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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 04-02-12, 05:20 PM   #1
bjorke
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Docked $100 by United Airlines for a Tern in a Suitcase

http://www.planbike.com/2012/03/cycl...ing-there.html

(Not me)
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Old 04-02-12, 08:58 PM   #2
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I've heard that when asked, people have said "personal mobility device" and they were not questioned or charged.
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Old 04-02-12, 11:12 PM   #3
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Since airlines don't care what's in the suitcase - most likely reason for $100 fee was that it exceeded 63 linear inches:

United's Oversize Baggage Fees:
Fee for any bag between 63-115 linear inches: $100 per bag
Bags with a single dimension more than 62 inches, or overall dimensions exceeding 115 linear inches will not be accepted. If a bag is both oversize and overweight, passengers will be charged both fees.

Tern folds into 76 linear inches therefore it does require disassembly in order to fit in regulation luggage.
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Old 04-02-12, 11:26 PM   #4
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It would be interesting to know how oversized his luggage was.
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Old 04-03-12, 12:31 AM   #5
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I thought United just broke guitars!

I've never been charged for my 'mobility aid' but have been charged for a 'folding bike'.
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Old 04-03-12, 02:23 AM   #6
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This from United's bagagge policy web page:

Quote:
If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23kg) and 62 (157 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but, if applicable, the first or second bag fee applies.
It shows it's worth printing out the relevant policy and show it to baggage checking personnel to ensure you don't get charged unfairly.
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Old 04-03-12, 06:14 AM   #7
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Could be the weight. I bought a cheap little scale on ebay from China. Coming home from Europe last summer I was surprised to learn that I better take some weight out of my bag that I was going to check and put that weight into my carry on backpack, shifting two travel guidebooks was sufficient. I think I paid about $4 or $5 for the scale, but it more than paid for itself on that one trip. If you are interested in one, do a search on ebay for 40kg scale, mine has a strap on the top and a hook on the bottom to hang my bag.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:11 AM   #8
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Very nice that you didn't get docked $100 for bringing in your bike in a Dahon Airporter suitcase, which is 75" linear inches? Or it definitely served as an excellent headline grabber for people to check out your blog!

Thanks for sharing..

Cheers!
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Old 04-03-12, 01:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by United via jur
If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23kg) and 62 (157 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but, if applicable, the first or second bag fee applies.
That's unusual. Many airlines will charge you the bicycle fee even if it fits in baggage under 50 pounds and 62 linear in.

The following is emphatically NOT true!
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbmike
Since airlines don't care what's in the suitcase
Oh yes they do. This forum is rife with examples. For instance Delta (the carrier I fly with the most) charges $150 each way for bicycles. The allowance is 70 pounds and 115 linear inches, but even if you're under 50/62 you may still get charged. If they know.
http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...ment/index.jsp

NEVER lie (in this post-9/11 world the old "presentation materials" line could get you in big trouble), but NEVER tell them it's a bike. Say "exercise equipment," "bike parts," or "personal mobility device." This is not a lie, just a way of presenting the truth to avoid getting charged a senseless, irrational and punitive fee.

Last edited by GlowBoy; 04-03-12 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 04-03-12, 02:33 PM   #10
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That's unusual. Many airlines will charge you the bicycle fee even if it fits in baggage under 50 pounds and 62 linear in.

The following is emphatically NOT true!
Oh yes they do. This forum is rife with examples. For instance Delta (the carrier I fly with the most) charges $150 each way for bicycles. The allowance is 70 pounds and 115 linear inches, but even if you're under 50/62 you may still get charged. If they know.
http://www.delta.com/traveling_check...ment/index.jsp

NEVER lie (in this post-9/11 world the old "presentation materials" line could get you in big trouble), but NEVER tell them it's a bike. Say "exercise equipment," "bike parts," or "personal mobility device." This is not a lie, just a way of presenting the truth to avoid getting charged a senseless, irrational and punitive fee.
I have flown with many airlines and I never have gotten charged for bringing a bicycle in a suitcase. For airlines that are really anal about 62 linear inches, it's for external dimension only. Any case that claims to be 62 linear inches MUST INFACT be that on the outside, which means it must be smaller than 62 linear inches on the inside; approx 60 linear inches for my own Delsey case. To me, it's clear Bjorke case is oversized, because the dimensions of his Terge Verge X10/20 is almost identical to my Dahon Mu SL. And yet, he was able to NOT disassemble his 2 wheels, keep his handle bar intact as well as his seatpost and derailleur hanger. With my Delsey 31" case, which is officially
a 62" linear inch case, I have to take out the 2 wheels, the handlebar and a bit on the handlepost plus the derailleur hanger and the seatpost. The 2 wheels sit ontop ofthe frame layered side to side and I barely have enough space for my helmet and rear bag.
There is no way I could pack the same way like Bjorke does on his blog photo unless I and my Dahon dealer are doing something wrong or may have missed. By the way, my dealer could not fit my Mu SL into the Airporter Mini WITHOUT taking the handlepost out from the frame plus the same take apart to fit into my Delsey! The only way you can fit the bike like he did was to use the Dahon Airporter (the bigger brother) that is a 75" linear case and the reason I know this was because my dealer did so for a client who was already buying the Verge X10/20 for travel.
The ad for the Dahon is a bit misleading and dishonest, because these days that big case screams oversize. Unless you have great charm and charisma and are flying out for a major event, you may not be able to skirt the fees with a gigantic case. I had flown Westjet and never got charged fees for a bike case that is obviously oversize. My friend brought back a carbon bike he bought from Arizona in a huge Performance case. No charges for him, but we both came back during Ironman Arizona, so perhaps that's why?!?

A lot of airlines will give the employees complete free control on how they can charge customers on excess baggage. Most of the time, people are so uptight and defensive that it shows guilt plastered all over their faces that you have a bike. They don't read minds -- it shows on your face!

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-03-12 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 04-03-12, 02:39 PM   #11
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I proudly declared my Friday as a bicycle last week on a WestJet flight (Canadian discount airline), and the check in clerk was amazed (as was the US customs official, for that matter). The Friday-in-case weighed in at 45 pounds, so just under the limit. On the way back, with almost the same amount of stuff, it came in as 51 pounds, which freaked me out momentarily. Luckily the staff didn't seem to care and there was no extra charge.

WestJet says clearly on its web site that there is no extra charge for bicycles. But I did notice that when you check in online for Air Canada, they actually ask if you have a bicycle. I decided to arrive early and wait in line for regular check in rather than answer that one.
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Old 04-03-12, 03:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
I proudly declared my Friday as a bicycle last week on a WestJet flight (Canadian discount airline), and the check in clerk was amazed (as was the US customs official, for that matter). The Friday-in-case weighed in at 45 pounds, so just under the limit. On the way back, with almost the same amount of stuff, it came in as 51 pounds, which freaked me out momentarily. Luckily the staff didn't seem to care and there was no extra charge.

WestJet says clearly on its web site that there is no extra charge for bicycles. But I did notice that when you check in online for Air Canada, they actually ask if you have a bicycle. I decided to arrive early and wait in line for regular check in rather than answer that one.
They do treat bicycle as oversize/overweight luggage, but very rarely impose any fees unless the agent is in a really bad mood or you must be obnoxiously rude. They model themselves like Southwest Airlines in the US. They are also one of most understanding airlines of all. That's why I fly with them most of the time.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-03-12 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 04-03-12, 03:59 PM   #13
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I proudly declared my Friday as a bicycle last week on a WestJet flight (Canadian discount airline), and the check in clerk was amazed (as was the US customs official, for that matter). The Friday-in-case weighed in at 45 pounds, so just under the limit. On the way back, with almost the same amount of stuff, it came in as 51 pounds, which freaked me out momentarily. Luckily the staff didn't seem to care and there was no extra charge.

WestJet says clearly on its web site that there is no extra charge for bicycles. But I did notice that when you check in online for Air Canada, they actually ask if you have a bicycle. I decided to arrive early and wait in line for regular check in rather than answer that one.
It's a funny thing with the scale at the airport. My bike with the exact same stuff in the suitcase seems weigh in at different numbers. Does it gain and lose weight??

Yes, I did notice that about AC as well when we flew last fall. We ended up paying for the second piece of luggage each, and not the fee for the bike. Phew!

Last edited by lucille; 04-03-12 at 04:05 PM.
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Old 04-03-12, 04:39 PM   #14
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When flying with my bike I just told them it was art.
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Old 04-03-12, 05:07 PM   #15
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When flying with my bike I just told them it was art.
After hearing that, they probably send it to the "to be stolen" conveyor belt...
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Old 04-03-12, 05:26 PM   #16
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After hearing that, they probably send it to the "to be stolen" conveyor belt...
Sorry to take a tangent to theft, but is everyone aware that most (all?) airlines accept ZERO liability for items such as electronics (e.g. cameras) stolen from checked bags? I recently learned this the hard way on United. Please be smarter than me...
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Old 04-03-12, 06:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
That's unusual. Many airlines will charge you the bicycle fee even if it fits in baggage under 50 pounds and 62 linear in.

The following is emphatically NOT true!
Oh yes they do. This forum is rife with examples. For instance Delta (the carrier I fly with the most) charges $150 each way for bicycles. The allowance is 70 pounds and 115 linear inches, but even if you're under 50/62 you may still get charged. If they know.
American Airlines has no charge for a bicycle if it is in a suitcase. http://www.aa.com/i18n/travelInforma...false&from=Nav

BICYCLES
Allowance/Requirements
One non-motorized touring or racing bike

Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed or pedals and handlebars must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar material. Bike must be in a hard-sided case built for bike transport or a bike bag or box. Bikes not in a hard-sided case are considered fragile.

Cost
$150 regardless of the number of checked bags.

Exception: If bicycle and container are less than 62 dimensional inches and under 50 lbs., the bike is charged the applicable 1st checked bag rate.

Maximum Weight and Size
70 lbs., 126 inches

Additional Information
Acceptance conditional on aircraft size and load factors
Exception: If a bike is less than 62 dimensional inches and 50 lbs., the above conditions do not apply

I have traveled on both Us Airways and American overseas carrying folding bikes in my suitcase and never paid any extra fees. I have also boxed up a regular bike and paid $150. By the way it is the same $150 on multi leg long trip as on a short "puddle jump".
Of course as always YMMV.

Last edited by rex615; 04-03-12 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 04-03-12, 06:26 PM   #18
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I think the main problem is ignorance of airport staff - most probably never heard of a "folding" bicycle, and when they hear that phrase, just lock on to "bicycle" and trigger the bicycle procedure, never realizing that because a folding bike does not have to be specially handled, it does not attract special fees. So definitely print the policy before you go.
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Old 04-03-12, 06:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
"Since airlines don't care what's in the suitcase"

Oh yes they do. This forum is rife with examples. For instance Delta (the carrier I fly with the most) charges $150 each way for bicycles. The allowance is 70 pounds and 115 linear inches, but even if you're under 50/62 you may still get charged. If they know.
Which they won't unless you go out of your way to inform them. I've flown dozens of times with my Bike Friday (incl. on Delta and most other major US airlines) and even more times with similar looking checked baggage. I have never been asked what the contents of the suitcase were. I have been asked whether I packed it myself, and whether I had always had it in my possession - but never for details about the contents. Since it's a regular suitcase (mine's a Carlton) that's compliant with the 62" (L+W+H) standard there's no reason why any check-in agent will ask me about its contents. [Obviously the TSA will be able to spot that it's a bike from the xray image, but that's separate from the airline.]

So don't ride up to the terminal and do the packing of the bike right in front of the check-in agent - and don't brag about there being a bicycle inside your suitcase.
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Old 04-03-12, 08:35 PM   #20
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I don't see why would an airline mind what you keep in the suitcase (bar items that are prohibited)...other than perhaps biking cuts into their profits? :-)
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Old 04-03-12, 09:38 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I think the main problem is ignorance of airport staff - most probably never heard of a "folding" bicycle, ...
I can`t say you`re wrong there, but I find that hard to believe.
Quote:
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I don't see why would an airline mind what you keep in the suitcase (bar items that are prohibited)...other than perhaps biking cuts into their profits? :-)
Haha! Maybe you`ve solved the mystery there! We ought to remind them when checking a bike onto a flight that riding was the reason we bought their stinkin plane tickets in the first place!
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Old 04-04-12, 11:25 AM   #22
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Yep, there's no way that's gonna be anywhere near 62" total. There's no 20" bike that can have it's wheels left on and fit in something regulation. So issue was definitely with the suitcase size that caused the surcharge.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-5rW23_zKW9...1/DSCN6001.JPG
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Old 04-04-12, 11:37 AM   #23
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Yes, that's a big suitcase.
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Old 04-04-12, 05:03 PM   #24
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Yep, there's no way that's gonna be anywhere near 62" total.
This looks like one of those obviously-oversized bags like the Dahon Airporter or Tern Airporter. Such bags are in the 75" range, and they look it. So he got charged oversize and rightly so.

It's too bad that the blog talks about DC because this happened at his local airport going *to* DC. In fact, the DC airport he's leaving out of (National) will probably give him no hassles. I know -- it's 15 minutes away from me by bike.
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Old 04-04-12, 09:16 PM   #25
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" Granted, that was for a 3 foot by 4 foot rolling bike box "

coulda put three folders in there!

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