Over the weekend, When pro surfer Alex Gray landed in Los Angeles from Honolulu, he found that American Airlines had completely destroyed four of the five boards he had brought on his flight:
“Last night on April 7th from Honolulu to Los Angeles, @americanair flight AA 284 BROKE 4 out of 5 of my surfboards. When the board bag came off the oversize belt I noticed the top and bottom had very large holes in it,” Gray captioned the above Instagram video.
“My question on this one is how did they do such a fantastic job of destruction?” Gray continued. “First thought is the baggage handlers ran it over with some vehicle because the nose and tails are all broken in the same spot. But why is only one broken in half from the middle of the board, while the rest are broken at the nose and tail? Did they open my bag, break that board, and put it back in?”
This seemed to strike a chord with other surfers, as that Instagram post blew up, quickly accruing over 60,000 views while many Instagram users commented on his post with their own airline horror stories.
Gray used the huge response from his followers as an opportunity to tackle what he saw as a larger issue of airlines not being held accountable for damages they might inflict on surfboards.
“What stings the most is #americanairlines charged me $150 in excess fees to allow this destruction,” Gray captioned the above Instagram post. “I paid for all of this! Why is other sporting equipment is free?!”
Eventually, news of Gray’s airline misadventures reached the ears of the KTLA 5 news crew, who met up with the Los Angeles-native Monday morning to report on the story:
This is not the first time a high-profile surfer has taken the airline industry to task for how it handles board bags and fees.
Back in 2015, reigning world champion John John Florence complained about how JetBlue managed to destroy a handful of his surfboards after charging him $500 to fly with them.
And just last year Kelly Slater took to Instagram to criticize Hawaiian Airlines’ baggage policy and called its oversized bag fees a “default profit racket.”
Read more on the hazards of flying with your boards