Checking sports equipment on Alaska Airlines just got cheaper

PORTLAND, OR: Alaska Airlines aircraft is ready to fly from Portland.
Alaska Airlines has cut its fees for checking most sports equipment, such as bicycles and golf clubs, to $25 from $75. Above, an Alaska jet in Portland, Ore.
(Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times)

In the last year alone, the nation’s biggest airlines have collected more than $4 billion in fees to check bags and other personal items.

So, it may come as a surprise that one airline is giving up at least some of that revenue.

Alaska Airlines has cut its fees for checking most sports equipment, such as bicycles and golf clubs, to $25 from $75. To qualify for the discount, the equipment has to count toward the first two checked bags for each passenger.

The lower fee applies on the Seattle-based carrier, its subsidiary, Horizon Air, and flights operated by its partner regional carrier SkyWest Airlines. The lower price eventually will apply at Virgin America, the carrier that Alaska Airlines acquired last year.


The airline said the reason for the price reduction was to eliminate the complication of having different fees for bags and sports equipment, thus cutting down on hassles for passengers.

Plus, Alaska Airlines serves destinations known for outdoor adventuring — Alaska, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Mexico — and is hoping to become the favorite airline of sports aficionados, Alaska Airlines spokeswoman Marianne Lindsey said.

Alaska Airlines defines sporting equipment that will qualify for the $25 fee as gear to participate in archery, bicycling, fishing, hockey, lacrosse, scuba, skateboarding, surfing, paddle boarding, windsurfing and pole vaulting.

Most other major carriers still charge $75 to check such equipment.


On American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines the fee for sporting equipment can range from $25 to $150 depending on the size and weight of the sports equipment.

Southwest Airlines will count some equipment, including bicycles, toward the two free bags that are allowed each passenger, but larger gear such as vaulting poles and kayaks will incur a $75 charge each way.

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