While pole vaulting is not exactly a mainstream leisure activity, this highly skilled and athletic sport is part of the global competitive sporting circuit. Consequently, at any given time, there are a whole lot of elite sportspeople travelling with their poles and other equipment to destinations all over the world. If you’re one of them (or about to face the prospect for the first time) you might be wondering about the logistics of transporting these awkward pieces of oversized equipment on a plane.
While some sportspeople prefer to take a risk and ship their poles separately, there’s certainly an element of peace of mind in knowing that your vital sporting equipment is on board the same flight as you. As long as you plan ahead and know what to expect from your chosen airline, travelling with a vaulting pole to your next competition doesn’t need to be a problem.
Planes, Poles and Airport Shuttles
Every airline has their own policy on transporting vaulting poles as baggage and it’s imperative that you research this before you make a booking. The last thing you want is to set off for an important event abroad only to have your poles refused loading at the airport, as competing on borrowed equipment can lead to less than favourable results. Charges to carry poles vary greatly from airline to airline – from being accepted as part of the normal baggage allowance to requiring the payment of huge excess fees. You really need to shop around, and it’s also a good idea to follow up with a phone call to confirm the information is current.
You’ll also need to book ground transport to get you and your equipment to your accommodation or competition site. The most convenient and budget friendly option is a dedicated airport shuttle that can handle oversized baggage requirements.
Premium Packing for Your Pole
If you’ve ever tried to pack a 17-foot carbon fibre pole worth many thousands of pounds, you’ll know it takes more than a couple of feet of bubble wrap and a duffel bag. Multiply the task by the several poles you’ll need to take to competition and it can be a little daunting. The delicate poles need to be protected from heat and knocks, and their extreme length means they’re more susceptible to damage – both on the luggage carousel and in the cargo hold.
Specialised toughened nylon vaulting pole bags are really the only option to transport the poles, and many serious sportspeople even have them custom made to their own specs. As with any sporting equipment bags, there are various options depending on budget, but at the very least ensure the one you choose includes strong handles and is made of durable fabric to ensure against any damage through less than ideal baggage handling.
You can fit up to five poles in a bag, but you’ll need to ensure you’re aware of any restrictions the airline imposes on weight. Make sure you protect the individual poles with plastic tips and protective sleeves, and if you’re bringing extras like block chalk and vaulting grip, that’s better in a separate gear bag or taken on as hand luggage.
At the Airport
Top tips on making a smooth transit with sporting equipment always include arriving at the airport as early as possible. This is not only so you can reduce your own stress levels and beat the crowds, it’s also for more practical reasons: due to the unusual nature of vaulting poles, it’s highly likely you’ll come across check in staff who are unfamiliar with their transportation. It’s a good idea to have evidence of the airline’s baggage policy on hand in case you encounter any resistance from inexperienced staff and need proof.
Shuttle Direct Gets You Over the Bar
At Shuttle Direct, our promise to cater to even the most difficult specific baggage needs even extends to travelling pole vaulters! If you need to travel with your poles on a flight, we can meet you at the airport and get you to your final destination without hassle.
Our easy to use computerised booking system allows you to make an immediately confirmed booking, and no matter where you’re travelling, we’ll get you to where you need to go without delay.
Let Us Know What You Need
It’s very important that you let us know at the time of your service booking exactly what oversized or extra baggage you’re bringing – so if you’re planning on transporting your poles, make sure we know! As long as we have your baggage requirements ahead of time, we can dispatch an appropriate vehicle to transfer you. If you have any queries or are unsure about any aspect of your booking, our Customer Care team will be pleased to help you, so feel free to contact them at any time.