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Old 12-24-2009, 02:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Info on Flying w/snowboards as Checked Baggage

I'm constantly flying, and during Winter I take my snowboard gear along when I can. I compiled a list of the fees & restrictions for checking your snowboard in as baggage on domestic flights, for the major US airlines. It's definitely something to take into consideration when you're searching for the cheapest flights. Keep in mind that sometimes this sporting equipment will exceed the airline's max size and/or weight, so they may charge you an additional fee for that.

By the way, if you're searching for flights/hotels, Kayak is the way to go. I find it to be the best since it searches all the airlines (except Southwest) and many of the travel sites too, then sends you straight to their site to buy the ticket, without charging any fees whatsoever.

All info. is taken directly from each airlines' site, but let me know if there are any discrepancies, or if any of their pricing/policies have changed. Hope this helps!

Airlines have merged and prices have changed, so I've updated the table today (10/30/12):

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Last edited by Triple8Sol; 10-30-2012 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Update
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Old 12-24-2009, 10:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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AC will do it for free and I think if you fly international UA will also give it to you for free.
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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thank you. i have a suggsetion though, could you also all an extra column to the graph? one that has the price for the second check bag? im flying for the first time with my board through american airlines and im still confused about the extra cost of checking the snowboard bag as the second bag. there is 4 of us going, i think we have decided to put all 4 boards in one bag to avoid all of us paying the additional costs. good thread though, thank again.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If I'm reading that chart right it would mean that almost any snowboard brought on Southwest would get an extra charge. Do I have that right? My board bag would come to about 64x12x6.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I flew out of Chicago O'hare to Burlington, Vermont this year via US Airways with a bag length of 181 so just under 72 inches. I also did an online baggage check 12 hours before my flight and saved $5 at the ticket lines.
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Old 12-24-2009, 11:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john doe View Post
If I'm reading that chart right it would mean that almost any snowboard brought on Southwest would get an extra charge. Do I have that right? My board bag would come to about 64x12x6.
I've flown on Southwest a number of times (more on why I usually fly Southwest on my snowboard trips) with a snowboard and have never been charged an overweight/oversize fee for portage of my board bag, which usually also contains my boots, pants, jacket, etc. My board is 163cm and the bag is 165 (65") so it definitely exceeds the stated limit.

Southwest also charges $0 for second checked bag.

I've found they consistently have the lowest fares, especially when the baggage fees are taken in to consideration, and since they fly to Reno/Tahoe, Denver, Salt Lake City, L.A., Seattle/Tacoma and Portland, they can get you to pretty much any of the big resorts.

They don't charge ridiculous rates for one-way flights, either. NWA/Delta charges the same price for a one-way flight as they do for a round-trip. THis means you could fly in to SLC/Park City for a few days, hop on the Greyhound bus line to Denver and hit up Breck for a few more days, and fly home from Denver, at a very reasonable price.

Additionally, they have $0 fee for changing your flight, so if you decide to shorten/lengthen your trip, or to change the dates altogether, all you have to pay is the difference in fare (they will credit you if the new fare is lower - which can also be used to re-book the same dates at a lower fare if one becomes available!). I think NWA/Delta charges $150 for a change.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I know from personal experience from flying with WestJet last year that they allow you to use a snowboard bag as one of the two pieces of luggage you can take for free. They will waive the oversize fee on the bag for you but if your bag is overweight or is an additional piece of luggage (on top of your first two free checked bags) you will have to pay a fee just like you would with a regular bag. Overall it worked out great and i had no problems at all flying with my bag.
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Old 12-25-2009, 09:52 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know there are other domestic airlines that I didn't list. The list I compiled is just of the ones that pop up in my searches usually. Also, America West is US Airways, NWA is Delta, and Horizon is Alaska.
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I fly Southwest quite a bit, too, and Ive never been charged for a snowboard at all. I always make sure to have a $fiver in my hand, and to start chatting the curbside bag guy right away. I find this keeps my bags from ever hitting the scales at all! I know these guys dont always give the customer service to deserve any tip, but it helps my comfort level and is far cheaper than any overweight charges.

Im not the biggest fan of Southwest's seating style, but their cost, ease of use/flight changes make it way worthwhile. And they are closer to me in Dallas than all the other airlines at the 'big' airport.
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Old 12-27-2009, 09:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Protip: When travelling in Canada make sure your board bag is easily accessible by security as it's their favourite place to check for bomb residue in my experience. I know in the US most airports don't have this technology but even small regional airports in Canada use it. So when I mean easily accessible, keep your lock keys handy and don't overstuff the bag, don't use a carbon based wax.
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