Excess baggage charges aren’t fun. These days, with profit margins falling, airlines will try to ream you any way they can. Ryanair have even been talking about charging you to use the crapper! Do your homework and you might be able to save yourself some cash by flying with a surfboard friendly airline -- in fact don't bother, we've done your homework for you, and compiled a definitive list of airlines and their surfboard fees. Sometimes, however, there's simply no way to avoid flying with an airline that will charge you -- often an extortionate amount -- to take your surfboard, but there are a few tactical moves you can make to sway things in your favour.

1. Groups

If you are travelling in a group, hand over all your passports together and check in together, and with luck, the weight allowance will be averaged out over all of you. This relies on some of you being under the allowance of course.

2. Bribery

More likely to work in the third world, for example at Padang airport in Sumatra, on your way back from the Ments. If you know you are seriously over weight, just slip in a banknote in your passport when you check in. If they ask what it is, you might say something like, ‘Oh well if it’s in there I think it must be yours…’ Sometimes they hand it back, sometimes they put it in their pocket and don’t charge you the excess.

3. Footsie

One of the more basic methods. As you put your boardbag on the scales, rest one end on your foot to take some of the weight. The check in desk staff would probably have to be fairly new in order for you to get away with this one, but hey, never underestimate peoples' stupidity.


Have a look at their faces. Go for a member of the opposite sex who looks healthy, but not too healthy. In my experience the ideal age is 46... slightly jaded, nothing to prove. You want one who is more likely to be easily charmed, than a double hot hard nosed bitch who has been getting her own way all her life.

5. Hide

A pro surfer classic is to take lots of stuff out of your massive heavy bag (boards, wetties etc) and leave em with a bro out of sight. Then go to check in, get weighed. They’ll tell you to go drop off your bag yourself, then come back to get your boarding pass. On your way to the oversize drop-off, put the rest of the stuff back in. Every kilo of stuff you hid is a gift!

6. Blah blah blah

This is the place where we predictably say, ‘Smile, be polite, get there early.’ Well not this time, coz you should smile and be polite anyway, even if you are not overweight, shouldn’t you? The other option is go to the opposite extreme and get there late, look broken, shattered, desperate, grieving. This is a tricky one to pull off and might require you staying in character longer than you'd hoped, when you miss the flight.