I also recommend shipping your rod in advance via FedEx (Davy knows why). You can ship it two day for less than half the price of overnight and the FedEx tube is free! (they're actually triangular, but they're damn tough)
I think the airlines would be in better financial shape if they didn't have to pay all the claims from the damaged freight their employees smash.
Those who do nothing but move freight realize they have to treat the freight well!