Virgin Atlantic, one of the world’s leading long-haul airlines, has come to the aid of sports travellers by announcing that they can take one free piece of sporting equipment in addition to their checked baggage allowance. The announcement comes after rival carrier, British Airways, decided to ban surfboards and other sporting equipment in the cargo hold on its flights from 6th November 2007.
This means that, as long as the equipment complies with size and weight allowances, Virgin Atlantic travellers can check in to the hold of the aircraft their diving equipment, golf equipment, fishing equipment, hang gliders, snow skis, surfboards, windsurfing boards, booms and sails, bicycles, paragliders, canoes and kayaks – all free of charge.
Paul Dickinson, Sales and Marketing Director, Virgin Atlantic, said: "Virgin Atlantic continues to be the airline for sports enthusiasts unlike others who are doing everything they can to prevent the gold medallists of the future transporting their equipment. Our new sports equipment policy enables all sports travellers, whether Olympic teams or not, to enjoy their journey throughout."
The sporting equipment can weigh no more than 32kg, unless with prior consent, and must not exceed overall dimensions of 62" (width + height + length). Larger dimensions are allowed for surf boards, with boards being allowed at a max length of 2.5m.
The following can be considered as 1 piece of sporting equipment, complying with size and weight:
-Fishing equipment: rod & tackle bag.
-Surfboards: one surfboard to a max length of 2.5m.
-Golf equipment: one bag containing: max. 14 clubs, one dozen balls, one pair of golf shoes.
-Paragliders: comprises 1 canopy/wing, 1 harness and 1 helmet all contained in a rucksack
-Snow /Ski: one pair of skis and ski poles or a snowboard or a monoski. Plus one pair of ski boots and bindings.
-Sporting guns: air rifles, hunting rifles, safari rifles, shotguns. Each gun carrier will be considered as one bag.
-Windsurfers: one windsurfing board to a maximum length of 2.5m. Mast, boom and sail also included if wrapped as one item.
-Hang gliders: hang gliders will only be accepted if they are within the max dimensions 2.5m x 1.00m x 0.80m (98in x 39in x 31in).
-Bicycles: single seat, non-motorised bicycles in protective box or bag. (Bike pedals must be removed, or fixed inwards, handlebars fixed sideways, to minimise risk of damage tyres can be deflated).
-Canoes & Kayaks: up to 4.5m (162 In). Canoes/Kayak in excess of 4.5m must be referred to Cargo. Including canoeing items such as paddle, seat, buoyancy aid, spray deck and helmet.
-Diving equipment kit: no more than 1 of the following, facemask, fins (pair), pressure gauge, regulator, safety vest, snorkel, weights belt and cylinder which must be empty to ensure safe handling.