This is a story about a very nice thing that United Airlines is doing for a small group of passengers. But it's a very nice thing nonetheless.

If you're traveling to or from California, and you're a surfer, you're really going to like this.

Starting this week, United said it's now waiving the extra fee to bring a surfboard on board its airplanes, as long as you're traveling either to or from California. 

You do still need to pay the regular checked baggage fee. But that's kind of hard to complain about, even if United was one of the airlines that recently upped its first checked bag fee to $30.

The change, United says, is in honor of California naming surfing its state sport. So if you bring a surfboard, wakeboard, or paddleboard on a flight to or from the Golden State, the much-reduced charge applies.

They're also making a $50,000 donation to Sustainable Surf, which is a California nonprofit trying to solve the ocean health crisis, in party by "using surfing as a force for good."

"California made it official: surfing is our state sport. We want to make it easier for customers to surf our beautiful beaches, whether they're visiting or call the Golden State home," said Janet Lamkin, United's president for California said in a press release. "This partnership continues our commitment to the environment by supporting an organization like Sustainable Surf, which helps keep our beaches beautiful."

As Darren Murph (no relation to me, as far as I know) writes at The Points Guy, this move comes as United is defending its California operations against an influx from Alaska Airlines. 

But that only shows why this is a win-win situation all around for the airline and its passengers.

If a business can come up with a way to offer something else to customers at little or no cost (United is giving up some baggage fees here, but it's likely a drop in the bucket), it's often a good idea, especially in a market as competitive as commercial airlines.

To paraphrase a famous quote: Passengers might not remember what your policies are, or what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

It seems like United has been taking this to heart lately. And now some passengers will be totally stoked.

Published on: Oct 7, 2018
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