Want to plan a kiting trip? Just got back from one? Post you experiences, questions and information here.
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Hey Everyone. So I am going to Brazil next month and I just bought a "Dakine Airwagon" for a good price on Craigslist. It's 160cm. So, next thing I did was print all the regs on luggage size for the 3 airlines I am using (American, Korean, Tam) and they all consider luggage to be oversized if it's longer than 157/158cm! I have to assume this means that I may get dinged for using my new bag on every leg of my trip. American says that charge $150 for anything > 158cm. I am taking them for my first leg, SFO to LAX. The other airlines also have charges for > 157 though not as severe. I am no math genius, but extrapolating the price for every leg of my trip, it seems like I am going to end up paying 500 to 800 in luggage charges for round trip from SFO to LAX with this bag. The thought of it is making me dizzy and I may fall over face first.
Does anyone else have any insight on this? I am considering buying yet another bag, a golf bag with smaller dimensions. My board is a 148 so I could do a 150cm bag, but that means buying a new one! Any experience or reccomendations?
Sometimes it's hard to understand the travel requirements on luggage as some airlines refer to a total number of inches as overall dimensions, ie, L + W + H.
For what it's worth, here is our travel strategy.
1. As it seems most airlines charge for all checked baggage on domestic flights, and on international flights for the 2nd checked bag, it's always good to travel with another if possible (spouse, GF, BF, friend, etc.) to distribute luggage.
2. We don't use the NSI Golf bag much anymore. I've been many places with it and only got charged once on a return trip from Maui for it, but I figure over the years it seems to be more likely to get dinged there as it's pretty big. I don't like getting charged for things I can avoid, it doesn't make sense.
Instead we use this for the boards, which has been great. It's way smaller, doesn't get a bunch of questions about its contents and avoids charges. We fit two twin tips, pump, sometimes a harness and all our shorts, rashies, shorties, etc. into it. A bar/lines or two can go in too. You'd be surprised. Half the price of most 'golf' bags.
http://www.live2kite.com/mystic-2010-ve ... e11ed03ad4
The kites go into a suitcase folded up as tight as you can and held with bungees or straps holding them compact. No kite bags, just kites and still plenty of room for clothes. A 5m can easily fit in a carry-on, maybe a 7m too.
The Mystic double-bag has been good and doesn't raise questions. You can say you have snorkeling gear, a snowboard, tennis gear, whatever. Something as big as the 'golf' bags seems more and more to raise questions, and airlines are getting more and more restrictive and chances are some of the workers are hip to bags now anyway.
For what it's worth, here's my experience - your mileage may vary. I went to Brazil last year on AA/TAM. At the time, the baggage limits for flights to Brazil were very lenient - up to 70lbs, rather than 50lbs (note this is still the case) and they didn't seem to care too much about the dimensions. I didn't get charged a cent on any of six flight legs of that trip. I did get asked about the contents of my NSI bag in Brazil - but it seemed they were primarily concerned whether the contents were fragile.
This may not apply to you, but it used to be that once you've checked your baggage you're clear from further charges on subsequent legs with the same airline.
If you get a chance, you might try stopping by SFO ahead of time and speaking to someone to get clarity on the rules. I only found out about the Brazil-specific baggage limits at AA by doing this.
Having said all that - agree with previous poster that the bigger the bag, the more likely you are to get flagged. I've never seen anyone pull out a tape measure to measure dimensions - but if you stroll up with a tank on rollers, they'll pretty much flag you. My experience with NSI bag is similar - it is borderline too big. I've been flagged twice so I now carry golf clubs just in case. Make sure you're under the weight limit - the dimensions may be a judgment call, but every bag gets weighed, and anything over weight limit gets flagged.
You can also try all the other tricks - tipping curbside porters generously, etc. Search the forum for tips.
Get a tiedown strap from Home Depot, and then cinch the bag lengthwise to scrunch it down to 157cm. Just kidding. I doubt if a ruler is going to be pulled out to measure your luggage. Just claim it's 157cm.
If I were you, I'd get a "golf bag" around 140cm or smaller. One strategy is to go to a porter first. If that doesn't work, go to another porter, or inside. I don't believe airline personnel are authorized to go through your luggage (TSA is a federal issue), so simply insisting on its "golf" contents might be sufficient. Kiteboard, 9m kite, seat harness, helmet, control bar, and golf bag = ~35 lbs.
In any case, worst thing that happens is they charge you for that leg.
I've flown with my kite bag twice in the last 12 months - once to Costa Rica, once to Mexico. It's a Naish bag, so pretty large, and definitely exceeds that 150 cm limit, as well as a large snowboarding bag.
When you put a kitebag next to a golf bag, it's very obvious that the gear is much larger - like maybe two sets of golf clubs, (or a body)!
The main thing the airlines seem to be concerned about is the weight - so long as you are under the 50 lbs you are golden. You'll still need to pay the fee for the checked baggage, but no extra.
My bag I can usually fit a board, two kites, two bars, clothes, and sometimes the harness.
I've found the best thing to do is carry my smallest kite on-board with me in the large (Ocean Rodeo) duffel bag that the 12M came in, along maybe with the harness. Try and carry on the heaviest stuff because you will always be pushing up against the 50lb limit - those kitebags are heavy!
honestly, the NSI golf bag is ginormous. much much bigger than any other "golf" bag for kites. you want to get one of the smaller golf bags...sure, they can't fit as much stuff, but my issue is always with staying under 50 lbs, not how much junk i can fit in there.
i like ollies idea, but ollie, if you're going to go that route, why not just buy a snowboard bag? might be tough to find one wide enough, but a savvy gate agent could still charge you for the mystic bag as it is oversized...
Liquid Force Kites/Boards
Well so far it seems to be a nice balance between too big and too small. I just went through Hawaiian check-in 15 minutes ago with the Mystic double bag (145cm) and it contains one board, two bar/lines, a harness, pump, two rashies, boardshorts and a 7m kite. The outside has two straps around it to scrunch it down a bit. No charges, no questions. The way back may be different as I've read and known the agents to be tougher coming back from the islands.
With a limit of 62" l, w, h any bag with a board will be oversize, so technically they can ding you. The NSI is just crazy big. I remember dragging two of them through the crowds in a Tokyo train station - crazy!
I've been reading up on the Regs for Korean Air and it looks like they use the L + W + Height system and max out at 157CM so I am hosed no matter what bag I use as I am bringing down a 147cm board. Their weight regs are a little better @ 70lbs. So, I guess I'll just keep my giant Dakine Airwagon and pay the oversize fees ($110 each way). It's a bummer but I don't see any way around it. I looked at the price for board rentals for 3 weeks and it would be over $400 US.
At least this way I'll have plenty of room and be able to keep all 3 kites and both bars in one piece of luggage, as well as a few clothes. As for the $220...well it sucks but at this point it's easier to just write it off in my mind. At least I know how much it will be now and don't need to worry or stress about it anymore. Thanks everyone for your great info and feedback.
Has anyone looked into FedExing or otherwise shipping their gear to their destination? I'm headed to Kailua in January and looking at $100 charge each direction I can't imagine that FexEx would be that much if I have a recipient on that side. I have an 11M kite and a 144cm board so there's not much chance I can get it within the size limits required by HI Air.
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