Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

airline travel with bike, 2 options

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

airline travel with bike, 2 options

Old 01-04-17, 08:07 AM
  #1  
alathIN
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 496

Bikes: Volagi Viaje (rando/gravel/tour), Cannondale Slice 4 (tri/TT), Motobecane Fantom PLUS X9 (plus tires MTB)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
airline travel with bike, 2 options

Trying to decide between two airline bike transport options.

1) I've heard some people who recommend applying padding/protection directly to the bike, similar to how you'd box it up to ship, then wrap in clear plastic. The rationale is that security/customs can see it's a bike and less inclined to want to open it up to search, and also the baggage handlers might be slightly less inclined to throw it off a cliff.

2) Someone in my town (no shipping!) is selling a not-actually-used Shimano PRO case, still in the packaging with tags etc, for $300 (they run about $399 for a good deal online). This has dense foam padding all around, and an alloy frame, and wheels to drag it through the airport, plus padded compartments for the wheels.

I'm inclined to #2 but wondering what the BF consensus is.
alathIN is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 08:09 AM
  #2  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,388

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 127 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2848 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
We use cardboard boxes and have done for numerous flights around the world.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 08:39 AM
  #3  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 149 Posts
Where are you traveling to and from, and have you checked to see if your airline allows bikes in bags? Some require boxes.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 08:44 AM
  #4  
Juan Foote
LBKA (formerly punkncat)
 
Juan Foote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Jawja
Posts: 3,430

Bikes: Spec Roubaix SL4, GT Traffic 1.0

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 942 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
As an alternate, and depending on your transportation options once you get there.....I have seen where people had their bikes shipped to a local bike shop and reassembled and ready for them when they got there.
Juan Foote is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 08:58 AM
  #5  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 149 Posts
Originally Posted by punkncat View Post
I have seen where people had their bikes shipped to a local bike shop and reassembled and ready for them when they got there.

Exactly. That's why I asked where he was flying to/from. I doubt I will ever fly domestically (in the U.S.) with a bike again. Between transportation to and from the airport, the bike fees and the TSA messing with the box, it's not worth it.


I did a tour starting and ending in Missoula, MT back in June. For about what my airline's bike fees, I had the bike professionally packed, shipped using Bikeflights.com and had is assembled and tuned at REI. I have gone this route for tours out west two other times. Works great. And the shop will almost certainly hold your box for you.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:04 AM
  #6  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
I've never bought the notion that baggage handlers treat things more carefully if they know what it is. I'm fully of the opinion that it is nothing but conjecture and wishful thinking of folks who love biking and think that everyone else treats their gear as carefully as they do.

For my last tour, I used cardboard boxes both ways. Got one for free from the LBS for the outbound trip, and bought one at Amsterdam Schiphol on the way back for 20 EUR or so. Didn't have a single issue either way, if anything I overpacked them.

For my next, I am planning on using a cardboard box from the LBS outbound, and a plastic bag on the way back, for the simple fact that the airline provides them cheap at the airport and I don't have to bother sourcing one or storing my original.

As @indyfabz mentioned, look carefully at your airline policies though. Some have very specific requirements for packaging, others don't. Weight and size limits also vary wildly, one of my airlines last tour still had a 23kg limit but no size on bikes, the other allowed up to 32kg but had to be less than 2.92 linear meters (w+l+h).

Last edited by jefnvk; 01-04-17 at 09:14 AM.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:16 AM
  #7  
alathIN
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 496

Bikes: Volagi Viaje (rando/gravel/tour), Cannondale Slice 4 (tri/TT), Motobecane Fantom PLUS X9 (plus tires MTB)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 96 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Where are you traveling to and from, and have you checked to see if your airline allows bikes in bags? Some require boxes.
Yes they allow bikes but there is an extra fee.

Costa Rica.
alathIN is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:29 AM
  #8  
VegasTriker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Sin City, Nevada
Posts: 2,102

Bikes: Catrike 700, Greenspeed GTO trike, , Linear LWB recumbent, Haluzak Horizon SWB recumbent, Balance 450 MTB, Cannondale SM800 Beast of the East

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 297 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Never Again

Better learn exactly what the extra charges will be before you buy the ticket. Airlines don't make it easy to figure out just how much it will cost. My one experience shipping the bike with me on the plane was a "never do this again" experience. If I were going on an extended vacation, I would use Bikeship to send it ahead and have it waiting for me at the destination. If it were a short trip, I would rather rent a bike than deal with the hassle.

It is very hard to deal with a box the size of a bike box if you also have ordinary luggage. It was not a non-stop flight (few are these days) and the airline charged me $40 each time the plane landed even though we did not change planes at intermediate stops. It gets worse each year as the airlines try to figure to wring out the last nickle they can from the passengers.
VegasTriker is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:39 AM
  #9  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 149 Posts
Originally Posted by alathIN View Post
Yes they allow bikes but there is an extra fee.
"[I]n bags" is the critical part of the question. Some allow bikes in bags. Some do not, requiring a box instead.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:40 AM
  #10  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Better learn exactly what the extra charges will be before you buy the ticket. Airlines don't make it easy to figure out just how much it will cost.
...
It was not a non-stop flight (few are these days) and the airline charged me $40 each time the plane landed even though we did not change planes at intermediate stops.


Out of curiosity, and for future planning, what airline were you with? I have never heard of an airline charging the fee every landing for any type of baggage, every one I researched was a flat one-way fee. Most had their policies right up front on their website, and those that weren't perfectly clear a quick call or email to customer service cleared up. The only shocks I encountered was one gate agent inviting us to use the VIP line, because he was a cyclist and decided we were worthy of expedient service, and another airline forgetting to charge us the $50 fee.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 10:22 AM
  #11  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
 
TimothyH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 13,815

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 213 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6232 Post(s)
Liked 223 Times in 151 Posts
Just use Bike Flights and don't worry about carrying it.
http://www.bikeflights.com
I have used them. They are excellent.


-Tim-

Edit: just priced to Costa Rica. Not a good price international. Never mind.

Last edited by TimothyH; 01-04-17 at 10:26 AM.
TimothyH is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 11:05 AM
  #12  
Banzai
Jet Jockey
 
Banzai's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 4,835

Bikes: Cannondale CAAD9, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Nashbar X-frame bike, Bike Friday Haul-a-Day, Surly Pugsley.

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 317 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Ritchey Breakaway. Love that bike.
__________________
Good night...and good luck
Banzai is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 11:19 AM
  #13  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,440

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6711 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 132 Times in 112 Posts
Each new Bike comes in a carton with a lot of plastic packing, so It looks perfect when sold
half way around the world from where it was manufactured.

It all must be disposed Of , so People wanting it to pack their own bike is great!

A Hard Case, if you stay , in the same hotel, or return to it will be OK , otherwise

'open jaws' Trips you have to ship it to where you will have your Departure.





...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 11:26 AM
  #14  
decentdrummer91
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 73 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wouldn't want to bag my bike, too OCD about stuff like that. If I absolutely had to take it with me, I would definitely buy the transportation case
decentdrummer91 is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 11:32 AM
  #15  
SloButWide 
Heck on Wheels
 
SloButWide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA Midwest
Posts: 1,111

Bikes: In Signature

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
For what it's worth, my son and daughter in law shipped three bikes from US to UK when relocating to London. They used two hard shell bike cases and a cardboard box. All three bikes arrived in fine condition. My daughter in law worked at a bike shop, and got wholesale pricing, so brand new cases at the price of used.

They're in a small flat with limited storage space, so they sold the cases for about what they paid. He mentioned if they had known that, they'd have just boxed all three.
__________________
"I had a great ride this morning, except for that part about winding up at work."

Bikes so far: 2011 Felt Z85, 80's Raleigh Sovereign (USA), 91 Bianchi Peregrine, 91 Austro-Daimler Pathfinder, 90's Trek 730 Multitrack, STOLEN: 80 Schwinn Voyageur (Japan)

SloButWide is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 12:12 PM
  #16  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 149 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
...and another airline forgetting to charge us the $50 fee.

First, I am similarly curious as to which airline charged a separate fee for each leg.


As to the above, I came up with a plan one day that I hoped would get over on the bike charge. My flight was at a busy time of the a.m. I decided to use free, curb-side check-in, hoping that the poor guy collecting all the bags would be too busy to think about a possible bike charge. My plan worked to perfection--at first. The guy was incredibly busy and never asked me what was in the box. He just gave me a claim tag and I was of to the security line.


I was as happy as a clam thinking I had beaten the system--until I was paged over the PA system just as I got through security. I was summoned to the gate. Waiting there was an airline employee. She told me the curbside guy saw my bike in the box when security opened it for screening just inside the terminal and that I needed to cough up $75 for the bike. Total bummer.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 12:44 PM
  #17  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
She told me the curbside guy saw my bike in the box when security opened it for screening just inside the terminal and that I needed to cough up $75 for the bike. Total bummer.
Ouch! Mine was no creative plan, I was at the counter ready to pay the fee (it was $50CAD to boot, so more like $30USD at that point, hardly an unreasonable fee), they simply did not request it. Of course, I was in no hurry to remind them to charge me! I think it was because Air Canada were using generic airport contract employees for checkin, they may well not have been familiar with every individual airline's fees.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 12:52 PM
  #18  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 149 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Ouch!

I think that was back in 2006, when I flew to Bismarck, ND for the start of a supported tour. $75 seems like a bargain now. I flew to Italy in 2013 with U.S. Airways. $200 each way. They still charge that much for domestic and international travel.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 01:00 PM
  #19  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I think that was back in 2006, when I flew to Bismarck, ND for the start of a supported tour. $75 seems like a bargain now. I flew to Italy in 2013 with U.S. Airways. $200 each way. They still charge that much for domestic and international travel.
If you look, you can find some deals. Mine was this past May, 2016. I flew Brussels Airlines to Belgium from Toronto, and so long as the sports item was under 23kg, it flew free (no reasonable limit on actual size). The return was from Amsterdam to Toronto, where the quoted price of $50CAD was forgotten. I specifically chose those airlines over a couple lower priced alternatives, because of the savings.

But yeah, you are right, most are $150-200 each way now. I have a giant spreadsheet of about thirty different airlines at home somewhere I made up with various policies and costs. My next trip on WOW Air is $56USD each way, IIRC, from Toronto to Iceland, and a bit more than that if I were to continue onto Europe. They also charge you an extra $40 or so if you wait til checkin to pay, instead of doing it online.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 06:36 PM
  #20  
Da Reef
Senior Member
 
Da Reef's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 349

Bikes: Tarmac, Allez Sprint, Nashbar beater

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been using the Airport Ninja case for several months. Weekly flights, multiple airlines, never charged a fee. Only been asked twice what is inthe bag. "Convention display".

TSA must think my bike is hot as the open my bag every flight to admire its beauty.

https://orucase.com/products/the-air...inja-bike-case

Last edited by Da Reef; 01-04-17 at 09:02 PM.
Da Reef is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 07:08 PM
  #21  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,388

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 127 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2848 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post


Out of curiosity, and for future planning, what airline were you with? I have never heard of an airline charging the fee every landing for any type of baggage, every one I researched was a flat one-way fee. Most had their policies right up front on their website, and those that weren't perfectly clear a quick call or email to customer service cleared up. The only shocks I encountered was one gate agent inviting us to use the VIP line, because he was a cyclist and decided we were worthy of expedient service, and another airline forgetting to charge us the $50 fee.
I was threatened with this when I started a long set of flights to Australia.

I started with Air Canada from Calgary to Vancouver, then Air Canada handed me over to United Express to Los Angeles. One fee for me from Calgary to LA ... and the threat that I would have to pay two fees for my bicycle, one for each segment. Also the threat that the United Express airline could leave my bicycle behind if they deemed it 'too big'. Fortunately, neither threat came true.

And believe me, there were lots of emails and phone calls ... none of which provided me with a comforting response. So much so, that I enlisted the help of relatives in Vancouver on the chance my bicycle would be left behind.
Machka is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 07:57 PM
  #22  
jefnvk
Senior Member
 
jefnvk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Metro Detroit/AA
Posts: 8,247

Bikes: 2016 Novara Mazama

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3586 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I started with Air Canada from Calgary to Vancouver, then Air Canada handed me over to United Express to Los Angeles. One fee for me from Calgary to LA ... and the threat that I would have to pay two fees for my bicycle, one for each segment.
Yeah, gotta watch out for the regional jets on the bikes too, or really any oversized baggage. I went to school in a remote area, and had a few friends occasionally come back from break when the planes were full arrive to find out their regular bags would be a few days behind them. Had that issue with hockey equipment on a flight to a tournament once as well, luckily I packed my skates and helmet as carry on and borrowed the rest.

Always fun to see how different people have incredibly different experiences, tho. I've flown Air Canada four times, one with a bike, and have nothing but good to say about them.
jefnvk is offline  
Old 01-04-17, 09:15 PM
  #23  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,388

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 127 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2848 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Yeah, gotta watch out for the regional jets on the bikes too, or really any oversized baggage. I went to school in a remote area, and had a few friends occasionally come back from break when the planes were full arrive to find out their regular bags would be a few days behind them. Had that issue with hockey equipment on a flight to a tournament once as well, luckily I packed my skates and helmet as carry on and borrowed the rest.

Always fun to see how different people have incredibly different experiences, tho. I've flown Air Canada four times, one with a bike, and have nothing but good to say about them.
Most of the time Air Canada has been good ... just that one occasion. And of course it was a very important occasion for me because I was moving to Australia, and wanted all my stuff with me. I wasn't going back to Canada for the next couple years so it wasn't like I'd be back in 3 weeks to pick up my bicycle. And I had a connecting flight in LA to catch, so I couldn't wait around in LA for my bicycle to arrive.
Machka is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.