If you’re a part-time or die-hard paraglider you’ll be used to taking a deep breath and stepping into the unknown. But if you’re considering travelling abroad with your rather cumbersome and unusual sporting equipment, you may feel like taking it on a flight could, logistically, be a step too far! Come on now; you’re used to adventure, so how hard can it be? The good news is, that with a little pre-planning and the right preparation, it’s not difficult at all.
Choosing an Airline
Every airline has a different (and ever-changing) policy for carry on and checked luggage, so you’ll need to research before you book as to which one offers the best options for more unusual sporting equipment, like paragliders. Some may have a standard listed rate for paragliders, others may charge according to weight and dimensions, and still others may include it as part of your regular baggage allowance. While it appears to be a relatively common practice to not declare specific sports equipment and disguise it as regular baggage in order to save money, this is not advisable as it will affect any insurance claim you may have to file due to damage. Honesty is always the best policy.
Make Life Easy at Every Step
Once you’ve booked your flight, don’t forget that you’ll need to arrange ground transport at the other end to get you and your paraglider to your final destination. You’re certainly not going to relish the thought of struggling on public transport with an awkward bag (or bags) of equipment, so it’s highly advisable to make life easy and book an airport transfer on a private or shared shuttle that accepts oversized baggage and sporting equipment.
Preparing to Fly With a Paraglider
No, not that sort of flying – we’ll leave those tips to the experts! But we do know a thing or two about how best to pack your paraglider and protect it from the possibility of damage while travelling.
Firstly, make sure you have any paperwork (including licence, accreditations and insurance documents) in order. Depending on the destination, you may also need to prearrange a club membership in order to use certain popular gliding sites.
If you value your equipment (and let’s face it, it’s not cheap), you’re best off investing in a custom waterproof backpack for your glider. They come in a huge variety of capacities (including tandem size) and quality, so choose the one appropriate to your needs and budget, but at the very least ensure the straps are comfortable and durable. Pack your glider according to the manufacturers instructions, with the reserve handle tucked away so it doesn’t snag. Some people actually recommend putting the backpack inside another cheaper, nondescript bag to disguise its value as expensive sporting equipment.
For safety, it’s far better to take your helmet and any electronic pieces of equipment (including radios) on as carry on luggage, to prevent damage in transit. However, any sharp implements like knives, cutters or other tools should be packed into the main checked main backpack. To save on weight (and space), it’s a great idea to wear your heavy flying boots.
At the Airport
Depending on where you’re heading for your paragliding adventure, you may need to advise customs of the contents of your equipment bag so you won’t be hit for any taxes, either at your destination or on the return journey. Do your research and put all this in place before you check in or you could be liable to frustrating delays. If you do need to organise anything with customs, make sure you arrive at the airport even earlier than you think you’ll need to!
One very important aspect to note when travelling with a checked paragliding bag is to always go through your gear thoroughly once you’ve reclaimed it and check it before using. Sometimes your bag could be opened for a customs inspection, and when you’re dealing with such vital requirements as an impeccably packed reserve, you can’t take any risks that it has been opened and repacked incorrectly.
Shuttle Direct – Great Sports With Sports Equipment
At Shuttle Direct we’re just as adventurous as you are! We’ve had years of experience transporting sportspeople and every kind of equipment available – including paragliders. If you prebook one of our safe, convenient shuttle transfer services, we’ll take care of getting you, your luggage, and your glider to your final destination and back again, without any delays or hassle. Our easy to use booking system means that you’ll have an immediate confirmed booking, no matter where in the world your paragliding holiday takes you.
Keep Us in the Know Before You Go
If you’re bringing your own paraglider on holiday with you, it’s very important that you advise us of your luggage requirements at the time you make your airport transfer booking, so we can send the correct vehicle to suit your needs. If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Care team.