We are going to be flying our Tandem (Santana Beyond) next year so it is time to buy a travel case. When I did a search I found several threads but few that were talking about the Santana version of the S&S case. The Santana SafeCase published dimensions are 27x33x14 or 74 sq. inches, most airlines are talking about a luggage limit of 62 sq inches. On the Santana web site Bill notes this isn't an issue and in rare occasion you may get hit with a oversize or bike charge. I believe Bill because he does travel a lot and if it was an issue I would guess he would use a different solution, but I was wondering if anyone on the forum has personal experience flying with the SafeCase.
I flew with the safecase twice this year. On my domestic trip to Colorado (United), I did not tell the agent it was a bike. She charged me extra for oversize/overweight. On the return trip, I told them it was a bike and they charged their standard bike fee, $100. I requested and received a refund on the amount over $100. for the flight there. So tell them it's a bike.
My trip to France, United charged $200. for international. Zero for the flight home.
The safecase has a nice badge that says Airline approved 62" but that is a bluff. It's a nice case, it should be for the price.
No experience with the Safe Case, but I will till you that my regular size S&S cases (62") for my Santanas have been measured at the counter several times, and I'm sure I would have been charged if they were oversized. The Safe Case is nice, though, that you only have to bring the one case (but you may have to pay for it, as noted above by Carbonello).
Yeah, he also sells the cases.
Originally Posted by rlp
While not specifically targeting Bill, I agree it is always good to keep in mind any financial incentive that exists for a person giving their opinion.
Originally Posted by Monoborracho
Also consider the number of miles Bill travels which is known by the agents checking him in and also that he is generally checking in a large number of tandems as the same time. If anyone gets any slack, then a frequent customer with a lot of miles that is currently standing in line to give the airline a lot of business is the guy.
Yep, that's why I was asking about first hand experience. I am not too worried about being charged for a bike, but I don't want to be left standing in the airport with my bike as my plane takes off. My gut feel is if this was a big issue then Bill would be selling a two case option, he'll get his $$$ either way but I was just wonder what the actual users were seeing.
Thanks for the responses
We don't have a safe case instead two S&S cases but three of our travel friends do and they have never had a problem an any trip. they have paid at times when we did not have to, but the Safe cases always got on. Payment is random even within the same airlines. I helped people check in for a flight home from Auckland on a Santana New Zealand trip and there was an unusual number of full size tandem cases and boxes on that trip as there were lots of people whom it was their first travel trip. Something like 12 couples had full size cases and the fee charged ranged from $67 to over 400 for the same flight and essentially the same boxes, it just depended what agent you got. The one advice I would have is to be very nice and act like the case is not an issue and don't bring up dimensions weights etc. Also as sexist as it seems have the person checking in be the opposite sex of the agent as we have seen that senerio work out well many times. Also fly the airlines that you have the highest frequent flier miles status on at the start of the trip if you can because they want your continued business and can at least get the outbound legs to Europe for less fees many times. We just flew to Colorado with two S&S cases and 3 other bags and the agent just smiled and said have a great trip and we appreciate your loyalty and business (Alaska Airlines). As the last resort fall back option, print out the specific airlines baggage policy regarding bikes and oversize luggage and if things get ugly pull it to and show the agent. Otherwise just have your credit card ready and enjoy the trip because I can assure you in the middle of a great trip you won't think much about the small fee it was to have your own bike and lovely stoker to pedal with.
I am also concerned about standing in the airport with the tandem as my flight takes off.
We don't have a safe case or a coupled tandem.
We use a crate works box 71x31x11.25 and keep the weight under 70 lbs also arrive at airport 3 to 4 hours early. The last two flights to Europe we were told bike could not go BUT after being nice they did accept.
We have paid any where from 50 to 250 one way.Return flights were always cheaper and we never had problem with airlines not wanting to take the bike on return trip.
Has anyone had experience when the airline did not take their bike?
^So long as it's under 70lb I haven't heard of someone being denied, regardless of dimensions, during my time as a mechanic on the Santana tours and I've seen some looong boxes.. We've had plenty of people with Crateworks cases and they seem to work fine with all the straps to secure things but they take some time to pack carefully. The 2-peice S&S cases are great in that you'll NEVER get an oversize fee but since airlines usually charge a fee for each checked bag now (and that fee goes up for each additional bag) the savings isn't as big as it used to be. The problem with them is parts aren't secured inside and rely on careful packing and padding that can be ruined by TSA rifling through. I've heard nightmare stories of bikes showing up with serious damage. The Safecases are my favorite for how quickly and easily they pack up and how well protected and organized stuff is but you're rolling the dice on whether they'll charge you an oversize fee.