As I am packing my bags for a flight down to Costa Rica for another ‘business’ trip, I thought I would make it a little easier for those travelers wondering which airlines are the most surfer friendly. Here’s what I found….
From the MARTIN AIR website, they allow three pieces of luggage including one carryon. Passengers may carry maximum 2 surfboards, in the same bag, as one piece of luggage as long as the bag does not exceed 70lbs in weight and is no longer than 10 feet.
On SPIRIT AIRLINES the charge for surfboards is $50 one-way and may only be paid at the airport. Also, I was surprised to see that starting February 20th, the fee for transporting any luggage is $10.00 per bag if payment is made online in advance. When paying at the airport fees will increase to $20.00 per item. Also, Spirit Airlines can only guarantee the transportation of one item as checked luggage per fare-paying customer at the airport. Additional bags are accepted only when reserved in advance online. If not reserved, Spirit cannot guarantee that there will be space for additional bags and will not be held responsible for any additional items brought to the airport by the customer.
If you want to fly TACA, they allow up to 2 surfboards in one bag permitted per passenger and there is a $50 charge each way. BUT, there is no charg between Miami and San Jose for first 2 surfboards per passenger.
For DELTA AIRLINES, if it’s 62–80 inches, the total of length plus width plus height of your bag, it’s $100 each bag each way. No more than two bags total, or you pay another $75 fee. If it’s over 80 inches, total of length plus width plus height, it’s not permitted.
On AMERICAN AIRLINES, one surfboard will cost you $80 to fly it. And if the bag is in excess of the two pieces you’re allowed, excess baggage charges apply in addition to the $80 special items fee.
So how about CONTINENTAL? Continental Airlines will accept one surfboard or one surfboard bag containing up to four boards per customer as checked baggage, with the following charges each way: 1 surfboard $95.00, 1 surfboard bag containing up to two boards $95.00, 1 surfboard bag containing up to three boards $380.00, 1 surfboard bag containing up to four boards $665.00. This service charge is in addition to any excess baggage charges that may apply. Also, the skeg/fin must be removed or well padded. And it can’t be over 70 pounds or 115 inches (length + width + height) What’s interesting is also they have embargos on oversized luggage during the peak season, BUT this doesn’t include flights to Costa Rica. (nice)
On COPA AIRLINES, which flies indirectly to Costa Rica, surfboards cost $50. There’s no mention if it’s one-way or round trip.
UNITED AIRLINES charges $100.00 for anything over 62 inches in length. They recommend that you contact your travel agent before making a reservation.
Which brings up a great point. Why not use a travel agent? If you think you are saving money trying to set up a trip by yourself, you are missing the chance to work with someone who knows the industry, where to find the best deals, a safe hotel, a reliable car rental. You’re not saving a dime if you show up at the airport and your boards cost you $200 to fly them roundtrip, or if you have to leave them at the airport. So send me a note, email@example.com, and I can help you save on your next Costa Rica trip. I can even help you plan your trip for where and when the waves will be best.
Greg Gordon, owner
CR Surf Travel Company