The last two years AA f-ed up my boards on the return flight from CR. I didn't realize it in time the first year but this year I saw the damage and filed a claim. After the runaround, finally got reimbursed for the repairs 6 months after the trip. I usually take three boards, my wife's longboard, a longboard for me, and either another longboard for the kids or a shortboard for me, on our 2 week trip in a soft case and I had the rails wrapped with pipe insulation. 2 years ago there was damage to the nose on 2 of the boards and this past summer there was damage to all three tails.
I have a hard case but it weighs a lot and I like to have something for the kids to use if I take one of the boards. I may try to get three in the hard case on our next trip or use something thicker on the nose and tail in the soft case. I like the idea of pool toys and may try pool noodles around the nose and tail.
Last time I checked, AA charges 150 each way and allows multiple boards in one bag as long as it weighs less than 70 lbs. It would cost about 240 to rent for two weeks. I'd rather take my own and pay a little extra.