I'm planning on going to the World Masters Games in New Zealand next year, hopefully taking our own competition kayaks (length 3m, weight 10.5kg). Are there any issues with airlines or specific airlines that are good for this?

Due to the nature and value of these boats it's impractical to try hiring/borrowing them on arrival.

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    I'd be curious to see what others say, but I'm pretty sure you'll have to ship those as freight rather than checked-in luggage. And even as freight it's going to be a challenge, not all carriers will accept those. You might want to ask your supplier how they ship them internationally, they will probably have good advice. – jcaron Feb 23 '16 at 16:13
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    this is a case where you should simply call the airline. it's the sort of thing they get asked about all day, like "carrying cats" or whatever. – Fattie Feb 23 '16 at 17:01
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    BTW did you consider simply asking on a Kayaking forum? You'd get lots of info instantly. – Fattie Feb 23 '16 at 17:43
  • @JoeBlow it's very rare that polo players fly to competition without national team support. We drive everywhere. – Separatrix Feb 23 '16 at 20:02
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    I wonder if NZ quarantine would be an issue. (see mpi.govt.nz/travel-and-recreation/arriving-in-new-zealand/…) – DarkHeart Feb 24 '16 at 0:41

Kayaks can be sent as checked bags (oversized), but the cost and specifics limits on length vary from airline to airline. You need to call the airline(s) involved.

You also need plan carefully as to which aircraft will be involved. For the long haul, the wide body aircraft can handle boats of that length, but smaller jets used on domestic connections may not. Trying to load a 3 meter long kayak through the small baggage door on a 717 or A320 will be extremely challenging, loading it into an ATR72 or BAE146 impossible.

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You most probably won't be able to ship them as checked-in baggage, even as oversized baggage, but will instead need to ship them as cargo, either directly with the airline, or using a carrier such as UPS.

A couple examples:

Oversized bags


Any items larger than 190cm x 75cm x 65cm (75in x 29.5in x 25.5in) require separate shipping as cargo.

How to ship bulky items as cargo

Length restrictions

The maximum length per piece on jet aircraft is 2 metres however this may be reduced depending on the width and height of the item. Sporting items exceeding 2 metres but less than 2.5 metres in length may still be accepted and are subject to oversized item charges.


If you wish to travel with an item that exceeds the allowable package dimensions, you will need to consider making alternative freighting arrangements for this item.

Air New Zealand Cargo, or your local freight forwarder, can advise you on alternative arrangements. Applicable rates will apply and items sent via Air New Zealand Cargo or a local freight forwarder may not necessarily travel on the same aircraft as you due to space availability. Please remember it is important to prearrange this with Air New Zealand Cargo or a local freight forwarder at least 5 days in advance of your travel. There may be occasions when Air New Zealand Cargo is unable to assist you with the carriage of your oversized item due to limited cargo space availability to your destination.

Items this length may simply not fit in aircraft holds, or be impossible to load/unload due to the relatively small cargo doors on passenger aircraft.

I recommend you:

  • contact your supplier, which must have experience shipping the boats internationally, and should have good advice
  • contact the event organisers, who should have experience as well with this, and may have specific deals with carriers.
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  • For longhaul, the restriction mostly is the ULD length, which is 2 metres for LD3. – Alexander Feb 24 '16 at 12:42

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