The excitement that builds in your mind before embarking on a surf trip starts with buying a plane ticket. The next exciting step, besides bragging to your friends about the exotic surf destination you’re jetting off to, is picking what quiver you’ll bring along with you. But at a certain point, the anxiety will set in: How much cash will you have to cough up upon arrival at the airport check-in stand? Or will they even take all your boards?
We’ve all seen the airline horror stories of pros like John Florence, Alex Gray and, most recently, Natxo Gonzales, who've seen their entire traveling quivers smashed to bits. And we’ve all seen the angry Instagram posts from pros having to pay abhorrent amounts of money for their bags.
So, to help settle the restless minds of future traveling surfers, we’ve compiled an up-to-date list of board-bag weight limits, fees and overages for some of the most popular airlines — all of them listed below. This guide will hopefully help you decide which airline won’t drain your bank account.
NOTE: Not every airline provides exact pricing; some provide only the weight limit.
Aer Lingus: $100
Aero Mexico: Within Mexico: $50. International: $150. Maximum weight allowed per piece on AM and AMC routes is 100 pounds.
Air Canada: $50 to $60 per board
Air Emirates: Charges $175 for a board bag less than 70 pounds. Anything more will cost $350.
Air France: Under 50 pounds: $75 to $150, depending on departure location
Air New Zealand: From U.S. to all destinations, $150. From New Zealand to any destination that isn’t Hawaii or Australia, $200.
Air Tahiti Nui: Free. Must be under 50 pounds and 98 inches. Charge depends on size and location of departure.
Alaska: $25 per board
American Airlines: One-board limit, $150 charge. Must be under 70 pounds and 126 inches (depending on type of airplane). If you pack more than one surfboard in a bag that weighs under 70 pounds, you’ll be charged for only one surfboard. If over, you’ll be charged an additional $150. When you’re traveling to, through or from Brazil, you’ll be charged $42.50 for one board and $85 for two or more boards.
Avianca: Three boards per bag under 70 pounds, $100 charge
Bahamas Air: 100-pound limit, $150 charge
British Airways: 70-pound limit, $100 charge.
China Air: $400 per board
Copa: Four boards per bag, $75 charge
Delta: 70-pound limit, $150 charge
EasyJet: 70-pound limit, $60 charge
Hawaiian Air: 50-pound limit. $35 inter-island. $100 to mainland. $150 international.
Interjet (Mexico): Included as part of your baggage allowance (one bag and one board)
Japan Airlines: $200 flat rate
Jet Blue: 100-pound limit, $50 per board
Lufthansa: One-board limit. Within Europe, $70. Intercontinental, $150.
Qantas: $70 within Australia. $175 intercontinental.
Southwest: $75 each way
TAP Portugal: 70-pound limit. Within Europe, $55. Intercontinental, $117.
Thai Airways: $60 each way for boards under 9 feet. Board bags over 9 feet cost $119.
United: 100-pound limit. $150 between Canada, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. $200 everywhere else.
Virgin Atlantic: 50-pound limit, $100
Virgin Australia: Represents one piece of checked baggage allowance, provided that it does not exceed the maximum size and weight limits
More from SURFER