The best airline companies for surfboards and surfers

Airliners: surfboards and surfers are not always welcome | Photo: Colleen Lane/Creative Commons

What are the best airline companies for surfboards and surfers? Are you traveling with your surfboard quiver?

Surfboard travel bags are usually seen as excess baggage by airline ticket agents. Fees can easily change in a matter of hours. That means surfers never have an easy life when it comes to traveling by air.

Surfer-friendly airline companies are rare these days. Surfboards are never seen as an opportunity for airline companies. They're fragile, large and expensive. In other words, surfboards are headaches for airline executives.

But surfers are travelers. It's impossible to explore and discover new surf spots without our own quiver, and there are good examples of airline companies for traveling surfboards.

Discover what are the best airline companies for surfers, and which ones charge you for keeping your shortboard safe from cracks.

Airline Price Notes
Aer Lingus €30-40 Surfboards must not exceed 277cm in length (110 inches) and must be packed in cushioning material such as bubble wrapping so as to protect them against damage. On Aer Lingus Regional flights, surfboards must not exceed 205cm (80 inches).
Aero Mexico $40-50 The fee for surfing equipment will be per case, up to 3 boards per case.
Aerosvit Free-€250 Surfboards smaller than 200cm (78 inches).
Air Berlin €15-120 Bookings for sports and special baggage can be made while making the online booking or subsequently up to 48 hours before departure.
Air Canada $50 Surfboards are accepted on a space available basis only and should be pre-registered at time of booking. Each surfboard counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type. Maximum linear dimensions (length + width + height): less than 277cm (109 in); maximum length: 203cm (80 in).
Air China 1,5% of fare Surfboard/windsurfing equipment shall not be included in the checked baggage allowance. One board not exceeding 109 inches (277cms) to be charged at 100% of one excess baggage charge, or one board exceeding 109 inches (277cms) to be charged at 150% of one excess baggage charge. Additional board(s) will be charged at the same rate as the first board.
Air Dolomiti €35-150 The transport of sports equipment must be always communicated in advance to the company since limitations are present according to the type of aircraft.
Air France  €55-150 Surfboards, kite surf boards, bodysurf boards, windsurf boards and longboards can be transported in the hold with prior authorization by phone from our sales department. If the length of your equipment does not exceed 107cm/42 inches, it is considered a standard checked baggage item and is included at no extra charge in your baggage allowance. If you would like to transport other baggage items in the hold and their number exceeds your authorized allowance, you must purchase an additional baggage allowance. 
Air Mauritius Free-€200 If the dimension is less than 200cms and within 23kg limit, no additional charge applies.
Air New Zealand Free/Varies No charge if within permitted baggage allowance otherwise standard excess charges apply, that is sporting items less than 200cm in length and less than 23kg.
Air Pacific $50-100  Bulky items consist of any 'one' piece exceeding 158cm (62 inches) but not exceeding 277cm (109 inches) in total dimension, at a maximum weight of 23kg (50lbs), (may include surfboards, golf bags and other equipment).
Air Tahiti Nui Free One bag allowed free of charge, if it does not exceed 23kg maximum weight and 250cm (98 inches) maximum length.
Alitalia €75-260 Depending on the size of the aircraft, surf and windsurf boards may not be accepted on board. 
American Airlines $150 Lightweight surfboards packaged in a single bag that weighs less than 70 lbs. will be accepted as a single surfboard for charging purposes.
British Airways Free/Varies The bag containing the board can be up to a maximum size of 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in). Bags weighing more than 23kg (51lb) may incur a heavy bag charge.
Cape Air Not accepted Bicycles, surfboards, canoes, kayaks and other such large pieces of sporting equipment exceed the capacity of the compartments and are not accepted for transport.
Cathay Pacific Free/Varies Sporting equipment is subject to the applicable standard excess baggage charges if in excess of your standard free baggage allowance (10kg/22 lbs).
China Airlines $85-225 Surfboard/windsurfing equipment shall not be included in the checked baggage allowance. One board not exceeding 109 inches (277cm) to be charged at 100% of one excess baggage charge, or One board exceeding 109 inches (277cm) to be charged at 150% of one excess baggage charge. Additional board(s) will be charged at the same rate as the 1st board.
Delta $150 If the surfboard is not in a protective case, you must fill out a limited liability release before the surfboard will be accepted. Surfboards are allowed up to two boards per bag. Bags over 70 lbs. will be charged the excess weight fee.
Easyjet €25-60 One item of Sports equipment can be carried in addition to your hold baggage allowance (up to 20kg).
Emirates Free/Varies Emirates will accept wind surf boards, surf boards, kite surfing equipment, kayaks, body boards, as checked baggage and part of your standard baggage allowance. They should be less than 300cm (10 feet) in length.
Hawaiian Airlines $35-150 Hawaiian Airlines accepts surf, kite, paddle and wake boards as checked baggage with the following conditions of acceptance and restrictions: fins must be removed or well padded; the entire board must be protected by a suitable container; the transportation of the board is subject to availability of space; there is a limit of two boards per container; charges are assessed per container each way.
Iberia €150 Limited to 250cm surfboards.
KLM Free/Varies You can bring a surfboard of max. 107cm/42 inches instead of a suitcase or instead of an extra suitcase bought in advance. Larger surf equipment can only be taken at a special fee, and only after reserving for its transportation.
Lufthansa €70-150 Surfboard up to 200cm.
Malaysia Airlines 40-135 MYR (per 5kg) One surfboard/windsurfing to a maximum length of 3 meters (118 inches) will be accepted as checked baggage provided the item is in a protective case and will always be subject to an excess baggage charge. Items over 3 meters in length shall not be accepted as checked baggage.
Qantas Free-A$120 To carry a surfboard or surf ski as baggage, fins must be removed where possible and placed in an enclosed compartment or taped to the board. Paddles must also be taped to the board. Qantas Check-in will attach a Fragile tag to the bag and you must complete and sign the limited release portion of the baggage tag.
Qatar Airways Free-$70 (per extra kg) The board needs to be less than 3 meters.
Ryanair Not accepted/€50 Surfboards and bodyboards, are inherently unsuitable for carriage by airlines operating fast turnarounds such as Ryanair. However, these items may be carried in the hold of the aircraft in addition to your personal checked baggage allowance up to a limit of 20kg per item upon payment of a discounted online fee of £50/€50 per item, per one way flight.
South African Airways Free/Varies Allows an additional piece, not exceeding 23kg and maller than 200cm, free of charge per passenger.
TAP €35-90 Kitesurf and windsurf equipment and surfboards must always be carried in a suitable bag and packed appropriately.
United $100-200 The skeg/fin must be removed or well-padded. The entire board must be encased in a suitable container to avoid scratching. United is not liable for damages. Excess valuation cannot be purchased for a surfboard, wakeboard or paddleboard. Boards and board bags weighing more than 99.9 pounds (45.3 kg) combined will not be accepted.
Virgin Atlantic Free Your surfboard won't affect your free baggage allowance, and there's no extra cost as long as it doesn't exceed 23kg in weight. One extra thing to think about - your surfboard or boogie board must not exceed 277cm (109 inches) in length.
Vueling €45 The company may accept or reject a surfboard due to its weight, shape or size.

Updated on the 23rd December, 2016.

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