I have been traveling with gear since 1983, so here are a couple of things to consider....when you are going to a famous kite destination, Tarifa, Cabarete, etc. the airline staff all know what kite gear looks like and you get charged. If you want to try and get around it...1. Go to the airline web site and look what they say about various gear, limits, etc. This is something you might consider BEFORE you decide what airlines to book with. Print out their baggage policies and hand it to the check-in staff if you are having a disagreement to prove your exemption. 2. You don't have a kite board, you have a "water ski" or "wakeboard". Many airlines let water skis go for free. If they ask about the big padded bag, claim that the last time you traveled the airlines damaged your "waterski" and recommended you have better padding. The other way to weasel out of paying is when they ask you to pay, hand them a $100 US bill. Sorry, you "don't have a credit card" and guess what...they don't have change at the check-in counter. Sometimes they get fed-up and let you go. When you are going to a destination that is not kite specific, Caribbean, Florida, Hawaii, etc. use the golf bag routine. Always dress in golf shirt, golf hat and look as professional as possible, hair cut, shave, even a fake wedding ring if you are single and be very chatty and friendly to the agent. Tell them how much you have looked forward to this "golf" vacation, how often you fly on business and you are looking forward to flying on vacation for a change. Get a frequent flyer card and always present it at the counter. You get treated better if they know you are a regular. Many frequent flyer programs include a luggage waiver. Make your heaviest kite your carry-on bag if you can pack it small enough. I got a Naish 25M as carry-on once with no problem. Keep the gear bag as light as possible. Some charter airlines have a 20 kilo (2 bags total) limit and change heavily for overweight. I am usually 25 kilos per bag. You may find that a regular airline has a more expensive ticket than a charter airline, but when you consider that regluar airlines don't care much about luggage, give you more leg room, a meal and a movie, it can be worth the difference in ticket prices. Does not matter what you say to them about what it is, when you get to the luggage scanner, you are already past check-in. They won't send you back. If they stick you after all that, politely explain that you had a few different airlines to choose from when booking and that you and "your company" will be considering using another airline when you fly again. And finally...stop whining, I use to travel with 3-16 ft masts, a 9'6" slalom board and a 8'6" wave board, 2 quivers of sails and 3 booms. Traveling with kite gear is a breeze. Enjoy your vacation.