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  1. #1
    Senior Member triumph.1's Avatar
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    flying w/bike help

    I would like to do a couple rides a year out of state which would require me to fly out to the event. I would like to arrange to take the bike on the same flight in a hard case. Does anyone have experience with arranging this sort of thing, getting to a hotel, ride and head back the next day after a ride. Tips on putting everything together for a smooth hassle free weekend is what I am looking for.

    Tim

  2. #2
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    What kind of bike?

  3. #3
    Senior Member triumph.1's Avatar
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    Sorry, road bike. I have not bought the hard case yet, but plan on an iron case to be on the safe side.

  4. #4
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    totally depends on the airline for whether you can, what the size/weight requirements are and what it will cost. Plain and simple answer is that it is not cheap or easy these days. For the same price as a round trip luggage fee you can often rent a pretty high end bike for a few rides. Sometimes it is also less expensive to box and ship separately from the airline w/ insurance...

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I have done numerous flights with my bicycle, both domestically and internationally. In fact we just came back from a trip to Canada and back to Australia.

    1. Select your airline with care. Some airlines charge very high prices to take your bicycle as luggage (i.e most US airlines) ... others have reasonable prices (i.e. Canadian airlines) ... and others don't charge anything extra at all (i.e. airlines in many other countries). And some airlines charge for the bicycle domestically but not internationally.

    This website is a good starting point: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm Once you've selected an airline with a reasonable rate, you'll want to check the baggage policy on the airline website itself. That website is only a starting point. Because airlines change their policies every other minute, that website may not be up to date ... but the airline website should be up to date.

    When you look at the size of bicycle box allowed on as a part of regular luggage, there is no way your box will fit within that limit unless you've got a folding bicycle. Your bicycle box will be oversized. There's no way around that. Just make sure it's not in the "too much oversized" category. And make sure it is not overweight or you'll be hit with higher charges.

    2. Book your flight. You may also need to indicate that you'll be bringing a bicycle with you when you book. And they may tell you that there's no guarantee your bicycle will be on the same flight as you ... that's their new thing.

    3. Check and double check the airline website in the weeks leading up to your flight. Policies can and do change and you'll need to know if there are any changes. Just because you booked under one policy does not mean you will be able to travel under that policy. For example, if the weight allowance when you booked was 60lbs, and 2 weeks later they dropped it to 50 lbs, 50 lbs is all you'll be allowed.

    4. Get your bicycle box at least a couple days before the flight. Personally, I have used cardboard boxes most often, but I have rented hard shell cases a couple times.

    5. Put your bicycle into the box ... do you need help with that? Pedals off and into a plastic bag; handlebars off, turned, and possibly zip-tied to the top tube; seatpost out and saddle wrapped in plastic; wheels off and skewers out. Put the skewers into the plastic bag with the pedals. Tape the bag to your rear rack or frame. If you're unsure about some of this, you can get the people at the bicycle shop where you picked up the box to show you how to do it.

    6. Do you have someone to drop you off at the airport? When you get there, get a cart right away ... makes life easier.

    7. Arrive at the airport as early as possible. If your ticket suggests you be there 2 hours early, get there 3-4 hours early. Be the first one in line when checking in. Smile. Be friendly and courteous. Be kind. Talk nicely. Do not be rude, grumpy, sarcastic or in any way nasty ... or you could be charged more and you could be in for a lot of hassle. Relax, smile, be nice! Yes, there could very well be questions and hassles, but that's just the way it is. Continue to be kind, friendly, courteous and helpful.

    8. When you arrive at your destination, your bicycle box could be anywhere. It could come around on the carousel ... or it might be in the oversized luggage ... it might be stuffed into a hallway somewhere ... you'll have to go look. Oh, and get a cart ... the cart makes life easier.

    9. As for getting to the hotel, you might be able to get a van taxi. That would be one option. Another might be to rent a decent sized vehicle. I supposed you'd have to weigh up the options financially.

    10. As for going back ... same thing as above.

  6. #6
    Senior Member triumph.1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HokuLoa View Post
    totally depends on the airline for whether you can, what the size/weight requirements are and what it will cost. Plain and simple answer is that it is not cheap or easy these days. For the same price as a round trip luggage fee you can often rent a pretty high end bike for a few rides. Sometimes it is also less expensive to box and ship separately from the airline w/ insurance...
    I thought about renting, but decided against because setting up a bike and being able to ride comfortably on such short notice would be a gamble at best. I would hate to have a nice weekend ruined by poor bike set up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I have done numerous flights with my bicycle, both domestically and internationally. In fact we just came back from a trip to Canada and back to Australia.

    1. Select your airline with care. Some airlines charge very high prices to take your bicycle as luggage (i.e most US airlines) ... others have reasonable prices (i.e. Canadian airlines) ... and others don't charge anything extra at all (i.e. airlines in many other countries). And some airlines charge for the bicycle domestically but not internationally.

    This website is a good starting point: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm Once you've selected an airline with a reasonable rate, you'll want to check the baggage policy on the airline website itself. That website is only a starting point. Because airlines change their policies every other minute, that website may not be up to date ... but the airline website should be up to date.

    When you look at the size of bicycle box allowed on as a part of regular luggage, there is no way your box will fit within that limit unless you've got a folding bicycle. Your bicycle box will be oversized. There's no way around that. Just make sure it's not in the "too much oversized" category. And make sure it is not overweight or you'll be hit with higher charges.

    2. Book your flight. You may also need to indicate that you'll be bringing a bicycle with you when you book. And they may tell you that there's no guarantee your bicycle will be on the same flight as you ... that's their new thing.

    3. Check and double check the airline website in the weeks leading up to your flight. Policies can and do change and you'll need to know if there are any changes. Just because you booked under one policy does not mean you will be able to travel under that policy. For example, if the weight allowance when you booked was 60lbs, and 2 weeks later they dropped it to 50 lbs, 50 lbs is all you'll be allowed.

    4. Get your bicycle box at least a couple days before the flight. Personally, I have used cardboard boxes most often, but I have rented hard shell cases a couple times.

    5. Put your bicycle into the box ... do you need help with that? Pedals off and into a plastic bag; handlebars off, turned, and possibly zip-tied to the top tube; seatpost out and saddle wrapped in plastic; wheels off and skewers out. Put the skewers into the plastic bag with the pedals. Tape the bag to your rear rack or frame. If you're unsure about some of this, you can get the people at the bicycle shop where you picked up the box to show you how to do it.

    6. Do you have someone to drop you off at the airport? When you get there, get a cart right away ... makes life easier.

    7. Arrive at the airport as early as possible. If your ticket suggests you be there 2 hours early, get there 3-4 hours early. Be the first one in line when checking in. Smile. Be friendly and courteous. Be kind. Talk nicely. Do not be rude, grumpy, sarcastic or in any way nasty ... or you could be charged more and you could be in for a lot of hassle. Relax, smile, be nice! Yes, there could very well be questions and hassles, but that's just the way it is. Continue to be kind, friendly, courteous and helpful.

    8. When you arrive at your destination, your bicycle box could be anywhere. It could come around on the carousel ... or it might be in the oversized luggage ... it might be stuffed into a hallway somewhere ... you'll have to go look. Oh, and get a cart ... the cart makes life easier.

    9. As for getting to the hotel, you might be able to get a van taxi. That would be one option. Another might be to rent a decent sized vehicle. I supposed you'd have to weigh up the options financially.

    10. As for going back ... same thing as above.
    Super helpful tips, thanks. There are a lot of things in your post I would have never thought of doing, thanks again. Living in a totally rural area I don't really have an option of renting a case or box and have heard horror stories of damage to bikes in cardboard boxes.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I've done over a dozen flights with my bicycle in a cardboard box and so far the only damage I've had was a broken light. Unfortunately I was lazy about removing my lights. Remove all lights, computers etc. before packing the bicycle.

    If you are considering going cardboard, I would recommend picking up a Trek Madone cardboard box ... they're pretty good. I've done 5 flights, so far, with my Trek Madone cardboard box. It's starting to look a little bit worn, but could probably do another flight or two.

    1. Edmonton to Vancouver to Sydney to Melbourne (Feb 2008)
    2. Melbourne to Sydney to Vancouver to Edmonton (Mar 2008)
    3. Calgary to Vancouver to Los Angeles to Melbourne (June 2009)
    4. Melbourne to Los Angeles to Vancouver (Aug 2011)
    5. Vancouver to Los Angeles to Melbourne (Sep 2011)


    What material is your bicycle?

  8. #8
    Senior Member triumph.1's Avatar
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    both are carbon. the giant I am not concerned about, but the colnago is too expensive to chance damage. I will probably opt for the giant on these trips. Again thanks for the tips I printed it for future reference.
    Last edited by triumph.1; 09-11-11 at 03:02 PM.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triumph.1 View Post
    both are carbon. the giant I am not concerned about, but the colnago is too expensive to chance damage. I will probably opt for the giant on these trips. Again thanks for the tips I printed it for future reference.
    Yes, if you've got carbon bicycles, you probably do want to invest in a hardshell case.

    Of all those tips probably the most important are ... arrive early, give yourself lots of time if you've got to change planes, give yourself extra time to locate your luggage at the end, and even if you feel tired and cranky, be patient, kind, friendly, etc. Everything takes longer when you travel with a bicycle.

  10. #10
    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    You know, if you can part with your bike early then shipping it really might be the better option. It is most often less expensive. Shipping companies are more accustomed to odd sizes. In addition, you can insure it for full value. Just a thought...

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