Aussie surfing champ takes on British Airways

By Jennifer Hill in London
November 06, 2007 11:28am
Article from: Reuters

TOP Australian surfer Mick Fanning has backed a bid by British surfers to overturn a British Airways ban on surfboards.
Delegates from the British Surfing Association (BSA) will hand a petition of 8000 signatures to the carrier's London headquarters today - the day the ban is due to come into force.Fanning, the Australian professional ranked No.1 in the world, is among those who have signed the petition, while a group on the social networking website Facebook has attracted 10,000 opponents of the ban. British Airways (BA) announced the ban a fortnight ago, saying surfboards were too cumbersome to check in. Other items banned from flights from today include windsurfing boards, hang-gliders, polevaults, javelins and canoes. The airline will continue to allow passengers to travel with other sporting items, including skis, snowboards, cycles, golf clubs and diving equipment. Karen Walton, national director of the BSA, said the group was optimistic its action would be successful.

"News about the ban has spread though the global surf community by word-of-mouth, through the internet and through the international media," she said. "Without a doubt, the reaction has been one of disbelief, shock and anger. "It is essential that BA realises just how strongly they are alienating the global surf industry and reverses this ban and it's critical that other airlines understand that this is not an example they can consider following." Asked whether the airline would stick to its guns, a BA spokeswoman said yesterday: "This is the new policy as of tomorrow."She said BA was one of the few airlines to carry a wide range of sporting goods free of charge, but had decided not to accept certain larger items following a review of its hold baggage policy. "It's not a case of trying to penalise surfers," she said.
"We had to take a tough decision."
The airline was working with freight forwarders to find alternative means for customers to transport surfboards and other banned sporting items.
OK so my take on this move by British Airways, are they mad???? Just stop and think about the average surfer, we spend at least 70% of our waking hours dreaming of not only riding the perfect wave, but also doing it in some far away exotic tropical locale, and on top of that we want to take our mates along too. We are a low maintenance group, essentially too stoked to be flying off to ride perfect barrels to give a rats ass about the lousy food, cramped seating, slow service or the impossibly boring in flight entertainment.What airline in their right mind would give up customers like us?

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