Airlines can be buggers. We’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve been stung by baggage charges at the airport.
Why is it always at 3am, when you’ve hardly had any sleep, and you’ve already spent 45 minutes waiting in the check-in queue? The bastards…
Some airlines will let you use your free hold baggage allowance for your surfboard, but most won’t because board bags are much bigger than their size allowance.
“Europe’s “budget” airlines come second for most expensive surfboard fees”
You’ve also got to watch out for the weight of your boardbag. While airlines have a standard fee for surfboards, they’re happy to whack on an extra fine per kilogram if you go over the stated weight allowance. So, watch out!
So what is the cheapest European airline for carrying surfboards?
These were correct as of 16/05/14. However, we do recommend double-checking with the airline before you fly.
What’s the cheapest?
British Airways and Finnair. Well, technically they carry surfboards for free – but they only take surfboards under 6’3″, which rules out any longboarders and, errrr, pretty much everyone else.
Otherwise, Thomsonfly carry surfboards on short-haul flights around Europe for €49 return, followed closely by Air France at €55 return.
Editor’s Note: We’ve had a comment from our reader, telling us SAS fly surfboards for free with max. weight of 23kg and no length restrictions. So sounds like they’re our new top surf-friendly airline!
And the most expensive?
Iberia, by far. Despite being under new ownership by British Airways, the Spanish airline charge a whopping €150 one-way charge to carry a surfboard! You’d be better off driving…
Unsurprisingly, Europe’s “budget” airlines come second for most expensive surfboard fees. Norwegian charges up to €120 return, while RyanAir, Swiss Air and TAP Portugal will relieve you of €100 return for the pleasure of carrying your board.
Looking for a good breakdown of international airline charges? We like this one from Wave Tribe Company.
EUROPEAN AIRLINE SURFBOARD BOARDBAG CHARGES 2014
|AIRLINE||FIRST HOLD BAG FEE||SURFBOARD BAG FEE (RETURN)||EXTRA NOTES|
|Air France||Free||€55||You have to book in advance through sales department. Won’t take boards longer than 9’10”. More info here.|
|AerLingus||€20-25 depending on destination||€60 pre booked/€70 at airport||Won’t take boards longer than 9’2”. Max. 23kg per board bag. More info here.|
|British Airways||Free||Free (counts as your free baggage allowance)||Won’t take boards longer than 6’3”. Max. 23kg per board bag. More info here.|
|EasyJet||€40||€90 pre booked/€120 at airport||Max. 32kg per board bag depending on size. More info here.|
|Finnair||Free||Free under 6’2”. Longer boards will incur €150 fee each way||Max. 23kg per board bag. More info here.|
|FlyBe||€19-61 depending on weight||€86||Max length of board depends on aircraft. Book in advance. More info here.|
|Iberia||Free||€300||Won’t take boards longer than 8’2”. More info here.|
|Jet2||€55||€78||Needs to be pre-booked. Won’t take boards longer than 6’2”. Max. 20kg per board bag. More info here.|
|Monarch||€24-64 depending on route||€62||Max. 20kg per board bag. More info here.|
|Norwegian||€50||€74-120 depending on route||Max. 25kg per board bag. More info here.|
|Ryan Air||€37-62 depending on route||€100 if pre-booked/€120 at airport||Max. 20kg per board bag. More info here.|
|SAS||Free||Free||Max. 23kg per board bag. More info here.|
|Swiss Air||Free||€100||Included as free hold luggage if under 5’2”. Won’t take boards longer than 6’4”. More info here.|
|TAP Portugal||Free||€100||Max. 20kg per board bag. More info here.|
|Thomson Fly||€54||€49||Pre-book at least two months in advance. More info here.|