Travelling with oversized baggage is no doubt one of the most challenging aspects of surfing or snowboarding away from home especially when it comes to airlines. Below are some airlines that I have personal experience flying on with oversized baggage i’ll my share that experience with you.
I’ve never traveled with an airline that doesn’t accept oversized baggage however some will charge extra fees, while others will have a restriction on lengths and/or weights depending on the aircraft flown.
There’s two types of baggage allowances the “piece” concept and “overall weight” concept. The piece concept gives you an allowance such as 2x 23kgs or 3x 32kgs while the overall weight concept will give you an allowance such as 40kgs overall spread across many bags. Some airlines will have both policies depending on the destination. Flights to and from the Americas nearly always use the piece policy. As a general rule no airlines accept a single item of baggage over 32kgs although there are exceptions to this as well.
Below I’ve compiled a list of airlines & their rules regarding oversized baggage primarily based on travelling in economy which I try to keep up to date and add more airlines as time goes on. In addition it’s always good to remember the following points:
- Sporting equipment such snowboards, surfboards, golf bags, windsurfing, etc can sometimes be exempt from the oversize fees or length restrictions, always check with the airline.
- Not all fare types with all airlines include free checked baggage. For this reason it can sometimes pay to fly with a more expensive airline that includes these things.
- Surfboards especially longer boards or thicker bags that carry over 2 boards can often go over the “total dimensions”.
- When traveling with multiple carriers even on a single reservation different allowances may apply.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand aren’t exactly the greatest airline for oversize & overweight checked baggage. The fees for bags over 23kgs are extremely high and 32kg bags are only allowed on jet planes so for regional flights on turboprops within New Zealand you will be stuck at 23kgs. Even if you were to be flying business class they charge a fee for baggage over 23kgs. The fee depends on the destination. For these reasons I avoid Air New Zealand where I can but luckily I always have plenty of options to go Trans-Tasman from the East Coast of Australia.
Domestically & cross border (Canada & Mexico) Delta only includes baggage in there first (which is really business class) although it’s substantial at 2x 32kgs or 70lbs in imperial. So flying economy all baggage needs to be purchased. Delta do however allow oversize at no extra fee but over 23kgs or 50lbs in economy will cost. Delta also allow massive 100lbs baggage for a fee.
Personally I think flying Delta domestically is more than enough to deal with so I’ve never flown internationally. Internationally they do include baggage however, how much depends on the destination.
Hawaiian Airlines has a very generous baggage allowance for international travel in particularly between Hawaii & Australia. Flying between Hawaii & Australia allows travellers to take 2x 32kg (70lb) checked bags including oversize with them free of charge. Travelling to other destinations with Hawaiian Airlines isn’t so generous with baggage charges in addition to oversize fees on top costs vary depending on destination.
Being a full service airline Qantas include checked baggage in all there fares while the amount changes depending on destination, aircraft type and class of travel. For example when travelling on a Qantaslink Dash-8 service which they use on regional routes the weight restriction is 23kg. Some destinations such as North America Qantas will charge a “heavy fee” for bags over 23kgs although this is relatively cheap. Qantas doesn’t charge oversize baggage fees.
Virgin Australia have generous baggage allowances to all destinations and allow up 32kgs even on turboprops airplanes although anything above 23kgs will get an overweight fee, unless flying premium or business where the allowance is 32kgs. Virgin Australia doesn’t charge oversize baggage fees.