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  1. #1
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    How do you confirm that your bike was loaded on the plane? Koffee?

    I saw this very informative thread.

    My bike is 'missing'

    Koffee mentioned that she confrims that her bike was loaded, before getting on the plane. How does one do this what is the procedure? I will need to fly 2 legs. Should I confirm on both legs?

    If I have the time, should I just check to my first leg, claim the bike, then check it again? Or do I stand a better chance of having it lost?

    I'm actually considering driving to NYC or BOS from PIT to avoid one leg, though I really would want to avoid that drive.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I'm very curious how she confirms that too!!

    When I've flown with my bicycle, I "confirm" that my bicycle is on the plane by watching them load it onto the plane through the window ... after I have been boarded. If I waited to make sure my bicycle was getting on the plane, I wouldn't be getting on the plane!!

    Check the bicycle all the way through to your final destination. It is easier that way. I have had to collect my bicycle at a stop mid-trip for customs purposes and believe me, collecting the bicycle, and rechecking the bicycle is a huge, time-consuming pain.

  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Yes I know it is easier checking all the way through, but almost everytime my luggage was lost, it was lost on a connection.

    I'll probably have to get my bike on the first leg coming back to the States anyway. But I'm not that worried about getting the bike back home. I'll probably want to rest for a few days anyway.

  4. #4
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    The first time I took by bike to Europe I went to the wrong terminal and ended up being one of the last on the plane. I figured my bike probably didn't make it on, but it did. The next time I was one of the first to check in, and my bike did not make the plane. Go figure.

    It is probably a good idea to spend your first night near the airport. Air Canada/Lufthansa delivered my bike to my hotel at 8:30 the following morning and I had time to do a full day's riding.

  5. #5
    Guest
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    I check in two hours early. I alert the crew when I check in that I have a bike. Then I wait as it clears through the TSA baggage checkers. Then, as soon as I get to my gate, I flag down a flight attendant and give them my "I have an expensive bike on board and United sucks because they lost it, and can you help me confirm that my bike is going to be loaded on the plane" story. Then I let them contact the ground crew and confirm that the bike I checked in is there with them. That usually can take anywhere between a few minutes to over an hour, but it's well worth the hassle.

    Koffee

  6. #6
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Thanks Koffee.

    How likely will United charge me a surcharge?


    Should I tell them when I book the flight that I have a bike? Or wait till check in and hope that they do not charge me?


    What about other airlines? I can pretty much go with any of the major carriers.

  7. #7
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    I don't fly United. Even if they offered me a free round trip first class. Not with my bike. No way.

    Koffee

  8. #8
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Brown
    It is probably a good idea to spend your first night near the airport. Air Canada/Lufthansa delivered my bike to my hotel at 8:30 the following morning and I had time to do a full day's riding.
    I live 15 minute automobile ride from the airport. It came in very handy back in those dayswhen you could arrive at the airport 5 minutes before your flight. And believe me I had a number of those days.

    My first night at my destination is only about 15 minutes too. I'll be arriving early in the morning so I probably won't be up for much riding the first day.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    How likely will United charge me a surcharge?


    Should I tell them when I book the flight that I have a bike? Or wait till check in and hope that they do not charge me?


    What about other airlines? I can pretty much go with any of the major carriers.

    Here:
    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

    You can look up all that information on the internet, each airline will have a "baggage" section on their website where they will tell you their policies. They also provide you with numbers you can call in case something goes wrong. And they've got a number to call if you have any questions or concerns

    Here's United's baggage information pertaining to bicycles:
    http://www.united.com/page/middlepag...3,1031,00.html
    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,50773,00.html
    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1034,00.html

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    I live 15 minute automobile ride from the airport. It came in very handy back in those dayswhen you could arrive at the airport 5 minutes before your flight. And believe me I had a number of those days.

    My first night at my destination is only about 15 minutes too. I'll be arriving early in the morning so I probably won't be up for much riding the first day.


    If you are planning to pack your bicycle AT the airport, plan to arrive there about 3-4 hours early. The process will be much less stressful.

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    I don't fly United. Even if they offered me a free round trip first class. Not with my bike. No way.

    Koffee
    Sorry I assumed you were flying United from your statement but now that I think of it, I guess it would not pay to tell an airline that they suck and if they could please check on your luggage.

    Anyway my question still applies.

    When should I tell the airlines I have a bike? At booking or at check in?

  12. #12
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Here:
    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

    You can look up all that information on the internet, each airline will have a "baggage" section on their website where they will tell you their policies. They also provide you with numbers you can call in case something goes wrong. And they've got a number to call if you have any questions or concerns

    Here's United's baggage information pertaining to bicycles:
    http://www.united.com/page/middlepag...3,1031,00.html
    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,50773,00.html
    http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1034,00.html
    Yep I already had that link bookmarked. Thank you.

    But there are regulations and there are regulations. For example Continental says the bike is "subject" to a $80 surcharge each way. Maybe it is wishful thinking but this says to me that they can charge you or they may not charge you.

    I never meant to imply that United was my choice. I did not pick a carrier yet. It might be Continental since they seem to have the best price so far.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    Yep I already had that link bookmarked. Thank you.

    But there are regulations and there are regulations. For example Continental says the bike is "subject" to a $80 surcharge each way. Maybe it is wishful thinking but this says to me that they can charge you or they may not charge you.

    I never meant to imply that United was my choice. I did not pick a carrier yet. It might be Continental since they seem to have the best price so far.
    First of all, I've flown United a few times and besides the fact that their bicycle boxes are massive, I've been quite pleased with their service. I've never actually flown with any other US airlines. (The other airlines I've flow with are Air Canada, WestJet, and Virgin Blue)

    Secondly about the charges, if an airline says a bicycle is "subject" to a surcharge, assume that they will charge you. Bring the money. However, yes, there is a faint little chance that they might decide to waive the charge or reduce the charge. I believe that has happened to me once or twice. I definitely don't count on it, and I don't ask them to reduce the charges because I don't want to create a fuss, but I'm all smiles if it happens.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker
    Sorry I assumed you were flying United from your statement but now that I think of it, I guess it would not pay to tell an airline that they suck and if they could please check on your luggage.

    Anyway my question still applies.

    When should I tell the airlines I have a bike? At booking or at check in?
    Here's what I do... I fly American.

    American says as long as you meet the luggage requirements (62 linear inches or less), the bike travels free (I believe). So if you can smash that bike all the way down ti 62 linear inches, you're kosher. Hint- get a second suitcase for your travel allowances and put some of your bike stuff in there, and the rest in the bike luggage.

    Koffee

  15. #15
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    The best solution is never to travel with your bike! Ship it ahead by Fed-Ex or UPS to your destination and confirm by phone that it's arrived before you board. I actually save money (over the $80 airline fee each way) by shipping Fed-Ex to a destination bike shop who can store the case for me and provide any last minute adjustments. However the best reason to ship ahead is avoiding the TSA gorrilla's opening your bike case, moving everything around as they inspect and then damaging your bike as they jam everything back in.

    Sam in Cincy

  16. #16
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam.g
    The best solution is never to travel with your bike! Ship it ahead by Fed-Ex or UPS to your destination and confirm by phone that it's arrived before you board. I actually save money (over the $80 airline fee each way) by shipping Fed-Ex to a destination bike shop who can store the case for me and provide any last minute adjustments. However the best reason to ship ahead is avoiding the TSA gorrilla's opening your bike case, moving everything around as they inspect and then damaging your bike as they jam everything back in.

    Sam in Cincy
    Ship vs. travel with was discussed in another thread recently. Unless I buy another bike between now and when I travel, I will not be shipping.

    Plus where I plan to stay the first night, doesn't have a real street address. Yes I checked with managment. No street address. I'm not sure if I feel comfortable with this, nor do I feel comfortable with expecting managment to have to worry about accepting delivery.

    But I will give this option some thought.

  17. #17
    Guest
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    That's right.

    I would not leave my bike alone, and I wouldn't ship it and take chances. I keep as much an eye on my bike as possible, even when I transfer planes. If I have to change planes, I snag the nearest flight attendant and ask them to check on the status of my bike when they're switching the luggage. They can call down to the folks taking out the luggage and confirm my bike is being transferred.

    Koffee

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