Surf’s Up, Wheels Up: Your Guide to Airlines’ Surfboard Fees

Surfboard airline fees vary from company to company. If you're on a budget, consider flying American or Alaska.
Meghan Coyle
By Meghan Coyle 
Edited by Mary M. Flory
surfboard airline fees

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Catching a wave after your flight? If you’re planning to bring your own surfboard to your destination, you could face some hefty checked bag fees that usually can’t be avoided, even with an airline-branded credit card that offers free checked baggage.

If you plan to bring a surfboard on a plane, here's what you need to know.

Most surfer-friendly airlines

The best airlines for surfers are American Airlines and Alaska Airlines because they consider surfboards a normal piece of checked luggage. That means you won’t have to pay oversized baggage fees, as long as your board bag isn’t too heavy.

Hawaiian Airlines and United Airlines also have cheap rates when you fly between certain destinations. It’s also more cost effective to buddy up and bundle two surfboards together in one case, so you can fly two surfboards for the price of one on the airlines that allow the practice.

Airline surfboard fees, broken down

Here are surfboard policies by airline.

American Airlines

The American Airlines surfboard fee is straightforward. Surfers only pay standard checked bag fees for surfboards that are less than 50 pounds. That’s $45 if the surfboard is your only checked item.

If you’re flying with fellow wave riders and can cram two surfboards into one bag, you’ll only pay one checked bag fee to transport both boards.

Alaska Airlines

It may be called Alaska Airlines, but this carrier has flights to Hawaii and other West Coast destinations that are known for their great waves. You can take a surfboard or paddleboard case with up to two boards inside for the same price as a normal piece of checked luggage.

The Alaska Airlines surfboard fee $30 for the first checked item, which makes flying Alaska one of the most budget-friendly ways to travel with your surfboard. If you have the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card, your free checked bag perk will waive the fee to check your surfboard. The maximum dimensions for the surfboards vary by aircraft, so check on its website before you go.

Delta Air Lines

The Delta Air Lines surfboard fee requires wave riders to shell out at least $150 to fly with your surfboards. Other fees may apply as well if your bag is over 70 pounds, and boards are limited to 115 inches in length.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you’re flying between Honolulu and Maui, Delta only charges a $20 fee.

Hawaiian Airlines

Different rates are charged for surfboards based on where you’re flying according to the Hawaiian Airlines surfboard policy.

  • Heading over to a neighboring Hawaiian island? You'll pay $35 to check your surfboard.

  • Going to or from elsewhere in North America with your surfboard will cost you $100.

  • Other international destinations will cost you $150.

There is an exception that makes it free to check your surfboard if you’re flying to Australia and New Zealand and the board counts as one of your two pieces of checked luggage. Regardless, your bag cannot be over 50 pounds, or it will not be accepted.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue surfboard baggage fees are $100 to check one surfboard each way. It cannot weigh more than 100 pounds. Surfboards are not accepted when flying to/from Bermuda, Haiti, Peru, Port of Spain, Santo Domingo and Santiago.

Southwest Airlines

Surfboards that weigh over 50 pounds can fly for $75 each way on Southwest. Otherwise, Southwest surfboard fees can be avoided by substituting your board for one checked bag. Keels and fins must be removed and placed in carryon or checked baggage.

Spirit Airlines

The Spirit Airlines surfboard fee states that it costs $100 to check surfboards. You can save money by putting two surfboards in one bag, as overweight and oversize charges do not apply to surfboards with Spirit.

United Airlines

Travelers with United will pay the normal checked baggage fee of $30 (pre-paid) for the first checked item when flying to California, and this fee can be waived by having a United credit card and using it to book your flight. When you’re flying to and from destinations outside of California, a United surfboard fee is usually charged as oversized baggage that is $150 or $200 depending on the size.

Flying with surfboards doesn't have to be costly

If you’re planning to fly with your surfboard, it always makes sense to double-check baggage fees before you buy your ticket. It might be worth spending a little extra on airfare to book with an airline that doesn’t charge or charges lower fees for your board.

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