BRITISH SURFING ASSOCIATION TAKES GLOBAL PETITION TO BA HEADQUARTERS AND TO PARLIAMENT
To ensure that the airline understands the feelings of shock, disappointment, frustration and marginalisation evident within the ever-growing worldwide surf industry, the British Surfing Association has created an online global petition, pushing for a reversal of the ban. In less than a week, over 6,500 people from all corners of the globe, including the current world number 1 Australian surfer Mick Fanning, have signed the petition (http://www.gopetition.com/online/14891/signatures.html) and added comments. An additional Facebook group ‘British Airways Surfboard Ban’, started by volunteers, has now amassed over 10,000 members.
The Acting Chairman and National Director of the British Surfing Association will today join members of the Royal Yachting Association to personally deliver copies of the global petition to BA’s headquarters near
Following the delivery of the petition, the contingent will make their way to the
Issued on behalf of the British Surfing Association by Excess Energy Communications. For further information, interviews or photography, please contact Rhona Gardiner on 07740 410052.
PREVIOUS PRESS RELEASES FROM THE BSA:
GLOBAL SURF COMMUNITY RISES UP AGAINST BA SURFBOARD BAN
World Number One surfer and thousands more across the globe push for a reversal on airline decision
Since British Airways (BA) announced a ban on surfboards on all flights (effective from 6th Nov), the surf community across the world has been reacting to the shock new position and taking decisive action to push for a reversal on the decision. In hordes, surfers from across the globe, including the World Number One, Mick Fanning, have been signing up to a global petition created by the British Surfing Association (BSA) and international governing bodies, key surf brands and thousands of individuals have been issuing statements and joining a group on the social networking site, Facebook.
Until now BA has had a reputation for being one of the most surfer friendly airlines but last weekend their new ruling stated that surfboards, alongside other items such as hang gliders, windsurfing boards and sails, kayaks or canoes, pole vaults or javelins, will no longer be accepted as baggage on any flights on the extensive BA network. At the same time, BA proudly announced that it would be loosening any restrictions on their carriage of skis, snowboards, cycles, diving equipment and even guns, amongst other items. At the recent Ski and Snowboard Show in
Further to this BA has attempted to justify its surfboard decision with some extremely brief statements saying that it is ‘working with a number of freight forwarders to find an alternative way for customers to carry surfboards and other larger items. Until this solution is in place, (they) will continue to honour bookings.’
However when pushed by journalists on the fact that they will still carry skis and golf clubs, which can be as heavy and cumbersome as surf boards, they said, “We carry significantly more items such as golf bags and skis, which means we are able to put more robust processes in place to handle them.”
The announcement and subsequent statements have caused uproar amongst surfers who see the new decision as a marginalisation of the sport and of all those within the global surf community. The
World Number One surfer Mick Fanning of New South Wales,
Newly crowned European longboard champion and English champion
Surfers from as far a field as Australia, USA, South Africa, Canada, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Costa Rica and all over Europe have been signing up and leaving messages of concern, surprise and in many cases, disgust.
Regular Jersey surfer Andy Cummins said, “I have a trip planned to
Other British surfers will now be effectively ‘stranded’ if they want to fly with their boards as some, such as those based on the outlying islands, are mainly serviced by BA flights. Rodney Jamieson from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis off
Karen Walton, National Director, at the Newquay-based BSA, says, “In the last week, news about the ban has spread though the global surf community by word-of-mouth, through the Internet and through the international media. Without a doubt, the reaction has been one of disbelief, shock and anger. From BA’s scant statements and comments to journalists it appears that they think that the surf community is just a tiny part of their customer base, and that therefore these hundreds of thousands of traveling surfers don’t matter. We think that they have seriously underestimated how large the surf community actually is. We also think they have underestimated the invaluable spend that the global surf traveling community provides for their airline and for all of the surf communities that they service. Mick Fanning is one of just many of the surfers who are members of the BA loyalty scheme and they stand to lose considerable business if they proceed with the ban.”
Mrs Walton continues, “They are saying that there are alternative freight companies that can ship people’s boards instead, however this just isn’t a viable option. We checked with TNT as an example and to get a board from Newquay to Hossegor in France it would cost in excess of £200 each way and take six days to get there and another six to get back. This type of situation will just not work for leisure or professional surfers who simply will not travel without their boards. It is essential that BA realises just how strongly they are alienating the global surf industry and reverses this ban and it is critical that other airlines understand that this is not an example they can consider following.”
Dave Hitchins part for the group who set up the Facebook ‘BA Surfboard Ban Group’ says, “I honestly think that the Facebook group and the BSA petition are the tip of the iceberg. The Facebook group has grown by almost a thousand people a day over the last week. Most members are from the English speaking world – every part of the
Dave continues, “It just seems that BA is out of touch with tomorrow’s market. Surfing is an aspirational sport, it is a pastime that all manner of brands have sought to associate themselves with – from that great Guinness advert to major car manufactures like Renault and Vauxhall and even the BBC. Why is BA going the other way?
“Surfers are young and old, male and female. They are professional athletes, students, teachers and businessmen. They all love their sport though, and the ability to escape to a far off country with their boards is a huge part of that love. I hope that we can make BA see that and change their minds.”
The BSA is continuing to urge everyone who surfs to take five minutes to go online and follow their recommended action steps. The BSA is planning to deliver the petition to the management of BA in person next week, alongside the supportive statements from other organisations.
Surfer action steps:
1) Go onto www.britsurf.co.uk and click the ‘SIGN ONLINE PETITION OF PROTEST IN THE NEWS SECTION ON THE HOME PAGE’. Follow the easy steps to sign this online petition and add any comments.
2) If you have a Facebook account, join the Facebook ‘British Airways Surfboard Ban’ group
3) Click this link http://www.britishairways.com/travel/custrelform/public/en_gb and register a complaint with BA directly
4) Encourage all other surfers to follow these steps