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Bike cases on airlines, extra cost??

Old 02-04-06, 05:45 PM
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duane041
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Bike cases on airlines, extra cost??

I'm sure many of you have travelled with your bike in a bicycle case before. I see that Performance has them on sale, and I am considering picking one up. My question is, do the airlines charge you extra for cheking the case as baggage? I'd love to just show up with my bike, roll it into the terminal, and have it show up when I land in Portland (sometime in June). Just wondering how this works.
While we're here , how much of a tear-dwon needs to be done to fit the bike into the case? Major surgery. or simple stuff? May need to pack some tools, too.
Thanks guys (and girls)
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Old 02-04-06, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by duane041
I'm sure many of you have travelled with your bike in a bicycle case before. I see that Performance has them on sale, and I am considering picking one up. My question is, do the airlines charge you extra for cheking the case as baggage?
If you are on a domestic flight, they will charge you anywhere from about $35-85 depending on the airline for "oversized luggage". If you are flying internationally, it is free (usually).


Originally Posted by duane041
I'd love to just show up with my bike, roll it into the terminal, and have it show up when I land in Portland (sometime in June). Just wondering how this works.
That's exactly how it works. You go to the check-in desk with your bicycle and other piece of luggage (remember, you can only have two pieces, the bicycle, and one other bag, or they will charge you even more -- like about $175). They will tag both pieces of luggage, then they will take your other piece of luggage, and a nice security guard will direct you where you need to go with your bicycle.

When you arrive at your destination, you will go to the luggage carrousel and you will collect your other piece of luggage. Then you will go on a treasure hunt for your bicycle. It might come around on the carrousel. It might be beside the carrousel. It might be in another part of the baggage area. Or they might have decided to keep it somewhere out of sight until everyone in the baggage area is long gone and you are beginning to panic ... and then they will wheel it out to you.


Originally Posted by duane041
While we're here , how much of a tear-dwon needs to be done to fit the bike into the case? Major surgery. or simple stuff? May need to pack some tools, too.
Thanks guys (and girls)
It's simple ... the pedals come off and go into a plastic bag, the wheels come off, the scewers come out of the wheels and go into the plastic bag, the handlebar comes off and is turned to one side and zip tied to the frame, and the seatpost and saddle come off (don't forget to mark the seatpost first).
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Old 02-04-06, 07:06 PM
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Depending on where you go it may be better to rent a road bike then to try to box one up on an airplane. They seem to go out of their way to make it hard to take your bike along on a vacation trip.
The other good thing about renting is you can get an extended test ride.
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Old 02-04-06, 07:51 PM
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join adv/cycling or LAB, used to be that your bike flies free when you book through them. i haven't used service since 1997 though, check with each to make sure.
good causes either way!
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Old 02-04-06, 08:03 PM
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Here ... have a look at the regulations:

http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm
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Old 02-04-06, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Mariner Fan
Depending on where you go it may be better to rent a road bike then to try to box one up on an airplane. They seem to go out of their way to make it hard to take your bike along on a vacation trip.
The other good thing about renting is you can get an extended test ride.
Well I have never done a tour yet, it will be my first in September. But I would think a bicycle is a very personal item. You trained on it, you know how it's equipped and how to take care of it. Plus a rented bicycle may appear OK for that test ride around the block but put in a day or two and troubles may turn up. Not to say you won't have troubles with your own but at least you know when you leave for the trip that your bike is in good condition.

If you are just taking day trips then I say by all means rent if you know there are reliable facilities around.
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Old 02-04-06, 08:08 PM
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I have checked several US carriers and all are charging $90 each way for international flights. That is not to say that you will be charged but it is the new policy.
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Old 02-04-06, 08:10 PM
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I got my Bike all the way to greece, from the states, they charged me 85 bucks for the case.

When I got to greece they lost every piece of luggage exept my bike.
Which they took apart and rode-those punks
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Old 02-04-06, 08:54 PM
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Join USA Cyling and get two FREE round-trip vouchers on United Airlines worth $160 for transporting your bike. I use a hard-shell case since these guys will toss your carbon beauty around like a beach ball at a rock concert.
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Old 02-04-06, 09:18 PM
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Just one question. If it is in a case how do they know it is a bike. And if they know it is a bike, why is it any different from any other piece of luggage? It should be free as long as it is under the weight limit.
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Old 02-04-06, 10:00 PM
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It has to do with the size. They will ding you for oversize luggage at the tune of 80 bucks each way. I went through that for my trip to Hawaii.
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Old 02-04-06, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
Just one question. If it is in a case how do they know it is a bike. And if they know it is a bike, why is it any different from any other piece of luggage? It should be free as long as it is under the weight limit.

The bicycle cases are pretty easily identifyable. There are only 3 or 4 brands and they are quite distinctive, so most airlines are probably familiar with them. Plus they ask you point blank, "Is that a bicycle in there?"

It is different from other pieces of luggage because of the size. A bicycle case is BIG and is considered "oversized" by airlines. Check that link I posted earlier for more information.
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Old 02-04-06, 10:05 PM
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I was once going to take my bike to Maui. Wow. $75 each flight. Round trip there were four. BIke did not go. Go international no charge as long you do not exceed either allowed weight or number of bags.
Shows how Americans' treat cyclists. Those hard cases are pretty darn heavy.
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Old 02-05-06, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
I was once going to take my bike to Maui. Wow. $75 each flight. Round trip there were four. BIke did not go. Go international no charge as long you do not exceed either allowed weight or number of bags.
Shows how Americans' treat cyclists. Those hard cases are pretty darn heavy.
As I stated above, there is now a charge for international flights on US carriers.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Go international no charge as long you do not exceed either allowed weight or number of bags. Shows how Americans' treat cyclists. Those hard cases are pretty darn heavy.

Originally Posted by spinnaker
As I stated above, there is now a charge for international flights on US carriers.
International on a non-US airline (always preferable seeing as US airline companies s@ck hard) is generally free, but as spinnaker noted, they usually try and ht you on US owned airlines.

I usually get a freebie when i use my padded bag. When i'm asked what's inside, i tell them it's sports equipment. always works
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Old 02-05-06, 09:01 AM
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My question :

What do you do with the bike case once you get to your destination? You can't carry it on your bike. Do airports have places that will store the case for you?
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Old 02-05-06, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by tinrobot
My question :

What do you do with the bike case once you get to your destination? You can't carry it on your bike. Do airports have places that will store the case for you?
Depends on where you go. Some airports will store luggage but I doubt if any US airports will do it anymore.

Selecting a hotel near the airportfor first and last night is an option. They will sometimes store it for you for free.

Nearby train stations may store luggage for free.


But if you take a cardboard box then you have the option to discard it, in case your plan fails. You would just need to buy another for the return trip.
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Old 02-05-06, 11:01 AM
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A useful website from another Touring List is:

http://www.bikeaccess.net/BikeAccess/default.cfm

Lots of info about travelling with bikes, shipping, airline regs. etc.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:47 AM
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I have shipped mine UPS to a bike shop where they reassembled it and tuned it for me. That was in a bike box so more dissassembly was required. Money well spent for a long trip

I travel for work a lot (quick trips) and really looking for a way to be able to do this more efficiently. Now that I am the higher freq flier status I get to check an extra bag which I never check one so maybe I can negotiate something you think?
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Old 02-06-06, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
International on a non-US airline (always preferable seeing as US airline companies s@ck hard) is generally free, but as spinnaker noted, they usually try and ht you on US owned airlines.

I usually get a freebie when i use my padded bag. When i'm asked what's inside, i tell them it's sports equipment. always works
I had to pay $80 on Air France, even with a first class ticket.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
I had to pay $80 on Air France, even with a first class ticket.
If you're flying 1st class, you can afford it

next time try KLM, BA, Virgin, etc...
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Old 02-06-06, 12:08 PM
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Bozeman to Austin = $80

Austin to Bozeman = Free. I flew out of Austin with my bike in a "USPS Pro Cycling Team" bike bag and a blue Subaru duffel. Being a poseur has it's advantages.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tinrobot
My question :

What do you do with the bike case once you get to your destination? You can't carry it on your bike. Do airports have places that will store the case for you?

Exactly why I use cardboard boxes now instead of a case. I have used a case on a couple occasions where I knew I would have a place to store it at my destination, but when I didn't know ... cardboard boxes are the way to go.

Many airlines sell them, but if they don't, you can pick them up for free from most shops that sell bicycles. Then when you get to your destination, you can either fold them up and take them with you, or toss them out. (I've done both)


As for airports storing cases, since late 2001, most airports I've encountered (North America, Europe, and Australia) have removed their storage facilities. I know Heathrow, for example, was absolutely adament about not storing ANYTHING there anymore.
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Old 02-06-06, 06:40 PM
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I travelled with a Crate Works case a few times. While it wasn't especially heavy, I found it very awkward to carry. Eventually I bought a Ritchey BreakAway and have travelled with it several times since. I have their deluxe case which looks essentially like a piece of black ballistic nylon luggage. I have been travelling to Taiwan for the past 2 years with 2 or 3 week home leaves every 2 or 3 months. This works really well and allows me to have my bike while I'm away and when I come back home.

But, I would offer the following advice:
  1. Pack the bike in EXACTLY the same arrangement that the case manufacturer specifies.
  2. Wrap the chain thoroughly or use an easily removable chain like a Wippermann.
  3. Protect the frame tubes by covering them in tubular pipe insulation.
  4. Make sure everything is tied down. If it can bounce around inside the box, it will.

Last edited by flatlander_48; 02-06-06 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 02-06-06, 06:58 PM
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The last time through LAX the security guys unpacked my bike and wouldn't let me re-pack it. I had to sit and watch as they put my very expensive carbon framed bike back into the case. They didn't do any damage but the possibility was definitely there.
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