United Airlines is really embracing its chill, “whatever, man” California personality by eliminating service fees for surfboards on its planes. The rule change is in celebration of California’s recent naming of surfing as the state’s official sport. Effective immediately, passengers traveling with surfboards, wakeboards, or paddle boards on United Airlines or United Express flights that begin or end in California will be spared the previous $150 or $200 service fees (although checked bag fees still apply).
The move sets an encouraging precedent for surfers, who might look forward to other airlines potentially following United’s example. Janet Lamkin, United’s president for California, said in a statement, “We want to make it easier for customers to surf our beautiful beaches, whether they’re visiting or call the Golden State home.”
United is also taking steps to promote the preservation of California’s waters, donating $50,000 to Sustainable Surf — a California-based innovation lab. By focusing on educational programs that address the environmental impacts on the ocean, it strives to solve the ocean health crisis by 2050. Sustainable Surf co-founder Michael Stewart said in a statement, “We see a very close alignment between our work and United’s Eco-Skies program. We are looking forward to partnering with United to better enable our shared goals and values of keeping the world clean.”
Now, the eyes of the surfing community are on other airlines to follow suit, especially those that serve popular surf destinations.