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There seems no logic to some airlines’s policy of charging/not charging for sports equipment in checked baggage. Some airlines, for example, allow 1 golf bag free, and some will allow 3 pieces of fishing tackle for a single (reasonable) surcharge. One assumes this is to encourage people to travel by air to take holidays abroad to indulge in their passions.
But what is the logic for Olympic Airways, for example, to surcharge €55 for the carriage of “kite or kitesurfing equipment” when the bag is within the prescribed limits of normal checked bags? I had paid online for an extra bag, but was asked what was in it. When I said it contained a kite, I was charged €55 each way, and no allowance was made for the charge I had already paid. Seems illogical, and I feel they are shooting themselves in the foot.
I can understand that some items you might travel with such as a pole(vault), golf clubs or fishing rods, or even many musical instruments, would need special attention. I supopose anything that comes under the headings of …awkward, bulky, especially delicate, excessively heavy and so on would be covered. If you pay excess baggage fees for such items then that should be the end of the story.
On the other hand if items such as a baseball bat, ping pong bats or kites can be packed safely, unobtrusively and without insurance claims being provoked by rough handling, then I would consider an airline´s demand to know what is inside a closed, normal-sized bag as intrusive. Put in other words, are you not within your rights to tell them to mind their own business as you have already paid for the excess luggage.?