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  1. #1
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Airlines are making bicycle transport more difficult.

    Old news, but I'm glad to see the subject is not being totally ignored.

    Airlines change gears on passengers flying with bikes - The Washington Post
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 07-01-14 at 06:19 PM.
    When I ride my bike I feel free and happy and strong. I'm liberated from the usual nonsense of day to day life. Solid, dependable, silent, my bike is my horse, my fighter jet, my island, my friend. Together we will conquer that hill and thereafter the world.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeneralist's Avatar
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    Nice to see the problem mentioned in a "general audience" publication, instead of just in cycling magazines.
    - Jeneralist

    See video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv4CrEEg_N4 to see me in the Outrageous Outfit Challenge for the MS Society; or go straight to http://goo.gl/bALZDg to donate

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Old news, but I'm glad to see the subject is not being totally ignored.

    Airlines change gears on passengers flying with bikes - The Washington Post
    True, although nothing in the article gave any indication that there was reason to hope for better treatment from the airlines.

    As you say, this is definitely old news. The airline bicycle baggage rates were already exorbitant when I bought my Bike Friday folder 20 years ago for use both on short business trips and bike tours. It wasn't a cheap bike purchase, but only a fraction of what the baggage charges would have been over the years for a regular bicycle. At least one of the rationales for my folder purchase has finally gone away - our local subway system recently dropped its restriction on carrying regular bikes during commute hours.
    Last edited by prathmann; 07-01-14 at 09:35 PM.

  4. #4
    imi
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    Airlines are making bicycle transport more difficult.

    Hey, tell me about it! I travel with both a bike and a guitar :/
    Because of my seasonal work, I have to tour in winter, otherwise I'd skip flying altogether.
    Baggage rules and code-sharing... GAH!

  5. #5
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    I don't fly much, but the first time I took bikes on a plane was 1984. It cost us $100 per bike with Continental. It looks like people are paying $75-300 currently, which strikes me as a price increase that is below the rate of inflation over those years. I guess I don't see what all the hollering is about.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I've been on 2 Asian carriers that were happy to carry my bike without charge. EVA and Thai. One in the USA as well, Alaska let my folder that weighed in at just under 50 pounds with bike, case, and other odds and ends, without charge, to Miami and back to Seattle. I believe all three were supposed to charge for the bike, but did not. I sure hope my luck continues.

  7. #7
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    We are planning on getting Bike Fridays in September when we visit North America. We plan to use ordinary suitcases for them. Fortunately, the weight limits for travel from Australia to North America are more lenient than for flying to other continents. We have sourced two suitcases already -- from a local shop attached to a rubbish dump for a total cost of $28. We could dispose of them on arrival if we were starting a tour and not returning to the same location, because they were so cheap. Used, but in quite good condition...
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    With those fees, you can pay for a bike friday or similar type folding bike fairly quickly if you travel with a bike on a regular basis.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I don't fly much, but the first time I took bikes on a plane was 1984. It cost us $100 per bike with Continental. It looks like people are paying $75-300 currently, which strikes me as a price increase that is below the rate of inflation over those years. I guess I don't see what all the hollering is about.
    My guess is that $100 in '84 was an oddity. When I flew to Boise for the start of the 2002 Cycle Oregon I paid $75 on America West. Internationally, from U.S. to Europe anyway, there was generally no extra bike fee. Flew to Milan, Italy direct in '95 and Sevilla, Spain via Heathrow and Gatwick in '00. The bike was simply counted as one of the two free pieces of checked bags I was permitted.

    When the GF and I flew to Venice last year, U.S. Air socked us for $200/per bike each way.

    Just spent nine days touring in Montana out of Missoula. United wanted $175 each way for the bike. Instead of flying, I shipped using bikeflights.com. I have a large, heavy LHT. Inside the box (a Crateworks Pro XL-C) was the bike, my racks, stove and fuel bottle. I didn't have access to a scale so I widly over estimated the total weight at 90 lbs. The bikeflights.com charge for shipping, including $5 for pickup at my LBS, was $73. I could have gotten it down to under $70 with a more accurate weight. Having my LB box my bike, shipping plus the $40 for assembly and tuning at the Missoula REI was less than what United wanted for flying alone, and there was no issue with getting the bike to/from the Missoula Airport.

    Bikeflights.com is a great service. Their web site even has a drop down menu that includes many popular bike boxes. If you have one that is listed, the dimensions are automatically fillied in for you. Once you purchase, you are emailed a FedEx label 10 days before your scheduled ship date. If you purchase within 10 days of the scheduled ship date, the label is emailed to you in about 10 min. You make three copies, go to a FedEx office, get some clear envelopes for the lables and stick one on each end of the box and put ne inside for backup. You can leave the bike there or have it picked up for an extra $5 (make the election when you purchase shipping.) Bikeflights.coim sends you an email with FedEx tracking information. Ground shipping time is about 4 days. I got an email last night telling me my bike was picked up from the Missoula REI yesterday, as promised. Customer service is great. Before I purchased, I had a few questions so I emailed them. They got back to me within 30 min.

  10. #10
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    I paid $25 on United back in 1986. I only paid $250 for the bike, I wouldn't have paid more to ship it.

    Edited to add: The $25 was for the box. My friend made his own box and got to fly with his bike for free. But his box was trashed at the end of the flight.
    sharon
    when did I become vintage?

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Re trashed Box, Id be throwing it away at the arrival area anyhow ..

    just tie everything to the bike itself so It wont fall Out..

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I have not actually flown with a full-sized bike, but whenever I look into it, it doesn't seem like it's really getting worse, just not any better. Prices are going up, but prices on everything go up. I'm not seeing a huge jump.

    One area where I have seen actual improvement: Even just a few years ago, I heard of people having to misrepresent their folding bike just to get it checked as regular luggage and avoid the bicycle fees. It seemed that airlines didn't care that it wasn't oversized luggage, and would charge the full bicycle transport fee no matter what. When I flew last month, both airlines I used had amended their policy to state that any bike that fit into a standard sized suitcase and was under the weight limit was not subject to additional fees.

    Of course they trashed my suitcase, because that's what happens when your luggage dates back to a time when they didn't toss the bags around like they were training for the Olympics, but at least they didn't charge me extra for the privilege of having my bag ruined.

  13. #13
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    When traveling away from home with my bicycle I either pedal the bike or ride on Amtrak. If that's not fast enough then I don't go. I've learned to think of airlines as an imaginary business I see in the movies. Everything about airlines is bad including on-time performance, getting into and out of the airports on a bicycle, long lines, and the "friendly" staff. I will probably fly again before I die. But not with a bicycle.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    One area where I have seen actual improvement: Even just a few years ago, I heard of people having to misrepresent their folding bike just to get it checked as regular luggage and avoid the bicycle fees. It seemed that airlines didn't care that it wasn't oversized luggage, and would charge the full bicycle transport fee no matter what.
    I've seen a few statements like that and always wondered why any misrepresentation would be needed since no airline counter person has ever asked me what was inside my suitcase. I just put it on their scale at the baggage counter, they put the luggage tag on and it disappears on the conveyor belt. Obviously the TSA folks doing the xray and other inspections can see that there's a bicycle inside, but by then I'm already checked in for the flight and on my way to the gate. I've been flying pretty regularly with my folding bike since I bought it in '94 and have never encountered any such issue.

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