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Headed to the slopes or the surf? Be prepared for special baggage and sports gear fees

Winter always brings the same question for the sporty traveller: how do I transport my skis or snowboard (or perhaps surfboard if you’re escaping the frost) on a plane?

It’s important to prepare these things in advance, as special baggage and sports gear can add up to a substantial fee with some airlines.

Surf Wetsuit River Surfboard Surfer Wave

To help you avoid any unpleasant surprise expenses, we’ve put together an overview of the fees and allowances for various airlines.

Air Berlin:

Sports equipment such as skis and surfboards can take the place of regular luggage. If regular luggage is not included in the booked ticket price, the special baggage can also be paid for separately under the following conditions:

As part of the free baggage allowance: a surfboard; or pair of skis + ski poles/snowboard + helmet + boots (in a separate bag). There is an extra charge for additional items in the ski boot bag. Max size: L 290cm x W 25cm x H 86cm.

Air France:

Sports equipment is included in the standard luggage allowance and in the ticket price. Avalanche airbags and other special equipment must be registered at least 48 hours before departure with customer service. The equipment allowed is a ski set (1 pair of skis + 1 pair of ski poles + 1 pair of ski boots) or a snowboard set (snowboard + 1 pair of snowboard boots).

Austrian Airlines:

A ski or snowboard set (up to 32kg) per person is free of charge on all Austrian Airlines flights, except for flights to the USA and Canada.

The price for an additional set is €50 for flights within Europe and within non-European countries. For intercontinental flights, this goes up to €100.

Registration: you can contact the airline by phone +43 (0) 5 1766 1000) or via an online contact form. The final decision depends on available space in the cargo.

British Airways:

Sports equipment can generally be transported free of charge as part of your regular luggage. You can pay extra for additional items if this is not the case. The fees vary according to the type of ticket. In any case, you should always book the luggage online in advance – doing so at the airport is usually much more expensive.

Conditions: surfboards, snowboards and skis must be packed in a recognized surfboard, snowboard or ski bag. Ski poles must be packed with the skis. Boots should be packed separately from skis or snowboards.

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Condor:

Extra equipment must be paid for at an additional cost. Fees differ according to the length of the journey:

Short and medium: from €40

Long distance: from €65

Registration: All extra luggage must be registered at least 8 hours before departure. If the equipment is not registered or it is too late, a fee is payable at the airport. This can be up to €60.01 per route.

Easyjet:

Ski equipment up to 20kg is considered sports equipment and can be included in the regular free luggage limits. It can also be paid for as extra luggage at an additional cost of €42 with advance bookings or €56 at the airport.

Registration: sports equipment can be registered and paid for up to two hours before departure, either online or directly at the airport.

Emirates:

Special luggage check-in is free of charge. However, certain charges may apply for different ticket types. It is best to contact Emirates Customer Service directly for further clarification.

Dimensions: maximum dimensions of 150cm in length, width and height. For some tickets, two pieces of luggage are included. In this case, the maximum length is 300cm. Exceptions apply for journeys to the Americas.

Germanwings:

Transport for up to three parts with a total maximum weight of 30kg is usually included without additional surcharges.

Note: When booking with Etix or via a partner airline or travel agency, the baggage regulations may differ. Be sure to always re-check the conditions online.

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Iberia:

If the sports equipment is within the regular booked luggage, it’s free of charge (depending on ticket type). Additional baggage and overweight charges apply.

Conditions: all parts of the sports equipment must be well packaged to ensure that they do not cause any damage during loading or transport.

KLM:

Winter sports equipment up to 300cm in length is allowed. Prices vary depending on ticket. The surcharge is dependent on the number of free baggage items as well as the final flight destination, and is between €30 and €200.

Registration: winter sports equipment does not have to be registered in advance. Only avalanche airbags or avalanche rescue pressure bags must be pre-registered. These can be carried either as free hand luggage or as additional baggage items.

Lufthansa:

First bag of sports equipment is included in regular baggage and is free of charge on all flights except for those to the USA, Canada, Mexico and Central America. The weight of the equipment must be within the booked baggage limits of the respective booking class – check your ticket here.

Any additional baggage is charged and depends on the flight destination:

Continental: €50

Intercontinental: €100

Ryanair:

Snowboards/skis up to max. 20kg are allowed, depending on the ticket.

The following charges apply:

€40 when booking online

€45 when booking at the airport

Caution: if the maximum permitted weight of 20kg is exceeded, the additional fees are calculated on the basis of the respective applicable excess fee: currently €10 per kg.

All pointed objects in the checked baggage must be securely packaged in order to avoid injuries and difficulties during loading.

Sunexpress:

Skis are allowed free of charge but must be booked as excess baggage. Snowboards up to 30kg cost €40 per route. If the weight exceeds 30kg, passengers are charged €10 per kilogram overweight.

Registration: For snowboards up to 140cm and 30kg, registration is not necessary. Anything above these limitations must be registered. Skis do not need to be registered. Sports bags must be registered online no later than three working days before departure. An appropriate registration form must be completed.

Tip: If you book the corresponding excess baggage in advance, you can save up to 70%.

Snowboarder

 

Swiss Airlines:

Swiss Airlines offers free transport for checked baggage within the regular baggage allowance. For each additional piece of luggage, it will cost €50 for European flights and €100 for intercontinental flights.

Caution: Sports baggage will not always be accepted as part of the free baggage allowance with codeshare flights or connecting flights with other airlines. In addition, fees are applicable for flights to/from the USA as well as for Economy Light tickets.

Thai Airways:

Transport is free, as long as the free luggage limit is not exceeded. Otherwise, regular excess baggage charges apply. This varies according to the ticket, departure and destination.

TUIfly:

Sports equipment up to max. 1x30kg is allowed per passenger for a fee of €65 per flight. For sports luggage which exceeds this weight and quantity, the airline’s over-reserve policy applies.

Note: sports luggage must be booked online or by phone at the TUIfly service center, as there is only a limited load capacity available.

Turkish Airlines:

1 piece of checked luggage is allowed free of charge within the free baggage allowance. For each additional piece of luggage, extra fees between €30 and €60 per route apply. These vary depending on the destination and ticket type.

Caution: if the sports bag exceeds the 32kg limit, it must be divided into two or more pieces of luggage. The respective fee is then payable for each piece.

United Airlines:

For each passenger, a sports equipment bag can replace a regular piece of luggage within the free baggage limit (up to two boards or skis + accompanying equipment in a bag + a boot bag).

If the bag stays within the free baggage limit of up to 23kg, the transport is free of charge. Extra charges for excess winter sports equipment is applicable depending on ticket type.

Caution: if the ski boot bag contains items other than ski boots, service fees will be charge for additional baggage or excess baggage. Sports equipment must also be securely packed.

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