Which airlines waive excess baggage fees for golf club bags?

By Chris Chamberlin, September 24 2015

While your lucky golf clubs might attract the odd birdie or eagle on the green, they’re much more likely to invite excess baggage charges at the airport, which few airlines are willing to waive for avid golfers.

Etihad remains one of the exceptions to the rule in allowing all passengers to travel with a separate golf bag in addition to their full checked baggage allowance at no extra charge.

For guests on the cheapest economy ‘breaking deal’ and ‘saver’ fares, that means you can cart a suitcase of up to 23kg plus your 15kg golf bag, while in business class and first class, you’re welcome to check two 32kg suitcases in addition to your clubs.

Korean Air makes a smaller concession for golfers stuck in economy with the usual 1x23kg baggage allowance: if the combined total weight of your suitcase and the golf bag is 23kg or less, you’re all set – but exceed the limit and you’ll be paying for the additional weight.

Prestige Class (business class) and also first class travellers on Korean Air can follow the same rules where one of their suitcases joined with the weight of their golf bag totals 23kg or less, counted together as only one bag towards the full two- or three-bag limit.

That potentially allows business class travellers to pack two suitcases and their golf bag, or first class high flyers to carry their golf clubs and three suitcases before excess baggage rates apply.

Closer to home, Qantas and Virgin Australia count sporting goods – and in particular, golf clubs and golf bags – as part of a traveller’s standard baggage, triggering excess charges on most domestic flights in economy where the limit is again 1x23kg bag.

Naturally, business class passengers and frequent flyers with either airline in economy are exempted from those fees and can check both a suitcase and a golf bag: for this, you’ll need a shiny Gold, Platinum or Platinum One card with Qantas or Velocity Silver, Gold or Platinum status with Virgin Australia.

Similar policies apply internationally with Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Asiana, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta, Emirates, Fiji Airways, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, on which golf bags are treated as any other piece of luggage and count towards the usual checked baggage limits.

Also read: Qantas Golf Club: earn points on the green

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 227

Thanks Chris, as a golf tragic it is handy to know. Once again your story highlights the fact that Virgin seem to give Silver status more consideration than Qantas on many of these small things. I am Qantas Silver and travel domestic and get 400 - 500 status credits a year but struggle to get 700, I like many might have to consider a change as more of these subtle differences emerge.

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Australia already has more than enough golf courses to satsify my appetite, but it would be nice to get a similar article for skis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Mar 2013

Total posts 144

Great subject Chris..and one more, 'Who Likes Surfers'. It's damn important!

I'm no golfer but do travel with a surfboard as often as I can. It's here where you notice real differences in Domestic vs International as much as your choice of Carrier.

Could we have a topic on this please. I'd be happy to kick this off with a reasonable amount of experience domestically and globally. Cheers


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