Taking a boat on a plane???


I'm thinking of flying my creekboat from Christchurch direct to L.A. For those of you that have expereince flying with boats, how should I pack it? I was thinking wraping with bubble wrap and then duct tapping it? I would also like to hear any other suggestions on flying and would love to here your expereinces with flying.

jb's picture

Sarah, what about if your paddle got broken if it was strapped to the kayak?

For kayak travel bags I know Wavesport make one for playboats 7ft or less.

sarah2's picture

What airline are you flying? Some refuse to take boats (eg. KLM, North West Airlines) and they will make you freight it if you turn up at check in with a boat.
To the US you can take two pieces of luggage of up to 32kg each, attach your paddle to your boat so that it forms one piece and have only one other bag. I got charged US$ 140 bringing a paddle back from the US because it was a 3rd piece of luggage (despite being less than 2kg).
If you're not sure whether you've got a boat friendly airline - there's some info on some international paddling websites, I think thepoly.co.uk has a list of friendly airlines.
Also always check for a "sporting goods" policy in the airlines conditions, it can give you some good arguing points if they get nasty at checkin.
Good luck
oh and if you're flying AirNZ expect to be charged handlings fees/excess... they are pretty bad for boats.

chris.a's picture

Remember that you get a good allowancve to the US... two 32kg 'bags'... I usually make the boat one of those 'bags'

andy.fuller's picture

If you haven't booked your flight already my wife Jill owns House of travel Rotorua and she deals with all the slalom teams taking boats overseas. 07 348 4152
I don'tlke wrapping boats up too much because then they tend to be thrown about more. Tape a cockpit cover on and either make it fairly light or so heavy 2 people have to carry it carefully!

Mike Birch's picture

I usually duct-tape a piece of heavy cardboard to the cockpit. Or better still, use Coreflute (a white plastic corrugated board as used in Real Estate signs). Cut the board to the shape of the cockpit, and cut a hand hole (On the outside edge, where you would normally lift the boat) for lifting the boat on your own

jonathan's picture

I've always flown with a 'naked' boat. It's a big wrapping job and I figure if the plastic can handle scratches from West Coast boulders then it can handle airport luggage systems. Usually it's classed as oversize luggage and the check-in people get you to carry it down to the conveyer belt for oversize items.

On different occasions I've either (a) made it as empty and as light as possible, and easy to inspect security-wise, or (b) loaded it with bulky gear (lifejackets etc.) and put a spraydeck on with the waist opening tied shut. It probably pays to lash or duct tape the spraydeck on. Or you could duct-tape a large plastic bag over the cockpit, but this tends to remove a convenient handle for carrying.

Is the airline going to charge you for taking the boat? If so, you might be better off selling it in NZ.


ian7's picture

i have a kayak bag and the airline take it as a surfboard so no cost, bag did cost to have made.