If you are thinking about bringing your favorite quiver on your next surf trip to Costa Rica, most of these airlines have increased their fees for surfboards. Be sure to visit the airlines’ website before booking your flight so you know what to expect. Our links go directly to their ‘sports equipment’ page so you can find the exact specifications required for your surfboard travel bag. And thanks to American Airlines, who lowered their bag fees to $30 (your first checked bag fee) if it’s under 50 pounds!
Luckily in Costa Rica there are a number of surf shops who rent quality, ding free boards. It is also an option to buy a new board and then sell it back used and still save over what it would have cost to bring your own. Here is our list of surfcamps, many of whom have boards to rent.
Aeromexico – $150 each way for each piece of surf equipment. Maximum length allowed per piece on narrow-body cabin is 204 centimeters / 80 inches and wide-body cabin is 294 centimeters / 115 inches (Maximum length including case)
American Airlines updated 5/19/2019 – Standard checked bag fees ($30) of your destination apply up to 50lbs/23kgs and 126in/320cm (length + width + height) or a $150 fee applies from 51lbs/23kgs to 70lbs/32kgs. For travel to, through or from Brazil, for tickets issued on or before May 20, 2019, the fee will be: $42.50 (1st board bag/case), $85 (2+ board bags/cases). For tickets issued on or after May 21, 2019, there is no exception for Brazil. One bag or case can contain multiple boards and will count as 1 checked item. Keels, kedges, and/or fins must be removed or properly protected to prevent damage to other bags.
Avianca – $150 each way per surfboard bag (max. 3 surfboards) between North America and Central America
Copa – $150 to all destinations. You are allowed two surfboards or bodyboards per passenger, packed in a single case. Passengers traveling with a surfboard or bodyboard must make a reservation for the board when purchasing their ticket or 48 hours prior to the departure of their flight by calling the Reservation Center. Acceptance of surfboards and bodyboards is subject to space availability, which varies by type of aircraft:
Delta– updated 7/20/2019 – $0 – you only pay for surfboards as checked bags ($30 for first bag, $40 for second bag) Length + Width + Height needs to be less than 115″.
Jet Blue– Surfboards will be accepted on domestic and certain international flights* and will count as a checked bag. You will be charged any baggage fees associated with your fare and a $100 per board each way fee.
Southwest– $75 each way per surfboard bag. If the item of sporting equipment exceeds 50 pounds in weight or 62 inches in size (outside length plus height plus width), excess weight and size charges may apply.
Spirit Airlines – A fee of $100 will apply each way for surfboards. A maximum of two surfboards will be accepted per case.
United– To celebrate surfing as the new state sport of California, customers traveling to and from California with a surfboard, paddleboard and/or wakeboard will not be charged an oversize fee. International travel – $200 each way per surfboard. Allowance/requirements One surfboard or surfboard bag per customer as checked baggage. The skeg/fin must be removed or well padded. The entire board must be encased in a suitable container to avoid scratching. United Airlines shall not be liable for damage to a surfboard. Excess Valuation may not be purchased for a surfboard.
On United Express flights, surfboards or surfboard bags more than 80 inches (203 cm) in length will not be accepted as checked baggage. If your itinerary includes United Express, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits.
Volaris – Your board bag must not weigh more than 55 pounds (25 kg). The sum of its dimensions (height + length + width) should not exceed 98 total inches (250 cm). Bear in mind that these dimensions will be considered only when paying the correspondent fee for this service. We recommend the “More Baggage Combo”, available ONLY at the time of booking your flight. Please note, the Combo is NOT available at the airport, it MUST be purchased ahead of time. The combo includes includes: Additional 10 kg/22lbs Carry-on Allowance, One 25kg Checked Bag, One piece of Sporting Equipment.Price of “More Baggage Combo” Price of “More Baggage Combo” International: $53 USD ($58 USD high season). Otherwise, International – Low Season: $75 USD (may be higher at the airport) High Season $95 USD
These airlines do not charge for boards:
Singapore Airlines– No Charge for first 2 surfboards
Qantas – No charge
South African Airways– No charge
Air Emirates– No Charge
Wherever you decide to fly, be sure to purchase travel insurance to protect you from those ‘just in case’ moments and give you peace of mind on your trip. Our recommended partner is Travel Insured for their great service and competitive prices.