Hawaiian Airlines changes surfboard baggage policy after complaints

Hawaiian Airlines was under a lot of scrutiny publicly by surfers in 2016 due to their surfboard baggage policies. It started when Bob Hurley, the founder of Hurley, posted on Instagram about an interaction he had where he was charged extra despite being under their 50-pound weight limit for his board bag.

Kelly Slater shared the interaction on his Instagram and pro surfers from all over Hawaii and beyond began voicing their frustration with the airline as well. Hawaiian Airlines eventually gave a response, and hinted that they would work with the surf community to make necessary updates to their board bag policies.

The policy that frustrates surfers is the fact that Hawaiian only allows two surfboards in a board bag, even if you are under the 50-pound weight limit. Pro surfer Dusty Payne commented, saying, “I go out of my way all year to avoid traveling on @hawaiianairlines because of their two boards in one bag rule.”

Slater himself also noted how changing the policy could help greatly, “It’s simply a logic issue with size and weight that doesn’t make sense though … We all have a bunch of friends that work for them and a policy change would go a long way towards good PR for them.”

Those changes have finally come, as Bob Hurley announced his excitement that Hawaiian had made changes to their surfboard baggage policy this week.

The new policy now allows for any number of surfboards to be in a board bag, as long as that bag is under the 50-pound weight limit. Surfers instantly began commenting on Hurley’s post, showing huge support for this major change.

Slater himself said, “I’m happy it’s time for the post and we can get back to flying them. Been a while. Thanks to your ongoing efforts, Bob!”

We reached out to Hawaiian Airlines for comments. Spokesperson Alex Da Silva told GrindTV, “The previous policy was based on our experience that three or more boards packed together were more likely to be damaged in transport. We are hopeful that the new policy, along with improved handling procedures by our staff, will strike the right balance between accommodating our guests and making sure we get their boards safely to their destination.”

While surfers, and even pro surfers, are continually at the whim of airlines jacking up board bag fees and brutally damaging boards, it is nice to see an airline make the effort to correct a wrong and make a policy that works better for surfers and not simply take advantage of them.

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Now, as long as you can slim down your board bag, you’ll be able to bring as many boards as you can fit in one bag under the 50-pound limit with Hawaiian Airlines. Da Silva from Hawaiian Airlines reiterated their aim for these changes:

“We are always looking at ways to improve the travel experience for our guests. Prompted by feedback from customers, last summer we initiated a review of our former surfboard policy, which placed a limit of two surfboards per checked bag. Starting in June, we have removed the restriction on the number of boards in each bag, provided that the bag is under our weight limit and the boards are packed responsibly.”

To review the new surfboard baggage policy from Hawaiian Airlines head here.

More about surfboard baggage policies by GrindTV

4 cases where surfers have gone toe-to-toe with airlines

How to slim down your surfboard bag

How to escape surfboard baggage fees at the ticket counter