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Old 04-29-12, 10:10 AM   #1
jvpope
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best airline for transporting a bike oveseas

Hey everybody,

First time flying with a bike, and man what a pain! I am flying to Switzerland this summer and trying find the airline that is going to screw me over the least. This is United Airlines bike transport policy:


"United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23kg) and/or 62 (157 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $100 service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 service charge applies each way for all other travel. The service charge is in addition to any excess baggage charges that may apply, but first and second baggage service fees do not apply. Bicycle equipment weighing more than 70 pounds (32 kg) will not be accepted as checked baggage.

If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23kg) and 62 (157 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but, if applicable, the first or second bag fee applies."

Can anyone tell me if this is even remotely realistic?? What does all this crap mean? My bike is less than 50 lb, but I have no idea how many total linear inches that is. . . HELP!

I will be traveling with a 60 cm Trek 520. Anyone with any experience please let me know if i could possibly avoid this heinous $400 charge. Thanks!

John

Last edited by jvpope; 04-29-12 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 04-29-12, 10:31 AM   #2
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Just the cost of traveling over seas.
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Old 04-29-12, 10:39 AM   #3
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Be prepared to pay no matter which airline you chose. They sure know how to spoil ones fun. The fees are so high anymore that it is probably worth it to buy to tickets so that you have two seats to yourself, break your bike down into one box as one piece of luggage and carry the wheels in a separate box on the second ticket.
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Old 04-29-12, 11:07 AM   #4
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Supposing I stripped down the bike entirely, do you suppose there's anyway a condensed, properly packed touring bike could take up less than 62 linear inches?
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Old 04-29-12, 11:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jvpope View Post
Supposing I stripped down the bike entirely, do you suppose there's anyway a condensed, properly packed touring bike could take up less than 62 linear inches?
I was able to get my Large size Cannondale T-1 in this box.





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Old 04-29-12, 12:19 PM   #6
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Bike Friday manufactures Travel bikes around the fees, because they fit in suitcases.
wheels are smaller, but they ride just fine.

Look into some European trans atlantic carriers.
Took SAS, out of Seattle.
but the connecting [horizon]flight to get to Sea-Tac had a fee, SAS did not add another.

Coming back, out of AMS, KLM sold me the box, but did not add a fee..

but these were many years ago.. before I got my BiFri last summer.

[havent flown post 9-11-01]

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Old 04-29-12, 03:03 PM   #7
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I was able to get my Large size Cannondale T-1 in this box.





Nicely packed! How many linear inches is that ?
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Old 04-29-12, 03:45 PM   #8
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Go to this website: http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

-- Scroll down to the chart near the bottom.
-- Notice that some airlines don't charge anything at all for bicycles
-- Pick two or three airlines that interest you
-- Look up the websites of those airlines and read their bicycle baggage policies and their oversized baggage policies
-- Choose an airline and book
-- Double check the baggage policies a couple weeks before your flight
-- Arrive at the airport very early so you aren't caught out if something changes with the baggage policy
-- Smile, be friendly, kind, helpful, nice the whole way through the process.


And no ... your bicycle box will not fit within 62 linear inches. Just make sure it fits within the maximum linear inches they list in the oversized luggage section. The box above is probably running around 100 linear inches. Measure the length + width + height.
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Old 04-29-12, 07:20 PM   #9
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Icelandair! Their box requirements are about the same as Amtrak's. The box is huge. It cost us $58 a bike from Portland, OR to Amsterdam.

Get the biggest box your LBS will give you. A 60cm frame will be a challenge, but I have done it with my 58cm quite easily. Also ask for a fork protector and a rear derailleur protector that come on all bike shipped to the shop from the factory. They usually have a box of this "stuff" sitting around. Our local shop is great to work with. Remember that the box will get inspected at security, so do not use too much tape on the top.



Pad things well because the boxes will take a beating. This one was put on 4 different flights, and came through OK. Put a label with your name, address, phone number, flight numbers, and destination on the outside of the box.


Check out Adventure Cycling's website for some hints on packing a bike. I usually put the 4 empty panniers and my helmet in the box. Pipe insulation does a good job of padding and protecting the bike's finish. I did have to take my front rack and fender off to make it fit in a used bike shop box. The bike is always packed better when leaving from home than on the return trip.


It is a relatively easy matter to reassemble your bike when you get to your destination.


My bike in the background is pretty much the way it came out of the box. The empty panniers were on it during shipment. I only had to remove the pedals and remove the bars and stem to make it fit. The large box is from Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands. Icelandair accepted the box with no problem. This was at PDX getting ready to ride the 120 miles home from the airport.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-29-12 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 04-29-12, 08:25 PM   #10
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I don't know if this will be much help for you but you can try to fly Air Canada. They have a $50 fee for bicycles for the one way trip and don't care if your box is between 50 to 70 pounds.
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