Editor’s note: We originally posted this back in 2007, when BA first announced their surfboard ban. Since then the world’s surfing community has been boycotting BA over its policy. Just last week BA announced that from October 9, 2009, it will start carrying surfboards again – as long as they’re 6′ 3″ or less in length. Surf’s up, dude, unless you got a long board.
A wave of protest. That’s what British Airways (BA) provoked this week when it announced — with no warning — that starting November 6, 2007, it no longer transports “unsuitable” items on its fleet of aircraft.
The list includes canoes, hang gliders, pole-vaulting poles, javelins (!) and, yes, surfboards.
Surfboards??? Dude, what is BA thinking?
While the global community of javelin throwers is tiny, surfers number in the thousands. And they are not happy. A spokesperson for the British Surfing Association (BSA) said she was “extremely shocked” by the decision, especially as some boards weigh much less than many items not included in the ban. “We’d find it extremely hard to believe that the average short board would be more difficult to handle when compared to a double bass and a full bag of golf clubs.”
And there’s the rub. BA’s new policy applies to surfboards and javelins, but not to bulky items such as golf clubs, bicycles and over-size musical instruments. Which looks to some like an arbitrary policy that unfairly punishes surfers (economy class, who cares) but not golfers (business class, don’t mess with them).
BA’s response? “Some items are simply not suitable for airport baggage systems to handle or travel in the aircraft hold.” They have no plans to review the new policy.
That’s not stopping the British Surfing Association from launching an online petition against the ban. The BSA complains that Britain’s surfing teams usually travel to their European and international events on BA flights but now will be forced to use other airlines. And think of all those unlucky British surfers who live in cities where BA is the primary carrier. Akaw, surfer dudes and betties, this doke ban was put together by a bunch of butt crumbs. Let’s hope they come to their senses.