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Old 11-07-04, 02:10 PM   #1
mooncricket
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Survey: bicycle and airlines

Hi All,

Here's a short survey on airlines travel with a bike.

I often travel with my bike. I enjoy bicycle touring as well as just a way to get around in a foreign country and not be dependent on tour buses and taxis. Most of all, it's a great way to burn off the good food and beers. Consequently, I've had mixed experiences with airlines luggage policies.

But to be fair, I must first mention my best experience: rolling a mud encrusted bike right up to the check-in counter and tossed it onto the conveyor belt as luggage (Japan Airlines at Narita circa '95, no charge, no damage).

On the other hand, I've packed my bike in a professional traveling suitcase ( <50lbs) and still get charged a $50 handling fee (American Airlines circa 2002). I've had one counter agent telling me that by saying that bike-luggage was "art work" I could avoid a $60 bicycle handling charge. After recently calling around for tix info, I found that some US airlines quoted bicycle surcharges as high as $150 round trip.

Generally, I found that airlines from Asian countries were the best for traveling with a bicycle.

Please take time to add your two-cents to this topic.

1) How many times have you check-in your bike for airlines travel?

2) On your travels, did you use your bike to (a) race, (b) tour, (c) excercise, (d) other?

3) How much did you pay (if any) and on which airline?

4) Do you have recommendations for bicycle-friendly airlines or ways to avoid/minimize airlines "bicycle" surcharges?

Hope this helps all of us. Thanks.
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Old 11-07-04, 03:49 PM   #2
auroch
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I boxed & shipped my bike to avoid airline costs.
Chicago to LA by FedEx Ground was $30 including
$300 insurance. I just called up my LBS and they
saved me a cannondale bike box (the best ones).
No hassle whatsover.

edit: united was going to charge me $60 each way
($75 if your not a Premier member) ouch.

jeff
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Old 11-07-04, 03:53 PM   #3
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Stick...Reason to ship your bike..AIrlines make you sign off responsibility for the bike. Yet, you get charged as extra luggage..That is really a screw job..My problem..WHen i put my bike on the plane it is usually international..DOn't think Fedex works as well for international...At least, their insurance is legit...Try finding insurance for airlines..I never had any luck.
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Old 11-07-04, 04:14 PM   #4
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I've used the hard shell luggage for my Specialized twice, and both times, the bike had extensive (but fixable) damage. A few times, I've packed up my Bike Friday and had no problems getting it to point B, and never with a charge for that bike. Once, I carried my DeRosa up to the counter in a soft shelled carry bag and handed it to the handlers. I thought for sure that bike would be ruined, but Swiss Air handled that bike like a baby- hand carried it to the plane, packed it up good, and hand carried it to me when I arrived home.

United lost my bike luggage once for my bike friday. I was so livid I could spit. I haven't taken them since. They suck.

I NEVER sign off on liability. I've always told the airlines THEY are responsible for my bike. In one case, I wrote "YOU BREAK IT, YOU BUY IT" all over the bike luggage, and the woman at American was very upset, but I told her- just because it's a bike, doesn't mean you don't have a responsibility to ensure that it arrives in as good condition as possible.

I do have insurance for my bike. It's through my renters insurance, and I was sure that travel with the bike was included before I purchased it. If anyone rents, they should contact Allstate and get the renters insurance. Per year, it's not a lot of money, and it definitely gives you peace of mind to know that if something does happen, they'll cover it.

Koffee
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Old 11-07-04, 05:31 PM   #5
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Koffee..Don't rent..In California we do not have many choices for home owners policies. They are exiciting the market. Don't want to insure homes out here, so they say..They two companies- I priced, Said they do not have policies on bike's when traveling...
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Old 11-07-04, 06:05 PM   #6
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I know... but right now, I don't know if I'll be in Chicago or what. If I end up staying, I'll definitely be buying, and there's a woman I know who has a 2 bed, 2 bath for sale I've got my eye on, right in the neighborhood I really enjoy living in. But if I move, I don't want to have anything left behind, just go and not look back.

Have you checked with Allstate? I spoke with my insurance agent, and I specifically stated that I use my bikes for travel, and would the insurance extend while travelling? I also gave up a list of all my valuables I owned (anything over $500), and I told them if it's not included in the policy, could he put together a ryder so that I could make sure they would be covered. I feel like I'll be ok.

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Old 11-07-04, 06:11 PM   #7
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Well I made my own bicycle bag out of some canvas and cardboard for support. Just had to break the bike down enough to meet measurements specified by the airlines. Took off bars, seat, wheels, and pedals. I put it on as regular luggage.

Now for the questions:

1) Twice

2) (d) other. First time I was moving to Phoenix. The second time I was moving back to Mass.

3) $0, US Airways.

4) First time they just threw it on without asking. Second time I had my camo duffel with me. The guy at the counter asked if I was in the army. I told him Marines (kinda true. long story), and I was heading back home. He said he was supposed to charge me for the bike but he'd throw it on anyway.

I think it's best when there's curbside check-in. They tend to move a little faster and don't spend a lot of time checking out your bags.

Oh yea, absolutely no damage. So with my limited experience, I'd say US Airways is pretty good.
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Old 11-08-04, 10:55 AM   #8
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I'm curious about the hardshell luggage and damage, koffee. Was it because the bike was tossed around inside the luggage, or was the shell damaged? I was thinkning of getting that performance luggage....
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