Packing a folder for airline travel
Flying on a commercial jet, I don't want to have to be stuck with ANY sort of luggage - soft or hard shell carrier - once I hit the ground (or lug it with me on my trip) - I am rolling over in my mind using disposable cardboard wrapped with shrink-wrap & nylon twine. At destination I can toss the cardboard & roll up the shrink-wrap & twine & pack it for my return flight - it sure beats the size of a soft or hard shell container. If I need some lateral supports to keep my folder from getting crushed I can add a few pieces of pvc I beams if need be.
Is this idea realistic? (if not, it won't be the first - or last- time
It's been done before. The Arthurs have taken their Dahon Speed TR's many times on planes, trains, buses, and what have you, packed only in those light Dahon soft cover bags reinforced by the occasional cardboard. The bikes have managed to survive the trips and rough handling, usually suffering only very minor damage--like the occasional bent chain ring--which are easily fixed at the airport during bike reassembly, and which have never caused a change in their tour plans, as far as I can tell. But then again, the Arthurs seem to be hardy and brave folk, able to cope calmly with unwelcome circumstances which would send lesser bike tourers cussing all over the interwebs, content to eat tomato sandwiches, and not at all picky, for whom the experience of travel and exploring new places seem to rule over equipment, at which they don't throw money. Their Speed TR's have served them well. I think I've read all of their crazyguyonabike journals.
Link to the Arthurs' crazyguyonabike page:
What folding bike do you plan to take with you?
I think it is quite realistic; it's not like suitcases alone are superprotective.
The big question is whether you would be able to find the same sort of protective packing material at your destination as you could at home.
Just buy a couple rolls of packing tape before you depart, to tape together a box.
Rolled cardboard stanchions can be added to the box for crush resistance.
tape or tie any loose parts to the frame ,
so they don't exit out any torn holes in the box.
I've seen an airline make my computer case pierce through a thick polypropelene luggage that was inside a cardboard box.
If you don't pay the bike fee, and pass it off as luggage it will get tossed around and may end up at the bottom of the luggage pile.
There may be 300+ pounds of weight on top of it during the flight.
Definitely put axle braces (pvc pipe with axles skewers) in the frame if you're taking the wheels off.
Instead of cardboard I suggest corrugated plastic sheets used to make signage.
It's similar to cardboard but plastic.
Any arts & crafts or office supply store should have it.
It seems as light as cardboard but the plastic makes it much tougher to penetrate.
Bromptons are small enough to go through most TSA x-ray machines and can be gate-checked like baby strollers and wheelchairs. No packing necessary, although a strap to keep it from unintentionally unfolding might be a good idea.
This is a bad idea that may work, airlines are more and more imposing what they've written.
Originally Posted by Scooper
You may get away with it, most likely not. There was a thread before about someone having success with southwest. Very few people have done this. I'd never try it, unless severely disassembling the bike.
What do you do when they tell you no? You now have no suitcase protection for it and may be paying minimum $100 for an extra piece of luggage.
The maximum dimensions cannot exceed any of the following measurements: 22" long x 14" wide x 9" tall or 114cm (56 x 35 x 23 cm). All carry-on items should be stowed in an overhead bin.
Most airlines post their gate checked baggage policy on their websites, so to mitigate the risk that they may refuse to gate check a folding bike it would be prudent to confirm with the airline before heading to the airport that the policy does permit gate checking items like wheelchairs, strollers, collapsable personal mobility devices, fragile musical instruments, etc., and have a printed copy of the policy with you.
Originally Posted by JimBeans83
Most gate checked items receive special care, and are the last items stowed and first items unloaded in the baggage compartments.
The Southwest thread referred to is linked in my post above, and besides SWA, both JetBlue and Continental are mentioned as having gate checked Bromptons with no issues.
Thanks for the link. It's unknown if it was due to transportation issues but it seems Arthurs' have switched from cassette to IGH.
Originally Posted by Jiten