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  1. #1
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    Anyone with experience flying with bike on AA

    Flying American this weekend to Tucson, want to bring a bike, just not sure which one or how. The web site says under 62 inches and not over 50lbs. Is that in a case/box? Can I just walk in to the counter with a bike and say I'm going to AZ? I was able to get a bike to France on Iceland Air, and I've heard some airlines allow you to walk in and bag the bike at the counter. Any Ideas? And what bike? I would like to ride some roads there, do a century or two, but I'm also interested in exploring the MTB trails there too. Any ideas?
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by naisme
    Flying American this weekend to Tucson, want to bring a bike, just not sure which one or how. The web site says under 62 inches and not over 50lbs. Is that in a case/box? Can I just walk in to the counter with a bike and say I'm going to AZ? I was able to get a bike to France on Iceland Air, and I've heard some airlines allow you to walk in and bag the bike at the counter. Any Ideas? And what bike? I would like to ride some roads there, do a century or two, but I'm also interested in exploring the MTB trails there too. Any ideas?
    The easiest way to travel by airlines is with a folding bike. In many instances, folders fly free or you can put them in box for the most part with newspapers for protection. Some people send the bikes back UPS instead of a commercial airline.

    A box that's sixty two inches doesn't give you much space. As for walking in with a bike in a bag, only with a folding bike can you do this. I doubt you can do this today although as there is very little space in the cabin of an airplane.

    Check out the Bike Friday website or Dahon if you're interested in taking a bike on an airplance. If you have a full size bike, might as well get a box from a bike shop and hope the airline doesn't give you much problems.

  3. #3
    Zin
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    On your what?!? Zin's Avatar
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    NAISME,
    I would ship my bike via UPS or FEDEX to my destination. That way you don't have the hassels of the airlines.

    Just my 2 cents..

    Enjoy your time in AZ. Are you gonna be on the forums while away?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by naisme
    Flying American this weekend to Tucson, want to bring a bike, just not sure which one or how. The web site says under 62 inches and not over 50lbs. Is that in a case/box? Can I just walk in to the counter with a bike and say I'm going to AZ? I was able to get a bike to France on Iceland Air, and I've heard some airlines allow you to walk in and bag the bike at the counter. Any Ideas? And what bike? I would like to ride some roads there, do a century or two, but I'm also interested in exploring the MTB trails there too. Any ideas?

    *sigh*

    Yes, I flew American once with my bike- to Canada. It was terrible.

    It has to be 62 linear inches or less (length x width). Anything over that, it's something like a $150 fine. They also will not take responsibility if it's not in a case specifically for bikes if the bike is damaged.

    You MUST pack the bike into the box. There's no getting around that. When I took my bike to Canada, I had to basically strip it down to the frame and then pack materials around the frame, and put all the parts in plastic envelopes and put those in the box too. It took almost half a roll of packing tape to secure the box entirely. I also wrote "bicycle box" all over the box and affixed "fragile" stickers too, in case they were too idiotic to figure out that bikes were fragile.

    It's really not worth the hassle. Even after I went to the American Airlines counter and spoke to the supervisor, got her name and had her print out the regulations the day before I left, the day I checked in, the supervisor I spoke to wasn't there, and the check in folks had no idea what the policies were. They were about to charge me when I pulled out the printout with the supervisor's signature and written instructions directly on the printout she gave me. I had to do the same thing for the flight home. The check in people said they had no idea that the policy was that specific. *sigh*

    All that made me do was want a folding bike now more than ever. And now, I am actually getting one, so I guess it solves all my problems. I hate taking my bike apart and shipping it. It just doesn't ride well when I put it back together. And my new headset that I'd just installed while I was in Canada (somehow got damaged on the way to Canada) needed to be replaced within a week of me returning from Canada. What a waste of money!

    I've also had some irritation with trying to fly my bike on European airlines too. Some seem to be cool, but others just suck big time.

    Koffee

  5. #5
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    P.S. I also had to have my box specially made to fit for the dimensions so that they were exactly 62 linear inches. That was also a big time drag too....

    Koff

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    You might want to check out this webpage devoted to travelling with bicycles on various forms of public transportation.


    I've decided my next bike will be a Co-Motion Espresso with the Co-Pilot option (S+S connectors).



    You can even get a nice travel case for it that conforms to the 62" rule.

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  7. #7
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    yeah, notice how ski's and snowboards, and fishing equipment gets 'exempted' in some way from these rules.
    they just don't want people schlepping their bikes with them all the time.

    i once read about a guy who was able to put his frame in a garment bag and was hung up in the front closet of the airplane....that was way before 9/11 however.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    International flights..I have never had a problem..US domestic..Never not had a problem...I take my bike to Michigan this summer, I might ship it...
    I have had problems with UPS and insurance on smaller items..Don't trust UPS, ever since.? Think FEDEX you pay for insurance, but it pays off if needed?
    I am just against the idea of foldable bikes for strenous riding. My prejudice is they are not as strong. Maybe ok as commute bikes for lite commuting.?

  9. #9
    Friend of Jimmy K naisme's Avatar
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    the co-motions are one I've been interested in, as they seem to be a well built touring bike, with like a 42 spoke wheel. They make tandems, and use the same rear ends as their tandems. I don't have that sort of scratch right now. And I am sort of behind the time. This is stuff I should have been doing last week. Procrastination.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

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  10. #10
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    well i have flown with a bike about 5 times... and international is usually not much of a problem... domestic is harder as the restrictions are more limting, the fess higher, the personnel are less informed...

    basically just check with the airline - either online on the baggage allowances to see what the fee is... i'm not current as i haven't flown domestic post 9/11, but in general in the US expect to pay $35-40 ONE way for a bike. a little less than half the airlines still allow bikes free as luggage for international (Air France, US Airways, Lufthansa for example) - the others charge $40-80

    for MOST airlines and i must say i forgot if 62" is a normal bike box, but for most airlines you can supposedly just show up really early and buy a bike box from the airline and pack it there (for like $10-15), but as i've never trusted the airlines to have a box available, you just go to a local bike shop and ask for boxes (call in advance they have lots each week). then you remove the pedals and handlebar -- and there are 2 types - one where the back wheel stays in place and one where you take both wheels off... tape/wrap things in padding and then put in some clothes and you're good.

    in any case, find out IN ADVANCE what the CURRENT policies are as the check-in people usually have no idea and will try and tell you no or charge you even if it is allowed and no cost.
    why drive when you can ride?
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  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    One time in Nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by nathank
    well i have flown with a bike about 5 times... and international is usually not much of a problem... domestic is harder as the restrictions are more limting, the fess higher, the personnel are less informed...

    basically just check with the airline - either online on the baggage allowances to see what the fee is... i'm not current as i haven't flown domestic post 9/11, but in general in the US expect to pay $35-40 ONE way for a bike. a little less than half the airlines still allow bikes free as luggage for international (Air France, US Airways, Lufthansa for example) - the others charge $40-80

    for MOST airlines and i must say i forgot if 62" is a normal bike box, but for most airlines you can supposedly just show up really early and buy a bike box from the airline and pack it there (for like $10-15), but as i've never trusted the airlines to have a box available, you just go to a local bike shop and ask for boxes (call in advance they have lots each week). then you remove the pedals and handlebar -- and there are 2 types - one where the back wheel stays in place and one where you take both wheels off... tape/wrap things in padding and then put in some clothes and you're good.

    in any case, find out IN ADVANCE what the CURRENT policies are as the check-in people usually have no idea and will try and tell you no or charge you even if it is allowed and no cost.
    Nathank..Yes, I did call in advance. There was some local national holiday, the day we left . No bike shops open. So we called BA in advance. Talked to the local staff at the airport in French.. We were very specific, do you have a cardboard bike box..( We wrap the bike in a sleeping bag, to insure insulation.) She went to the storage area. Cardboard,Yes.
    We got there their bike boxes were big plastic baggies.
    Well, BA beat the hell out of my bike going and coming.
    First day in Rousillon, could not ride. Had to find a bike shop to have a dereilleur repaired and spokes replaced.
    The plastic bag incident upon the return, the bag behind the counter was so dam arrogant... I was fuming..Wonder security was not called. At least BA then was free. Did not take long in the line at least stuffing it into a plastic baggie. Besides, I think plastic baggies just invites the wrath of handlers.
    Nothing like paying to ship, signing a waiver so they do not have to cover their neglegience. The bike did not get off the plane in Los Angeles, went on to Tahiti; stayed there one week. Came back and still needed to take it to a bike shop for repair.
    I suggest getting a hard case. Reason,why I keep my oldest road bike in shape. So airlines can mishandle it.

  12. #12
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    My family is going on vacation in Mexico in a few days. The American airlines web site says that if I can fit my bike in a 62-inch box, I can take it on the plane, if not it's $80. But when I call them, they say it's a $50 charge no matter what. Huh? What's going on here?

    If I can't fit it in a 62-inch box, does anybody recommend mislabeling it as "sporting goods" or something in order to avoid a surcharge?
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  13. #13
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    According to the info on the American airlines website, if your bike box is more than 62 inches (length+width+height) then you will be charged $80 EACH WAY. This assumes that the bike is one of your two checked bags. If you have two bags to check in addition to the bike, you will pay $80 additional EACH WAY for the extra bag. And if that were not enough, if your boxed bike weighs more than 50 lbs you will be charged another $25 EACH WAY in addition to the above fees. I'm not making this up.

    https://www.aa.com/content/travelInf...e%20and%20Fees

    It would be very difficult (if possible) to get a regular size bike in a 62 inch box. Basically, the airlines are sticking it to passengers who want to bring something other than a couple suitcases with them. For the cost, I'd buy a cheap xmart bike, ride it while you are there, then donate it to the Salvation Army when you come home.

  14. #14
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Ya it seems like they want to stick it to ya I measured my bike and it seems like I could get it in a 62" box with wheels, handlebar, seatpost and cranks all removed... it'd be tight. I'm gonna go to the lbs tomorrow and see if they can give me a 62" box.


    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    According to the info on the American airlines website, if your bike box is more than 62 inches (length+width+height) then you will be charged $80 EACH WAY. This assumes that the bike is one of your two checked bags. If you have two bags to check in addition to the bike, you will pay $80 additional EACH WAY for the extra bag. And if that were not enough, if your boxed bike weighs more than 50 lbs you will be charged another $25 EACH WAY in addition to the above fees. I'm not making this up.

    https://www.aa.com/content/travelInf...e%20and%20Fees

    It would be very difficult (if possible) to get a regular size bike in a 62 inch box. Basically, the airlines are sticking it to passengers who want to bring something other than a couple suitcases with them. For the cost, I'd buy a cheap xmart bike, ride it while you are there, then donate it to the Salvation Army when you come home.
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  15. #15
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    No, it's 62 LINEAR INCHES. So that means length times height. If it was L x W x H, then only big wheels could get shipped.

    I spoke to the manager of Terminal 3 (AA terminal) at O'Hare and got the guidelines printed out when I was traveling with AA. You could easily have a box fashioned out of cardboard and make it as thick as you want, take off both wheels and take down the handlebars, and stick it all in the box. Just make sure the linear dimensions are 62 inches or less. I've done that, and it's been fine.

    When you get to the airport, stress they are supposed to look at LINEAR INCHES. Tell them it's in the computer and make them look it up if they try to charge you. When they look it up and read the guidelines closely, they will hopefully understand what linear inches means. Then pull out a ruler and physically measure it out for them. Be sure to only measure length times height. Do not take width into consideration.

    You'll be ok. I've taken my bike on AA so many times it's not funny. Now that I know linear inches, I just ensure that I'm always under, and I haven't had any problems.

    Koffee

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    I don't know about the folks at O'hare, but this is straight from AA.com:

    The size limitation of your luggage is calculated by adding the total outside dimensions of each bag, that is, length + width + height.

    * Two checked bags at 62 in/157 cm each
    * One carry-on bag at 45 in/114 cm

  17. #17
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    Check on it. I had the supervisor of Terminal 3 print out the size limitations. You may want to check under sports and see what's specifically written for a bicycle, not just the dimensions of normal luggage. They have a section that specifically deals with bringing a bicycle. Within the section on bicycles, they also specify how it is to be packed, and they state that if you deviate from these guidelines and something happens to the bike, then you are responsible for any damage incurred.

    Koffee

  18. #18
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Hmmm, thanks for the tip Koffee. So far I have gotten 3 different rules about how it must be packed, I'll post if I get a definite answer from AA
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  19. #19
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Check on it. I had the supervisor of Terminal 3 print out the size limitations. You may want to check under sports and see what's specifically written for a bicycle, not just the dimensions of normal luggage. They have a section that specifically deals with bringing a bicycle. Within the section on bicycles, they also specify how it is to be packed, and they state that if you deviate from these guidelines and something happens to the bike, then you are responsible for any damage incurred.

    Koffee
    The aa.com website states that bicycles are subject to the $80 fee unless they are less than 62 linear inches (length+width+height), less than 50 lbs and checked as one of the two bags allowed.


    Quote Originally Posted by aa.com
    $80
    Exception: If bicycle and container are less than 62 linear inches and under 50 lbs., the bike is free in place of one 62 inch bag in the free allowance
    Basically, this is exactly the same as the regular baggage allowance. The only bicycle exceptions are if you use an American Airlines box they will accept the bike (for $80) even though the box is over the absolute maximum size limitation of 115 linear inches.

    It sounds like the folks at Terminal 3 in O'hare are exceptionally generaous in the application of the rules.

  20. #20
    Chairman of the Bored catatonic's Avatar
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    continental did a nice number on my bike.

    My downtube got gouged up pretty bad, I'm lucky my hubs werent trashed, and my deraileur is bent....it's usable, but I have to buy a new one now....and for someone who's moved and has to buy furniture, etc, even a 105 deraileur is a lot of dough.

    Oh, and the ****** totally deflated my tires...arent the storage areas pressurized since they put pets in there?

    Pretty much my experience with continental was crap...the seats were too small, they damaged every piece of luggage I checked in (I lost lots of clothes, my bike's headlight was missing, as was my copy of Doom3...effing thieves)....oh and hte TSA apparently mispacked my stuff or my bag was thrown to the runway from teh plane, since it fit right when it was checked in, but the zipper blew open somewhere, and a corner of the bag was shattered.

    Basically if I had the time or money, I would sue the living hell out of them for trying to deny payment on what was obviously negligent handling, but instead I will just say steer clear of those fools...they arent worth the buisiness.

    I havent used american in years so I cant say anyhting, and continental was hte only one I took a bike on, but Southwest has always been good with my baggage.

  21. #21
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    As far as I can tell, American has different policies for different international destinations (having spoken to them on the phone twice). For Cancun, it's a $50 fee for any size bike. I'm gonna skip bringing mine, seems like a hassle and a risk of damaging it, so I'll try to rent one there.
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