Fabulous Fridays: Surfers Galore – United Airlines Eliminates Excess Baggage Fee For Surfboards When Departing Or Arriving In California

Those who love to go surfing and transport their equipment in or out of California have another perk on their hands when they fly United as the airline just dropped the excess baggage fee for surfboards.

If the ticket starts or ends in California on a direct flight then United has now a waiver in place that will eliminate the US$200 fee effective today (October 5th 2018) and just levies the regular checked baggage fee.

Apparently United introduced this new policy in celebration of surfing being named California’s official state sport.

Taking a surfboard or any sports equipment such as diving trunks and bicycles are an expensive addition to an airline ticket and special baggage items aren’t usually covered by the free baggage allowance of your ticket or airline elite status.

This was reported on PR Newswire (see here) yesterday and should be reason to rejoice for all surfers that go in & out of CA.

To celebrate California recently naming surfing as the state’s official sport, United Airlines, California’s global airline, is getting onboard and removing the service fees for surfboards for customers traveling to or from California.

Effective October 5, customers traveling with a surfboard, wakeboard or paddleboard on direct United Airlines or United Express itineraries that originate or end at any California airport will not have to pay the previous $150 or $200 service fee to check these items. The regular checked-bag fee will apply. …

California made it official: surfing is our state sport. We want to make it easier for customers to surf our beautiful beaches, whether they’re visiting or call the Golden State home,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s president for California.

Direct itineraries mean no connection flights allowed which might make things difficult considering California is a big state and has many flights that go via LAX/SFO to destinations up and down the coast.

United Airlines hasn’t updated their website (access here) yet to reflect this waiver. It’s still reflecting the general policy for all destinations:

United accepts surfboards, wakeboards and paddleboards checked as special items as long as they are packed in appropriate board bags and do not weigh more than 99.9 pounds (45.3 kg). The service charge for a surfboard, wakeboard or paddleboard is $150 USD/CAD (each way) for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and $200 USD/CAD (each way) for all other travel.

The skeg/fin must be removed or well-padded. The entire board must be encased in a suitable container to avoid scratching. United is not liable for damages. Boards and board bags weighing more than 99.9 pounds (45.3 kg) combined will not be accepted.

I guess they’ll add the waiver in the near future. Meanwhile if you’re traveling with other airlines you can find all surfboard excess baggage fees in this article by Surfline Magazine.


People will be able to save big on this new policy especially those who surf professionally and travel frequently with their equipment. Unfortunately this policy is only in effect for California and not Hawaii (unless you depart CA obviously) and then there are the limitations on the routing I outlined above.

I’m expecting other U.S. carriers such as American and Delta to follow suit in regard to this policy to avoid United having the competitive edge here.