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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 01-02-08, 02:36 AM   #1
deathhare
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Boxes on an airplane-- Customs

Someone just told me that when you enter the USA that they open EVERY box that comes in on airliners and check inside?
Ive never heard this or noticed but then again ive never had stuff packed the way i do today.
If so, then im gonna be kinda ****ed and have to ship one of my frames back because of the way things are packed.
Can anyone confirm this?

Thanks
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Old 01-02-08, 02:49 AM   #2
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never heard of this....
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Old 01-02-08, 03:00 AM   #3
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i think they are checking for snakes
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Old 01-02-08, 03:05 AM   #4
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if it's too big for the x-ray, it gets opened.

http://www.tsa.gov/what_we_do/screen...d_baggage.shtm
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Old 01-02-08, 03:19 AM   #5
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Someone just told me that when you enter the USA that they open EVERY box that comes in on airliners and check inside?
Ive never heard this or noticed but then again ive never had stuff packed the way i do today.
If so, then im gonna be kinda ****ed and have to ship one of my frames back because of the way things are packed.
Can anyone confirm this?

Thanks
It comes down to luck of the draw. I've travelled internationally a number of times with both a full sized bike case and an S&S case for a coupled bike. Neither seemed to be more likely to be opened and I'd say they got opened 10% of the time.

One funny story with the full sized case. I had the bike plus a bunch of other stuff (helmet, shoes, shorts, jerseys, etc) packed inside it and it weighed a ton. I was there when it came off the unloading ramp in customs. Two TSP guys, one big burly guy and another who couldn't have weighed 100 lbs soaking wet. The bike guy says to the little one "check that one". Little guy picks it up (barely), grunts it over to a table, stands there a second until the big guys back is turned, stamps "inspected" on it and sends it on its way.

So much for security.

Keep in mind that big heavy cases really piss baggage handlers off. I saw one lift mine up to shoulder height (really hard to do since it was both heavy and bulky) just so he could throw it onto the tarmac. If it's heavy it had better be well packed.
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Old 01-02-08, 04:04 AM   #6
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In my experience, they always check the contents on International flights departing from the States but I have yet to have it happen on flights entering (unless by US customs). Most of the time this is just Xray machines but I have had them ask permission to open items about 20% of the time but they have always been really helpful repacking them. I mean I was standing there once pulling my underwear and tons of crap from around my bicycle frame but I think they have seen it all so no worries.

Why would this matter though in regards to your packing? I seem to remember them having tape and stuff there for your usage. Otherwise just bring a roll of tape and some zip ties and give yourself some time to do it all.
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Old 01-02-08, 05:02 AM   #7
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I just flew back from Tokyo and packed a 3rensho frame in a cardboard box. Wrapped the frame in Tshirts and reinforced the box with folded up corogated cardboard. A big risk, I know. But it arrived fine and didn't seem to have been opened. Narita had an oversize baggage department and a big xray machine that I watched the box go through. BTW, I flew United and they didn't charge me anything extra.
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Old 01-02-08, 05:20 AM   #8
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Thanks for the information guys.
I have two boxes strapped/taped together like a MFer. Each 'side' has a frameset in it and quite a lot of parts. As far as weight it should be fine as well as size. I was worried that they will cut them open and somehow end up separating the boxes and only one will end up arriving at my destination. I dont know, maybe im paranoid or ive heard too many bad stories. I just have a lot of money wrapped up in these boxes, ya know.


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Old 01-02-08, 07:34 AM   #9
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they will just xray from my experience.
and my bike travel box fit box fit through an xray machine.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:37 AM   #10
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I mean, of course, both boxes are filled to the hilt with hub brushes. Im anticipating an extreme hub brush trend in 2008 and plan to corner the market.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:46 AM   #11
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Another thing you may want to consider is shrink wrapping the two boxes together. I know some airports offer this service and they place your package on a rotating table and wa-la, 2 minutes later your boxes are sealed in a little plastic caccoon. This would also show them you went to great length to pack your boxes and you may catch a lucky break and they just skip opening it.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:48 AM   #12
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Thanks. Ill keep my eyes peeled for such a machine.
Ive flown out of this airport about 10 times and never seen one though. Sounds like it would be perfect though. I hope they have one.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:52 AM   #13
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couldn't hurt to put a note in a plastic bag on top of the box asking not to cut the boxes apart.

and shrink wrapping boxes together will not prevent them from being opened, period. i they cannot be x-rayed they will be opened. if they are x-rayed and the inspector is not satisfied with the images produced, they will open them.

I'd plan for them opening the boxes - kinda sucks, but you gotta look at the worst-case to best prevent separation/loss of contents.
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Old 01-02-08, 07:59 AM   #14
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you gotta look at the worst-case to best prevent separation/loss of contents.
Yeah that was my whole thinking.
They should fit the x-ray machine i believe.
Ive written all my info on both boxes now and will hope theyll realize not to cut them apart. I'll mention it to the counter staff too.
To open the boxes you dont have to cut them apart at all.
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Old 01-02-08, 09:32 AM   #15
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wow....did you get a Pana POS frame? I am still thinking about one of those....but probably the full custom for a couple man (uh, Japanese currency amount--not dudes) more
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Old 01-02-08, 09:39 AM   #16
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Personal experience:

Bringing a bike back from Latin America, I got the box back in the baggage area with tape on it that said "inspected by TSA."

So it does happen.
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Old 01-02-08, 09:40 AM   #17
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a few people mentioned their bike travel cases, anyone want to point me to one that isn't too pricey?
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Old 01-02-08, 09:57 AM   #18
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Wow! I must be smoking or something because come to think of it, on many occasions I have found that little note that TSA has inspected the contents of my bag. I just haven't noticed anything else out of the ordinary, tape is still there, clothes is still folded, zip ties on zippers and everything. Call it selective memory.... I've got nothing to add to this thread anymore... Just go with pitboss's advice.
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Old 01-02-08, 10:48 AM   #19
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I stuff a note inside of my bike box with my destination address and phone number. Just in case...
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Old 01-02-08, 11:03 AM   #20
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Don't make it too difficult for them to open or they may cop an attitude. I once forgot and taped 2 zipper pulls together on an equipment case. They probably struggled a bit to get it open (that's the point), and graciously re-sealed the zippers with about 8 wire zip ties you needed cutters to remove.

I'd assume they're going to hand inspect, and try to plan accordingly. We travel with 4-6 cargo cases, and every one is opened every time.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:15 AM   #21
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Edit:
i shipped(checked luggage) my bike on a plane to Florida 10 day ago, did not get opened, no damage


shipped it home again checked luggage, both ways with minimal/no packing. Fine both ways, If it was something nice like Those fames. Bubble wrap would be in order

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Old 01-02-08, 11:32 AM   #22
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i shipped my bike 10 day ago, did not get opened.
SHIPPED being the key word. Not checked as luggage on a passenger aircraft.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:40 AM   #23
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I mean, of course, both boxes are filled to the hilt with hub brushes. Im anticipating an extreme hub brush trend in 2008 and plan to corner the market.
really? cool I'll take 2.
are they the NJS ones?

they have to be NJS ones
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Old 01-02-08, 11:43 AM   #24
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Yeah that was my whole thinking.
They should fit the x-ray machine i believe.
Ive written all my info on both boxes now and will hope theyll realize not to cut them apart. I'll mention it to the counter staff too.
To open the boxes you dont have to cut them apart at all.
It's all random luck with that stuff. I used to always have my stuff inspected each time until I decided to dress formally in the airport...I've never been pulled to the side or had stuff opened since.
Sounds to me like you took the full precautions and should have no worries. If something goes wrong, I'll be pissed off along with you.
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Old 01-02-08, 11:52 AM   #25
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The airline has a limit has to weight and volume. International flights from and to the Far East is 70lbs or 32 kgs. A standard manufacturer's bike box meets the size limitation.

I have my reservations 2 bike boxes taped together will meet the required volume. However I see that they are frame boxes which are smaller than the standard complete bicycle box. Go to your airline website and see how they calculate size and girth of check-in luggages.

You are allowed 2 check-in luggages and any excess is charged I believed $150. Provided they meet the airlines max, taping them together saves money.
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