Stab Magazine | One Day After Their Historic Baggage Announcement, American Air Destroys A Defenseless Surfboard

One Day After Their Historic Baggage Announcement, American Air Destroys A Defenseless Surfboard

Poor Pat Nolan just wanted to bring his longboard out to California. Now it looks like a shark attack victim.

news // May 23, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you believe in the power of ‘jinxing’?

That one can conjure a specific outcome by publicly forecasting its inverse? Like when you say, “Jordy Smith couldn’t possibly lose to Jesse Mendes at four-foot Keramas,” but then he does.

Well, I didn’t. Until today.  

smith j 1444 Bali19 Dorsey n2

The scissors-through-gift-paper carve that netted Jordy a mere four points (and a loss against Jesse Mendes). Photo: WSL

Yesterday we reported that American Air had eliminated overage fees on board bags under 50 pounds. This was a huge step forward for the airline and a win for the surfing community. It seemed our internet grumblings were finally paying off. 

Toward the end of the piece, I mentioned how pleasant my recent experiences of flying with surfboards have been, going so far as to state: “Has anybody noticed how much extra care the airlines seem to give our surfboards nowadays? I haven’t had a board so much as dinged, let alone lost or broken, in the past four years of air travel, and I fly a lot.”

Commentator Occ Topus was quick to point out the error in my ways, writing: 

Don’t go jinxing yourself by claiming no recent surfboard damage via the airlines, MC. The surfboard handling gods may demand a sacrifice.”

“Ha!” I laughed, internally. “No such rules in apply in the real world. Everything in life is determined by probability and chance, not spiteful interventions by some higher power.”

Then I went on Instagram in the morning, and, well…

“Here’s to hoping @americanair has a solid ding repair guy!” wrote Pat Nolan under this video, which we’re surprised hasn’t been flagged for sensitive content (RIP surfboard). “The last 24 hours with this company has been nothing short of a nightmare. From delays to denying me at the gate of my connecting flight to this beautiful cherry on top. Feel free to share.”

Pat Nolan used to work for Surfline, now Nixon, as a photographer and social media manager. You’ve probably double-tapped his images on myriad occasion. 

Pat hails from New Jersey. As a result of his job, he’s been living in California for the past several years, but he’s had this longboard lying around in the Garden State for a while, so rather than spending $750 on a new one in California, he figured he’d just fly this board to California after a trip back home.

Pat paid $150 to get his 10-foot bag (seen below, where Pat prophecized its demise) onboard the American jet, because the new policy does not apply to luggage over 126 inches (length + height + width). Then, after some TSA trouble and a missed connection, Pat landed in CA to find his board in tatters.

 Screen Shot 2019 05 22 at 5.37.09 PM

Pat said he’s planning to speak with American tonight, and that he hopes they’ll refund him for the cost of a new board. If American is smart, they’ll double-down on their new surfer-friendly policies and pony up the loot. If not, well, that would be ill-advised…

We’ll update this post when Pat gets the final decision from AA. If they fail him, we will assemble the internet surf army to demand justice. (Just maybe don’t comment on American’s most recent Instagram post, which is celebrating World Diversity day. That wouldn’t be the best look on surfers’ behalf.) 

Also, sorry for jinxing you, Pat. But you also kinda jinxed yourself. 


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