each year, surfers around the world travel to some of the most isolated (or popular) locations in search of the best waves they can find. Flights, of course, can be expensive in and of themselves, but that’s not including the baggage fees that get tagged onto the final bill of your surf trip (conveniently not included in that hefty ticket price you already shelled out). So why not gather some of the most popular (and least popular) airlines used by surfers, organizing them alphabetically for your ocean craving needs?
Fly away my friends.
Most Popular: Qantas Airlines & Air Tahiti Nui
Not only do you get one free bag checked with the airline, they each also give you one extra checked bag if it’s carrying surfboards. Conveniently, Qantas and Air Tahiti fly to some serious waves (Australia and Tahiti, of course). Both airlines don’t expect you to warn them before arriving at the gate with a few boards, so shred away you brilliant fliers.
Least Popular: United Airlines & Delta Airlines
We could go on and on about these two airlines, but it just isn’t worth it when there are endless opportunities for different airlines. Both companies charge $150 USD for a board bag, depending on size, amount of boards and weight. For United Airlines, expect the price to be $200 USD unless traveling within the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Delta charges $150 USD for the same United States areas, while charging $125 USD for the rest of their locations. Why fly Delta when you can fly Qantas?
Aer Lingus:$0 – $40
Boards free on flights to / from North America and $30 paid in advance to all other destinations
Aeroflot: $0 – $100
A board bag counts as your one free piece of baggage, but you must call in advance
Pay in advance and the price goes down to $40
Air Canada: $50
One board bag counts as your one free baggage, but must pay a handling charge PER board
Air China: $0 – $150
One board bag counts as your one free baggage, but must call in advance – if oversized, must pay oversize fee.
Air France:$50 – $100
Notify airline before hand
Air India:Prices vary
Usually charged half of normal excess bag fee
Air New Zealand: $0
One board bag counts as your one free piece of baggage
Air Tahiti Nui: $0
One board bag free and can also include one checked bag
Alaska Airlines: $50 – $100
Depending on size, one board bag w/ two boards will be standard checked luggage fee.
American Airlines: $50 – $150
$150 unless traveling to / from Brazil. If you’re flying to / from Brazil, first board bag is $50
Asiana Airlines: $0
One board for free. Overweight bags will have a cost, but not oversized bags.
Avianca: $50 – $150
$50 within Europe, $100 for intercontinental flights. Must call in advance.
British Airways: $0
Must meet size requirements and must be in a surfboard bag.
Cathay Pacific Airways: Varies
Depending on size and destination. Some allow extra weight, some do not. Contact airlines prior to your flight.
China Airlines: Varies
Depends on the size and destination, but usually it’s pretty expensive. Usually the charge is double the excess baggage fee. If the flight is within the SW Pacific then boards are usually covered under your one free checked bag.
China Eastern Airlines: Varies
Boards never included in free checked baggage category, if the boards exceed the oversize baggage they could charge double of excess baggage fee.
China Southern Airlines: Varies
Varies depending on route and destination. Must receive permission before checking in.
COPA: $50 -$100
Sao Paulo flights are $50. All others are $100 with up to two boards in one bag.
Delta Air Lines: $100 – $150
$100 to / from Brazil. $150 to / from Canada or USA and $125 to all other destinations.
Finnair: $0 – $150
Size dependent. If board meets checked baggage criteria its free, if not (large boards) costs $150
Frontier Airlines: Varies
Depends on destination, but can be carried on if board meets size requirements. Contact airline before departure for exact pricing.
Hawaiian Airlines: $0 – $150
Two boards per one bag is free to Australia and New Zealand, $150 anywhere else. Contact airline before departure for exact pricing.
Iberia: $50 – $150
$150 to all locations except Brazil ($50). Contact airline before departure for exact pricing.
Counts as one piece of checked baggage,. There are no size restrictions but it needs to be under 100 lbs.
KLM: $50 – $100
One board bag equals your one checked bag. Contact airline before departure.
LOT Polish Airlines: $10 – $100
Contact airline before departure because some planes don’t have enough luggage space for oversized surfboard bags.
Lufthansa: $50 – $100
Continental flights are $50 and Intercontinental flights are $100. Contact airline before departure.
Malaysia Airlines: $0
One board is free as long as it meets the checked baggage limit.
Qantas Airways: $0
Boards are free as part of checked baggage limit.
Singapore Airlines: Varies
Depending on size and destination, but it’s usually expensive. Contact airline before departure for pricing.
SkyWest Airlines: Varies
Price varies depending on destination. Contact airline before departure for pricing.
Southwest Airlines: $75
Contact airline before departure as some planes don’t have space for oversized surfboard bags.
SWISS: $50 – $100
Depending on route. Contact airline before departure for exact pricing.
Thai Airways International: Varies
Can be included in checked baggage pricing if flying to / from Australia and New Zealand. Otherwise fees will vary. Contact airline before departure for pricing.
United Airlines: $150 – $200
$150 to locations in the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, $200 to all other locations.
Virgin America: $50
Depending on destination, oversized baggage fees could apply. Contact airline before departure for pricing.
Virgin Atlantic Airways: $0
One board bag flies for free including your one checked bag.