Anyone have experience traveling with their bikes on American Airlines?
I'm going to be moving in about a month and I want to bring my CAAD10 with me. I want to bring it along on the plane, but I don't have a hard case and I can't afford to buy one. I DO have access to cardboard bicycle boxes, and can even double box it if necessary.
My question is: has anyone ever traveled on AA without a hard case? Do they accept it? Does it get smashed up?
Here is what the policy says:
"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.
$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
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"
Notice, they say "Bikes not in a hard-sided case are considered fragile."
My wife and I have flown on a number of airlines using Aerus soft cases as described in the following link. Total weight with shoes helmets etc stuffed in the bag with the bike is <35lb. We either get hit with a bike charge or oversize charge but have had no issues.
In any event and no matter how or what you pack it in, they will limit damage claims to $250, or whatever the current law requires. You can call and find out if they insure it, but be prepared for a run-around at check-in when the counter person has no idea how to insure it, even though the phone person said no problem.
Thus and unless you absolutely need the bike right up to the time you leave and/or available as soon as you arrive, I'd ship with UPS of FedEx Ground. They will insure it for full value.