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Boats on KLM

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:02 pm
by Scottish Andy
Does anyone have any experience of carrying boats on KLM?

I'm flying to Uganda on Friday for some White Nile action. I'm lucky enough to have a boat sorted for me out there already but my mate is flying with his from Heathrow to Schipol to Entebbe.



Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:24 pm
by DJFish
Can't help with the boat question but based on my experience of KLM you'd be more comfortable sitting your boat for ten hours in the hold then in one of their seats.

Sounds like fun once you've landed though!

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 6:38 pm
by Patrick Clissold
According to the poly KLM are not the friendliest of airlines when it comes to taking boats.

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:27 pm
by Bewildered sassanack
Flew KLM to Costa Rica in November. They took my kayak there for £50 because:

1. I put it in a canyon gear boatbag

2. I told them it was a surfboard (which has a set price of £50) unlike a kayak which has a set statement of NO!

I would suggest blagging it this case will get you nowhere, KLM hate kayaks!

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:39 pm
by Mark R
I'd love to be demonstrated to be wrong,'s pretty unlikely they'll take it. They HATE kayaks.


Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 7:57 pm
by Scottish Andy
Any suggestions? My mate has a c1 so can't hope to get one out there. As far as I've heard, KLM cargo is pretty extortionate.


Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:11 pm
by Bewildered sassanack
You could beg/bribe Delia ( to knock you out a boatbag in a week, mine took about a fortnight....

....or why not try a bit of craftwork with a tarpaulin?

KLM will take a kayak (disguised as a surfboard) at standard excess luggage rate providing it is not longer than 2.9m and heavier than 23kg - which will allow you to take most kayaks!

The exact costs can be obtained off their website... ... ndex.htm#2

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:15 pm
by Mark R
Bewildered sassanack wrote:KLM will take a kayak (disguised as a surfboard)
KLM might take it, if there's a particularly stupid check-in staffer.

I've never quite understood the old 'tell the check-in desk it's a surfboard' ruse. I have seen it used just once, and (as I hid my head in embarrassment) the check-in fellow instantly said,

"Huh, what are you talking about? They are kayaks."

KLM fools...

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 8:24 pm
by Scottish Andy
I certainly don't want Matt to feel like an idiot as he checks his boat in. He is a very honest sort of guy. I won't even share the embarrasment of being there as I'm meeting him in Schipol after my Edinburgh flight.

I guess he'll just have to keep it light and keep his fingers and toes very crossed!


Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2006 9:14 pm
by Bewildered sassanack
Stood in the queue at San Jose (Costa Rica) airport there were at least 20 people with surfboards/windsurfers in front of me. These guys in general had two or three boards with them in a single bag, which looked the same shape as my one kayak in a bag. No one is going to be able to tell the difference between them!

Strolling up to the checkout with a "naked" kayak on your shoulder and telling them it is a surfboard would be stupid......

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:07 pm
by Ian W
We flew with boats to Ecuador many years ago (1998). The only reason we managed to get the boats on is because we had previously written to KLM for sponsorship, the kind 'sorry nice try ' letter back did give us an extra 5kg luggage and luckily the check-in person didn't read it too much and we were on!!! Before we produced the letter it was definate NO!

Obviously fraud is wrong but ..........

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:22 pm
by ChrisMac
When planning to goto Uganda I got a very strong no from KLM.

Good luck


Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:48 pm
by Gary Manwaring
Im tempted to say the first rule of flying a kayak is to avoid KLM like the plague, but in the circumstances the second rule is probably more useful...

That is, take advantage of any on-line check in that is available. That way you might be able to avoid the pedantic check in staff and go straight to the chaps on oversize baggage who never have any problem as long as you make the boat user firendly with somewhere to pick it up around the cockpit.

Whehter you can check in a small bag and then strap that to the boat so it has the neccessary tags on might be tricky though.

Good luck

it's all alright!!!

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:19 pm
by Scottish Andy
Spoke to Matt and it turns out he HASN'T booked his flight yet. I told him not to waste his time with KLM and go for hassle free and slightly more expensive BA. Cheers for the advice guys,


Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 11:32 pm
by neilfarmer
A friend of mine had a hard time from 'Kenyan Airlines', who said it would not be a problem. They are 'in partnership / owned by / checked in by' KLM. Avoid them as well. Emirates were very good.