As far as we can tell, this policy applies to domestic and international flights, though American doesn't expressly state as such. ("Standard checked bag fee of your destination applies" is their official line, but it's best to check with an agent before you book a flight beyond the wall.)
Before today's announcement, American charged passengers $150 per surfboard bag in each direction, making a surf trip inordinately expensive from the jump. Now boards will cost the same as a standard bag—just $30 as the first piece of luggage or $40 if you've got an extra suitcase in tow.
For most surfers, board bag fees are the first thing to look at when considering air travel. Going in and out of California, I fly almost exclusively with Alaska or United, unless it's a trans-Pacific flight, in which case I'm Virgin all day. Paying for boards is so 2016!
Also, and this is completely experiential, but 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. Could it be that the brutal tirades our surfing community has cast upon airlines
I think yes, hence the trend to eliminate surfboard fees altogether.
So keep it up, you vicious Instagram commenters. Soon surfers will be drinking free cocktails at 30,000 feet.