Boardbag Fees by Airline

Published on Surfline by Dashel Pierson   


Surfers, by nature, are nomadic. We travel the world, immersing ourselves in exotic cultures, and hunting swells in far-flung lands. But embedded in that globetrotting pursuit are a few inescapable pitfalls. Think: layovers, dysentery-inducing airport food, and the much-dreaded oversized baggage fees.

And since each airline has its own set of draconian, and subjectively set, rules and stipulations, the process of picking the right carrier can be daunting. Which airline charges extra for boardbags? How many boards can I bring in each bag? Etc. etc. But fear not, because we’re here to make that process a little more turbulence free (sorry, had to).

Policies are constantly changing, so below, you’ll find an updated list of carrier fees for 2018. But here’s one friendly reminder to always keep in mind: a smile at the ticketing counter goes a long way.

Air Asia – Free – Varies

Fees on surfboards flying to, from, or through Australia are waived (although certain restrictions apply, such as size and weight; read more on the specifics here). Surfboards traveling to/from/through other destinations are subject to excess baggage fees and those depend on the destination (more info here).

Aer Lingus – Free
To/from North America, one board (max) can be part of free baggage allowance. Over allowance, $100 per pass, each way. All other flights, €40 (each way) online. At airport it’s €50. Cannot exceed 110″ or 50 lbs. Regional flights: boards cannot exceed 80″ and carriage is subject to available space. In a group, contact the airline ahead of time.

Aero Mexico – $75-$150

For travel within Mexico, it’s $75; international travel is $150. Fees are for each article. Max length on a narrow-body cabin is 80″. Max length on a wide-body cabin is 115 in. Max weight is 100 lbs.

Air Canada – $100-$118

Boards accepted on a space available basis, so pre-register. Each board counts as one piece of checked baggage. If you exceed the checked baggage allowance (50 to 70 lbs; 63 to 115 in) fees range from $100-$118 in addition to the $50 handling fee (per board, each way).

Air Emirates – Free

Can be part of your checked baggage allowance. If you go over allowance, excess baggage rates will apply based on either a weight or piece concept, depending on route. To/from North America: overweight fee: $50; excess piece or oversize charge: $175; oversize and excess piece: $350.

Air France – Varies

Call ahead for approval. Must be under 118″ and 50 lbs. Can be included at no extra charge in your baggage allowance (not Light or Basic fare). If you exceed allowance, fee varies and is determined according to your trip. To/from the USA, Canada or Mexico, and the board is between 3’5″ and 9’8″, the fee ranges between $75, $100, or $150 depending.

Air New Zealand – Free/Varies

Counts as a standard bag if it’s 6’5″ or under. Otherwise excess charges apply depending on your trip. If you purchase a prepaid extra bag, it is cheaper. Example: prepaid bag between New Zealand and LA is $70; at the airport, it’s $150. One boardbag may have multiple boards in it, but may not exceed 70 lbs or 8’2″.

Air Tahiti Nui – Free

One board is included in addition to your free allowance. Must be under 50 lbs and 98″. Each additional board is subject to an excess fee depending on your trip.

Alaska – $25+

Under 50 lbs and less than 63-115” (linear) follows to the normal baggage fee of $25. But anything above those measurements gets bumped up to $75.

American Airlines – $30-$150

Effective May 21st, 2019, American has waived the oversized fee on surfboards traveling to and from California. That means, if your bag is under 50 pounds, it’s the standard checked bag fee of $30. But if it’s over 50 pounds, or traveling elsewhere from California, the oversized fee of $150 may be applicable. Additional info includes: Max size is 126″ based on airplane size and load factors. For travel to, through or from Brazil, the first board is $42.50 and two or more boards is $85. Must be under 108″.

Avianca – $100-$150

Up to 3 boards per bag, up to 70 lbs and 12′. $125 to/from North America, otherwise all international travel is $100. Travel to/from Brazil is $50 for the first bag, $125 for each additional bag. For travel with regional airlines, the fee is $30, but you can only bring one board no longer than 6’5″.

Bahamas Air – Free/Varies

Treated as a checked bag (1st bag: free, 2nd bag: $35, 3rd bag: $75 for domestic). One board/bag. Must be under 50 lbs. Int. flights, bags 51-70 lbs: $75; bags 71-99 lbs: $125; and bags over 62″ and 70 lbs are $150. For domestic & Turks and Caicos travel, you’re allowed to bring two bags for free. Baggage cannot exceed 100 lbs.

British Airways – Free

May count as part of your checked baggage. Boards must be smaller than 75″ x 29.5″ x 25.5″ (6’6”). Bags weighing more than 50 lbs may incur a heavy bag charge. If you’re over your checked bag limit or the size limit, additional fees apply.

Cathay Pacific – Varies

Can be included as part of your free checked baggage (total of 70 lbs and 80″). If you go over your baggage weight allowance, charges are calculated per piece on a zone basis (ranging from $30 to $60).

China Airlines – Varies

Surfboards may be included in checked baggage allowance. If you go over allowance, boards under 109″ are charged the rate for 5 excess kilograms. If it’s over 109″ the charged is for 8 excess kg. For travel to/from the Americas, charged per piece (not by weight) and fees range from $115-$200. One board per passenger.

Copa Airlines – $75/Varies

For travel to/from most American destinations: $75. For int. travel, exceed baggage allowance: $100. For domestic flights within Panama: $30. Two boards per bag/passenger. Must be under 115″ and 70 lbs. Make reservations for your boards when purchasing your ticket.

Delta – $30 is first checked bag, $40 if second

Limit 2 boards per bag. Must be under 50 lbs or pay additional fees. Surfboards over 115 linear inches are not allowed. Between Honolulu and Maui, it’s $20.

EasyJet – $50

One board per passenger. Must be under 70 lbs. If you pay online, it’s £30 (appx. $40); if you pay at the airport, it’s £35 (appx. $50).

Hawaiian Airlines – $100

One-way, per bag. Max height 9’5″ (for travel within Hawaii, board can be 11′) and max weight of 50 lbs. Multiple boards allowed in one bag. Price drops to $35 when flying between islands. Goes up to $150 for international travel. For flights to Australia or New Zealand from USA, the board can be part of your free allowance.

Iberia – Free/Varies

For long-haul flights, it can be part of your baggage allowance. If you go over your allowance, fees vary depending on your trip. For flights from/to USA, Mexico, and Canada, a second bag in Economy is $85. For short-haul and medium-haul flights, a single fee of €45 applies. One board per passenger. Max size: 11’4″.

Interjet (Mexico) – Free

Included as part of your baggage allowance (one bag and one board). Total max weight (for all checked luggage) per passenger is 165 lbs (75 kg).

Japan Airlines – $200

The fee is $200 per boardbag (two boards max) for flights between Japan, Asia, India, Oceania and Hawaii, North/Central/South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa. Must call in advance. From Japan to Asia, Guam, or Oceania, it’s $100. For flights within Japan, it’s $50.

Jet Blue – $100
Price is each way. One board per bag. Counts as part of your checked baggage allowance. No surfboards allowed on flights to/from Bermuda, Haiti, Peru, Port of Spain, Santo Domingo and Santiago. Can’t be over 100 lbs.

Korean Air – Free

Included as checked baggage. Total linear size must be less than 109″ and under 50 lbs. When traveling domestic flights, there is an oversized fee if board is over 62″. If over bag limit (usually 2 bags), it’s $200 to/from Americas; USA to Brazil is $75; Asia to Brazil is $175; Asia to EU/Middle East/Africa/Oceania is $130 & economy only gets 1 bag

Latam (formerly Lan) – Varies

Can be checked as part of your baggage allowance (typically two pieces). Three boards per bag max. Cannot exceed 118 linear inches or 50 lbs. If you go over your baggage allowance, excess baggage fees apply.

Lufthansa – Free

Included as part of your baggage allowance (which depends on class, but Economy is one piece). Must be less than 70 lbs and/or 6’5″. If you exceed your allowance, the fee for continental flights is $70; intercontinental is $150. You need to call and register your board at least 24 hours before the flight.

Malaysian – Free

Included as part of your checked baggage allowance (two pieces for Economy). One board per person. Max length is 8′ and max weight is 70 lbs. If you go over your allowance, there is a zone-based excess baggage rate.

Philippine Airlines – Varies

Depends on where you’re going and what you’re bringing — see the link above — but expect to pay $150 or more, especially if your boardbag is over seven feet.

Qantas – Free

Free as part of your checked baggage (two pieces for Economy). Must be in a bag and may not exceed 70 lbs and 9 ft. If it’s beyond your baggage allowance, excess fees apply depending on place of departure/destination. Between Australia and Americas is AUD $123.

Singapore – Free

As part of your checked bag allowance (two pieces). After that, additional baggage ranges from $150-$350 depending on destination. Only one board per person. Cannot exceed 70 lbs.

South African Airlines – Free

May be included as part of your checked bag allowance (one bag for Economy). Only one board and it must not exceed 6’5” or 50 lbs. Larger boards must go as cargo. Excess weight will be charged accordingly.

Southwest – $75
Counts as part of your checked baggage. Fee is applied each way, per bag. Fins must be removed.

Spirit – $100

Two boards allowed per bag, 100 bucks per way. Overweight or oversized boardbags don’t apply (it’s covered in the $100 fee). And, as Spirit reminds its customers, “make sure to remove or protect your surfboard keels.” Lol.

TAP Portugal – Varies

If it is larger than 6’5″, the price is €50 for Domestic flights and flights to Europe, Morocco and Algeria; €100 for Intercontinental flights. If the board is over 6’5″ it’s €100 for Domestic flights and flights to Europe, Morocco and Algeria and €150 for Intercontinental flights. Must be under 70 lbs. Prices are one-way.

Thai Airways – $100

For travel to/from USA or Canada: If the board is under 6’5″ the fee is $100; if the board is over 6’5″ it’s $200. Exception: One surfboard is free to/from Bali if you purchase your trip from Japan.

United – $30-$150

To/From California: counts as one piece of checked luggage: $30. Rest of North America: $150 each way between the U.S., Canada, PR and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $200 each way for all other travel. Max of 99 lbs. & 9’5″. Note: check the excess baggage embargo list to make sure they will even take your board, which, during certain times of the year and to certain destinations, they won’t.

Virgin Atlantic – Varies
Counts as part of your baggage allowance (one bag for Economy tickets). Your board can’t exceed 75″ x 30″ x 26″ and 50 lbs. If you go over your allowance, the fee is $100 for an additional bag.

Volaris – Varies

Depends on domestic vs. international flights, but expect to pay some form of excess fee for surfboards. See the list in the link above, although the best course of action is to simply call the airline beforehand, so that you don’t get blindsided with an absurd charge at the ticketing counter.

February 29, 2020 — Cheyne Cottrell