If you’ve chosen hang gliding as a hobby, you’ll already know that transporting your equipment between locations takes some planning: if you want to take your hang glider abroad with you on a flight, the logistics become even more of a challenge. However, with a little forward thinking and some careful preparation you can be flying high without a care in the world – anywhere in the world!
Do Your Research
The first word to the wise is to do your research on your actual flight before you go finalising all your other holiday arrangements. Not all airlines will agree to transport a hang glider due to space restrictions, but some will be prepared to take them on as standard oversized luggage (short packed). You’ll need to shop around, and the regulations and costs will vary from carrier to carrier, so make sure you understand exactly what you’re up for – including insurance and (sometimes) customs fees.
If you have any connecting flights, it’s very important to make sure the airlines have accounted for that as well. It’s not unheard of to have oversized baggage refused on a smaller connecting plane with reduced capacity, so the responsibility is on you to check.
By the way, don’t always just accept a ‘no’ to a request to transport a hang glider on a flight. It’s not always on the standard list, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just that the person you’re speaking to hasn’t come across it before.
Consider Your Airport Transport
Travelling with a hang glider is a little different from landing in a destination with a suitcase and some hand luggage! You’ll need to make concrete plans to get to your final destination so it’s a good idea to set in place your airport transfers as soon as you book your flights (including the return journey). It’s important to advise your service provider that you’ll be travelling with your hang glider – so make sure you know its size, weight and dimensions when short packed so they can arrange to dispatch the right type of vehicle.
Packing Your Hang Glider for Travel
Learning how to ‘short pack’ your glider properly is one of the best investments in time you can make, and any experienced glider pilot will no doubt have it down to a tee if they travel a lot. Short packing involves dismantling the hang glider, including sails, straps, cross bars, battens etc, and arranging them as snugly as possible before inserting into a bag for travel. You can purchase anything from a cheaper drawstring version (with which you’ll need to use plenty of bubble wrap), to thickly padded zip up bags with wheels. You can also get separate bags to pack the different components, such as wheel bags, wing tip bags, and speed bar bags.
Whichever kind of bag you decide on, bubble wrap (or towels and clothing if needs be) is always your friend – be liberal with it to ensure every component is as protected as possible. It’s not always a good idea to try and stuff your harness and helmet in to the bag as they can cause damage and add to the weight, but there should be no problem taking them on to the flight as hand luggage.
At the Airport
Arrive as early as you can at your departure airport to ensure any delays with check in are minimised – and you should anticipate that possibility, as it’s not every day the check in staff will have dealt with a hang glider! You should also try to disembark as efficiently as possible when the plane lands. You’ll want to be at the head of the oversized luggage conveyor belt in order to grab your hang glider as quickly as possible, so there’s no chance of damage.
Shuttle Direct – Happy to Go the Extra Mile
At Shuttle Direct we understand that your sporting passion often involves travelling with oversized or overweight equipment and we’re more than happy to accommodate it on your airport transfers. If you’re travelling with a hang glider, we can transport you and all your equipment to and from your final destination without a problem. Our fast and efficient online booking system affords you the convenience and peace of mind of an instant confirmation of your travel arrangements.
Tell Us Your Plans
It’s very important that you let us know in advance (at the time of your service booking request) if you’re planning to bring your hang glider on the flight with you. As long as we know all your oversized baggage requirements we’ll be able to dispatch the right vehicle for a fast, hassle free transfer to your accommodation. Our Customer Care team are happy to answer any questions, so just contact us if you need any assistance finalising your arrangements.