I am sure this topic has been beaten to death on some corners of this forum, but each situation is unique right?
I am contemplating buying a bike here in Sydney, Australia, before I undertake a 6 month bike tour starting in London in April this year.
I have a bike I want and for which I have been quoted a reasonable price.
My only reservations are taking the bike on an airline to the UK.
I am seeking advice relating to any experiences on a similar long haul flights with a touring bike. At present I will either be flying Qantas, Etihad, Emirate or Malaysia airlines. Weight will not be an issue, but oversize dimensions for the bike packed most likely will. Qantas appears to be fairly generous, offering dimensions of Length: 140cm (55in)
Width: 30cm (12in) Height: 80cm (32in). Other airlines, not so much, appearing to offer no more than 45cm x 72cm x 90cm, for which my bike will definitely exceed.
Have tried to query the airlines about associated costs with dimensions exceeding these sizes, but I have effectively been ignored.
Anyone have experiences with these airlines? Anyone have an understanding on general ball park figures for oversize fees on similar long haul flights? Recommendations for packing the bike? Any advice is helpful.
Qantas have a bike box ... if you cannot pack a diamond frame in that (not a tandem) then I would be very surprised. You shouldn't have any issues with the box size, maybe with weight, but I have flown with all my gear including an Extrawheel trailer in one box and all squeezing in under 32 kg bar one pannier which I took as hand luggage. It can be done.
This photo is of my flying with the Surly Long Haul Trucker and the Extrawheel in separate boxes but I flew back with it all in one.
Agreed ... Qantas is generous, both with their boxes and their allowances. Other airlines ... not so much.
If you opt to fly with another airline, just pay whatever fees you encounter. What fees will those be ... you'll find out when you get there!! It depends! What does it depend on? Well ...
If you arrive very early, chances are you'll pay less. If you arrive very late, chances are you'll pay more.
If you're nice to the check-in people, chances are you'll pay less. If you're rude to the check-in people, chances are you'll pay more.
If you arrive prepared with all your documentation and "ducks in a row" so that the check-in process is really smooth, chances are you'll pay less. If you arrive in a state of chaos and hold up the line getting yourself organised, chances are you'll pay more.
And it depends what their policies of the moment are.
Have a read over this site ... but note that airlines change their policies like most people change their socks, so use this site for reference, but check the actual airline website for confirmation. And check the airline website again a couple weeks before you travel. And check it again a few days before you travel. Whatever the airline website says when you walk up to the counter is the policy of the moment. http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm
BTW - have you checked Thai Airways? Rowan travelled to London with them in 2007 (from Sydney), and it he said the flight was all right.