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Old 02-24-2007   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 49
How to sneak a kayak onto Continental Airlines?

So, my wife booked tickets to Costa Rica on Continental Airlines. Continental doesn't allow any kayaks. Period.

How can I sneak my play boat to Costa Rica? I've seen these Salamander bags that totally wrap the kayak and they can't see what's inside. I'm thinking of calling it a "Surf Ski". Continental allows surf boards.

Any other suggestions?

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Old 02-24-2007   #2
Skywalker Construction, LLC
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 67
I flew to costa a few years ago on continental. I used the salamander bag for my boat and told them it was full of surf boards. I think it cost me an extra $125. Just don't tell them it is a kayak. If you do not want to deal with traveling with your own boat there are company's in Turrialba that will rent boats. CostaRicaRios.com has lots of up to date boats.

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Old 02-24-2007   #3
Arvada, 80003
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 253
We flew on contenintial, and we used those salamander bags. It wasn't even our turn at the tickets counter and a guy got up from behind the counter walked up to us, and asked us "Are those kayaks?" I said no sir. They are surf boards. To which he responded "No those are kayaks" We argued with them for a few hours and missed our flight. The re routed us over to american. Who doesn't even accept kayaks. But they said they would take us. Long story shot and the sum of it all is, that your ablility to get through soley depends on who you run into at the tickets counter that day. They could tell you no, they could tell you yes! It is one big gamble. Good luck I wish you the best. I hope this doesn't deture you. I just wanted to arm you with the information.
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Old 02-24-2007   #4
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 316
I guess a better question is....

What do you plan on doing while you are down there?

If your wife is taking you to the beach then I would take the money and put it toward surfing lessons. Ocean surfing is fun in a kayak but a huge hassel getting your boat down there and dealing with the locals at the fun spots. If you are going to Paddle white water then goto a local biz and rent. It helps that part of the economy which in turn gives them some leverage everytime they want to dam up the rivers down there.

The other thing to consider when you get there is how you will get your boat around.

I planned a trip a couple of years ago to costa rica and got the very same, "dont take your boat" advice. I was stubborn. In the end they were correct.
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Old 02-25-2007   #5
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 34
The first question is how big is the first plane you're flying on? Continental will problably layover in Houston. If its a smaller commuter plane from Denver or the Springs to Houston you have no chance no matter what you tell them it is. If that's all good then it does just matter who you get at the ticket line. From what I've seen the folks in Costa Rica don't care about surf boards\kayaks so if you can get it there you can get it back.

I would check in an extra hour early in case you gotta take your boat back to your car. If you get a ride to the airport make sure it stays long enough for you to get the boat checked in or you may be stuck with a boat at the airport and miss your flight.

Lastly, having done both, its much easier to rent a boat when you get down there. Its a huge pain in the ass to bring a boat and gear unless you're gonna be there a while and boat alot. If your in Turriaba I'd recommend Phil Coleman. I forgot his company's name but he'll rent you a boat and gear and you can paddle with the safty boater while your wife is on the raft trip. My experience with Costa Rica Rios is they're beyond useless and undependable.
"Forever indebt to your priceless advice" -KC
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Old 02-25-2007   #6
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 989
If you do try to bring your boat I bet wearing a suit, shaving, combing your hair would help. Members of the establishment get away with a lot more. Whatever you're doing, act as if you're perfectly right in doing it. "I'm going down there for business and I'm bringing my surf-ski."

I think they're right on the boat rental, though. Travelling around down there and in the caribbean I've lost more luggage...you might end up renting one anyway and wondering where the hell your boat is.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 02-25-2007   #7
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Local, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 344
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If you are going to Paddle white water then goto a local biz and rent. It helps that part of the economy which in turn gives them some leverage everytime they want to dam up the rivers down there.

The other thing to consider when you get there is how you will get your boat around.
I agree w/ Rodda. CR is getting up to speed pretty quickly, and there's definitely avenues for renting decent boats and saving yourself the hassle. Put the money that that the airline would charge you for transport towards the local economy and rent a boat. Same goes for your paddle. If you are packing more than you can put in an overhead bin for a week's vacation in Costa Rica, then you are packing too much.

If you need a contact for transport when you get there, PM me and I'll send his info.
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Old 02-25-2007   #8
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Make sure you check if there is a cargo embargo in effect at the time you are flying. I flew Continental down to Ecuador and was having no problems getting my boat on a plane in a Wavesport wheeled bag. They just assumed that it was surfboards and I didn't correct them. But then they said there was an embargo in effect and no oversized lugage at all was being accepted. If I would have flown two days earlier I would have been able to take my boat. I think the embargos are only over the holidays, but be sure to check.
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Old 02-27-2007   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 290
All this talk about sneakin' and hussling the man is good but which Airlines can be depended on for getting boats to and from a trip ... in case you are wanting to bring you own. I am sure it varies some from country to country so give your stories of what ones are good.
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Old 02-28-2007   #10
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,012
Out of Denver? None.

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