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May 29, 2013

Airlines Vary from “Friendly” To “Hostile” For Fishermen

How Fisherman-Friendly Are the Airlines?

You’re packing to fly off to some great fishing grounds on that long-awaited vacation, and you pick out your gotta-have rods, reels and lures, plus of course the leader, extra line, pliers and various hardware you probably won’t find at the other end. But my, how quickly it mounts up and, next thing you know, you’ve got a load of gear in your tackle bag and a 7-foot rod tube. As an enthusiastic fishing traveler myself, I feel your angst.

It helps to at least know which airlines will merely make your life difficult, and which will really be a pain in the ass.

It’s been about three years since we’ve run anything on “fisherman-friendly” airlines (a label we’ve used in the past), so we went to the websites of the airlines on the next page to compile a handy updated list.

When it comes to fishing-gear allowances, airlines are just like their routes: all over the map. When it comes to accommodating fishing gear, some kind of get it; others have no clue.

But even those whose rules somewhat accommodate still follow the general formula ­apparently laid out decades ago by some airline-industry brainchild who once went brook trout fishing and decided that whatever the occasion, every fisherman would be completely served by having with him a tackle box plus a single rod with two reels (or a “spool” as one airline labels it), a landing net and a pair of boots or waders. We can only imagine the look on a billfish-charter skipper’s face upon seeing his fare show up with this gear.

In any case, for a useful site to see online most airlines’ rules regarding fishing gear, you might visit this site.

DOMESTIC:

AIRTRAN

Piece allowance: (i.e., what is counted as one piece of checked baggage — up to 50 pounds total)

two rods

reel

net

tackle box

boots

Size allowance:

rod tube: 91 inches (3 inches in diameter)

Cost per checked bag: 

$25 + $35

Rating: FRIENDLY

ALASKA AIRLINES

Piece allowance: 

two rods

two reels

tackle box

Size allowance:

rod tube: 115 inches

Cost per checked bag:

$20 + $20

Rating: FRIENDLY

AMERICAN AIRLINES

Piece allowance:

two rods and one reel in a case

one bag with fishing tackle, landing net and fishing boots

Size allowance:

rod tube: 126 inches

Cost per checked bag:

$25 + $35

Rating: FRIENDLY

DELTA AIRLINES

Piece allowance: 

none

Size allowance:

rod tube: 115 inches

Cost per checked bag: 

$25 + $35

Rating: not so FRIENDLY

JET BLUE

Piece allowance: 

two rods

reel

landing net

pair of fishing boots

tackle box

Size allowance:

“Fishing poles are -exempt from the 62‑inch maximum.”

Cost per checked bag: 

$0 + $40

Rating: FRIENDLY

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

Piece allowance: 

tackle box

rod tube (no silly maximum number of rods specified)

Size allowance:

rod tube: 91 inches (3 inches in diameter)

Cost per checked bag: 

$0 and $0

Rating: very FRIENDLY

UNITED AIRLINES

Piece allowance: 

two rods

reel

landing net

pair of fishing boots

tackle box

Size allowance:

“suitable container” 115 inches (total, L+W+H)

Cost per checked bag:

$25 + $35

Rating: FRIENDLY

US AIRWAYS

Piece allowance: 

two rods

reel

landing net

pair of waders

tackle box

Size allowance:

none specified (so rod tube presumably limited to 62 inches without -incurring excess charges)

Cost per checked bag: 

$25 + $35

Rating: UNFRIENDLY

(at least if you own any -one-piece rods)

 

 

INTERNATIONAL

AEROMEXICO

Piece allowance: 

none

Size allowance:

none specified (so rod tube presumably limited to 62 linear inches total)

Cost per checked bag: 

$0 + $50

Note: To bring fishing tackle requires a payment of $64.

Rating: unFRIENDLY

AIR CANADA

Piece allowance: 

rod tube with one rod

tackle box

tackle bag

reels

landing net

boots

life jacket

Size allowance:

“No oversize or additional charges apply (for fishing rod in rod case) if carried with tackle box.”

Cost per checked bag:

$25 + $35

Rating: FRIENDLY

COPA

Piece allowance: 

two rods

“a spool”

fishing net

pair of fishing boots

tackle box

Size allowance:

All items must be packed in a container not to exceed 115 linear inches (L+W+H).

However, rod tube: 80 inches total length.

Cost per checked bag:

$0 + $0

Rating: not so FRIENDLY

(by virtue of that -confounding 80‑inch limit on rod‑tube length)

LUFTHANSA

Piece allowance: 

none

Size allowance:

none

Note: Any sporting -equipment must be preregistered with the airline. Apparently there is a $150 charge for this.

Cost per checked bag: $0

Note: Checking a second bag is verboten.

Rating: hostile

QANTAS

Piece allowance: 

none

Size allowance:

109 inches

Note: Rod tubes must be of PVC (only).

Cost per checked bag:

$0 and $0 (internationally)

 

Rating: not so FRIENDLY