Where did you end up staying once you were there and did you rent a car?
the airlines have been taking a big hit for the past 5 years or so and many have gone on the verge of bankrupcy, so now that fuel has dropped people wonder why fees and high airfair have not dropped with the fall in fuel prices. Airlines are making up for the money they lost over the past few years by simply keeping fees and prices high. If fuel costs stay down look to see fees and airfair start to slowly go down over the next year or so. That will help with the cost to travel with your boards.
It pays to read the Contract of Carriage, or at least the baggage policies, before booking your "cheap" flight. Continental's policy is as follows so the $400 guys is SOL.
Surfboard charges for one bag and
- 1 or 2 boards, $100.00;
- 3 boards, $400.00;
- 4 boards, $700.00
Plus any excess baggage fees that may apply and NTE 70 lbs.
Some airlines charge per board too. Not just per bag. I find the over packing method works fairly decent. I made a bubble wrap sock that fits 2 boards. And I put that in my board bag along with some towels all taped up. I never had anyone unpack my boards to check. They may unzip it and look in. But, they aren't going to rip it all apart to check. At least it never happen to me.