August 23, 2008

Surfers Hit With Stiff Airline Charges

U.S. airlines have sharply increased the charge for bringing a surfboard along, with some hitting surfers for carry-on charges of as much as $300.

Carriers are adding on charges for everything from checked bags to bottled water but surfers say the increased in fees for checking boards go beyond those for other sports equipment, including bicycles and golf bags, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Why are we being singled out? It's not like we're carrying nuclear weapons, and these surfboards aren't much heavier than a carry-on," said Evan Slater, editor in chief of Surfing magazine.

Rusty Long, a professional surfer based in San Clemente, Calif., has been advising others to seek out airlines like JetBlue which feature comparatively low charges. Some airlines, like the Australian carrier Quantas, carry boards free while British Airways refuses to carry boards at all.

Mark Cowan of Colorado, who was passing through Los Angeles en route to Oahu, told the Times he is considering in the future just buying a used board at his destination.