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Old 12-03-05, 03:43 PM   #1
reporterNYC
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Taking foldables onto airplanes.

I'm planning on buying a foldable bike that I can take on an airplane as unchecked luggage (I've had too many suitcases get smashed after just one airplane ride). Does anyone fly with their foldables? If so, what type of bike would you recommend, and do you check it in? My email is ts2279@columbia.edu. Thanks.
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Old 12-03-05, 04:27 PM   #2
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When you say "unchecked" are you referring to "carry-on" baggage?
Not a lot of folders will meet the requirements for carry on but one that does: Brompton. Folks have taken these into the cabin of commercial aircraft and put them in overhead bins or under seats.

There are a bunch of Brompton knock-offs (generally short lived on account of patent infringement) that fold exactly the same way and would likely work too. All of these are 16" wheeled, as the Brommy.

Go-Bike might work too and is a lot more bike for the money. "Chop" here on the forum owns or has ridden both and would be able to advise. It's a 20" wheel model and likely a better ride than Brompton, if you can find one. Here's his GoBike page: http://long-john.com/pagegobike.htm

Hope this helps!

BTW: if you haven't used this feature yet, you can enable "instant email notification" with your posts. That way people can post replies to the forum for all to see - as it's designed - and you still get a copy in your email.
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Old 12-04-05, 01:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by af895
Not a lot of folders will meet the requirements for carry on but one that does: Brompton. Folks have taken these into the cabin of commercial aircraft and put them in overhead bins or under seats.
Brompton fails two of 3 dimensions for carryon baggage, 22 x 14 x 9 (its 22 x 22 x 10).

I really don't think they'd let that fly. Where have you read this?

Under the seat would be absolutely impossible, as often times even a backpack won't fit there.
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Old 12-09-05, 10:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong
Brompton fails two of 3 dimensions for carryon baggage, 22 x 14 x 9 (its 22 x 22 x 10).

I really don't think they'd let that fly. Where have you read this?
...
I'm a pilot and I've seen it done.
There are varying reports about this - some folks have had luck, others not.
It fits in the overhead bins on most airliners though. Some Brommy configs are better suited.

I've seen a photo of someone stowing a Brommy in an overhead bin - let me look for it and edit this post if I find it.
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Old 12-09-05, 11:20 PM   #5
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Get a unicycle. It may work.

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Old 12-24-05, 01:09 PM   #6
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Please let me know about the possibility of taking my new Brompton as a carry on luggage on commercial planes. I am now thinking of taking it on a short flight (some 600 miles) to visit my sister up north so see can see her new bike too. I really want to take the bike with me in the cabin rather than risk being bashed to death by the so called "baggage handlers."

Any suggestions of how to do this: (what suitcase should I use?, Is it safe in the overhead bins?, packing it right, and additional security concerns) will be very appeciated by me and my sister.
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Old 12-24-05, 02:45 PM   #7
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Sorry to af, but I don't buy that it's been done (nor do I see the relevance in him being a pilot of a small plane?). Carryon dimensions are clearly stated to be less than the folded size of a Brompton. He also said you could put it underneath the seat in front, yet I've barely had enough room to put a backpack under the seat in front. And they almost always ask me to put it up top.

Please, confirming accounts before such a claim. (ie. when did you see this, what type of plane, when).
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Old 12-24-05, 05:30 PM   #8
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http://www.jimlangley.net/ride/brompton.html
Look for the sidebar "Folding Fun."

I saw it done at the Ottawa International airport approximately two years ago (maybe three) when I was meeting up with a copilot of mine who was finishing a leg there - someone just brought their Brompton through as carry on. (it was before I really knew much about folding bikes but the Brommy is pretty distinctive so unless it was a knock-off that looked identical, curved top-tube et al, it was a Brompton)

Still looking for the photo I saw, however, it was a picture inside a narrow-body jet, the passenger had a Brompton in hand. Again, I'll post back if/when I find it.
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Old 12-25-05, 06:57 AM   #9
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Folded Brompton in an overhead luggage compartment (scroll down a third of the page). Pics as well.

http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/morenews.html
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Old 12-27-05, 01:43 PM   #10
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I've flown fairly frequently with my Bike Friday in a 29 inch Samsonite suitcase as checked luggage (originally with a New World Tourist, and later with a Crusoe). I've had minor damage a couple of times, but I don't think it's just the baggage handlers in recent years. There can be a problem with the TSA opening up the case to inspect things, and then not putting them back in properly. You can include instructions, with pictures, in the case; you can ask to stand nearby in case they have questions, but there are no guarantees that you'll be allowed to intervene. My suitcase is usually, though not always searched, and a couple of times they have just thrown things back in any old way.

So I understand wanting to bring your folder on board as a carry on. Bromptons have a good reputation, and it would be interesting to know for sure whether they can pack small enough for a carry on. The picture of one in the overhead compartment seems fairly convincing, but with luggage that looks to be close to the limits, you may sometimes have to convince an airline employee who thinks it looks too big. I doubt if you're going to get the same performance that you would get with a BF, anyway, so there's some trade off. I thought I had read that some of Bike Friday's "Air" suspension beam bikes would disassemble small enough to fit in a large carry on, but I can't track this down on the BF site, and when I think of it, it doesn't seem too plausible. Might be worth writing to Bike Friday, though.

Last edited by DaFriMon; 12-27-05 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:54 PM   #11
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Thank you for all of your help. I will be contacting the airlines over the next month to see if I can bring the bike on as carry on luggage. If not I might have to be like extremely overweight people seems forced to do, I would have to purchase another ticket to place the bike on the seat strapped in or something. Or take it on the Amtrack trains as the dimensions seem to fit their carry on limits quite well.
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Old 01-01-06, 08:35 PM   #12
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if you get approval get a fax or e-mail to take to the airport. just cuz someone says yes over the phone doesn't mean another person will allow it. airport/airline staff are highly subjective depending on knowledge and mood (no offense)

AF i'm sure you'll agree my best advice is find a friend with a 182 and split cost of a ride for the 600 miles!!
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Old 01-01-06, 09:24 PM   #13
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Officially there is no universal allowance, as it varies by airline.

http://www.thetravelinsider.info/tra...allowances.htm

On a practical level it would vary by aircraft type, dimensions of the overhead bins or alternative ability to stow oversize items elsewhere, and ticket class as would influence cabin staff to accommodate your need to carry your baby onboard.
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Old 01-02-06, 12:53 AM   #14
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To me this seems like a simple conversation.

"Can I bring my bicycle onboard?"

"What are the dimensions?"

"22x22x10"

"Well, that exceeds our carry-on baggage maximum dimensions. Sorry."

Only luck would allow them not to notice this. Asking beforehand will only get you in trouble. Now you're in the hotseat as you have no time to do anything else... I don't think I'd risk it. Now you're going to be handing it off to the baggage monsters in a very vulerable state, where it'll be thrown on the conveyor belt and stacked underneath everything else. That's if they'll take it for a checked item, or if security will allow it to pass through (since aren't they also obligated to ensure carryon dimensions are followed?).

I'd love to see this work.. I'm just very dubious.
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