I purchased a Trico Sports Iron Case bike case recently and used it on my trip to/from Tucson. I checked it in with my baggage so it flew with me-as opposed to shipping it by ground. The case arrived just like my other baggage except in Tucson I had to go to the Customer Service office where it was sitting outside. The office was right behind the luggage carousel so that wasn't any big deal. In Charlotte the carousel was wide enough to where it just came out with all the other baggage.
It is very pricey to have your bike taken with you anywhere now-either by ground or by air. I think it cost $104 on US Airways to check in the bike case-each way! However sending it by ground wasn't much cheaper, if any, and at least taking it on the plane with me I didn't have to worry about synching up with the delivery later on.
The Iron Case was a good option for me-but it may not be for everyone. While the initial price was on the high end, it included free shipping which these days can really add up. I wound up having to either rent a case or buy one as it was going to be just as expensive (maybe more) for me to ship my bike by ground. I ran out of time for various options so my only choice was to use a bike case so I could take it with my on the plane. I opted to buy one rather than pay the rental fee from a local LBS hoping I would have more bike trips in the future.
I have a 58 Trek frame and it was a very comfortable fit. I removed the wheels, pedals, saddle and seat post along with the handlebars. I also took the battery out of the cadence sensor as the sensor was line up with the magnet on the crank when packed. I also rotated the stem around over the top tube so it would not be sticking straight up in the box. I moved the rear derailleur all the way "in" or to the easiest gear position. I also took a bungee cord and pulled the rd all the way up towards the seat post so it was safely tucked between the rear chainstays and out of harms way. I did the same with the chain with a nylon string Iron Case provided to keep the chain from flopping around. I didn't like the RD cable sticking out the rear and floating in the air but left it that way. I put my tools -pedal wrench, tape measure (for saddle height), skewers and pedals inside baggies and put the baggies under the crank pressed against the foam so the tools wouldn't move around. I forgot to pack my multitool in the bike case but just stuck it in my suitcase.
The Iron Case has 3 layers of foam on the inside with the plastic shell on the outside. The bike parts fit between layers 1 & 2 and the wheels overlap and fit between layers 2 & 3. The protective bolts (skewers) to support the front and rear forks while in the case came with the Iron Case.
It probably took me under an hour to take the stuff off and pack the bike. I had read online beforehand about how to pack the bike (like the tip on the RD) so that helped cut down on the time a little. Iron Case also provides a picture/instructions on how to pack your bike. If you needed to, I suspect you could pack a bike in under 30 mins pretty easily. It took me about as long to pack it for the trip back home-but I was doing it at 2am as I just couldn't sleep!!
The case did everything I needed it to do. It was pretty intuitive to use, it has rollers and a mesh strap to roll it around. It seems about the right weight to strength ratio-just heavy enough but not too heavy. The total weight with my bike was around 47 pounds. It fit in the vehicle just fine-either flat or upright.
They indicate that you can use it for 62 frame sizes. I have a 62 but until I try to ship it with that frame I just don't know how it would fit. It seemed like it would be plenty "tall enough" in seat tube direction, but my 58 was pretty snug long ways. I suspect I'd need to take off the RD if I packed my 62-but that is not really that big a deal.
I was somewhat uncomfortable really snugging up the lids together using the straps but I guess the 3 layers of foam is meant to be compressed! The bottom line was my frame and wheels appeared well protected and I think the bike case can handle quite a bit of abuse.
The only parts on the case that are less durable are probably the plastic clips that hold the straps together when you cinch down the lids. They did fine for my one trip but I could see where they might not hold up for lots of trips. However they are a pretty standard item and I think those would be easy to find and replace when needed.
There are two places where you can insert locks and lock the lids together. However I felt like having the 7 clips holding the straps together was plenty enough-plus why tick off airport security!! Another option would be to put a zip tie where the locks go just as an additional measure for keeping the lids together but that would be overkill for me.