There is one sure fire 100% guaranteed way of not getting stung by fees and/or your boards bashed to fook by baggage handlers: leave ’em home. But sometimes, you have to travel, and you have to take boards. 

Charles Martin, less than stoked after another lube-less rogering at check-in. Photo: Alex Laurel.

Bravo! (free as part of checked baggage, within reason)
Air New Zealand, Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska Air, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Gulf Air, Lan, Malaysian, Qantas, Singapore Air, South African, Sri Lankan, Virgin Atlantic.

OK: (Can/will charge but not crazy)
Aer Lingus (30€), Air France (from €40) Easyjet (£30), KLM (€45-€90 per bag) Ryanair (€45 bag), TAP (€35-€100), Vueling (€45 bag).

It’s worth noting that some of your budget airlines seem to only ever charge per bag, meaning you can sneak 3 in, divide the cost by that number (and thus feel like you’re massively getting one over on the bastards…)

SHITLIST: Any airline with ‘China’ in the name, Delta ($150), Iberia & Air Europa (€150 per board), Lufthansa (€200 longhaul), United ($200 international).

These prices are merely a guide, accurate-ish at time of press. Despite published charges, you don’t always pay. There are a zillion airlines, we can’t list ‘em all, but all their individual policies should be published online. Have a look first to avoid melt down at check-in.

Also: Certain airports can be worse than others for charges, like Honolulu, meaning there’s a lot to be said for leaving boards there, under the house.*

*for the crackheads to smoke


Be early. If you know there are other surfers on this flight, check in before them.

Choose wisely. Try to find a check-in agent who is around 43 if female, or 26 if male.These are the optimum ages of kindness.

Don’t take the piss. Try not to have the biggest bag in the world, ever. You’re not only making life tough on yourself, but all of us, too.

Sneaky: If it’s a carry-it-yourself to the oversize bags area, check-in (and thus pay for) with just one,add the others en route to oversize.


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.