I have not done any touring in the past and have also never traveled on a plane with a bicycle. Obviously from the way normal baggage gets treated on a plane I am a little scared of what could happen to my bicycle. So I was wondering what most of you tourers do to protect your precious cargo? Is there any good insurance for your bike while traveling? Even to protect against simple component damage as well as dents, dings and paint scratches. Do any airlines insure your bicycle as well as your normal luggage?
Also if any of you have experience with traveling from the USA to Europe on United Airlines while packing a bike I would appreciate all the information I can get. Thanks for the help.
You should check out this thread
storing bike boxes at airports
It seems the rest of the world doesn't have the same trouble with baggage handlers at the US does. I no longer travel on American airlines so I have no experience with United.
Check out the shipping tips on bikesrnottoys.com. There's a link to a bike storage case, like a ABS gun case. Pretty kewl I think!