Airline Surfboard Bag Charges - Baggage Fees For Surfboards

Surfer Magazine awarded Qantas their first ever "Surf Airline of the Year" award. The main reason? They don't charge for your surfboard. How do the other airlines stack up? Check out our table below.

Many airlines have seasonal surfboard embargoes so research ahead of time, especially if you are travelling during peak travel times.

Surf Travel | Before You Go

The Dakine Daylight Thruster Surfboard Bag is available in these sizes: 6'0,  7'0,  7'6


  • removable padded shoulder strap with a stash pocket, making airport check-in easier
  • padded carry handle
  • heat reflective tarpaulin bottom
  • 1/4" foam padding and durable nylon top
  • heavy duty corrosion proof, top entry zipper

If you will be renting a car on your trip, Block Surf have a well priced, well made surfboard rack. This is Block Surf's lowest priced surfboard rack for cars. It can transport up to 3 shortboards or 2 longboards. You get good bang for your money with these surfboard racks. The surfboards tie down securely and do not shift around. Some other brands will only work on vehicles with rain gutters on the roof of the car. Block Surf will work on cars with or without rain gutters making them a great choice for travelers who may rent different vehicles. Amazon user reviews for this product have been positive.

Every surf traveler should have a tube of Sun Cure in their surf bag. Nothing can be easier for quick repairs to small dings in your surfboard than Sun Cure. A tube of this stuff will repair more than a dozen small dings. No need to have your surfboard in the surf shop for a small ding. When you're on vacation, every day in the water counts. You can fix a ding in only a couple of minutes and then it cures in the sun in less than 10 minutes. It will even work on overcast days, you just need to leave outside for 20 minutes.

The fees in the airline surfboard charges table below have been stated in US dollars. Airlines operating in other currencies have been converted to US dollars, for this table, actual prices will vary due to exchange rate fluctuations. Many airlines have been implementing drastic changes to their baggage pricing policies. Spirit Airlines for example, now charge for carry on items. This policy has spilled over to some of the other airlines as they look at ways to bring in more revenue that doesn't show up when you originally book your airline ticket.

I have tried to keep this list up do date, however airline fees change often, so if you discover a fee that is different from one listed here, please send me an email and I will update the surfboard baggage fee list. If you travel on an airline not listed here, please send me an email and I'll add it to the table. Cheers,

Note: conversion of feet to cm's: 6' = 183cm. 7' = 213cm. 8' = 244cm. 9' = 274cm.

Airline Surfboard Fees List

Aero Mexico
One way per board. Max 9ft. Packed
Air Canada
One way per board. Max6'10'' Packed. Counts toward 2 pc min.
Air France
Varies - $200 to €200 in most cases
In general expect to pay $200 each way for flights from North America and 200 for flights from Europe. Fees vary based on destination.
Alaska Air
Up to 6'6" / 6'7"to 9'3". One-way per bag.
American Airlines
Domestic/International. One way per bag max weight 70lbs
British Air
Part of two bag check-in. Can NOT exceed 6'3"packed no exceptions.
Cathay Pacific
Fee structure is based on travel zones. Flights within USA $100 each way (as of Jan 2012). However, flights to other zones can be as high as $230 each way. Refer to Cathay website for travel zones Cathay Pacific baggage fees
One way per board. Max 2 boards.
See United
Merged with United Airlines. Very important to check fees prior to booking, as United's fees can be excessive.
One way per board. Max 2 boards.
For some reason, $100 to/from Brazil. Everywhere else in the world is gonna cost $200 each way.
One way per board. Can not exceed 9'
Hawaiian Airlines
One way per board. 2 boards maximum. Max 11'. Note: In May 2010 Surfer Magazine publicly challenged Hawaiian to allow boards for free. In late 2011 they were still charging...too bad.
One way per board. Packed. Must arrange space 24 hours prior to flight. You're going to be paying almost $400 return! Shop around.
Japan Airlines
Best to confirm before booking, somewhat confusing website. Under 15kg part of baggage allowance. Over 15kg considered excess baggage and subject to different rates
Jet Blue
One way per bag. Can NOT exceed 6'10"
One way per bag. That's right, up to $550 round-trip for your surfboard, ouch! Part of Air France, see above for comments.
Korean Air
Charge 7.5% of IATA published fare each way. No boards over 9'. Can not exceed 70lbs.
Can not exceed 6'8".
Best to confirm before booking. No boards longer than 6'6"
Best to confrim before booking. Price varies according to destination.
Airline has ceased flying, possibly will resume in 2012.
Part of your two bag limit. Over = $50 each way.
Ryan Air
One way per bag. Max weight 20 kgs.
Part of your two bag limit. Over = $109 each way.
South African
Part of you two bag limit. Max 9'. Over = $125
$50 / 150
Domestic / International. One way per bag. Max 2 boards per bag.
One way per board. Packed. Max length 6'8"
One way per bag. Flights not To/From US or Canada $100. To/From US Canada $125. Also: To/From Brazil $50. Miami to San Jose C.R. $100. 2 boards per bag.
Best to confirm before booking.
Under 9' OVer 9'. Ticket price better be good because you're paying at least $350 roundtrip.
US Airways
One way per board. Fins must be removed. Contact US Airways reservations agent prior to booking.
Virgin Atlantic
Free in addition to your baggage allowance. Virgin Atlantic rocks. Max 9'. Max weight 23 kgs.
If part of two checked bags. Over two bags. One way per board. Max 9'8"

Excessive Charges on Surfboard Travel

On US Airway's website, the airline promotes a business called "Sports Express", a luggage forwarding company. They say the company "takes the lug out of luggage". Well, they will also take a load of cash out of your wallet. Researching the cost for their door to door service, we looked at the cost of forwarding a surfboard from the USA to Costa Rica round-trip. The cost, prior to their advertised 5% discount for US Airways customers was over a thousand dollars. What in the world?  You are better off buying a board when you get there, using it and then making the day of a local by giving them the surfboard. Check out the screenshot below.

surfboard baggage forwarding

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