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Flying with my Brompton: gate-checking experience

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Flying with my Brompton: gate-checking experience

Old 05-13-12, 01:34 AM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by cbike View Post
In the ticket like a guy couple spots behind me loudly asked me "WHAT BIKE IS THIS?". I answered as quiet and discretely "a folding bike" just to get another "WHAT BIKE?". I answered "a brompton". At that time the cat was out of the bag but luckily the counter person never questioned me about it.
When taking a Brompton to a conference, that time in a case, I put nearly as much effort to conceal the bike from other conference participants as from the airline. I was pretty sure to encounter some random participants in the check-in line and potentially run into situations such as above. Those few who knew for one reason or another were asked to keep their mouth shut.
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Old 05-14-12, 09:27 AM
  #77  
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Gosh, all this makes me wonder why there is so much lack of uniformity (i.e., inconsistency) in the system of commecial carrier travel. Every trip to the airlines or bus service would be/is stressful when you don't know what to expect. You don't want to get stranded, pay high fees, or have your bike damaged because it gets placed in a spot for transport that you weren't prepared for.

On our local transit I am asking the question - "do you allow folding bikes on and if you do what are the restrictions?" Many on this forum say just don't ask (cover it or just bluff your way on etc.), but I think the only way to have it consistent from driver to driver and route to route - so that you can count on getting home or getting to your destination - is to ask the question so that the answer can be disseminated throughout the system. In addition, I have offered to demostrate boarding and stowage options to the "powers to be" and have linked them to some good resources and successful examples of other transit agencies that allow folders.
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Old 06-14-12, 11:03 AM
  #78  
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Ok, similar situation as everyone above.

I am actually moving from Southern California to Seattle. Since this is a work relocation, they are paying for the move. They are providing temporary housing for 2 months while I look for permanent housing. They are going to move all of my stuff over there but it will be in storage until I find a permanent house so I won't have access to the majority of my stuff.

So all of my bikes will be in storage except for my Brompton. I plan to bring that with me on the plane when I relocate so that I can have a bike up there.

I have the Brompton B bag so I am thinking of packing up my bike with bubble wrap and filling up the bag with clothes and other stuff so that the bike is relatively secured. But as all of us have seen, those baggage handlers like to grab bags and toss them from one location to another. I don't know if the bike will be good when those guys tossing it from belt to cart, to belt with other big bags on top, etc.

But it looks like the success rate in recent years on gate checking has been iffy at best. I am flying Alaska Air if that matters.

Anyone have any more info on bringing a Brompton onto an airplane for travel?

fyi, I usually travel with my xootr scooter on planes. It works well and there's never a problem.
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Old 06-14-12, 11:31 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by RVD72 View Post
Anyone have any more info on bringing a Brompton onto an airplane for travel?
Brompton's marketing of the B Bag make it sound like it's designed for flying with your bike.. If you add bubble wrap & clothes you're probably pretty safe, if you choose to check it in.

Based on my experiences flying to and from Japan (above), I think that I'll still gate check the bike next time. But I will try to get some clear plastic hose from the hardware store that is big enough to cover 1) the main frame tube, 2) the right fork blade, and 3) the handlebar riser. Those were the only places that got scratched last time. Using tough, clear plastic hose will not add any significant weight or bulk, and allow baggage handlers to see it's a bike - hence (in theory) they may still treat it a bit more carefully.

Last edited by yangmusa; 06-14-12 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 06-14-12, 02:50 PM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post
But I will try to get some clear plastic hose from the hardware store that is big enough to cover 1) the main frame tube, 2) the right fork blade, and 3) the handlebar riser. Those were the only places that got scratched last time. Using tough, clear plastic hose will not any significant weight or bulk, and allow baggage handlers to see it's a bike - hence (in theory) they may still treat it a bit more carefully.
That's a good idea. Bike Friday includes some clear vinyl tubing to protect part of the bike's headtube when you ship it in the suitcase. A quick check of Lowes' website shows that they sell 1"x2" clear vinyl tubing; 1x1 vinyl tubing...and a lot of smaller sizes as well.
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Old 06-15-12, 01:22 AM
  #81  
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Haven't written in a while because I've been flying around with the Brompton in tow! What a joy to have a great bike with me to jump on an go. But I've a bit of experience now with traveling with the Brompton. I have to admit, as I'm packing it up and hauling it around ( I used to just travel with carry ons ), I sometimes wonder if it's worth it. But as soon as I jump on the bike - great stuff!

I used the B&W black hard case and it's already been bent fairly badly. I have the extended seat tube and on one trip, I left in the downtube but had it stick out the bottom a bit so that it fit. A mistake - at some point, they handled the luggage so roughly that the seat post rammed up against the interior of the case and bent some of the frame. It could be a case of where if they *know* it's a bicycle in a soft case, they'll treat it better. Still I think I rather just go with my hard case as a precaution.
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Old 06-15-12, 02:18 AM
  #82  
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One wonders how they manage to handle luggage so badly that very tough stuff is damaged. Like they drive over it or something. I have taken my Brommie wrapped in a tough canvas bag, strapped together and so. They bent the steering somehow that when I unpacked it, the bars were sitting at an angle. I thought it was simply the quill that had rotated but it wasn't. It seems that despite the bars being tucked against the folded package, *somehow* they managed to torque bend the steering riser.
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Old 06-15-12, 02:37 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
One wonders how they manage to handle luggage so badly that very tough stuff is damaged.
I agree... you really have to wonder how badly luggage gets handled. After the second trip, I was packing up my Brompton for my third airplane trip, flipped the B&W case over, and noticed that about 3 linear inches of the edge along the bottom - which is bound with a metal strip - protruded about 3/4". Even though the seat tube was packed in, extra padding, and not much room for the bike to shift, they handled the box hard enough that the bottom of seat tube impacted and bent out the casing. Amazing really.
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Old 06-18-12, 05:02 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
I agree... you really have to wonder how badly luggage gets handled. After the second trip, I was packing up my Brompton for my third airplane trip, flipped the B&W case over, and
Torque builds up quick when there's a lever and 300 kgs of other suitcases on top. Even drop testing from 1m isn't equivalent to being at the bottom of the pile. Have also had a handlebar half set off straight by 10cm or so while traveling on a Dahon in a hardcase.

I think the airlines need to be a bit more transparent with conditions suitcases see, and adhere to those. The fine print on where responsibilities exist is frightening. There's probably a disclaimer somewhere now too if you didn't declare what you were transporting as a bicycle, and have paid the extra surcharge.
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Old 06-18-12, 07:07 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by JimBeans83 View Post
Torque builds up quick when there's a lever and 300 kgs of other suitcases on top. Even drop testing from 1m isn't equivalent to being at the bottom of the pile..... I think the airlines need to be a bit more transparent with conditions suitcases see, and adhere to those. The fine print on where responsibilities exist is frightening. There's probably a disclaimer somewhere now too if you didn't declare what you were transporting as a bicycle, and have paid the extra surcharge.
True... never thought about the other bags around. The disclaimers are appalling. You're probably right: it occurred to me that if I do not disclose it's a bike, I may be on the hook for anything that happens. At the same time, I strongly suspect that even declaring it as a bike and paying the extra surcharge necessarily means that you'd get fully compensated either... such is life these days.
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Old 06-24-12, 10:35 AM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Sangetsu View Post
I haven' yet flown with a folding bike, but I often fly with my full-size road bike. So far I have had no difficulty, other than the oversize bag fee, and sometimes a bicycle surcharge. All of my flights are international, from Asia to America or Europe, but customs and security people have not given me any problems. The only problem is the cost; the over-size bag fee is $150, and the bicycle surcharge is usually another $150. I now avoid the bicycle surcharge by telling the check-in attendant that the case contains photographic equipment. They know it's a bicycle, but they never do anything but smile or wink. When I fly business class or better, they don't even ask what's in the case.
I just flew from Houston to Denver and back on United. I had a full size bicycle in a soft case. I was not charged as it is much smaller and lighter than a hard case. I told them athletic equipment when they asked what was in the case. My bicycle came through just fine in the soft case. I am however considering a Brompton due to the convenience of not have to dis-assemble and re-assemble the bicycle. Plus the Brompton will be much easier to put into a rental car.
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Old 06-24-12, 01:39 PM
  #87  
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I forgot to ask if you deflate the tires when flying. I have been, but wonder if it is really necessary.
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Old 06-24-12, 02:58 PM
  #88  
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Not neccessary according to some airlines, so any airline that requires you to deflate is talking crap. I've not bothered doing it for years. Inflated tyres protect the rims better.
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Old 06-24-12, 08:30 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by gtragitt View Post
I forgot to ask if you deflate the tires when flying. I have been, but wonder if it is really necessary.
I deflate mine a bit. Better safe than sorry. I travel with a hard case too, so the bike is fairly well protected.
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Old 09-02-14, 09:51 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by yangmusa View Post
Has anyone flown with a Brompton H-type yet? Will it fit through the x-ray machines?

If nobody has tried this yet, can those of you who have flown with regular Bromptons chime in with how much clearance there is when it goes through the x-ray machine?

My H-type just arrived, and it seems to be about 1" longer and taller than my wife's M-type. About 24"x24"x11", compared to 23"x23"x11".

We're flying off to Japan in about 1.5 weeks, and the plan is to gate check out bikes. I'm looking forward to the trip, but a little anxious about the flights!
Although your question about the H-type was posed over 2 years ago, I just saw it and I'm interested in your experience with the H's larger folded size. Did it fit through the x-ray machine?
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Old 09-03-14, 08:10 AM
  #91  
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its just the part below the Hinge on the steering mast thats an inch more,.. so, bar folds down with same clearance to the ground.

try it for yourself.
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Old 09-03-14, 01:43 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by Odad View Post
Although your question about the H-type was posed over 2 years ago, I just saw it and I'm interested in your experience with the H's larger folded size. Did it fit through the x-ray machine?
Yes, the H-type does fit through the x-ray machine even though it's a little larger than the M-type. I wrote a more detailed post if you look back through this thread.
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Old 09-22-15, 09:37 PM
  #93  
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Hello atman,
I realize I'm late to the party......I recently read your posts regarding your Brommie airline experiences and have some additional questions I didn't see mentioned. Sorry if I may have missed previous discussions. Greatly appreciate you sharing the experiences you have had!


1. When you gate check, do you normally get charged a fee, say with Southwest? I assume this may vary from airline to airline.


2. How do you specifically secure your bike? Toe strap or Surly junk straps around where the handlebars clamp to the top tube?

Thanks,
rjrjr
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