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Cost of bike on plane

Old 04-28-21, 01:03 AM
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bkkboy
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Cost of bike on plane

I plan to fly from Thailand to Spain later this year and take my touring bike with me. It seems to me that Qatar and Emirates are the cheapest since bikes are regarded as part of my 25kg check in allowance. Other airlines charge extra for a bike and their costs add up. I had thought of buying a bike there, at Decathlon, since bikes are relatively cheap, and take the accessories with me. Give away the bike when I have finished touring. Any tips on taking a bike on a plane cheaply will be appreciated.
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Old 04-28-21, 04:35 AM
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download the baggage rules for each airline you're flying. make sure you understand the specifics of how fees are charged for "oversize baggage" and whether they have a separate category of "sporting goods" with special rules.

check the size limitations. prolly not a problem for long-haul flights, but smaller planes going to smaller airports have smaller cargo doors. measure and weigh your packed box (with padding and tent and other stuff inside) to confirm you're within regulations.

print off the baggage/sporting webpages, upload a copy to your phone. write an email to the airline customer disservice center for confirmation, print that off, too. many reports of check-in clerks not understanding the rules.

you have connecting flights? check that both airlines (if more than one) have similar rules. two legs with one carrier will probably be charged two oversize/sporting goods fees.
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Old 04-28-21, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post

you have connecting flights? check that both airlines (if more than one) have similar rules. two legs with one carrier will probably be charged two oversize/sporting goods fees.
Be aware of ”code sharing”

British Airways is my go-to airline, as a bike can be part of your free 23kg checked baggage.
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Old 04-28-21, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
download the baggage rules for each airline you're flying. make sure you understand the specifics of how fees are charged for "oversize baggage" and whether they have a separate category of "sporting goods" with special rules.

check the size limitations. prolly not a problem for long-haul flights, but smaller planes going to smaller airports have smaller cargo doors. measure and weigh your packed box (with padding and tent and other stuff inside) to confirm you're within regulations.

print off the baggage/sporting webpages, upload a copy to your phone. write an email to the airline customer disservice center for confirmation, print that off, too. many reports of check-in clerks not understanding the rules.

you have connecting flights? check that both airlines (if more than one) have similar rules. two legs with one carrier will probably be charged two oversize/sporting goods fees.
Not as simple as this. I contacted KLM and asked how much it would cost to take a bike from Bangkok to Spain. The reply was that I would need to book a flight and give them the booking number before they would give me that information. Also, British Airways are expensive from Thailand, the best option so far is either Qatar or Emirates, who also include a bike in my 25kg allowance. They are also the cheapest carriers to fly with, unlike BA who are usually expensive.
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Old 04-28-21, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by bkkboy View Post
Not as simple as this. I contacted KLM and asked how much it would cost to take a bike from Bangkok to Spain. The reply was that I would need to book a flight and give them the booking number before they would give me that information. Also, British Airways are expensive from Thailand, the best option so far is either Qatar or Emirates, who also include a bike in my 25kg allowance. They are also the cheapest carriers to fly with, unlike BA who are usually expensive.
according to the klm website, you can book the bike/baggage online where rates are shown:

https://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/cus...fees/index.htm

but you're likely to get screwed -- "This item will now be charged as a "speciality" item; the same charges as applicable for tandems will apply. Customers will no longer be able to check-in a bike as part of their ticketed baggage allowance."
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Old 04-28-21, 07:13 AM
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Check with each airline.

I took a bike on a flight. It was the cost of the weight, plus a charge for oversized luggage. It probably cost $100 altogether. I rode the bike home on arrival, and saved a taxi fare, so it did not really cost very much.

I removed the front wheel, handlebars, pedals, etc, and wrapped it in clear plastic. That way they can see what it is, and may be more careful with it. I went to the airport a couple of hours early, and did it in the airport. I then reassembled it on arrival. I included tools and a pump. You must let the air out of the tires.

Consider the cost of transport, versus the cost of getting another bike at your destination. With some people, it is false economy.
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Old 04-28-21, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bkkboy View Post
.... Any tips on taking a bike on a plane cheaply will be appreciated.
If your question is about how to pack it, there are several videos on youtube that would be a good place to start. I would suggest watch at least three, as some people do a better job of packing than others and if you watch several you will get more information.

Assuming this is a full size bike and you get a cardboard bike box from a bike shop to pack it in, be careful on weight, make sure the box complies with their size limits. Ask the bike shop for the packing materials that were in the box, such as the plastic thing that goes in the front fork dropouts. Note the plastic pieces on each hub axle.

My road bike has a steel frame, but if I was packing any other bike, I would remove the chain and rear derailleur to make sure the derailleur hanger is not bent. They did not do that in the photos.

The two photos below are how my road bike was packed from by the manufacturer before they shipped it, one photo from each side. Some of the loose parts like skewers were in a separate box.



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Old 04-28-21, 09:59 AM
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My solution is to look up the baggage rules for each airline I am considering, then add that cost to the passenger cost. The rules and costs are listed on the airlines website (by law), But it can be very difficult to locate them. No idea why they make it so difficult but they do. I add the bike shipping cost to the passenger fare to see who is cheapest. And I find it no use to complain about shipping costs as there are options, You could rent a car at your destination (costly but the majority of traveling people do this without blinking), buy a bike at your destination.(may have trouble finding one that meets your expectations).
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Old 04-28-21, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
according to the klm website, you can book the bike/baggage online where rates are shown:

https://www.klm.com/travel/us_en/cus...fees/index.htm

but you're likely to get screwed -- "This item will now be charged as a "speciality" item; the same charges as applicable for tandems will apply. Customers will no longer be able to check-in a bike as part of their ticketed baggage allowance."
Thanks everyone.
KLM Customer Service just replied they "believe" the charge for a bike may be around 100 euro, which is the amount that the above link implies. For a long distance flight like mine, Bangkok to Barcelona, I need a supercomputer and six-months of research to determine which is the best option. Price per kilo excess, code sharing, are bikes allowed as part of normal luggage. Not sure if this will work weight-wise, but include the bike in my one 25kg checked in bag padded with clothing, 7kg carry-on with clothes and other stuff, an additional computer bag is allowed but containing clothes, plus wear as many clothes as I can onto the plane. Will only be cycling in Spain so do not need much in the way of clothes.
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Old 04-28-21, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by bkkboy View Post
Thanks everyone.
KLM Customer Service just replied...

...but include the bike in my one 25kg checked in bag padded with clothing...

per klm website: "Customers will no longer be able to check-in a bike as part of their ticketed baggage allowance."
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Old 04-28-21, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
per klm website: "Customers will no longer be able to check-in a bike as part of their ticketed baggage allowance."
Depends on the airline, the rules for each airline are different and not easy to find. Code sharing really messes things up. Airlines seem to be going out of their way to hinder the development of alternative forms of transport.
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Old 05-04-21, 04:35 AM
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I have flown between the US and Europe many times and from my experience, KLM provided the best service and treatment of my bike. First though, I use a professional bike shipping box, such as the LifeLine EVA Pod. I do not recommend using a cardboard box. If you try to get your bike through as cheaply as possible, aka; as checked bagage, it will be tossed about as ALL the other checked bagage is tossed. If you are serious about traveling with your bike, it is well worth the additional cost.

KLM ships bikes all over Europe for the pros and when you use a professional bike container... they treat it as such. They went so far as to tell me this directly several times. They love that they can roll the bike container through baggage. It has handles to lift it. It has a key lock so they can request you to open it (which they will do...) and they do not have to unwrap your boxed bike and then attempt to re-tape the thing closed.

It is easy to pack the bike. It is safe and secure and it is well under the 70lb. limit. I just pay an additional $100 (each way...). It has proven to be worth the cost everytime. As an added bonus, KLM can store your bike shipping container at the airport. They've done this for me - for free, several times. Ask the agents delivering your bike... they generally bring it out via a side door, not on the conveyor belt. (Yet another place you do not want your precious bike tossed.)

Also, I cannot say enough good things about Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. It is fabulous. They have treated me with the best service of any airline I have flown.
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Old 05-04-21, 05:20 AM
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Thanks muse kidd. A good ideal although I will arrive at a different airport than where I shall leave.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:32 AM
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while a tough, hardcase bike box is nice, the vast majority of us have travelled with our bikes in cardboard boxes for decades with (touch wood) no problems (heck, lets touch wood again ok)

yup, its a bit of a crapshoot for how it will be treated, but thats what it is.

but yes, how you pack your bike is a big factor, to reduce the risk of damage with some rough handling or if it falls off a conveyor belt.

hell, lets touch wood one last time!
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Old 05-04-21, 12:21 PM
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One advantage of an old school thermorest sleeping pad is that they can be an extra layer of protection inside a cardboard box.

Last edited by imi; 05-05-21 at 12:58 AM.
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