Touring - Bike Boxes at Air France in Paris---a big rumor
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09-06-06, 12:14 PM
I just got word from a friend who biked in France this summer that Air France in the Charles de Gaulle airport did NOT have bike boxes. The Air France people looked at them like they crazy when they asked for boxes.
I l leave in a week, and, will be flying out of CDG. If anyone has any concrete experience wrt obtaining bike boxes for flights out of Paris, I'd like to know the details of where/how/how much/etc.
09-06-06, 12:23 PM
I just called Air France, and, the monsieur on the other line confirmed, with a price (today's price is 6 euros), they they have boxes for sale. You have to buy them at the ticket office, where you buy tickets, not at the check-in area.
Wish me luck!
09-06-06, 02:08 PM
Good luck, send pictures.
09-06-06, 06:58 PM
I usually find that airlines have either a box or a heavy plastic bag for bikes. I'm told this only applies to international flights from America, I live in Canada and bikes are always free and welcome on Canadian carriers. I always buy two when I leave so I don't need to worry about that when I arrive at the airport for the trip home. Having used boxes and bags I prefer the bag. Less damage and much less prep time; you just roll the bike into the bag. Roll it in back first and secure the front wheel to the frame before sealing the bag. The only time I had damage is when I didn't do that and the wheel got turned while in transit.
I flew back on Northwest from de Gaulle back to the US
July 30th. The business class ticketing/luggage check-in counter was all
shared b/w various airlines and actually staffed by Air France personnel.
I just took my bike (disassembled and in a plastic bag, having
taken TGV) up to the counter, the nice guy at the counter
just called to have a box brought up. There was no problem getting a box at all.
(the guy did everything, taped up the box, put all my stuff in there,
closed it up nicely, I didn't have to do anything. Now that's service)
And the box (which was free) was more reasonably sized than the
enormous ones I used to get from KLM at de Gaulle.
09-09-06, 12:12 AM
Fabulous update! I will look for the NW/Air France counters.
Where did you get the plastic bag? Did you have one of those large plastic bags that are usually used for backpacks for your housse?
The plastic bag I used was actually a liner for 55-gallon hazardous waste drum .
(a clean one, of course), this was more than sufficient for the frame of
my 20" MTB frame (and also good when I took 55cm Bianchi Volpe previous yrs)
I had another bag for the wheels and this bag was just the largest black
garbage bag I got from Home Depot (30? gallon capacity??)
I could have fit everything in the 55-gallon liner but it was just more manageable
to divide it up.
No problem using those bags on TGV last five years.
I've seen people there with proper (and expensive) "housse" but don't think one really needs it.
09-09-06, 03:24 PM
Are 55 gal hazaradous waste bags available for purchase easily, such as home despot or Lowes or....???
Also, you can buy another airline's bike boxes.
I've never been in an airport in NA or Europe where United did not have bike boxes if it served that airport. Granted, thier boxes are not cheap.
ANother option is to arraigned a box before you get to teh airport. Call a bike shop in Paris and use it. Granted parisan taxi's aren't big but there are some vans if you look.
If you do a google search for the liners you can find some specialized companies
that sells them (haven't seen those in Home Depot),
but unfortunately they only sell in a box of
fifties or hundreds, you can ask them for a sample, perhaps tell them
you want to check it out before buying the whole lot.
(I had gotten mine from my previous work place, possibly the
only positive side of working w/ haz waste.)
Worse comes to worse, buy the largest garbag bag from Home Depot
tape a couple of them together, put the bike in, tape it real good.
The idea of them asking you to use "housse" is basically to contain your
bike and prevent stuff/dirt from your bike messing up the train or other people's stuff.
Doesn't say it has to look good.
Whatever you use, the size limit is 120 x 90 cm.
09-11-06, 10:20 AM
I flew American from CDG-Boston this summer, and they only had large boxes which they said were too large to go into their machine, thus had to plastic bag the bike. Its a big airport, and usually if one carrier doesnt have them another will, but good to reserve significant time as its also a busy place.
10-23-09, 08:04 AM
I just returned from Paris Charles de Gaulle with my cyclocross bike last night. I followed the advice posted on this forum and was able to:
1) Secure a bike box from the Air France TICKET counter in terminal 2C for 6 euros. They provided me with a large roll of packing tape as well, but.....
2) If found the box to be enormous! I haven't measured it but I think it's almost 6 feet long (although in hindsight this could have meant that I should have left the front wheel attached). It was really difficult to maneuver in the airport (especially when trying to go through some door ways). Smaller boxes provided by a bike shop may a better idea,
3)The box is also very flimsy because it is constructed with light cardboard. Mine had a large blow out on a folded seam by the time it reached its final destination.
4) Padding is not provided with the box so I ended up wrapping alot of my clothes around the bike (two pairs of spandex and two long sleeve shirts and I shoved my sleeping bag in there to stop the movement of the deattached front wheel) but I didnt have alot of clothing so I felt that my bike was not as well protected as it should be.
In hind sight, it may be a pain in the ass to wield your bike around in the box, especially for an early morning flight, but if you have a very expensive bike I would suggest getting you bike packaged at a bike shop the day before and cabbing to the airport, especially if you are traveling solo. If you're not to worried about damage shipment might cause or have more clothing for packaging go with the Air France box.
Lastly, please note that most buses in Paris will not allow you on with your bike. Happy travels!
Golf XRay Tango
10-23-09, 08:12 AM
I toured in France back in September and returned to Canada through Charles de Gaulle on Air Canada.
I didn't know about Air France having bike boxes for sale. I visited a few bike shops in Paris and asked for a box. They mostly didn't have any handy in the store, but one guy promised to keep one for me when he built up his next bike.
Of course, that meant I had to take the taxi out to the airport.
One thing to keep in mind: Air France charges 150 euros per flight leg to carry the bike. Air Canada was $50 Canadian. Since the tickets were otherwise the same price, that was the factor that made me go with Air Canada.
10-23-09, 08:16 AM
Et beau séjour en la belle France.
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