Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

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Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby CathalFolan » Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:30 pm

So I'm going to Finland for 3 months at the end of march and I want to bring my habitat 74. I'm flying with SAS and on their website it says they don't allow kayaks or canoes. However they do allow windsurfing boards and sails which I reckon is bigger than my kayak so I'm thinking of just wrapping it up in plastic and checking it in as a windsurfing board. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing? I don't mind paying extra as long as I can bring it, because there's now way I'll last 3 months without being able to paddle.
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby DaveBland » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:18 pm

Tell them it's a windsurfer. Maybe buy a boat and paddle bag? Paddles can be masts.
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby Chris Bolton » Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:54 pm

I once phoned an airline and asked if they took kayaks. They didn't. But I hadn't given them my name, or mentioned a flight, so 2 weeks later I emailed them and said I wanted to book a windsurfer on a specific flight. They responded 'We won't take your kayak'.

So exactly 2 weeks before the flight, I took a photo of the boat to the airline's desk in the departure airport (with the boat itself on the car in case I had to show it) and said - will you take this on the flight? They discussed it between them selves and said 'We don't see why not'. I asked what it would cost, they said 'your ticket includes 2 bags up to 30kg, and it can be one of them' (it was a transatlantic flight). And all was well. On the way back, the US airport charged me $80. Not saying it will be the same for you, but keep trying - I think the prohibition is often aimed at not taking sea kayaks and open canoes and when they see how big the boat actually is, it's OK.
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby CathalFolan » Thu Feb 28, 2013 10:09 pm

I think a friend of mine has a kayak bag that he'll let me borrow and I think I'll just tape my paddle bag on to that and check it all in together.

Also, if anyone has any info on whitewater kayaking in Finland id be grateful. I'm going to the Jyväskylä region and from what I can see it looks pretty flat....
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby Jim » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:51 am

Chris Bolton wrote:I once phoned an airline and asked if they took kayaks. They didn't. But I hadn't given them my name, or mentioned a flight, so 2 weeks later I emailed them and said I wanted to book a windsurfer on a specific flight. They responded 'We won't take your kayak'.

So exactly 2 weeks before the flight, I took a photo of the boat to the airline's desk in the departure airport (with the boat itself on the car in case I had to show it) and said - will you take this on the flight? They discussed it between them selves and said 'We don't see why not'. I asked what it would cost, they said 'your ticket includes 2 bags up to 30kg, and it can be one of them' (it was a transatlantic flight). And all was well. On the way back, the US airport charged me $80. Not saying it will be the same for you, but keep trying - I think the prohibition is often aimed at not taking sea kayaks and open canoes and when they see how big the boat actually is, it's OK.


Was that the same trip that I was charged £180 just for one leg of the outbound journey?

Not risking that again, have hired a canoe this time for less. Although I note the fares have gone up and the baggage allowance has gone down (massively).

I once sat with a travel agent trying to find an airline that would definitely take my boat, of all of them BMI were the most open and friendly. "Yes we'll take a kayak, no problem as long as it's less than 1.8m* long because that's the length of our baggage containers"
*I forget the exact length offered but it was way too short, also my brother was pretty adamant that there wasn't a baggage container that small

Before they changed their policy BA were great, never used to charge me extra for taking the boat on internal connections with lower baggage limits even when I was connecting with another airline (who it turns out were going to charge me £180 for a kayak even though I was within their baggage limits). At San Francisco the BA check in clerk wanted to ride it down the conveyor until I explained that there was some kit tied into the cockpit!

Sorry, not helping the OP - yes put the boat in a bag, just in case the check in clerks know anything about windsurf/surf branding it might be useful to get a well known logo on the bag.
When I was charged £180, 2 boats in bags were charged £45 because they were checked in as surfboards! None of us got charged heading back, we arrived en-mass and the boats in bags were offered first for weighing (being the lightest). Seeing that if they took the time to try and charge us all excess baggage we were going to stall their check in queue for quite some time (just to process, never mind the potential arguments), they suddenly discovered that they didn't need to charge us anything, just get us out of the way ASAP!

Oh, take a friend to the airport who can take your boat home if the airline suss you and refuse to take it. I presume there will be somewhere in Finland to hire one.
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby frazerp » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:11 am

Apologies for this being way out of date, but lots of general ideas and tips here;
http://www.thepoly.co.uk/flying_kayaks.html

Don't trust the airline specific info anymore.

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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby John Saunders » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:30 pm

There's a bit of whitewater up at Kapeenkoski about 40km north of Jyvaskyla - see the Paddlepoints guide here: http://www.paddlepoints.net/PaddlePoints.aspx?PaddlePointId=3837

Try contacting the local canoe club here: http://www.tavinsulka.com/contact.html

Also recommended: The Old Bricks Inn in the middle of Jyvaskyla.
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Re: Bringing a kayak on airlines that don't allow kayaks.

Postby CathalFolan » Mon Mar 04, 2013 4:59 pm

Thanks very much guys.
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