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Old 05-21-03, 12:45 AM   #1
primeowl
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taking a bike on a plane!

I would like to take a cycling holiday in Thailand and I want to take the bicycle on a Thai Air flight from Tokyo to Bangkok. Has anybody done this? Are most airlines OK with this? Do I need to make any special arrangements?

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 05-21-03, 12:58 AM   #2
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I have taken my bike to Europe four times. Twice BA beat the hell out of my bike. Now, I have a hard shell bike case.. Hopefully, this luck is not industry wide.. Pack it well, the very least.
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Old 05-21-03, 01:13 AM   #3
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Your touring bike won't fit in a hard shell case, and if it did, it leaves you with the difficulty of where to store the case when you get there.

Phone the airline and see what their requirements are.
Some want the bike boxed (you can get these from your LBS as they are the boxes the bikes come in) some don't. if they don't I have in the past made sleeves of bubble wrap to go over the vulnerable areas, but pipe insulation would also work.

Take the derailleur off and tie it up so that it doesn't get pushed through the wheel if handled badly.

Slightly deflate tyres (though I think all holds are pressurised now)

I have carriedbikes on planes many times and have had a couple of problems, but luckily always on the return journey.
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Old 06-02-03, 05:43 PM   #4
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I've never toured Asia, but I have toured Europe.
Remove the front wheel, handlebars. Deflate the tires.
My bike was checked luggage in a cardboard box (no extra charge). Dive the box upon arrival.

On the way back most airlines have a bag. If they don't, most airports have a booth that will wrap almost any object in many layers of plastic.

The internet allows one to 'mine' web sites. If an airline offers free transport of athletic equipment on their site, showing a print out at the airport speeds things along.

Good luck.
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Old 06-20-03, 11:45 AM   #5
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Turn pedals inside, turn handle bars along, remove the forward wheel and fix it with duck tape to the bike.

Fix your bottle between the lower ends of the fork.

Do NOT deflate tires completely, just reduce pressure, so that they keep shape.

Use the wrap plastic for breakfasts, which is widely avalable in any shop, to wrap the bike.

Here are our 3 bikes in Washington D.C. IAD airport before transatlantic flight:
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Old 06-20-03, 06:19 PM   #6
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Interesting Max, just one question: how does that stand up to airline baggage handlers? I know when I pack my bike for a plane flight for a tour, I generally like to pack soft things (i.e. sleeping bag, clothing etc) around it to offer some additional protection.
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Old 06-20-03, 10:54 PM   #7
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I know the horrors people say about baggage handlers. But in general if it is visible that it is the bike it is treated as the bike.

As you can see I use also the duck tape to strengthen some areas.

I saw on TV as the US military packs its equipment with the similar self-adhesive wide plastic film.

I buy the big roll for about 2 currency units in the wholesale shop catering the supermarkets. The supermarkets use this film to wrap cheese, sausage, etc.

On the way back I just go to any big shop and buy 2 - 3 smaller rolls.
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Old 06-20-03, 11:00 PM   #8
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Chris, do you have a photo of your packed bike?

Here is the closer shot on our 3 packed bikes:
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Old 06-21-03, 12:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Max
Chris, do you have a photo of your packed bike?
No. And even if I did, you wouldn't be able to see it because the material on my bag I use is not clear.
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Old 06-21-03, 03:55 AM   #10
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I've taken a bike from Australia to UK a couple of times using a hard case. On each occasion the baggage handlers dropped the case, damaging the case wheels, but the bike survived unscathed. I was able to store the case with relatives while I went touring, but you might have to ponder what is going to happen to your case between arrival and return.

I also did a couple of trips between UK and Italy using a cardboard box from a local bike shop. The bike was undamaged, and I was able to ditch the box on arrival.

Airlines generally carry a boxed bike as part of your checked luggage as long as you don't have much extra luggage. Although the cheap airline I used from Italy to UK needed advance warning of the bike, and they charged me extra - not much though.
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Old 06-23-03, 07:58 PM   #11
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There was a thread on the CR list recently about the same topic. This si a summary of the consensus opinions:
1. Use a hard case. This generally gets loaded in the bottom of the baggage are with other bags above it. However, the case protects the bike.
2. Use the plastic solution as shown by Max. This generally gets loaded last and is generally placed on top of the bags, with nothing else on top. The plastic wrap seems to ensure the bike is not mis-handled. Someone stated Greg LeMond would wheel his bike into an airport, remove the pedals, turn the bar and get a plastic bag from the airline.
3. Do not use cardboard. Consensus is it offers little protection and the bike has a greater probabilty of being mishandled.
4. Call the airline and see if they allow a walk up (a la LeMond). Some may still allow it.

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Old 06-23-03, 09:12 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by jhawrylak
There was a thread on the CR list recently about the same topic. This si a summary of the consensus opinions:
1. Use a hard case. This generally gets loaded in the bottom of the baggage are with other bags above it. However, the case protects the bike.
Just one question, what do you do with the hard case while you're touring? I generally like to use my own stuff rather than rely on something from the airport that I don't have time to properly inspect for defects or whatever else. My tours also have a history of finishing in a different place from where they start - meaning I virutally have to carry it with me.
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Old 06-23-03, 09:52 PM   #13
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I used once the airline plastic bags, they were huge and inconvenient.

Sometimes airlines do not have the big plastic bags available, though they may advertise that they do.

I cycle to the airport and pack the bike inside or near an airport.

Hard case is OK only on the supported tours, when someone carries your things in the minivan. I never did the supported tour yet.

The plastic rolls, which are used to wrap food and which I use to wrap bikes are available in almost any shop, where they sell washing powder, soap, etc.

Just visit 2 -3 days before departure such a shop and buy these rolls.

When the bike is packed in such a plastic, it not only wrap the bike, but holds it together, as it is selfadhesive plastic. It also creates cushioning because of the multilayers and wrinkles.
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