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'How Do I Take My Surfboard as Checked Luggage?'

January 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM | by | ()

With each new season comes new questions about what passengers can and cannot take onboard a plane. Thus, we'll be addressing some of the most popular requests with a series called, "Got Baggage."

With winter's grip firmly squeezing a majority of the US, there's no doubt that many are dreaming of a vacation where they can wiggle their toes in the sand and frolic in the warm waters of a tropical location. If catching a few waves is on your list of things to do while traveling, here's the lowdown on how to pack your board to ensure some fun in the sun.

Most major airlines specifically name surfboards as sporting equipment that are governed by special rules that often come with special fees. American and Delta charge an extra $150, where United and Hawaiian Airlines both ask $100 for each surfboard. For United's long-haul flights, the fee doubles to $200 (uhhh). On a better note, the smaller boards (boogie and the like) are considered a regular piece of luggage on these four airlines.

Surfboards don't count in the "Bags Fly Free" tagline for Southwest since it will ask for $75 to place your board in its plane belly. Virgin America is on the same page with that price point with a charge of $25 for the bag and an additional $50 for over-sized bags (aka the board).

The big winners for surfers are Jetblue and Air Canada. Both airlines ask for $50 each way to check your board to the beach. That said, make sure you double check your destination. For example, Jetblue doesn't even allow surfboards in the hold to Bermuda, Santo Domingo or Santiago.

For those that aren't set on a specific destination, we can't help but note that American charges an affordable $37.50 to check your first board to any city in (and through) Brazil. Longboard riders will also benefit from an extra 11-inches on the maximum limit on AA, measuring in at 126-inches to any destination.

No matter which airline you choose, all of them recommend to remove the board's fins and pack it up in a hard-sided case to protect your "ride."

[Photo: oliver regelmann/Flickr]

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