So I wrote to American Airlines about their "No Kayak" Policy. They actually wrote me back and said they are considering it. I suggest you all write too. Just drop your favorite airline a message with White Water Kayak Specifications and your frequent flyer number. I have a boiler plate letter I cut and pasted to send to my other frequent flyer airlines, you can go ahead and use it.
Here is what I wrote in boiler plate form,
I am writing to address your policy of not checking kayaks, specifically whitewater kayaks.
I know that the word kayak brings up the visualization of Eskimos with 20-foot long boats to mind; however, today’s whitewater kayaks are approximately under 7-feet in length and weigh approximately 35-pounds (see attachment for my specific boat). Today’s whitewater kayaks are also made from a polyethylene plastic that is virtually indestructible. People run waterfalls, go down creeks and slide down rocks in them; moreover, they are so compact that they pack and stack very well, much like a surfboard. I ask that you will differentiate your policy that you check whitewater kayaks. I ask this sincerely not as a once a year traveler but as someone who flies for business and pleasure (80,000 known miles to date logged) and will be traveling with a kayak this summer to the east coast and to Ecuador next fall.
If you have any questions, concerns or if I can be of assistance in any way, please feel free to call me. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here is what they wrote back,
We received your dated November 21 and were eager to send you a reply as quickly as possible. Accordingly, I noticed the email address included in your letter and I have taken the liberty of responding to you electronically.
We very much appreciate the additional time you took to send us your suggestion regarding the transport of whitewater kayaks. It is always helpful for us to consider our products and services from our customers' perspective, and you can be sure our Manager of Airport Services is reviewing your comments. We try to be responsive to our customers and carefully analyze trend information based upon their reactions. In
this way we can identify those service elements that are most appealing as well as improve those that produce a negative response.
Our aim is to suit the needs and wishes of the majority of our customers. As we determine the appropriate action in this regard, your preferences will be considered. Thank you for giving us the benefit of your observations.
We depend on our customers to let us know what is working and what is not. The next time you feel something deserves our attention, please email us via AA.com at http://www.aa.com/customerrelations
. We'll receive your comments without delay and be back to you within a few days.
Mr. W. Chris Calnan