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International Travel with Bike SNAFU - Suggestions?

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International Travel with Bike SNAFU - Suggestions?

Old 04-20-23, 06:14 PM
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International Travel with Bike SNAFU - Suggestions?

I have a catch-22 and I figure some of the collective have had similar issues/problems.

We have a trip to Mallorca (leaving from Philadelphia) and are leaving this weekend. My wife booked the tickets way in advance online, and it's through British Airways. For complicated reasons, we did NOT order a "checked bag" when we bought the tickets.

I have been trying to contact BA about taking the bicycle with me, and they told me I could not do this in advance of 72 hours. OK. So now it's 72 hours before our trip, and BA tells me that since they sub-contracted the flight to American Airlines to London and then Finnair from London to Palma, they cannot allow me to include my bicycle. They tell me I have to add on the "bag fee" through AA at the airport check-in and then contact BA to add on the bike for the checked bag.

This has me concerned as I can foresee lots of delays and denials at the airport, and I do NOT want to be stuck at the airport and leave my bike behind.

I should add that my bike has custom geometry, so renting a bike in Mallorca is not ideal

As I see it, there are 3 options, all of which suck:

1. Get to airport early and hope we can make these arrangements as the airlines said
2. Find an alternative way to send the bike to/from Mallorca like FedEx.
3. Screw taking the bike and find a rental in Mallorca

None of these are ideal, and the whole thing has me rather stressed.

Suggestions? Please don't tell me we screwed up by not purchasing a checked bag at the start, we did not know it would be such a mess.
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Old 04-20-23, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
I have a catch-22 and I figure some of the collective have had similar issues/problems.

We have a trip to Mallorca (leaving from Philadelphia) and are leaving this weekend. My wife booked the tickets way in advance online, and it's through British Airways. For complicated reasons, we did NOT order a "checked bag" when we bought the tickets.

I have been trying to contact BA about taking the bicycle with me, and they told me I could not do this in advance of 72 hours. OK. So now it's 72 hours before our trip, and BA tells me that since they sub-contracted the flight to American Airlines to London and then Finnair from London to Palma, they cannot allow me to include my bicycle. They tell me I have to add on the "bag fee" through AA at the airport check-in and then contact BA to add on the bike for the checked bag.

This has me concerned as I can foresee lots of delays and denials at the airport, and I do NOT want to be stuck at the airport and leave my bike behind.

I should add that my bike has custom geometry, so renting a bike in Mallorca is not ideal

As I see it, there are 3 options, all of which suck:

1. Get to airport early and hope we can make these arrangements as the airlines said
2. Find an alternative way to send the bike to/from Mallorca like FedEx.
3. Screw taking the bike and find a rental in Mallorca

None of these are ideal, and the whole thing has me rather stressed.

Suggestions? Please don't tell me we screwed up by not purchasing a checked bag at the start, we did not know it would be such a mess.

If itís an American Flight over there, American will let you check it. Since itís tied to your ticket, and American and BA are code share I would imagine it would stay with the trip that it is booked under.


Get to the airport early and talk to American. Worst case they say no, run it back to your car.
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Old 04-20-23, 06:43 PM
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I have never made pre-arrangements for my bike; I just showed up at the Airport, and I usually fly at least 3 - 4 times per year. Don't expect any major delays it will most likely be a yes but if it is a no they will tell you right away. Please keep us in the loop on how this turns up.

American has never caused me grief over bringing a bike, nor has British Airways. Plus at least you are going somewhere where bike rental is a viable and efficient option.

Good Luck
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Old 04-20-23, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bampilot06
If itís an American Flight over there, American will let you check it. Since itís tied to your ticket, and American and BA are code share I would imagine it would stay with the trip that it is booked under.


Get to the airport early and talk to American. Worst case they say no, run it back to your car.
Yeah thatís what we are thinking. Grrr.
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Old 04-20-23, 06:53 PM
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If the worst case scenario is leaving your bike at the airport, at least have a friend/family member lined up that can go to the airport with you and take possession of the bike instead of leaving it there.
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Old 04-20-23, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
If the worst case scenario is leaving your bike at the airport, at least have a friend/family member lined up that can go to the airport with you and take possession of the bike instead of leaving it there.
Actually another cyclist friend is going, his wife is dropping him off and he said she can take the bike if airline wonít. I will get there earlier.

Fingers crossed!
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Old 04-20-23, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
Actually another cyclist friend is going, his wife is dropping him off and he said she can take the bike if airline wonít. I will get there earlier.

Fingers crossed!
Nice! That problem's solved. Again with the worst case scenario, you need to figure out sooner than later what it's going to take to fit on a standard rental and act accordingly if possible. Better to have/not need than the other way around.
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Old 04-21-23, 02:17 AM
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Tell them it’s your emotional support bike.
Which it actually is.
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Old 04-21-23, 03:46 AM
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Good luck datlas
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Old 04-21-23, 05:19 AM
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AA allows your bike as one of your checked bags. Fares and baggage fees can be complicated. I would not worry about the PHL-LHR leg, you are on a 787, which has a really big belly. There might be a fee but probably not. Finnair from LHR is the unknown. Actually, I think you are on an A320 BA. But the plane from LHR will be tighter on luggage capacity and weekends to Majorca are probably popular with lots of bikes who have reserved space. Worst case, your bike arrives a day or two late. I would prepare for that scenario. This has only happened to me twice with bikes and once with one other large sporting items on a return home.
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Old 04-21-23, 02:13 PM
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If ll else fails, renting a pretty good road bike in Mallorca is easy - there are a bunch of places. You can bring your pedals and saddle if those matter to you.

I usually don't bring my bike when I go riding in Spain. Renting in the cycling destinations there is easy and I particularly don't like traveling with a bike when there are multiple flights involved. Plus, usually arriving at said destinations with a bike plus associated luggage means I need to rent an SUV to do the surface transportation. Too many headaches.
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Old 04-22-23, 01:27 PM
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We are heading out soon. Fingers crossed no snags at checkin. Thanks for all the good suggestions.

Plan A is still bring the bike. Plan B is rental.
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Old 04-22-23, 05:49 PM
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Update:

AA let me check my bike. There was $75 charge but I am ok with that. Fingers crossed the bike makes it to Palma!
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Old 04-22-23, 07:21 PM
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Forgot to mention to put a AirTag in your bike case. It always helps to know where the bike is along the way and when you land.
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Old 04-23-23, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Forgot to mention to put a AirTag in your bike case. It always helps to know where the bike is along the way and when you land.
Done. I bought one a couple days ago specifically for this purpose.

We are at Heathrow, fingers crossed the bike makes the connection to Palma with us!
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Old 04-23-23, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas
Done. I bought one a couple days ago specifically for this purpose.

We are at Heathrow, fingers crossed the bike makes the connection to Palma with us!
Your all good now. Worst case it shows up a day later but thatís rare.
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Old 04-23-23, 12:35 PM
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I have traveled extensively with scuba and photo equipment and have learned never to check anything that I need at my destination. I still plan so I arrive at my destination two days in advance so if my checked bag is lost there is time to locate it or to go shopping.

With my last bike trip in Italy I bought a used bike there. Many friends have bought new Masi or Colnago bikes in Italy and then arranged to ship them home after their travels. One couple I know uses two folding bikes that they use at destinations and the advantage is that they can carry them onto a train or "gate check" them at a bus terminal and get to their primary destination that does not have an airport.
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Old 04-23-23, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Your all good now. Worst case it shows up a day later but thatís rare.
Worst case is it shows up the day after you leave.

I spent 5 days in Sweden with my luggage perpetually on the next flight.
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Old 04-24-23, 11:11 PM
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Luckily it worked out ok and the bike came with us to Palma. I am doing a few easy rides in advance of the 312 on Saturday.

Thanks again for all the suggestions and reassurance.
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Old 04-25-23, 12:15 AM
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enjoy mallorca! jelly!
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Old 04-25-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by diphthong
enjoy mallorca! jelly!
We did Sa Calobra yesterday. Here are some pics. Itís really a cycling Mecca here. I am grateful that the bike packing worked out ok.







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Old 04-26-23, 12:50 AM
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Well that looks just plain miserable.
The Mrs has family in Valencia. I think it's time for her to spend some time with them.
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Old 04-26-23, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas
We did Sa Calobra yesterday. Here are some pics. Itís really a cycling Mecca here. I am grateful that the bike packing worked out ok.







phenomenal. wouldn't blame you if you never returned to the states.
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Old 04-26-23, 03:29 AM
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If mrs datlas and I did not have family ties (especially aging parents but also kids in early 20’s), we would consider moving either here or AndalucŪa (Southern Spain). The cycling is good, the weather is generally good, the food is good, and I speak EspaŮol reasonably well.

As it is, we hope to spend a couple of weeks here once a year if we can. Beats Florida. Trust me.
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Old 05-07-23, 10:22 AM
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do you have a picture of the case, in which you placed your bike in, while in flight?
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