We love to travel. I mean, who doesn’t? Getting on a plane and going to a far flung destination to chase waves is one of the best feelings in the world. However sometimes that joy can be dampened quickly if you incur large fees to take your boards along. We’ve done our homework, and come up with a list of surfboard fees from all of the major airlines and a lot of smaller ones as well.
Aer Lingus - Free on transatlantic flights as part of your baggage allowance. Within Europe, $40 Euros when paid online, $50 Euros when paid at the airport.
Aero Mexico - $75 within Mexico, $150 for international flights.
Air Asia - $60 at the ticket counter, $50 when booked online. These guys don’t depart out of the US, but if you’re buying a cheaper ticket to Indo or elsewhere in that region, you may be starting your trip home with them, which means you will be paying their fee’s.
Air Canada - $100 per board for each way of travel on round trip and multi-segment flights.
Air China - Anywhere from $400 - $800 depending on weight.
Air France - $75 - $150 depending on where you depart from.
Air New Zealand - Under 6’6” and 50 Ibs, your boards fly free. Over that and you’re looking at $150.
Air Tahiti Nui - Free of charge as long as it’s less than 50 Ibs and under 8’2”.
Alaska Airlines - $25 fee for boardbags unless you are an Alaska Visa Signature Card holder and then your boards fly free!
American Airlines - $150 regardless of the number of checked bags. Multiple boards less than 70 Ibs in one bag are considered one board. Brazil flights are $42.50 for the first board and $85 for additional.
ANA - Free as part of your allowed check in baggage, must be under 9’5”.
Avianca - $100 For most destinations. Allowed maximum 3 boards per bag, with a max weight of 70 Ibs and no longer than 12 feet.
Bahamasair - Treated as a checked bag (1st bag: free, 2nd bag: $35, 3rd bag: $75 for domestic). One board per 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.
British Airways - Can be treated as your free checked bag as long as it’s under 6’3” and weighs less than 51 Ibs. Must be packed in a recognizable surfboard bag.
Cathay Pacific - Varies depending on destination ranging from free to extremely expensive. If you have a longboard, this is probably not the airline for you. We did have a couple team riders report good experiences with them to and from Bali going through Hong Kong. We recommend calling the airline to sort it out before booking.
China Air - Varies with route, fees range from $115 - $200. One board per person. Call the airline ahead of booking.
China Eastern - Varies with route, and they charge per board. Some routes receive a 50% discount of first board fee, some don’t. Call the airline before booking.
Condor - $85 if you book online with the “Early Bird Discount” (booked more than 30 days prior to departure). $91 is the normal price for booked online, and $160 if you wait until the airport. Cannot be longer than 9’10” and no more than 66 Ibs.
COPA - $75 for all destinations other than within Panama, which is $30. No limit on number of boards per bag, must be less than 70 Ibs and no longer than 9’7”. It is recommended that you call the airline ahead of time and let them know you will be bringing a surfboard, as they do have a limit to the number of cases allowed per flight.
Delta Airlines - $150 per boardbag, 2 boards allowed per bag. Must be under 70 Ibs or additional charges will apply.
Lion Air - Roughly $15-20 depending on the exchange rate. It’s recommended that you call in advance.
Easyjet - Approximately $50 if you pay in advance, $60 at the airport. One board per passenger and it must be under 70 Ibs.
Emirates - $175 for a boardbag not weighing more than 50 Ibs. Total dimensions (w+l+h) of boardbag cannot be more than 118 inches.
Eithad - Free for boards up to 9’10”
Fiji Airways - $150 - $170 per boardbag depending on your destination.
Garuda Indonesia - You are allowed one boardbag for free assuming cargo compartment space, which is based on first come first serve.
Hawaiian Airlines - $100 to and from the mainland, $35 between islands.
Iberia - $150 per board, one board per customer. Flights originating in Brazil are $60.
Icelandair - $99 for travel between Iceland and the US/CAN, $116 for travel between Europe and the US/CAN, and $83 for travel between Iceland and Europe. Charged per flight leg when traveling with a stopover in Iceland.
Interjet - Free, up to 11’6” and 66 Ibs.
Japan Airlines - $200 between Japan, Asia, India, Oceania, Hawaii, North/Central/South America, Europe, Middle East & Africa. $100 between Japan and Asia, Guam, Oceania. $50 within Japan.
JetBlue - $50 per board, one board per case. Surfboards not accepted to/from Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti, Peru, Port of Spain, Santo Domingo and Santiago.
Jetstar - $25 per boardbag, max weight 70 Ibs. Max length depends on route, but the smallest flights only allow up to a 6’5”
Korean Air - Free as long as the boardbag is less than 50 Ibs and its total linear dimensions are less than 109 inches. Excess charges if bigger or heavier are $200.
Latam Airlines - For flights between the US and South America, $100 per boardbag, max 3 boards per bag. Most other routes are $50-$100.
Lufthansa - Anywhere from $150 - $300. It’s recommended to call before booking.
Malaysia Airlines - Free as long as it’s within your checked baggage allowance, must weight less than 70 Ibs and be less than 8’.
Mokulele Airlines - $35, must be no longer than 6'8" and less than 70 Ibs.
Qantas - Free as part of your checked baggage (2 pieces for economy). May not exceed 70 Ibs and 9 feet.
Qatar Airways - Free as long as it’s within your checked baggage allowance. If over your allowance, it’s anywhere between $240 and $1,750, so don’t let it be over your allowance!
Ryanair - $50 Euros per flight if paid in advance, $60 Euros at the airport. Max weight 44 Ibs.
Singapore Airlines - Free, boardbag counts towards your free baggage allowance. If you exceed the baggage allowance, normal additional baggage charges apply. Cannot weigh more than 70 Ibs.
South African Airways - Free as long as its smaller than 6’5” and weighs less than 50 Ibs.
Southwest - $75 one way, and counts as part of your checked baggage.
Spirit - $100 one way, 2 boards allowed in a bag. Certain destinations in Central and South America as well as the Carribean only allow boards up to 6’8” and not weigh over 50 Ibs.
Swiss - $70 For flights within Europe, $150 for intercontinental flights. Cannot weigh more than 70 Ibs.
TAP Portugal - Shortboards up to 6’5” are $50 Euros for flights within Europe and to Morocco, $100 Euros for intercontinental flights. Longboards are $100 Euros for flights within Europe and to Morocco, and $150 Euros for intercontinental flights.
Thai Airways - $119 on most routes, however certain routes to and from Australia,/ New Zealand, your boardbag is able to be included in your baggage allowance.
United Airlines - $150 per board, one way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands. $200 one way for all other destinations. ** United has updated their policy, and if you are traveling to or from California, your boards fly free. Connections through California do not count**
Virgin Australia - Free as long as your boardbag weighs less than 70 Ibs and is no longer than 9’10”. Any bigger and it will not be accepted.
Virgin Atlantic - Free as part of your baggage allowance. Can’t exceed 6’3” in length and 50 Ibs.
Westjet - $75 - 88.50 CAD for a boardbag. Cannot be over 9’8”
Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, Qantas. For a domestic airline, Alaska is a great bet for those of us in Oregon, as they have tons of flights out of PDX. They have a lot of destinations and have a partner network that can get you almost anywhere. Also their $25 surfboard fee makes for a pretty sweet deal, especially when you compare to other domestic airline fees. Virgin Australia and Qantas make the list for their high end service and of course the fact that surfboards fly free.
Our Least Favorites
United, American, Delta. United has some ridiculous fees for surfboards, and even more so if you are flying internationally (most airlines reward you for expensive flights, not United). American has a solid reputation for destroying people’s boards, and Delta is not cheap to fly with boards. We did have a team rider have some success with Delta however by claiming she had “Kneeboards” rather than surfboards, which confused the ticket person enough to have them fly the boards for free. No guarantees but it’s worth a shot.
**Update - United Airlines has made surfboards free for flights arriving or originating in California. This doesn't include connections, but you could certainly find ways around that (book your flights separately, etc). While we wish that they would just drop surfboard charges across the board, this was enough to remove them from our "Least Favorites" list!**