How airline price hike hits travelling golfers

Cost of taking your own clubs abroad soars upto 50 per-cent

Bob Warters's picture
Wed, 31 Aug 2011

How airline price hike hits travelling golfers
Check-in can prove extra expensive
A typical golf bag and travel cover
New research reveals that many major airlines have hiked up the price of transporting golf bags - and British Airways is the biggest culprit.

In 2009 'the world's favourite airline' (according to its own publicity) didn't charge customers to carry sports equipment additional to checked baggage. Today, however, golfers must pay an extra baggage fee of £30 if they choose to bring their own clubs on a BA flight.

On average, the airlines that impose a flat rate for carrying golf bags have increased their charges by 50 per-cent - quite a significant increase compared to the UK's current 4% inflation rate. Earlier this year we revealed that some low-cost airlines had increased their prices by as much as 35%.

Oliver Inwards, E-Commerce director at Purple Parking is critical of the airlines motives: "It's interesting to see how many airlines have chosen to increase fees for transporting golfing equipment. With the economy struggling and less people travelling, passing on even small costs may discourage travellers.

"Many British holidaymakers are already struggling to save up for their holiday, so this is just another added cost to account for." Airlines could be accused of hiding the real cost from customers he says, with charges varying depending on the airline class you travel in, bag size, bag weight and even the destination you travel to and from.

Online searches for 'golfing holidays' reached a peak in August, which is why Purple Parking has chosen now to create its own golf bag bagge allowance table which we reproduce here. It aims to dispel any confusion and clearly outline the additional costs for holidaymakers wishing to take golf equipment abroad.

The research by the Heathrow parking provider also reveals that: American Airlines, BMI, Easyjet, Flybe and Ryanair have all increased their golf carriage fees in the last two years.

In addition to the flat rate increases, American Airlines' extra baggage charges have increased by 20%, from $50 to $60 (approximately £30 to £36). For baggage weighing more than 45kgs, their oversized baggage fee has increased by from $100 to $150 per item (£61 to £91).

However, there is some good news for golfers travelling overseas. Fly with Air France or the Dutch airline KLM and you benefit from no extra charge for golf clubs, as long as the total weight does not exceed the weight limit per person. In 2009 both airlines charged fixed excess baggage fees. Emirates and Virgin Atlantic also continue to provide free carriage of golfing equipment.

FOOTNOTE: The new prices structures are good news for a Clubs to Hire scheme currently being endorsed by Ryder Cup hero Paul McGinley which promotes a standard rate for borrowing equipment for holiday golf.