Touring - Bikes on planes
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07-05-02, 08:17 PM
I'm intending to go on a short tour sometime around November (just outside of the tourist season). At this stage I'm looking at getting a bag for my bike to carry on planes (I've decided on "The Body Bag" made by Groundeffect (http://www.groundeffect.co.nz) ) and getting another cheap bag for panniers and so on. What I'd like to know is if I've overlooked anything, or if there's something else I could do.
07-06-02, 09:00 AM
Looks like they have some good products at reasonable prices. I wonder about a soft sided carrier in the baggage compartment though. I notice they recommend shielding it with cardboard. I wonder if there is room to pack some of your softer articles around the bike, possibly in your panniers to pad the sensitive areas of the bike.
07-06-02, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by aerobat
I notice they recommend shielding it with cardboard. I wonder if there is room to pack some of your softer articles around the bike, possibly in your panniers to pad the sensitive areas of the bike.
I think the cardboard is really for use on longer flights. I probably won't be in the air for more than about three hours, so I don't know how important that is. As far as packing softer articles around the bike goes, I'm not sure they'll be too much room in the bag for that. Having said that, I've still got a million card-board boxes around here from the last time I moved.
Well i am not well versed on that part of th world but here in the u.s that would be too big to take on. As far as stowing it below in the baggage carrier, OUT OF THE QUESTION!! I have gotten things broken that way. They do not care here (u.s.) about your bags they just toss them in.
07-07-02, 06:26 PM
Invest in cardboard (the bike boxes should be free at local bike shops) no matter how short the flight. You don't want to chance getting your investment damaged on a flight. Make sure its padded well inside too. All the important parts. You might even want to have the LBS package it up for you so you don't have to worry about anything but putting it back together. Plus, with cardboard, you just ditch it when you are done.
A bike box (free from your LBS) generally works OK and is large enough to prevent too much random flinging by baggage crew. Unfortunately you have nothing for the return journey unless you come across another bike store. A friend and I spent an afternoon combing the streets of Budapest for random cardboard as none of the shops had boxes.
I'd go for a padded bag, but whatever you do cover it up. I didn't once and scratches were gained (on an old bike though).
Panniers can be treated as normal baggage but remove hooks and clips as they can easily be yanked off.
08-19-02, 02:17 PM
Just in case you don't already have what you're looking for...
I've been looking around to transport a tandem from Belgium to New Zealand early next year. I came across the following websites that might be useful. Unfortunately I don't have any idea about the quality of these products.
I agree with the postings on this thread, damage to your bike does not occur during flight, but mainly in bagage handling and probably during take-off and landing. I don't believe that the length of the flight plays any role.
08-20-02, 06:45 AM
I think the cardboard is really for use on longer flights. I probably won't be in the air for more than about three hours, so I don't know how important that is.
well, other already beat me to the answer... so i agree: length of the flight is unimportant. the danger is in handling - loading, unloading and transfers...
i've had no problems getting a normal bike box and packing the bike in with some clothes (or my camping sleeping pad) or anything soft to help cushion it. i got a bike box from a local bike store (just call and ask - they throw them away/recycle tons every week) and then either did the same for return or you can usually "buy" a bike box from most airlines (US at least) for a rip-off $20 of so...
my real complaint when flying is the $35-75 one-way surcharge for a bike when other "oversized" items like golf clubs, skiis, snowboards, guitars, baby-strollers or surfboards usually fly for free... i have friends who have packed their bikes smaller to avoid the fees, or friends who put music stickers all over it and say it's a guitar and amp or something, but i've always used a normal bike box and paid the stupid fee --- then you just have to remove the pedals, wheels, saddle and either remove or turn the handlebars and all should fit into a bike box.... anyway, for some reason the airlines like to discriminate against cyclists by charging for bikes when other HEAVIER, BIGGER oversize items go free. and they still don't really insure the bike or give you anything extra when you pay the fee.
when my bike was really new, i was all paranoid and taped carboard all around it and used foam and bubble-wrap in the box...
i've forgotten what the exact liability of the airlines is, but the problem is that it's usually based on a max per weight, so generally, the more expensive your bike, the lighter it is, so the less you are "covered" by the airline. i've never had any damage, but... i would say if your bike is worth more than say $1500, check into trip/luggage insurance b/c it's usually not too expensive and i think it would cover bikes too...
08-20-02, 06:47 AM
oh, forgot... my main reason for not buying a special hardcase is that then you have to store it somewhere for the duration of your tour which is often very difficult or impossible if you don't do a round trip but return via another airport.
So bike boxes with special padding and/or other lluggage/clothes as padding has worked for me.
08-20-02, 09:05 AM
Chris. last year I put my bike on British Air. Both ways they beat the hell out of it. Distance makes no difference; unless Aussie airlines are different than the rest of the world's . To physically see a bike, I think causes some handlers to give it the 'special treatment, If you know what I mean.
If you value your bike-get a cardboard box and pack it with materials to protect it.. Most airlines will make you sign a waiver, saying they are not responsible.. Makes no difference if flight is 12 hours or 5 minutes, it is the act of putting it in a hold.
If your bike is really valuable even get a Hard case. A friend knew a triathlete who had a hard case and American Airliner trashed his bike on way to Ironman. Cost him over 5,000 dollars.
I have had to replace wheels, cranks, deraiullers. I suggest don't take chances..
08-22-02, 11:22 AM
I reckon taping a few chocolate bars to outside of the bag, with a note to the handlers at each end saying 'it's my pride and joy -enjoy the chocs' would help.
have considered doing this but never got round to it. twice on planes I've left mine unbagged and it was fine
I used my body bag for the first time flying from Baltimore to Milwaukee, a 2 hour flight. I took off the front wheel, and put pieces of cardboard around the frame, which worked well. I could carry it around on its shoulder strap, but had to avoid crowds so I wouldn't bump into people with the bike. I took my beater mountain bike, which weighed a ton, something I won't do again.
It took extra time to check in with the bike, since the ticket agents weren't used to dealing with bikes as luggage.
I got a bike box from a shop in france for nothing and put it on the plane today. Was a bit of a bugger to carry but was perfect to avoid scratches and damage. My other friends bought 4 camping roll mats and some duck tape. That worked a treat too!! Other firends did not bother to protect their bikes at all and came back with out a single scratch.
09-11-02, 07:29 PM
Chris, I don't know if you've already brought your bag, but I can recommend Ground Effect for the quailty of thier products and customer service. I brought the Flash Gordon rain jacket and it is going great, well made and excellent quailty materials. They even exchanged it for me free of charge when I ordered the size too big (thier clothing is sized BIG). There is some great feedback on www.mtbreview.com of their products as well.........
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