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Old 09-06-11, 08:33 AM   #1
dgasmd
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Flying with bikes?

Given that lots of you likely travel with your bikes (in reality not their heads only) more than the people in the 41, I figured I post it here instead. Please re-locate if it fits elsewhere better AND will actually be seen.

I traveled to Europe again this summer and was hit once again by the airline's "bike case fee". Seems in reality that if they don't hit you with that one they can just the same hit you with the "oversize luggage" fee, which in reality is just about the same as the bike fee. Unless you have a bike with couplers that folds the size of a sandwich, you will never come under the dimensions specs they have not to qualify most bike cases as "oversize luggage". I looked around at different airlines to try to get the best fare and never really ran into one flying from my location to my destination that had bikes flying for free or any discount program that would apply (if there is any). I'm sure there are some, but I just never saw one. It did get me thinking that it would be nice to support an airline in the future that allowed bikes for free or with a small fee only for oversize container, even if I was not flying with my bike then. So, can you post any airlines you know that CURRENTLY fly bikes for free or at a discount? If you have a link to their current website stating so the better. I only frequent one other cycling site, so this may be posted and frequently updated somewhere else. If it is and you know where, just post a link as well.

Please, this is not a discussion of whether I or anyone should rent a bike there vs flying with your own. That is another question and discussion. Also, not a discussion about case type and such.

I know there are many threads in BF about this, but truth is most are very outdated.

Thanks,
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Old 09-06-11, 08:38 AM   #2
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Southwest:

Basically $50 each way for bike cases.
Link
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Old 09-06-11, 08:43 AM   #3
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Frontier: free
http://www.frontierairlines.com/fron...ggage-chart.do
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Old 09-06-11, 08:48 AM   #4
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why does every other thread have to have "thread" in the title?
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Old 09-06-11, 09:22 AM   #5
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I think this covers a lot of it:
http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

Flying overseas is different from flying domestically. Southwest is great but it only flies domestic stuff. I think Northwest charged a couple $1500 for two bikes from Europe back, there was some article about it a year or two ago. Typically it's up to the counter person's discretion on how much more to charge, if at all.
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Old 09-06-11, 09:45 AM   #6
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You have basically three issues to deal with here.

Extra baggage
Oversize
Overweight

Eliminating as many of those issues as you can increases your odds of getting the bike fee reduced or eliminated. The good quality hard bike cases are going to put you over 50 lbs. Just about any bike case is going to be oversize unless it's a bag or a homemade box. If you're traveling in the US it might make more sense to ship the bike via a ground carrier than take it on the plane.

ST link
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Old 09-06-11, 10:03 AM   #7
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why does every other thread have to have "thread" in the title?
You make a good point. This thread is no longer official.
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Old 09-07-11, 03:06 AM   #8
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You make a good point. This thread is no longer official.
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Old 09-07-11, 10:02 AM   #9
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This whole deal is kinda why I have my Bike Friday. It looks weird, but I stick it in a hard sided case and the airlines don't look twice at it. I've never been charged a bike fee. The downside is you have to ride a 20" wheeled bike. That's not bad when alone, but in a group it means you'll be taking some abuse. If you ride well, those jokes at the beginning turn to respect later on.
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Old 09-07-11, 10:40 AM   #10
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Ti/Steel bike + S&S coupler + case = no additional fees for life
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Old 09-07-11, 08:22 PM   #11
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Frontier flies bikes free, but only at their top-2 ticket levels. The "Economy" level doesn't. So, it's basically like buying economy ticket, then paying a $40 bike fee on top. But, the company was awesome to deal with (I flew w/them 2-weeks ago).

Also, Bicycling Mag online just did a couple write-ups about this 2-3 days ago. They had a video of one Jelly Belly pro rider (can't remember who) who gets his bike in a small bike box so that you can't really tell it's a bike. Another writer told of how he has gotten his bike into a slightly large suitcase every time and has not been charged by any of the airlines as they don't even think it's a bike and so don't ask.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:51 PM   #12
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Jet Blue is sneaky about it, they claim a bike is $50 which would be true if you had no other checked bag, when you have a checked bag the bike then becomes your second piece and is charged $35 + $50 for a grand total of $85. Still better than AA @ $100 each way or a rental bike at $60 per 24 hour period. Should just get a spare bike and have one of my NY friends keep it here.
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Old 09-21-11, 09:32 AM   #13
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Quick question on packing the bike...

I've got the packing materials and know to remove pedals and RD...

Last time I did I removed the bars including the stem, but I'm not certain if that really is needed?? I know I removed the bars the last time because of the size of the travel case, but think that the stem probably could have stayed on...

How to do you regular travelers do it??
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Old 09-21-11, 10:53 AM   #14
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I leave the stem on. I remove the bars, but leave the cables attached. Just move the bars off to the side.
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Old 09-21-11, 11:00 AM   #15
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http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.co...soft-case.html

I remove stem/bars/front brake. Also rear derailleur. I have enough spacers for the steerer tube to take up the missing stem, so the fork doesn't rattle around in the frame. With my Tsunamis they're so long I have to put the fork on the clamp backwards. Also, with the "ISP" design of the black frame, the bike becomes tall enough that I put the stem on backwards, pointing up, on the steerer tube.

For a better way of doing it, Leonard Zinn's bike looks like this:

Even though he's super tall, he doesn't have to readjust his stem or bars, just post and pedals.
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Old 09-21-11, 12:41 PM   #16
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Thanks CDR!

You jogged my memory in how I did it the last time...I was trying to figure out how I kept the fork in place, spacers! I have a ton of them lying around...
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Old 09-21-11, 12:54 PM   #17
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Thanks CDR!

You jogged my memory in how I did it the last time...
I was trying to figure out how I kept the fork in place, spacers! I have a ton of them lying around...
remove the bars. leave the stem.
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Old 09-21-11, 01:45 PM   #18
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Last time I flew British Airways with a bike in 2008 the bike was free and didn't count against my 2 bag limit.

Made up for the price difference to a United ticket and was a much nicer experience all-around.

I can't remember how much Virgin charged me, but it must've been small enough for me not to care, as I don't remember caring.
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Old 09-21-11, 02:09 PM   #19
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remove the bars. leave the stem.
Be careful with this. I had a new bike shipped to me this way, and the fork had spun around and the stem had dented the top tube. I take the stem off now.

I flew my seat masted Fuji in a cardboard bike box that held a bike with the rear wheel installed. The mast stuck out about 4", so I installed the big cast aluminum cutting guide that came with the bike, leaving it about 1/4" proud of the top of the mast. I bubble-wrapped it, and closed the lid to an edge-to-edge triangle with a lengthwise center ridge, which covered the mast and left the box looking like a skinny house.
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Old 09-21-11, 02:30 PM   #20
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Be careful with this. I had a new bike shipped to me this way, and the fork had spun around and the stem had dented the top tube. I take the stem off now.

I flew my seat masted Fuji in a cardboard bike box that held a bike with the rear wheel installed. The mast stuck out about 4", so I installed the big cast aluminum cutting guide that came with the bike, leaving it about 1/4" proud of the top of the mast. I bubble-wrapped it, and closed the lid to an edge-to-edge triangle with a lengthwise center ridge, which covered the mast and left the box looking like a skinny house.
in a trico?
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Old 09-21-11, 04:54 PM   #21
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I have pipe insulation to cover the frame and will be borrowing a hard case...
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Old 09-21-11, 05:19 PM   #22
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i am going to buy a beater bike for when i go to arizona. I am not sure what i'll do with it when i am done, i was thinking i'd just lock it up at work and see what happens.
but considering its the off season and i don't need my road bike, and I would get charged the same to bring it....
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Old 09-21-11, 08:00 PM   #23
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in a trico?
Excel Sports new bike box. Just cardboard. I'm fairly certain the fork spun around during loading/packing, because there was no way it was going anywhere once packed with all the padding they had in there. They fixed me up though.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:52 AM   #24
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I leave my stem loosely attached to the handlebars, and move the stem however I need to get the handlebars to fit in sideways.

I use a hardcase from like the 80s I found on craigslist for some pocket lint. It's worked out decent so far, but if I ever get a nicer bike I'll probably have to upgrade. My headset got messed up last time, someone the fork was impacted even though I can barely get it to move (my guess is the box somehow was upside down or sideways for a period time).

I pay on average $75 to $100 to fly with it each way, some carriers are cheaper than others. Almost all charge a bike fee on top of a normal bag fee though, which makes it about double what it should be, and then I'm usually checking another bag with all my crap in it. It adds up fast.

There's a website somewhere that has all the carriers and the bag fees I check before I book a flight. I seem to have lost the link though and too lazy to search.
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Old 09-25-11, 04:23 PM   #25
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Understand that TSA WILL open your bike case, snoop around, and rearrange stuff. This happened to me last year. I was pissed to see a pile of components in my bike case. So, wrap as much as possible even if you don't think it will wind up rubbing against something.
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