British Airways baggage policy

British airways is halting the transport of all surfboards, windsurfers etc

starting Nov 6. I suggest that you send them an email (similar to the

one below) to ask them to reconsider:

Important - the message is not submitted until you create an e-mail

account with them (a few windows after you think you’ve submitted the

message). Make sure you go through this process and finish sending the

message or it won’t get through.

Even if you never fly British Airways, the companies have a habit of

coping the lead of other companies, so your airline will soon adopt

this policy. It’s worth letting British Airways know you object.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I have recently discovered that you intend to halt the transportation

of larger sporting equipment (including surfboards and windsurfing

boards/sails) via the airport baggage system or within the aircraft

hold from 6 November 2007.

I would like you to reconsider this decision. The only reason I fly,

ever, is for trips to destinations where I can surf. I fly, on average,

about 20 000km a year (on various airlines, depending on the final

destination), most of the time for a duration of 1 to 2 weeks. Shipment

by cargo of my boards is thus not an option (given the time I spend on

each trip, even if it were financially possible as cargo is always too

expensive). I have always, when possible, specifically chosen British

Airways in the past because I was sure to be able to transport my

surfboards with me. Without them, I have no reason to fly.

We generally travel in groups of 4 to 5 people, all with the same

reason - to go to exotic destinations to surf.

I will of course be forced to take my business elsewhere for my trips

if this change is implemented, and will support only airlines who take

my boards (without excessive charges) even when I fly without them.

I look forward to your reply,


Corran Addison

Thanks for the heads-up, Corran

I got an automated response. Here is my response to that FYI.

This matter IS important. Take the time to send BA an email.


To whom it may concern

Thank you for the reply to my email. However, I was disappointed to see that it was a copy/paste reply from your website.

Until now, British Airways has stood out as one of the few airlines which will take sporting equipment. This is well known internationally. As such, surfers, kayakers, skiers, windsurfers etc from around the world specifically buy tickets on BA. Even in Canada, whenever possible, even if it means a detour, I will reserve tickets with BA.

The days of people traveling simply to go sit on some forlorn beach and drink Pina Colada’s are over. The new generation (20 to 35yr olds) are physically active. They are the working core of the world, and they travel worldwide to indulge in their sporting passions. At a time like this, after the “war on terror”, when the entire flying experience has become intrusive and taxing, fewer and fewer people are flying. It would seem, logically, that you’d want to keep that market share of those who still do travel - and this is namely the younger generation who travel with a purpose. Telling a sportsman that his equipment is not allowed on a flight is like saying he can’t bring his feet. He simply will not fly at all. Given the choice of not being able to fly with a surfboard to Hawaii, or driving to southern Spain, a surfer will choose to drive to Spain. He will not simply “fly anyway, and make other arrangements to find a board in Hawaii”. He will just not go at all if his board (or whatever his passion is) cannot accompany him. This is a lost customer. In addition, several airlines (as a result of such announcements by BA) are now specifically saying that they will take large sporting goods in order to get your business.

But we both know there is no airline like British Airways. Why would we want to fly with anyone else?

I understand of course that there are handling issues with equipment such as surfboards, whitewater kayaks etc (especially with your new high-tech baggage handling system). However to tell an entire demographic - the most prolific users of the airline system after business travelers, seems a short sighted outlook. Requiring these travelers to use the cargo service, which simply would not follow the same timing, or same destinations (and of course, excessive costs associated which are often far in excess of the original price of the actual equipment itself) would be like asking Mrs Jones to ship her hand bag separately. It’s simply not a practical option. It will never be accepted, and you will loose customers.

We are not abject to having to pay a reasonable surcharge for the extra effort that it takes to get a large piece of sporting equipment from check-in to the airplane; this is normal. But we do ask that you reconsider your position regarding disallowing the sporting goods altogether.

I hope that this matter will be considered beyond an automated copy/paste response.


Corran Addison

President 2Imagine Surfboards

Montreal, Canada

I have just visited GoPetition and found the following page very interesting: