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Old 05-20-03, 03:05 PM   #1
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Another question about packing your bike

Ok-

I called American Airlines (travelling internationally), and they said it would be $80 each way to check my bike. I told them I would break the bike down, and how much would it cost then? They said- as long as the length, width, and height of the box are 62 inches or less, the bike would be free.

I am thinking I would probably have to take the wheels off completely and put it in the second luggage I'm checking, and I'll pack my clothes around the wheels. Then I'll mark that luggage as fragile. I am going with my sister-in-law to a storage facility to buy a furniture cardobard box for the frame part of the bike. I'll put an old blanket around the frame and put a fragile label on that too.

I'm wondering if this would work- I have no idea what a total of 62 inches would look like- my sister-in-law will help me with this, but do you think if I packed my bike this way, I'd be able to check the boxes without paying, in your opinion?

I'm also thinking the effort may not be worth it either, so if we can't figure out how to get this bike packed, I'll leave it behind. I can always go to the Y to get my exercise in.

Koffee
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Old 05-20-03, 10:31 PM   #2
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When i flew over to New Zealand, i was lucky to have a luggage limit of 64 kg!

I used an old bike box and lots of insulation from my work (for free ) to pack up my bike.

I took the derailleur, handlebar and the sadle off, and i reversed the pedals
I left the wheels in the frame, but with loose skewers

It survived the trip without any problems, but i have to think something when i fly back, because i don`t have the insulation anymore...

The blanket idea sounds pretty good,

cheers
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Old 05-21-03, 06:02 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tip.... so you're saying that I'll be able to make the 62 inch restriction with my bike?

I'm probably going to call them back today and ask again what they mean by adding up the inches. It somehow doesn't make sense to me.

If I can't do it, I won't bother. I probably wouldn't run either, so I guess I won't be getting much exercise in, unless I can figure this out quickly.

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Old 05-21-03, 06:53 AM   #4
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You probably don't want to pay $100 bucks for the box but I thought the picture may come in handy. It does a good job of showing you what you need to do and it gives the dimensions of the box.

http://www.coloradocyclist.com/commo...6,3&TextMode=0

You can usually get a bike box from a bike shop. They just recycle them or throw them away. Most will pack your bike for you, for a fee of course. Renting a bike at your destination may be a possiblity as well.
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Old 05-21-03, 10:10 PM   #5
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Well, for my flight to Ozzie, i have a weight limit of 20 kg (with 7 kg handluggage) and it`s gonna be hard to stay under it (couldn`t find size limits tho`)

I`m going to try it anyway; just check in early and in your case, pick a nice fellow behind the desk

A little bit of luck will help too....
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Old 05-21-03, 10:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Koffee Brown
Ok-

I'm wondering if this would work- I have no idea what a total of 62 inches would look like- my sister-in-law will help me with this...
Here is one way to check:
with measuring tape, find out the lengh of the frame that can not be sized down anymore. Assuming you already removed the wheels. If the frame is not longer than 62 ", everything else can be packed around it so you can stay within the limit.
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Old 05-21-03, 10:52 PM   #7
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I am not sure where you are flying to, but try another airline. Northwest quoted me the best price to Europe about a month ago and the bike went for free. This site has some good info on packing and other stuff a jet set cyclist may need.
http://www.bikeaccess.net/touring_db.cfm
This one has info on American Airlines:
http://www.bikeaccess.net/Articles_d...can%20Airlines
I tried to take bike parts with me in my carry-on and they did not like that at all, so that may not be an option. Find out the amount of cubic inches you are allowed and find a sturdy box about that size and fill it with your disassembled bike and use your gear as fill. I say $160 is a bit much, but it may be better than trying to reassemble your bike in an airport while exhausted and then trying to find a similar size box for your return flight.
Also, I always refuse to pay extra charges when at an airport and I argue that my travel agent has assured me that everything has been paid for. I have been asked to pay all kinds of fees while traveling and probably all were shams. So refuse and ask for their superior or to see it in writing and they may just let you go without paying.
Where are you going?
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Old 05-22-03, 07:22 AM   #8
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Thanks for everyone's responses.

I'm not sure of what they mean by the dimensions have to add up to less than 62 inches.... it doesn't make sense to me, for real. I'm going to call these clowns again, and this time, I'll ask for a supervisor, and if they say I won't have to pay, I'll have them write me a letter on official letterhead and fax it over to me so I can have it on hand for my trip.

I decided last night I'm going to call the Chicago Park Tools guy. I know how much he's into bikes, so I am going to assume he would know how I can get my bike shipped on the planes without having to pay extra. I think with his advice, I'll be able to get my bike packed down to the acceptable standards and still be able to protect it from the goons who throw the luggage around when they're transferring it from the terminal to the plane and vice versa. He may even know where I can go to get a cheap, but sturdy bike box that will keep me within the acceptable standards.

I read the links. I think they will help me with breaking down my bike and will help me to argue my case with American Airlines when I call them.

It's my plan to take all loose bike parts with my carry on. I don't trust that they won't be slinging my box around to the point where the box will break open, and I'll be missing vital pieces. If they can't handle that, tough. Either I'll be carrying it through, or they'll be insuring it under their policy and pay for new parts when I get to point B and the pieces are missing. If they're going to severely restrict my luggage allowance to where I have to carry on parts, then they shouldn't have a cow. I'm doing the best I can under difficult circumstances, and they should at least meet me halfway.

The crazy thing is that the ticket was only like $225, but to take the bike, I have to pay $160? That's insane. I might as well not go. Sheesh! They really gouge you when they feel like they can get away with it.

Alright, that's enough ranting for now.

Koffee
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Old 05-22-03, 08:25 PM   #9
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Something I've read. If you don't put the bike in a hard box (or even if you do) make sure there's something to hold the fork open. put a piece of wood where the wheel would go, because if you bike is at the bottom of the pile your wheels won't go back onto the bike.

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Old 05-22-03, 08:30 PM   #10
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Good idea. I hadn't thought about the fork problem.
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Old 05-22-03, 09:12 PM   #11
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Cannondale is the exception with regard to bike box sizes. Their boxes are shorter in length and height. They remove both wheels, and zip tie their frames to a sheet of cardboard. I highly recommend this manner of packing!:thumbup:
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Old 05-22-03, 09:20 PM   #12
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The 62 inch limit refers to the total when you add the length, width, and height measurements of the box together. If your box is 36 in long, 20 in wide, and 6 in tall, the total would be 36+20+6=62 in.

I don't know the size of a bike box from the manufacturer, so the above is just an example. It is a rather arbitrary way to measure a box, but the airline gets to make the rule...
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Old 05-25-03, 02:43 PM   #13
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Damn!

I brought my bike to the box shop this morning. They were gonna make me a custom box. We worked on it an hour, but there's no way I can get the bike down to 62 inches. With the bike stripped down, we figured it would be 41 in x 7 in x 30 in. So it ended up being 78 inches altogether, and I won't make the cut. It is totally ridiculous- there are people who have two of the largest suitcases made in the market, with so much stuff bulging in their luggage it's ridiculous, plus heavy carry-ons, and they look like they just got back from a week at the market in Bombay. In the meantime, I just have this bike box with the frame, which is barely 20 pounds (you can lift the frame easily with 2 fingers and carry it indefinitely), plus a second luggage with the rest of my clothes and tolietries and my wheels. While some passengers get away with 75 pounds of luggage, they get charged nothing, but I've got maybe 30 pounds max of luggage, and because my box is over the size limit of 62 inches when you add up the dimensions, I have to pay an additional $160.

The people at the box company were laughing the entire time- not at me, but at the absurdity of the situation. They told me if I find a way, come on back, and they'll only charge me $7.50 to make the box. A cute guy even asked me out. Here goes his line "would you consider dating a younger man?". Despite my bad mood, I had to laugh at that line.... never got asked out like that before.

I am frustrated, but I may ride my bike out to O'Hare on Monday and go straight to the terminal and try to argue it out. I know, I'm being cheap, but dang! I am under the weight limit, and it should count for something! Sheesh!

Koff
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Old 05-25-03, 03:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Koffee Brown
Here goes his line "would you consider dating a younger man?".
Its too bad you can't get the bike on for free. Maybe some luck at the luggage counter will work.

Incidentally, you never told us how you answered the above question.
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Old 05-25-03, 03:37 PM   #15
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<sigh>

I deferred.... I told him the truth- there may be another prospect out there for now . He looked so bashful, though. I was flattered....
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Old 05-25-03, 03:51 PM   #16
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One thing I heard works at times, tell them you are taking a presentation with you for work and see what they say. One issue there would be if they damaged your bike you have no way to go after them, of course even if you tell them it is a bike they are not liable for any damage eitehr. Have you checekd the cost of shipping it via UPS.. Fedex etc.. might be a less expensive way to go.
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Old 05-25-03, 04:31 PM   #17
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It's international... so I'm thinking it will get costly.

In addition, I don't know what I'll do when the bike gets caught up in Customs hell... I'm afraid that something might hold up my bike, and by the time I sort through the mess, it will be time to go home.



I will just head out to O'Hare tomorrow afternoon for a nice 40 mile round trip and see if I can impress the counter people by showing my bike and pleading personally. If they say no, at this point, I've done the best I can do.
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Old 05-25-03, 04:45 PM   #18
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It won't help your current flight but the League of American Bicyclists has a bikes fly free benefit on two airlines. http://www.bikeleague.org/flyfree.htm
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Old 05-25-03, 04:52 PM   #19
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Originally posted by FOG
It won't help your current flight but the League of American Bicyclists has a bikes fly free benefit on two airlines. http://www.bikeleague.org/flyfree.htm
Unfortuneatly not, I had already though of this, but these offers are only valid in the lower 48 states. Koffee is flying internationally.
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Old 05-25-03, 05:21 PM   #20
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Just a thought on your dilemma, how about the frame in one box and the wheels in your suitcase/box or some kind of combination like that. Is it the handlebars that are causing the length problem? If it is, just remove them, two bolts in front, and tape/tie them to the frame. Even if you take the tires off the rims you may be able to make a box the size of a suitcase and get away with it. Also, unless they are really mean, they will probably not measure the box anyway, and when you check in, just say it is sporting equipment and play dumb and they may let it through.
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Old 05-25-03, 07:35 PM   #21
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The frame by itself is 78 inches when you add up the dimensions. This is when I've taken off the wheels and stripped the bike down to its basic components. Everything else will go in my second suitcase. Even then, I probably won't have more than 30 pounds of luggage, max. I refuse to believe that someone who has 2 huge pieces of luggage and 70 pounds of luggage pays nothing extra, and I have 2 pieces of luggage, one which is a few inches over, and I have to almost pay the same amount that I paid for my plane ticket! I know I keep whining, but dang! I think they are going to be dweebs about it and make me pay. So I'll just ride out there on my bike and maybe impress them with all that riding and plead out my case as much as possible. And then I'll get them to write me a letter if I can convince them, and then drag that letter back and forth. So just wish me luck.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
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