Send’s collective knowledge of getting your kayak on the plane
One of the best parts to our sport is travelling the globe to search out new rivers to enjoy. However, one of the worst parts of our sport is getting a kayak onto an airplane.
Our top tips to getting your kayak onto an airplane are :
Wrap the kayak up. Most airlines policies have a small print that state kayaks most be in a protective bag to fly, while Bren often gets away with it by kicking his kayak to prove it’s build quality at the check in desk. We would advise that you don’t get caught out even if the airline says they take kayaks. Buy a board bag, make your own, wrap it in a duvet or a tarp, just cover the bloody thing.
Be confident. No matter what you’re doing smile and act like it’s no big deal.
Be there early.
Have the airlines policy for over sized luggage / windsurfs / kayaks screenshot and ready to hand when you go to the check in desk.
Fly out of bigger airports and with bigger planes that have an easier time fitting a kayak.
Call ahead, some airlines require you to call ahead and reserve your sports equipment.
Make the kayak easy to grab for the baggage handlers, helps a lot with short connections.
Don’t be afraid to disguise your kayak and call it a windsurf or kiteboard.
Disclaimer, Airlines can change their policies at short notice. Please double and triple check on their website before committing to a flight. We are not responsible for getting your kayak onto the plane, just trying to share some knowledge and tips to hopefully allow it to go smoother for you!
Air Canada is a dream to fly with. A kayak and paddle bag counts as one piece and costs $100 dollars to check in. No word on the weight limit but they do state normal checked bags up to 32kg will be accepted. Air Canada is Kalob’s airline of choice.
Alaskan airlines will accept kayaks as part of your checked baggage weight provided it is not longer than 115inches. If it is over your checked baggage allowance then standard over weight fees apply.
Will fly various types of boards, including stand up paddle boards but there is no mention of kayaks on the website. They do state that any piece of sports equipment not listed will be accepted at standard check in bag fees.
Air New Zealand
Will accept all sports equipment up to 2M long and 32kg in weight. No sign of the fees they would want for that.
Does not state that they will take kayaks but will accept long boards up to 315cm. Rate depends on destination can be 130 euro to 400.
No mention of kayaks but they will accept boards up to 370cm! Price varies for destination.
Website states that they will accept kayaks up to 190cm in length. We do however have a friend that flew a 270cm kayak with them recently and was fine. Luck of the draw. Oversize and overweight fees may apply.
No mention of kayaks but they will fly boards up to 315cm in length for $160. Wrap it up and smile wide at the check in desk?
Will accept kayaks up to 300cm in length. Rate varies for different destinations. Adrian adds that you can book your kayak online and they where great when he flew with them.
Will take various sports equipment up to 250cm in length and 32kg in weight. No specific mention of kayaks though. 59 euro per piece
Will accept most sports equipment as part of your checked lugagage. No mention of length, weight or types of sporting equipment. Don’t be over your checked luggage amount. It gets pricy really quick.
Will not accept kayaks but will accept boards up to a max size of a 115 linear inches. Max weight is 45kg.
State on their website that they will not accept kayaks. However they will accept boards up to 292cm of combined linear dimensions. Overweight baggage fees apply.
Will accept all most all sports equipment as part of your checked luggage. It gets pricy very quickly if you are over your weight limit but you can rest assured they won’t bat an eye lid about a kayak at the check in desk. Bren has flown river kayaks with them several times.
Kayaks are not permitted. Surf boards are permitted up to 2M in length and 32kg.
Will accept kayaks up to 32kg for $200. No mention of size but it includes a set of paddles. Bren flew with them to Zambia last year. However we know of two kayakers that had their kayaks turned away recently.
Who would ever have thought this airline would be so kayak friendly? Book a large piece of sports equipment on to your existing ticket on their website and off you go. Bren mentions that they had an automated check in desk when he flew with them and with a steady foot propping up his kayak he was able to make 45kg magically turn into 32kg and the robot printed out his ticket.
Too busy having a good time to make a good website. No mention of kayaks but will accept surfboards up to 23kg and a 115inches in length. Fare depends on route, Free up to $150.
Will accept kayaks up to 250cm. Fee varies for route. $125 to $170.
No mention of kayaks on the website but they will accept boards up to 3.5M in lengh. Fees vary and policies change quickly. Adrian adds he got his kayak on the plane with them a few years ago but they were hot on trying to identify his windsurf as a kayak.
Do not accept kayaks. Not a good choice. However Kalob has flown a freestyle kayak with them before.
No mention of kayaks on the website but kite boards are accepted up to 300cm in length and 32kg. Extra fee may apply. Bren has flown with a “windsurfing board” out of Manchester airport over ten times.
Will accept kayas up to 190cm in lengh and 23kg in weight for $200
Looks like they are currently changing their policies wording but the principle seems the same. They will fly most sports equipment. Adrian has flown kayaks with them a few times, right up until they started charging 400euros per piece of large sports equipment!
Will not accept kayaks. Will take boards upto 3.2m regardless of height or width up to 32kg or 45kg depending on the route. Fee varies per route.
Will accept all sports equipment! Up to 2.5m in length and 32kg in weight. Have heard only good things from other kayakers about this airline.
Currently no mention of kayaks on their website. However they do accept various types of sports equipment including boards as long as you pre-book online. Bren has flown kayaks with them a few times.
Will accept kayaks for $75 . No mention of length or weight restrictions in their policy. Kalob has flown two river running kayaks with no issues.
Will take almost any sports equipment less than 3m in length as part of your checked luggage. They recently added a more generous checked luggage allowance for most destinations up from 30kg to 46kg. Bren has flown kayaks to Zambia and Indonesia with no issues.
No mention of kayaks on the website but they will accept boards and bulky sports equipment up to 315cm in length. Price varies per route.
South African airlines
Do not accept kayaks. Will accept boards up to 270cm and 23kg for free.
Bren and Adrian’s airline of choice. 100 euro to get your kayak on the plane and very few f*cks given, ever as long as it’s under 32kg.
Do not accept kayaks. Will accept boards up to 45kg in weight and a 115 linear inches. Kalob adds they are very customer service focused and he has shown up early, smiled a lot and had great success with getting his “boards” on the plane.
Does not mention kayaks but will accept most sports equipment as part of your checked baggage. For anything over 23kg an overweight fee applies.
Will take kayaks and includes your paddle bag. Max length is 300cm. Over size and over wight fees may apply.
Best of luck with your travels, catch you on the water!