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Old 03-15-17, 12:53 PM   #51
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Why don't you take an airport shuttle from Calgary airport to Banff? There are a number of them and the Banff airporter will take your bike if it is boxed.`it would be cheaper than a one way car rental.

Calgary Airport Banff Airporter Shuttle Service with Airporter/Airport Shuttle Express
DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER!

Excellent! Thanks so much for the link.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:05 PM   #52
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I've done three 30 plus hour Amtrak trips with my bike and found it relaxing if you can spare the extra time involved. Twice in coach and once in a shared small sleeper (which include all meals). I've also boxed a bike and flew to Germany with it on Delta ($150 each way for the bike). The bike was very well packed and suffered no damage on the flights but the box took a beating going over and lost some structural stiffness for the flight back.

At least in your instance the bike box is a one time use item.

I don't know the specifics of issues you might encounter with a border crossing but wouldn't Amtrak to Whitefish and a rental car from Whitefish to Banff be an option?
Based on my research thus far, I can fly Delta first class, with my bike, and get to Calgary in less than eight hours. I can take the shuttle to Banff, stay in Tunnel Mountain campground and STILL be under the cost of doing Amtrak. This is not to mention I would arrive in Banff 18-20 sooner than if I took Amtrak.

Hey know what? I'll look into Amtrak from El Paso to here... stay tuned.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:15 PM   #53
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Can I pack my gear and stuff INSIDE the bike box? As long as it meets dimension and weight requirements, would it matter? There is stuff that I'd like to take but would not be allowed as a carry-on. I suppose that I'd need to take another suitcase-sized box and check it.
No reason you can't put other stuff in the box, but I suggest you check the airline website first.

Since we discussed Amtrak, they do say nothing else other than the bike goes in teh box. I have put water bottles and empty panniers in that were attached to the rack however.

A luggage scale is your best friend.

Speaking of other "stuff", some airlines and TSA have concerns on camp stoves, especially liquid fuel ones. I have read of several stories about stoves being confiscated by TSA. You might want to spend a bit of time researching that.

I am sure for work that you traveled a lot but the rules are always changing. Li Ion batteries, not in checked bags. Tools or anything that could be perceived to be a weapon, not in the carry on. Compressed gases like some chain lubes, or some camp stove fuels, or bear spray, not on the plane at all. Exception, you can have a lighter but not in checked bag.

Check the expiration date on your passport, make sure you have adequate months of excess to make sure. I have a distant relative that could not board the plane for a two week trip because he only had four months before passport expiration.

I do not recall the rules for bear spray, but Canada has some rules that I had trouble understanding. I think bear spray is allowed but pepper spray is not, even if they are the same thing. I think it is a labeling thing and pepper spray is an illegal weapon. But since you can't take it on the plane, if you buy any you would have to buy it on arrival, so that simplifies things.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:16 PM   #54
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Hey know what? I'll look into Amtrak from El Paso to here... stay tuned.
Nope. Its a no-go. I'd be looking at 60+ hours and still $1000 for a sleeper.

I also had a thought about my canister stove. I think the airline would take me out back and beat the snot out of me for even bringing the canister. This leads me to think that I should buy a brand new stove, leave it in its packaging, and tape it to my bike frame. I would then buy a canister in Banff. Or I could buy a stove and canister in Banff. All I need is a water-boiler anyway.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:18 PM   #55
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Based on my research thus far, I can fly Delta first class, with my bike, and get to Calgary in less than eight hours. I can take the shuttle to Banff, stay in Tunnel Mountain campground and STILL be under the cost of doing Amtrak. This is not to mention I would arrive in Banff 18-20 sooner than if I took Amtrak.

Hey know what? I'll look into Amtrak from El Paso to here... stay tuned.
You will need to have a list of things to do upon arrival, like buy campstove fuel, maybe food, etc.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:31 PM   #56
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Buy a simple stove at home and just pick up the fuel in Banff. Hikers and bikers travel like that all the time and Banff is a world class destination. Just make sure it is washed if used and in your bike box.

You can buy bear spray in Banff but may not be allowed to cross the border back into the us with it. It costs about 45 bucks up here. You can't fly with it but perhaps (hypothetically) I may have put some in my bike box last trip. That was a domestic flight though.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:37 PM   #57
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Nope. Its a no-go. I'd be looking at 60+ hours and still $1000 for a sleeper.

I also had a thought about my canister stove. I think the airline would take me out back and beat the snot out of me for even bringing the canister. This leads me to think that I should buy a brand new stove, leave it in its packaging, and tape it to my bike frame. I would then buy a canister in Banff. Or I could buy a stove and canister in Banff. All I need is a water-boiler anyway.
We have never been questioned or had issues bringing just the canister stove in checked baggage when flying no canisters. The issue seems to be around liquid fuel stoves and fuel bottles. However, I purged a fuel bottle and a MSR Whisperlite International using a lot of soap and water combined with compressed air, and had no trouble flying with them. The fuel bottle with the stopper removed and zip tied to the bottle's neck, was in the cross tube's water bottle holder. It is easy to pick up canisters in Banff.
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Old 03-15-17, 01:39 PM   #58
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I also had a thought about my canister stove. I think the airline would take me out back and beat the snot out of me for even bringing the canister. This leads me to think that I should buy a brand new stove, leave it in its packaging, and tape it to my bike frame. I would then buy a canister in Banff. Or I could buy a stove and canister in Banff. All I need is a water-boiler anyway.
Why would there be an issue with a used canister stove? From what I understand about camping stoves, the issue is with the liquid ones, where flammable residue and fuel odors can be retained in bottles and hosing. Not much of an area for that to happen on the screw on stoves.

No fuel on planes, though. Most compresses gases and flammable items are a no-no.
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Old 03-15-17, 02:25 PM   #59
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When are you planning on going, exactly?

You can get bear spray and any other camping gear you need in Banff. It's likely to be pricey though.
I have taken bear spray across the border into the US, several times but never been asked about it.
I have been asked about it coming back into Canada, when I said I had taken it over with me there was no problem.

I have heard of people having trouble with gas canister stoves on airlines, I think it is just over zealous employees.
I would take it, and if they confiscate it buy a new one in Banff.
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Old 03-15-17, 02:29 PM   #60
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It looks like I can fly out of El Paso no problem. Maybe I'll stay the night there, if for nothing more than to get a good plate of Mexican food.

My thoughts on the return trip is that I may have to book a flight and wait a while. Obviously, I really do not know when I'll reach Antelope Wells, so I'll have to see what I will be able to get once I get there, or on the way to El Paso.
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Old 03-15-17, 03:27 PM   #61
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Why would there be an issue with a used canister stove? From what I understand about camping stoves, the issue is with the liquid ones, where flammable residue and fuel odors can be retained in bottles and hosing. Not much of an area for that to happen on the screw on stoves.

No fuel on planes, though. Most compresses gases and flammable items are a no-no.
I started this whole topic of stoves since the OP is new to this sort of thing, so I was trying to predict what the next suite of questions would be. I have read on internet that several people had MSR pocket rockets confiscated.

My trip to Iceland, I split up my liquid fuel stove into two bags, the fuel bottles (empty and washed) in a third. Then when I went to the airport, the TSA guy pulled my stove out after the X ray inspection and started looking at it. Then he said that what looked like a saw blade (the pot supports) was obviously too dull to cut skin, so he determined it was not a weapon so I could keep it. When he said that, I then concluded that the sharp point ends on the pocket rocket was considered a weapon. My return trip home, I packed that part of my stove in checked bag, not carry on so they did not need to dig it out again and contemplate how sharp those parts were.

Other than sharp pointy parts, I would feel comfortable about taking a canister stove on a plane. My Iceland trip, I brought a liquid fuel stove but due to concerns about confiscation, I brought a canister stove as a backup. I ended up using my canister stove half the time.

If I was doing this trip to Banff, I would bring a canister stove with me and plan to buy the canister upon arrival.

If the OP gets a new stove to bring, leave it in the new stove box and pack it that way in the checked bag.

Southwest Air on their website says that any campstoves must be new and in new packaging. But, we all know that only TSA really inspects bags, Southwest does not go looking thru peoples bags looking for stoves.
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Old 03-15-17, 03:30 PM   #62
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My thoughts on the return trip is that I may have to book a flight and wait a while. Obviously, I really do not know when I'll reach Antelope Wells, so I'll have to see what I will be able to get once I get there, or on the way to El Paso.
That is my favorite part of Amtrak, getting a ticket on reasonably short notice usually does not cost that much more. The sleepers are likely all taken but coach seats are usually had for a reasonable price.

Airlines however see an opportunity to raise the price.
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Old 03-16-17, 06:33 AM   #63
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Speaking of Amtrak. We just booked our tickets from Cleveland to Seattle the other day. Got a roommate for $3 more than reserved seats. And all our meals are included! Will box the bikes and gear ahead of time and we each take 1 pannier and our handlebar bag aboard.
This is how we returned home from California after our cross country tour. Very relaxing.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:06 AM   #64
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bear spray......You can't fly with it
The reason being that most cargo holds on airplanes are not pressurized for the flight. (exception being the area for pets, if equipped) When you take your pressurized canister of bear spray packed away in your luggage, it explodes at altitude and the ground crew gets a really nasty surprise when it lands.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:22 AM   #65
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I've brought isopropane canisters on the last 4 flights without issue. I specifically asked, and they said it was fine.
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Old 03-16-17, 07:59 AM   #66
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Southwest Air on their website says that any campstoves must be new and in new packaging. But, we all know that only TSA really inspects bags, Southwest does not go looking thru peoples bags looking for stoves.
Good to know. I've never flown Southwest Airlines, and never heard of this on other airlines, goes to show the importance of knowing your specific airline's requirements.

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I've brought isopropane canisters on the last 4 flights without issue. I specifically asked, and they said it was fine.
Yay for more airport agents not knowing the rules, and the TSA for not catching prohibited items! Flammable fuels are very clearly prohibited: https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/
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Old 03-16-17, 08:31 AM   #67
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Yay for more airport agents not knowing the rules, and the TSA for not catching prohibited items! Flammable fuels are very clearly prohibited: https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/

Yup. Or maybe they just didn't notice.


I have an Optimus Nova and an MSR Dragonfly. Neither is inexpensive. No way I am going to risk having them confiscated when I can simply put one in a stuff sack and have it packed with the bike for shipping.
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