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Virgin Atlantic is to offer free carriage on bulky sporting equipment, including surfboards

The announcement follows British Airways' decision to review its baggage handling policy, resulting in the airline deciding it would no longer be offering free surfboard carriage for holidaymakers not travelling through the specialist surfing tour operators it worked with.

"As long as the equipment complies with size and weight allowances, Virgin Atlantic travellers can check in to the hold of the aircraft their diving equipment, golf equipment, fishing equipment, hang gliders, snow skis, surfboards, windsurfing boards, booms and sails, bicycles, paragliders, canoes and kayaks – all free of charge. Sporting wheelchairs are also considered sports equipment," Virgin Atlantic said.

However, charges will apply if the sporting equipment weighs over 32 kilograms, with the excess treated as an extra piece of checked baggage.

Longboard surfers should also note the maximum length board Virgin will take is 2.5 metres (8 ft 2").

Size and weight restrictions

To qualify for free carriage on Virgin Atlantic sports equipment must be within the following sizes and weights:

# Fishing equipment - Rod & tackle bag.
# Diving equipment - No more than one of the following, facemask, fins (pair), pressure gauge, regulator, safety vest, snorkel, weights belt and cylinder which must be empty to ensure safe handling.
# Golf equipment - One bag containing a maximum of 14 clubs, 12 balls, one pair of golf shoes.
# Hang gliders - Hang gliders will only be accepted if they are within the max dimensions of 2.5m x 1.00m x 0.80m (98in x 39in x 31in).
# Snow ski - One pair of skis & ski poles or a snowboard or a monoski. Plus one pair of ski boots and bindings.
# Surfboards - One surfboard to a max length of 2.5m.
# Windsurfers - One windsurfing board to a maximum length of 2.5m. Mast, boom and sail also included if wrapped as one item.
# Bicycles - Single seat, non-motorised bicycles in protective box or bag. (Bike pedals must be removed, or fixed inwards, handlebars fixed sideways, to minimise risk of damage tyres can be deflated).
# Sporting guns - Air rifles, hunting rifles, safari rifles, shotguns. Each gun carrier will be considered as one bag.
# Canoes & kayaks - Up to 4.5m (162in). Canoes/kayak in excess of 4.5m must be referred to cargo. Includes canoeing items such as paddle, seat, buoyancy aid, spray deck and helmet.
# Paragliders - Comprises of 1 canopy/wing, 1 harness and 1 helmet all contained in a rucksack.End of story

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