Airline travel with a hang glider

I was very nervous about traveling with my hang gliders, but I was relocating, so I had no choice. The process ended up being a lot easier and cheaper than I expected. This is my experience.

Breaking down

The “short pack” process was not hard, just a little tedious. The first step is to remove the leading edge, consult your manual, each glider is a little different.

Remove the outer leading edge and mark “left” and “right”

Protect the aluminum, get 2″ PVC pipe cups from the hardware store

Fold the sail inside. The glider should now be aprox 3.5 to 3.8 meters long. Bubble wrap only the ends, but NOT the entire thing. When the security guys at the airport inspect the glider, they should not have cut through anything.

Bubble wrap all the accessories: outer leading edges, batten tips, etc..

Place the accessories inside the glider, I put all my stuff near the nose inside the sail.

With the velcro straps, tighten the wings together, make it very tight so that nothing moves.

Close the bag, leaving the zipper in the center. Make it easy for the security guys at the airport to inspect the package.

Insert the rest of the bag in itself, at the wing tip end.

Place cardboard at both ends and wrap it with duct take, use the tape to create handles.

Done!

At the airport.

Flying with Iberia was easy. On their website it says that gliders are allowed (sports equipment section). The limit is 3.5 meters and 32kg. The price is the same as an extra bag, up to 23kg + $100 up to 32kg. So, it would have been $185 each glider, but there’s a way around it that saved me $100 per glider, read on!

  1. Call the airline a couple of days in advance and buy an extra piece of luggage
  2. Get to the airport and unload the gliders near the check-in counter, but don’t take them to the counter!
  3. When checking in, tell the agent that you have an oversized piece of luggage, already paid for, but it’s not on you at the moment, it’s “over there” (point with your finger where it is).
  4. This agent, from step 3, printed the baggage tag and gave it another agent, I walked with this person to the gliders and put the tags. That’s it!
  5. I also asked if I could walk with him to the inspection area, I want to make sure they don’t cut my sail or do any damage

They didn’t check the length nor the width. My T2C was 3.7 meters and 33kg. I saved $100 per glider by not bringing them to the counter, and just leaving them aside!! Haha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


2 + 9 =


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.