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  1. #1
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    packing bike for flying

    I have flown many times with my touring bike, and always put the bike with rear wheel in the frame , fork turned, front wheel tied agains top tube, handlebars twisted through the spokes, in a regular size bike box.
    I just checked with Delta airlines regarding their requirements for bicycle transport and was told you have to pay $100.00 for anything with total dimensions (l+w+h) over 62" with a maximum of 80" total. Any regular bike box (about 56"x28"x8") is easily over 90" total. They only way (mathematicaly) to make is work is take a 44"x24"x12" box, in other words make the box thicker to gain more volume, and also take the rear wheel out of the frame to shorten the bike.
    What do you think? I hear Delta airlines is not very bicycle friendly but this should work. It surprises me this is neccesary since the bikeboxes I used to get from the airlines where huge, you could even leave the front wheel in the bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Don't fly Delta.

    I've never paid for my bike. It's sports equipment. For the last several years I have just biked to the airport and rolled the bike into a bag (with the tires deflated, the pedals taken off and the bars turned).

  3. #3
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stokell
    Don't fly Delta.

    I've never paid for my bike. It's sports equipment. For the last several years I have just biked to the airport and rolled the bike into a bag (with the tires deflated, the pedals taken off and the bars turned).
    Times are hard for US airlines. Just about every US airline is going to have a policy where they charge for over sized luggage. It doesn't matter what you call it, if it is over sized the policy will apply. Now, just because it is policy does not mean you will be charged. You just need to be lucky and a little sweet talk wouldn't hurt either.

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    According to Delta's website this is their policy for bicycles:

    "Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are accepted as checked baggage, with certain limits.

    Any bicycle in a box with overall dimensions not exceeding 62" or 157.5cm (length + height + width) and checked in lieu of one bag is accepted. Bicycles exceeding 62" are subject to standard oversize baggage charges.

    Your bike must be packaged in a cardboard or canvas container in one of the following ways:

    1. Handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed
    2. Handlebars and pedals encased in plastic, Styrofoam, or other similar material

    Some connection carriers and aircraft may not accept bicycles as checked baggage, and may have different limits. "

    The only way I know to go under 62 inches is to have a bike friday or an S&S coupled bike. I do not see an upper limit on the box size. I suggest you double check with Delta on what they allow (tell them what you found on their website - go to www.Delta.com and search for bicycle) but expect to pay for it as oversize in any event.

  5. #5
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    USAirways has a simalar policy.

    Under 62 inches, it is free 62-80 inches there is a $80 charge. Over 80 and they do not ship. The policy says nothing about bicycles. It is just the size of the luggage so it really does not matter what you tell them is in the box or bag.

  6. #6
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Correction USAirways accepts bicycles, there is a standard $80 charge for total dimensions over 62 inches but transatlantic flights bicycles go free! Yahoo! Italy here I come.

    http://www2.usairways.com/awa/conten...ems.aspx#bikes

  7. #7
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Oh one bicycle MAY be accepted. Time for the sweet talk I guess.

  8. #8
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    You guys are all right. What concerns me is the 80" limit, even a small bikebox that would require quite a bit of disassembly exceeds the 80". A bike box narrow dimension (8") realy works agains you, when you add 8" to the width and subtract those 8" off the long dimension you end up with a lot more volume. I think I can pack both wheels to the side of the frame and get it in a 16" wide box.
    There is no mention of rolling the bike up, sticking it in a bag or such, or claiming it as 'sports equipment".
    I don't even mind paying some extra to take the bikes. I have always been loyal to Delta, flown a lot for business and accrued enough miles to take this trip for (almost) free on them. But if my bikebox exceeds the 80" they could refuse the bike and my biketrip would start of without a bike.....
    I sent them an email, but most I expect from that is a cut and paste standard message from some guy/gall in India oulining their policy.
    Patrick

  9. #9
    Senior Member Alex L's Avatar
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    I think this method provides the minimal size of the luggage. Many people have used it and I have not heard about any problems.
    Alexey
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    There is no mention of the 80 inch limit in Delta's policy on their website. That is why I suggested you try talking to them again - I believe whoever spoke to you was in error as Delta will definitely take bike boxes and I can't imagine them being under 80 inches either.

  11. #11
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    I cannot find the 80" thing on their website either, thats why I called them. There is a website though (www.bikeaccess.net) that lists requirements for all diffent airlines and they concur with the info I received on the phone. I sent them an email but have not heard back yet (due to the large volumne of emails they are receiving...... it said in the auto reply mail - ofcourse).

  12. #12
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I think the 80" limit is for packages in general. USAirways permits bicycles. They could not possibly expect it to fit in 80". At least I hope not.

  13. #13
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    American Airlines' no-charge limit is 60" L + H + W. My box is 92" (54" + 30" + 8"), so I'm paying $80 each way. However, a cycling friend offered me her suitcase (it's a MONSTER) into which she stuffs her bike and flies w/o an extra charge.

  14. #14
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    As someone who has worked as a gate agent for an airline, I would say that most of the people behind the counter have no idea what their own airline's bike policy is, especially in smaller airports. Time for a little sweet talk indeed.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  15. #15
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    If you put your bike into a regular bike box and it's within the weight limits, you will get hit with the regular charge ($80). There may be some exceptions, but the charges are quite common nowadays.

    As Mrvelo pointed out, the only way to get a bike on a plane nowadays without paying a fee is to use a folding bike with 20" wheels or get some S&S couplers, which can pack into a large suitcase. Folders are pretty good these days, and many models are made for touring. They're also easier to take on trains and store at hotels. (I'm not sure you'd want to stick one inside your tent, though. )

    If you fly often with your bike, a folder is a good way to go. If you don't fly that often, are going for a few weeks, and really like your current bike, then just figure the bike fee into the airplane ticket.

  16. #16
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    Air travel with bikes can be a confusing, frustrating business. Be prepared for clerks who disagree on what is acceptable and what the charges are. Print information you obtained from official websites and stick to your guns. If travelling with friends, be prepared for some connecting flights not having enough room for all bikes to arrive at the same time. Recently I was part of a group of 8 who toured Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Five arrived in Sydney on the same flight but not one of the bikes had arrived with them. Leave a day or two for bikes to catch up and/or to fix broken or lost parts. Be sure everything is attached to something - don't have loose pedals, seats, etc. floating around in the box or bag. Recently I had a box arrive with the bottom flap completely ripped open. Label the box with your address and cell phone number.

  17. #17
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    And cover the address with a piece of paper with something like "Remove for Identification". Burglars have been known to hang out at airports looking for local addresses on luggage. They then go to the address because they know the people will not be home for a while.

  18. #18
    Junior Member mjssumo1's Avatar
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    This past weekend I flew my bike from Oakland Airport back to McCarran Intl Airport in Las Vegas (where my house is..). When I got to Vegas, I was surprised to find that The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) opened the bike box and confiscated the following items: 1) Two C02 cartridges (for flat tires), 2) A bottle of T-9 Chain Oil 3) Spray lubricant for derailleurs, chain, etc. The odd thing is that I first flew it from Vegas to Oakland w/o incident or anything confiscated. Looks like different airports vary in their inspections of bike packages....Or perhaps the TSA Inspector was a cyclist and needed some free cartridges, oil, and lube! :-)

  19. #19
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjssumo1
    This past weekend I flew my bike from Oakland Airport back to McCarran Intl Airport in Las Vegas (where my house is..). When I got to Vegas, I was surprised to find that The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) opened the bike box and confiscated the following items: 1) Two C02 cartridges (for flat tires), 2) A bottle of T-9 Chain Oil 3) Spray lubricant for derailleurs, chain, etc. The odd thing is that I first flew it from Vegas to Oakland w/o incident or anything confiscated. Looks like different airports vary in their inspections of bike packages....Or perhaps the TSA Inspector was a cyclist and needed some free cartridges, oil, and lube! :-)
    Compressed CO2 cylinder in an environment that can lose air pressure? Of course they are not going to allow it. But I don't understand about the oil unless you were trying to carry it on.

  20. #20
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    For anyone that has flown Delta with the 62 inch limit, can someone suggest some dimensions they used that added up to 62[or a inch of two less]. I ride a road bike[fixed]. Its fairly light so weight is that much of an issue. I am asking for suggestions before I begin some trial and error measurements.

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