Flying With a Longboard Surfboard; No Stress!

Across the globe, there are some stunning spots for longboarding, places with perfectly peeling waves, warm waters, and sunshine amid thriving surf towns. You know, places where you spend all day gliding across waves, sipping coffee, and doing yoga between sessions. Top it off with a cold cerveza or three–paradise. Throw in a beautiful new hand-crafted log from a top shaper, and you have the makings of the perfect surf trip.  

However, there is a roadblock to surfing and traveling with a longboard; airlines and baggage fees. It doesn’t matter what size board you’re traveling with; if you’re an avid surf traveler like me, sometimes you inevitably get stung with airline baggage fees. It’s just part of the game. But with a longboard, things are even tricker as boards of this size and length often exceed baggage allowances–another extra cost on top of your baggage fee. Super annoying! 

Although these baggage fees are frustrating and traveling with a longboard can be a hassle, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Don’t let fees and hassle put you off. In this post, we dive into everything you need to know about flying with a longboard, from the general consensus around traveling on a plane with a log to the best airlines to fly with and how to pack. We’ll also look at the best longboard bags to purchase and some tips and tricks. By the end, you’ll have all the know-how to fly stress and hassle-free on your next log venture. And with any luck, ding free!  

how to ship a surfboard, how to pack a surfboard

Can You Bring Your Longboard on a Flight? 

Yes. With most airlines, you can take a longboard on a flight, and it counts towards your overall baggage weight or as sports equipment. All surfboards are classed as oversized luggage and must be checked in at the desk, then taken to the oversized section. Cost and weight allowances depend on your airline, so always check these details before flying. 

Airline Longboard Policies: The General Consensus 

For me, the better the airlines (as in, the more you pay), the better experience you’ll have taking your board. Airlines like Emirates and Qatar are always the best when flying with a longboard and are usually more accommodating and lenient with weight limits. Your oversized is typically included as part of your weight allowance. In comparison, smaller budget airlines (as you know) are always out to squeeze every last penny out of you after selling you a cheap ticket. 

The less you pay for your fare, the more you can expect to pay for your baggage and the more stringent the airline with weight limits. I can’t stress how crucial it is to check the airline’s website first. The last thing you want (I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve done this) is to rock up at the check-in desk and get stung for sports equipment, excess baggage, and overweight charges. Not fun! 

Tip – If your luggage is overweight, bring a duty-free bag and stuff some clothes into it. Airlines allow this, and it’s a great way to take some heavy items out of your luggage. You can also wear or carry some items. Once you’ve checked in, and you’re back underweight limit, go around the corner and put everything back into your bag before taking it to oversized–No one will ever know or care! I’ve found the best airlines for flying with a longboard to be; Emirates, Qatar, Air Asia, and Qantas. 

How To Pack a Longboard For a Fight 

Choose The Right Bag 

Getting the right bag to travel with that precious $2000 9ft freshie you’ve purchased is critical. If you skimp out on a second-hand bag or cheapo, you won’t have the same level of protection. A A 9ft log? That’s a lot of board, and therefore the risk for damage is high! Get as much padding and protection as possible. I always use Ocean & Earth surfboard bags (I’m a short-boarder), but I find the quality of their products always reliable and sturdy. I’ve had the same bag for four years and travel full-time. Pretty good going if you ask me!  

Get The Packing Right 

how to pack a surfboard for travel in a board bag

Whether traveling with only a longboard or using your board bag as a suitcase, be strategic with how you pack. With longboards (or any board, for that matter) protect key parts of the board, such as the nose, tail, and rails. For the nose and tail, tape bubble wrap or foam pipe coverings around the edges, or if you don’t have the room, stuff your largest (puffiest) clothing items around them. You can also do the same using towels and wetsuits to protect your rails. This and a top-quality surfboard bag should give you adequate protection.  

What if My Board Gets Damaged?

No matter how stringent you are with your packing and padding, there will always come a time when your board gets damaged on a flight. Other than having excellent travel insurance with the extra equipment coverage, there’s not a great deal you can do about this. Sometimes (as in most of the time), luggage handlers couldn’t care less about your brand-new $1800 beauty (and the joy it will give you for years to come), and dings can and will happen. 

Always check your boards before leaving the airport and speak to an airline representative. I typically find airline reps and staff among the most unhelpful customer service people and incredibly frustrating to talk to–especially when they’ve put a hole through your brand-new board! So, you may have more luck with your insurance company. 

Flying With Your Longboard: Do’s & Dont’s 

  • Don’t disregard airline baggage policies and fees 
  • Don’t forget to add extra padding 
  • Never pay for excess weight (always repack and re-arrange)
  • Get surf travel insurance with extra equipment coverage 
  • Don’t be afraid to travel with a longboard 

Final Tips 

Flying with a longboard is and will be a hassle. If not for the fees but for having to lug a 9ft board bag through airport terminals. But the reward can’t be ignored. The reward of gracefully gliding down the line on a brand spanking new log in one of the best pointbreaks on earth far outweighs any travel annoyances. Oh, and you won’t have to hire some 10-year-old water-logged mini-mal from the local beach shack. Anything but that!  

What’s more, flying with your log doesn’t have to be stressful, and I hope these tips have helped give you the confidence for a stress and ding-free longboard trip. Always check your airline policies, pack your bag sufficiently, and take out the extra insurance. Good luck and happy travels! 

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