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Old 10-19-2007   #1
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 27
Ever brought a boat to Ecuador?

I am going on a trip this November to Small World Adventures. I am flying on Continental Airlines which states you absolutely cannot bring a kayak on the plane. Any suggestions on how to get my boat to Ecuador?

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Old 10-19-2007   #2
Sun Valley, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 14
Here is what we do in Chile:

Originally Posted by riverchick View Post
I am going on a trip this November to Small World Adventures. I am flying on Continental Airlines which states you absolutely cannot bring a kayak on the plane. Any suggestions on how to get my boat to Ecuador?

That is a tough one, but not impossible. Getting boats to South America is something we have struggled with for the past twenty years. I have so many people ask this that there is a write-up on our website about this exact question:

Tips on Flying with Kayaks to Chile - Guide

I hope someone can give you a better answer who has direct experience with Continental going to Ecuador.

Good Luck!


Chris Spelius
Kayaking Chile Kayak Futaleufu Whitewater Trips in Patagonia

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Old 10-19-2007   #3
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
My understanding is that SMA has a fleet of boats. Why not use one of their's?
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 10-19-2007   #4
Sun Valley, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1973
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 14
Yeah... I thought that was odd too...

In Chile we have a fleet of kayaks because of the difficulty in transporting them around. I checked out the Small World Adventures website and found their kayak list on this page:

Ecuador kayaking kayak whitewater river rafting adventure trips Small World Adventures

If you can, you will save yourself a lot of grief if you can use one of Small World Adventures' kayaks. You also will not need transport your kayak back to the United States.

Good Luck!


Chris Spelius
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Old 10-20-2007   #5
Bozeman, MT
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 106
The Surf equipment technique worked for me when flying with American to Ecuador, buy a Salamander bag, and try your luck. The results will be up in the air, it all depends on who's checking your bags, Supervisor vs. oblivious Old Woman. Our group had about a 50% success rate from different airports. Small World does have a really good fleet of modern boats. They can send you a list to reserve a boat. If your going with their tour, i'm pretty sure they include boats in the cost.
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Old 10-20-2007   #6
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Are you going to meet Dan, Megan, and Jared? If so could I give you some things to bring them? Thanks, Megs Brother...
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Old 10-21-2007   #7
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 27
I am actually using a boat from their fleet. I need to bring a boat they don't have yet to add to their fleet, kinda as a favor since I work at a kayak shop. To Uncle B, not sure who Dan, Megan and Jared are, but if they work at SWA and whatever you have is small I could bring it to them. Looks like I will probably have to try the Salamander bag thing and hope for the best......
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Old 10-21-2007   #8
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 90

I have had very good experiences flying kayaks(including Ecuador on Continental) and other odd large items that are not supposed to be flown in the past. The key, in my opinion, is to first call well in advance after you purchase your plane ticket. Talk to a representative and let them know you are flying with "custom surfing equipment" and specify what the charge will be. If the rep is too nosey or is giving you a hard time about details, simply get "disconnected" and try again later or the following day until you get a rep who will add "flying with custom surfing equipment" to your itinerary. Then call again a week or so in front of your flight and have a second rep confirm the "flying with custom surfing equipment" w/date and cost on your itinerary.
Show up at the airport very early for check-in with your boats wrapped or bagged like you care about the check-in persons job. Early on, your boat size is of less concern than after everybody and their brother shows up with extra stuff to cram in the plane. Be very polite and friendly with cash in hand for the extra charge that you have already worked out with airline 1-800 reps.
If the boat becomes an issue at the counter, you have all kinds of room for argument with the rep and their manager. You called and confirmed your custom surfing equipment. Not once, but twice. You also spoke with these two different airline reps about the size and weight of your equipment and confirmed those parameters, which were deemed acceptable, for this flight. Not to mention that you only went with this airline after speaking directly to a company rep about bringing your equipment down, setting a price, ... blah, blah, blah.....etc...
I have only had to make this argument once, when two friends showed up a little late for our departure with boats not bagged or covered and tried to have the manager accept them at the last minute on a full flight. It took every bit of the arsenal mentioned above and then some, but they still let us on because of a fax from customer service I had had sent over the day earlier regarding the "equipment" in question.
The fact is, these people will almost always help you out if you make it simple for them to do so. A positive, respectful attitude and a little strategery will get you and your stuff wherever you want to go.
Good luck, Ecuador is sweet...
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Old 10-21-2007   #9
carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 165
if you are flying on an airline that doesn't except kayaks, especially out of DIA be prepared to miss your flight or bring a friend along that can take your boat back home. many of the check-in agents know exactly what kayaks are and as everybody knows airlines have Very strict policies.
the surf equipment game doesn't work if the agent knows it's a kayak regardless if you have some telephone confirmation.
if you show up alone or without somebody to take the boat back home, and get rejected and have know other options than you usually can ship it airfreight from the airport or a nearby terminal building. but that is a huge pain in the ass. you will have to spend hours arranging it to ship then usually you will have to wait a day or more in quito or santiago or wherever to get it outta customs. this also costs $ and time.
i'd say it's about a 50/50 chance you get it on, and if its DIA even less.
believe me, i've been flying boats to and from south america for years and know that you can't count on an airline taking it. especially if their policy says no.
to be safe bring someone with you that can take the boat back home with them if you get denied.
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Old 10-21-2007   #10
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 15
Flying a Kayak

Hey Aubrie,

I think that Chris's write up and Stonefly's post are the best advice.

If you can fly with the kayak and ONLY one other checked bag, that will help your chances as well, and will reduce your charge of getting the boat on the plane.

My favorite method...if the AllStar is less than 115 inches (total dimensions) you can build a box for it, and then just check it as excess luggage. They shouldn't technically have to know what is inside the box as long as it is under their 115 inch limit.

If it's over 115, then you are best off as checking it as surfing equipment and calling ahead really does help, once that note is next to your name in their computer, it's pretty smooth sailing at the check in. Doing the self check in might not be a bad idea either once you get to the airport. (haven't tested this theory myself).

Also, by saying surfing equip. you are technically NOT lying to the airlines, cause kayaks surf too!

Lastly, feel lukcy and have a back up plane (i.e. someone to take your kayak home if things don't go your way).


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