Originally Posted by : BEACHBUM
first off, to be safe and prevent damage to your board you want to protect the rails and nose/tail. Shove them in your board bag and line it with your towels, wetsuits, large bubbled bubble wrap, even foam padding (such as old pool noodles, or some home depot padding for poles and such...). the thicker and harder to zip, the better. Ive watched the guys chuck our boards onto the plane and heard too many horror stories.
Second, check into the costs of carrying a "skimboard" with your specific airline. Go to your airline's main webpage and find the oversized luggage section. Most have an "oversize baggage charge." there are some tricks to beating some airlines, but sometimes they are strict with their rules and youll have to pay a bad $60-100 fee each way. I KNOW that when flying Contentinental they state that a "a skimboard, speed board, boogieboard" has NO EXTRA CHARGE and will count as 1 of your 2 allowed check-in bags.
On the other hand, DELTA makes you pay $100 (EACH WAY) for anything over 62 linear inches (length width and height added up)...a skimboard is over that...but a lot of people get around their policy. Heres some tips used in the past that people have used to beat probably every airline by now.
Some airlines allow boogie boards for free...tell them your skim is a "boogie-board" flat out and see if that works. a lot of employees wont know the difference between a skim and a body board, and given that the airlines policy allows boogie boards, then you could be straight.
When you feel like youre gunna get stuck with the $100 each way charge, you can argue with them and question to see their policy in text and where it mentions a "skimboard" specifically (make sure you do prior research and assure it doesnt). tell them its not fair that you should have to pay for carrying a skimboard if its not specifically in text. The clerk may just say "whatever" and let you get by because she doesnt feel like argueing, or so may be strict and measure your shit, find its over 62 linear inches, and charge you...
Now...how to beat the system if they are smart enough to know its not a boogieboard and they have a specific policy for skimboards...youre at the hard part...convincing them you arent paying $200 to fly your board there and back. A couple possible ideas (in no order) are...
1) try to catch them on their policy and tell them their policy states 62 inches in LENGTH(skimboard is under that) and not LINEAR and see if the go with it.
2) tell them you called in earlier and "some lady" said it was fine for your skimboard and that you wouldnt be charged. you dont have the money and its bullshit you should not have to pay when told you didnt have to. Again, they may not care to argue and let you get by, or toss you the "sorry" card and tell ya the lady was misinformed.
3) tell them you traveled numerous times round trip with their airline and they let you thru fine in the past everytime. Make sure you nail it to them hard with places youve flown with their airline and that not once on the 21 trips to contests that you have never been charged.
Ok, so all those failed, and you have to pay the $100 (or whatever the oversize fee is) at check-in when departing. How can you save at least some of your money??? If they go to charge you at check-in on your return flight, LIE and say they didnt charge you on the way to your destination (and possibly throw in any of the tips/tricks i have given above) Same to say, if you didnt have to pay on the way, tell the truth and tell them its crap that you should have to pay on the way home.
GOOD LUCK! its really up to what airline you fly and how clueless/laid back the check-in person is. Go for the least official looking/chill/dumbest person if possible.