect getaway. This little paradise, Progress surf camp Moliets, is within walking distance of town and the beach and is the ideal surf destination for every surfer. Let the waves take you on a journey to the Progress surf camp in Moliets Plage, France
www.progress-surfcamps.com
info@progress-surfcamps.com

Kanaloa Beach House & Surf Lodge

Situated on the South Western Atlantic Coast, Kanaloa Beach House & Surf Lodge offers self-catered apartments or a B&B formula.  Equipment hire and surf, skate and yoga courses are available for all levels.  Just relax at the Kanaloa pool or enjoy a game of pétanque or table tennis.
www.kanaloabeachhouse.com
info@kanaloabeachhouse.com

Discover: Baleal Surf Camp

Discover: Baleal Surf Camp

Baleal Surf Camp nestles among the dunes overlooking one of Europe’s most dramatic and beautiful surf spots. 

The camp, founded in 1993 was Portugal’s first and although it started off as a humble wooden beach tent, now 24 years later Baleal Surf Camp is hailed as one of top surf operations in Portugal attracting beach lovers and surfers from across the globe and offering a rare but welcome ‘old school’ focus on customer service and the environment.

It’s secret:  first class accommodation and surf tuition combined with an all inclusive beach-party vibe that few who visit once can resist returning for. Novices mix with experts; a clean beach is as much a priority as clean waves, and good music, food and company underpin both the family run business and its wider location.
It all started in 1980, when I was 11 years old and rode my first wave in Prainha, with a Safari surf board bought by my Dad from Duarte Baltazar. I remember that first wave as if it were yesterday, and the influence that moment had on me. In 1993 I started giving my first lesson to some kids from Baleal island who asked me from help, I never imagined that surf would revolutionise Peniche in the future and this would be my calling for the next 24 years. When surfing picked up with the tourists and more surf operations began to emerge, I realised for us to be different and stand out from the crowd we would have to work harder and better. That’s exactly what we did – I built a beach bar and a surf centre on one of Portugal’s best beaches, my brother Marcos took on bookings and online marketing and we managed to take Baleal Surf Camp to a prominent position in an extremely competitive market. Bruno Bairros

Baleal Surf Camp Founder and Director

Baleal itself sits on the northern edge of the Peniche Peninsula, about an hours drive north of Lisbon and is the center for surfing in the area. Over the last few years it has won international attention after becoming an established stop on the ASP World Tour. There are waves for experts but also plenty of shelter and security for novices. It’s one of those rare places where, on one beach, the waves can be head high and barreling, while five minutes away its a mellow longboard day. In short, there is nearly always a wave for everyone.

The surf camp has its own excellent bar and cafe,  a place famed locally for chilled days, followed by long nights of live music and dancing. And if food and wine is your thing you will be spoilt for choice. The area is famed for its seafood, which is delivered live and fresh to the port of Peniche each morning and the local restaurants are excellent, serving fish and meat dishes that put most big-name city chefs to shame on both quality and value.

To celebrate the camps many years of surf camp history, check out this video to get a real feel for things:

 www.balealsurfcamp.com

Portugal Travel Guide

Portugal Travel Guide

Embraced by the locals and the authorities, surfing is big news in Portugal, it’s not the fringe thing it is here. Big name surfers are stars. Places like Nazare light up the world’s mainstream media when it gets going. But what is it like for a surf trip?
Stay In Cornwall’s Top 10 Surf Escapes

Stay In Cornwall’s Top 10 Surf Escapes

Stay In Cornwall’s Top 10 Surf Escapes

www.stayincornwall.co.uk

The North Coast is famed for incredible surf spots and whether you are an experienced pro or a total beginner, there is a location ideal for all abilities.

Cornwall is no doubt one of the most popular locations to take to the waves. There are many popular surfing destinations throughout the region that are particularly great for people learning this exhilarating sport. For those that know their messy waves to swell directions, Cornwall also offers an ideal spot to perfect your technique.

The summer season brings everyone out in their masses to capture a piece of the action but autumn is actually one of the best times to surf. The less crowded beaches mixed with relatively mild air and warmer sea temperatures (thanks to our relative proximity of the gulf stream pushing up water from the southern Atlantic Ocean) give you a great chance to catch those regular swells. So, if you’re heading to Cornwall on a surfing holiday or you’re looking to learn the basics on a family break, here are 10 fantastic family surf escapes in Cornwall’s finest locations.

The Light House

Bude

Experience luxury alongside North Cornwall’s coastline at a stay in The Light House in Bude. Get family and friends together, and take to the waves at the beautiful choice of nearby sandy beaches and discover a stunning contemporary coastal home designed and built by owners who have featured on the TV show Grand Designs. Indulge in this relaxing surf stay and feel the sand between your toes with just a short walk to the glorious Atlantic shores. 

For more info, click here.

Atlantic Bliss at Zenith

Newquay

For a stylish stay, just a stone’s throw from Whipsiderry and Porth beach, this cool coastal apartment is the ideal surf retreat. Here you’ll enjoy spectacular sea views, contemporary accommodation, and easy access to plenty of attractions and the best surfing spots in the county. Atlantic Bliss at Zenith also bases you in an ideal location to enjoy the surf hub of Newquay, home to Fistral Beach. The whole family will love this incredibly exciting stay with top conditions to take to your board.

For more info, click here.

Valley Breeze

Crackington Haven

Overlooking the bay of Crackington Haven, you’ll find this little gem just a short walk from the stunning sandy Cornish shores. Here you can enjoy a tranquil setting with a charming patio area to enjoy outdoor dining overlooking sea views. This idyllic surf spot is great as it offers a mix of family-friendly surf conditions to waves for the more experienced. Valley Breeze bases you in a fantastic spot to explore further afield too with the nearby locations of Bude and Widemouth Bay just a short drive away.

For more info, click here.

No 5 The Beach

Kennack Sands, The Lizard

Renowned for its surf school and beautiful sandy beach, Kennack Sands is the idyllic surf haven. So why not treat the family to stay just 900 yards from this stunning coastal spot. No 5 The Beach is a fantastic apartment offering a contemporary setting on the captivating west coast offering you a fantastic base to explore the surrounding area whilst taking to the board and enjoying those Atlantic waves.

For more info, click here.

Rosecott

St Ives

Just a short drive from the stunning sands of St Ives, you’ll find an idyllic bolthole offering spectacular uninterrupted views and boutique accommodation. Rosecott is a charming reverse level property providing the perfect spot to explore the west coast and the exhilarating surfing beaches that surround you. St Ives itself is a surfing mecca for families, with Porthmeor beach providing a large stretch to take to the waves. If you’re looking for some expert advice, head to the nearby surf school for equipment hire and lessons.

For more info, click here.

Perfect View

Falmouth

Although the south coast of Cornwall isn’t a premiere destination to head out on the waves, Falmouth is a brilliant place for beginners and families looking to enjoy a relaxed surfing break. Overlooking the harbour, Perfect View provides a beautiful stay enjoying contemporary accommodation with a spectacular decking area for perfect al fresco dining. This idyllic bolthole bases you in an ideal spot to enjoy the nearby surfing beaches of Swanpool, Gyllngvase and Maenporth which produce some half decent waves in the right conditions.

For more info, click here.

The Puffin

Mullion

Explore the exquisite west coast on a surf stay at The Puffin in Mullion. This south-facing property situates you at a stunning cliff-top location overlooking the ocean and bases you just a short drive from the beautiful National Trust beach of Poldhu. After a long day catching those west coast waves, you can relax in the tranquility of this comfortable accommodation and get the family together for an evening meal on the outside decked area.

For more info, click here.

Well House Barn

Boscastle

This boutique-style retreat is ideal for soaking up the best of the North Cornwall coastline. Placing you within easy reach of top surf spots including Polzeath and Widemouth Bay, this tranquil cottage offers the ultimate rural and coastal mix. Nestled in the Valency Valley yet just a few miles from the Atlantic Coast, this contemporary barn creates a warming ambience and relaxing surf escape for the whole family.

For more info, click here.

Miners

Portreath

Treat family and friends to the ultimate indulgent surfing retreat with a stay at Miners in Carharrack. Basing you just a few miles from the golden sands of Portreath and Porthtowan, this breath-taking spot offers a relaxing stay with an idyllic mix of rural and coastal experiences. You’ll enjoy spacious accommodation with a contemporary vibe and take advantage of a relaxing hot tub, warming log burner and spacious balcony with seating overlooking amazing countryside views.

For more info, click here.

Martins Place

Newquay

If you’re looking for a secluded spot nestled in the Cornish countryside yet want to take advantage of North Cornwall’s best surf beaches, a family break in this spacious and contemporary farmhouse is the idyllic choice. You’re only a few minutes’ drive to the sandy shores that adorn the coastline including the family-friendly surf beaches of Fistral, Crantock, Holywell Bay and Perranporth. With comfortable accommodation and large outside space for al fresco dining, Martins Place is a great place to get the whole family together on an adventurous surf escape.

For more info, click here.

To find out more visit stayincornwall.co.uk