- 1. Check the airline conditions for (sports) baggage before booking
- 2. Carefully read the airline regulations for normal (!) baggage
- 3. Check if the airline has a membership card
- 4. Consider the amount and time of stopovers
- 5. Check beforehand if you need to pass immigration even though you are only there for a stopover (like in the U.S.) which would require a lot more time for your stopover
- 6. If you need to book the kitesurf baggage additionally make sure the airline still has space for the luggage
- Alright, I’d say go for it and book that flight!
1. Check the airline conditions for (sports) baggage before booking
Way more important than the prices for the flights are the prices for sports baggage. Sometimes you’ll find a flight which is 100 Euros cheaper put then you would pay 180 Euros just for the sports luggage. And then you find out, that the other flight, which is initially 100 Euros more expensive, has a great regulation for sports baggage, so you don’t need to pay extra, which in the end makes it the cheaper flight.
How to find the kitesurf-friendly airlines
You can find a great overview of airline fares for sports luggage here (in German) and even if you don’t speak German, make sure to check the link since they indicated the kitesurf-friendliest airlines with smileys 😉 There is also a good international overview in English here.
Worst case: they won’t take kite luggage at all
I almost booked a flight from Brazil to Dominican Republic via Curacao which would have been with an airline that uses a small propeller airplane for especially that route – that doesn’t fit any sports luggage. So the kitesurf luggage would have been transported with the next available bigger machine which could have taken days. Luckily I read it before booking.. (The end of the story was I had to take a 30-hour-flight with 2 stopovers for a distance that would have taken me 2 hours if I flew there straight, but hey, I had my beloved kitbag still with me when I arrived in windy Dominican Republic and went straight from the plane to the water)
2. Carefully read the airline regulations for normal (!) baggage
Sometimes, if your kite luggage is your only piece of luggage, you can check it in as your normal luggage – if the weight limit is kept. Worked for me a couple of times and saved me a lot of money.
Use the smallest kitebag which still fits your gear
Some airlines allow e.g. 2 x 23 kgs of luggage so I could easily check in my kitebag with 32 kgs as the normal luggage. If possible, use the smallest kitebag available (which for me was 135 cm long), providing the fact that your board still fits ins (but it should unless you have a very big lightwind board or a surfboard). Very often the limit of the complete luggage circumference is 158 cm and this bag almost fits those premises so unless somebody starts measuring, it will fit in!
Check it in as golf luggage – if that’s for free
Some airlines allow free golf luggage, that might work but sometimes they still want to check the bag. If you do try that make sure to dress as if you were a golfer 😉