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Which international (Europe bound) airlines allow the plastic bag bike as luggage?

Old 03-09-24, 04:13 PM
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Which international (Europe bound) airlines allow the plastic bag bike as luggage?

Hope everyone knows what I am tlking about… some airlines allow removing bike pedals, twisting handlebars stuff in plastic bag bike to check in. Granted…there is no protection of the bike once you hand it off but I have two bikes in europe that would be good to try this on.
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Old 03-09-24, 04:34 PM
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I don't know if this is still the case, but I have flown on Lufthansa with a bicycle not in a box. That is also at odds with what I see on their web site right now (https://www.lufthansa.com/br/en/sportgepaeck): "bicycles will only be accepted if they are packaged in a suitable bicycle case or a similar container. Lufthansa is not able to provide you with packaging."
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Old 03-09-24, 07:03 PM
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We've done it on Icelandic Air
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Old 03-09-24, 07:17 PM
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They’ll probably all do it, but keep in mind that airline baggage handlers will treat your bike like kids treat a Piñata at a birthday party.
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Old 03-09-24, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling
They’ll probably all do it, but keep in mind that airline baggage handlers will treat your bike like kids treat a Piñata at a birthday party.
I agree they all do it, have done it numerous times at the end of a tour including from Laos. Bike has never been damaged and I believe they actually see what they are handling and treat it accordingly. Never hesitate to fly with my bike in a simple bag.
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Old 03-10-24, 01:48 AM
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Most european airlines specify that bicycles must be in a suitable box.

Just by the condition the box ends up in sometimes, would not make a plastic bag a sensible choice.
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Old 03-10-24, 03:53 AM
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I'll be flying Condor Airlines in a few months: LAX to Frankfurt. I'll be taking a Bike Friday folding bicycle and using their canvas bag.

From https://www.condor.com/us/flight-pre...-equipment.jsp :
"....bicycles are only transported packed. We recommend bicycle cases or bags as packaging"

"Dimensions: max. length 200 cm x width 40 cm x height 100 cm or length 300 cm x width 40 cm x height 60 cm. Anything higher, longer or wider must be registered with customer service (phone / WhatsApp).
Weight: up to max. 30 kg."
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Old 03-10-24, 04:21 AM
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Here is a short six year old thread on the topic, but Wow airlines no longer exists.
Bagging your bike for air travel??

In that thread, Jefnvk mentioned where he bought the bag.
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Old 03-10-24, 05:13 AM
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If I was going to just use a bag, I would use lots of bubble wrap.
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Old 03-10-24, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I agree they all do it, have done it numerous times at the end of a tour including from Laos. Bike has never been damaged and I believe they actually see what they are handling and treat it accordingly. Never hesitate to fly with my bike in a simple bag.
I flew back from Spain with the bike in a bag. Three flights. Two on Iberia and one on BA. Rear wheel was tweaked ever so slightly, but the bike was otherwise fine.
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Old 03-10-24, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Here is a short six year old thread on the topic, but Wow airlines no longer exists.
Bagging your bike for air travel??

In that thread, Jefnvk mentioned where he bought the bag.
Great idea to purchase a mattress bag from a Uhaul moving place (in the U.S.) to put your bicycle in.
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Old 03-11-24, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by HelpSingularity
Great idea to purchase a mattress bag from a Uhaul moving place (in the U.S.) to put your bicycle in.

great tip!
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Old 03-11-24, 03:52 PM
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hey there PW, Air Transat here in Quebec allow the plastic bag option, or at least they still were last year--Probably not really practical or worth it for you with crossing a land border first, and travel time to get to Montreal.

When I was going through oversize security with my bike box last summer, a lady was coming through behind me with her plastic bag wrapped bike. I was quite surprised by how few protective bits she was using--ie, she had a pop bottle taped to the fork dropouts instead of a solid plastic thing you can get from a bike store etc and none of the other bits for protecting the rear derailleur etc.

I remember thinking, "hope the baggage handlers are in a good mood"
We spoke a little and she seemed rather innocently oblivious, or very, very naive that everything would be just fine, and I really hope it was.
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Old 03-11-24, 08:44 PM
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Yeah I used this 25 years ago on a kids bike and it worked out

In my case I got two touri g bikes in Europe that if I bring them back I would certainly rebuild them for fun so if the get damaged …it may be worth the risk for less packing hassle
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Old 03-11-24, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus
Yeah I used this 25 years ago on a kids bike and it worked out

In my case I got two touri g bikes in Europe that if I bring them back I would certainly rebuild them for fun so if the get damaged …it may be worth the risk for less packing hassle
If you do this, at least remove the rear derailleurs and ziptie them to the frame. Foam bits should be easy to get hold of, and just tape it on in the right places. And a good fork protector thing to go where the front wheel goes, and pad it with lots of foam.
It seems to me that doing all this work is about the same as what we do using a box also, attaching the front wheel to the frame etc.
Anyway, hope it works out if you end up doing this one day.
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Old 03-12-24, 02:10 AM
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I wouldn't use just a cheap plastic garbage bag, but one touted as high strength, or something thicker.

I was pondering something similar the other day: Arrive at the airport with my folding bike, wheel to one of those kiosks that wrap your expensive luggage in industrial saran wrap (used on palleted goods), quick wrap in moving blanket (cheap, can discard at each end and buy another), then have them wrap it, they usually do in both directions for full coverage. I don't know the fee for that, but probably not too much. Oh and have a luggage tag on the bike in case it comes open, and airline luggage sticky tag will be on outside.

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Old 03-12-24, 10:25 PM
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I have a friend who has toured many times to Europe from San Francisco. She has always used the industrial saran wrap with good success, leaves the wheels on so the bike will roll, etc. But, on the last few trips the airlines have really cracked down on wrapped bikes. Finally, this year she gave up and boxed her bike. YMMV, of course.

We made our first European tour (flew into Madrid) this summer. Our bikes were in cardboard boxes. All was fine both ways.
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Old 03-12-24, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelly I
I have a friend who has toured many times to Europe from San Francisco. She has always used the industrial saran wrap with good success, leaves the wheels on so the bike will roll, etc. But, on the last few trips the airlines have really cracked down on wrapped bikes. Finally, this year she gave up and boxed her bike. YMMV, of course.

We made our first European tour (flew into Madrid) this summer. Our bikes were in cardboard boxes. All was fine both ways.
Oh she wrapped a whole bike? Does sound easier than boxing, but I think more vulnerable to damage. I'm thinking a 20" wheel folder, pretty compact when folded, though I'd still have to pull the wheels off to put beside frame to make max 62" girth, and it would still be close. Of late, I've realized that if I am allowed two checked bags free, I can separate things, wheels in one bag, frame/seatpost/handlebars and riser/stem in another, other stuff packed around those, will make under 62" for each easy. I'd first get to the airport tons early, see if they would take the whole folded bike no charge, if so great, if not I'd go off to the side and pull things apart and bag. This is all theory, never tried. On the train the folded bike just goes on luggage rack inside passenger car, within Amtrak regs and super easy.
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Old 03-13-24, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by PedalingWalrus
Yeah I used this 25 years ago on a kids bike and it worked out

In my case I got two touri g bikes in Europe that if I bring them back I would certainly rebuild them for fun so if the get damaged …it may be worth the risk for less packing hassle
Then you need an airline with staff in Europe that will allow a bagged bike. That is different than needing a ticketing agent in USA that accepts a bagged bike. I suspect more luck with European ticketing agents.

Bring a big wad of zip ties along, and a small side cutter or a good toenail cutter to cut the zip ties in case you put one on and find you need to remove it. Plus of course the plastic bags.
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Old 03-13-24, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Oh she wrapped a whole bike? Does sound easier than boxing, but I think more vulnerable to damage. I'm thinking a 20" wheel folder, pretty compact when folded, though I'd still have to pull the wheels off to put beside frame to make max 62" girth, and it would still be close. Of late, I've realized that if I am allowed two checked bags free, I can separate things, wheels in one bag, frame/seatpost/handlebars and riser/stem in another, other stuff packed around those, will make under 62" for each easy. I'd first get to the airport tons early, see if they would take the whole folded bike no charge, if so great, if not I'd go off to the side and pull things apart and bag. This is all theory, never tried. On the train the folded bike just goes on luggage rack inside passenger car, within Amtrak regs and super easy.
My Airnimal Joey folding bike with 24 inch wheels is in the S&S Backpack case in the photo.



But, that frame is big enough that i had to remove the fork from the frame. Also the crankset has to come off.

I have a DIY wooden center support in the case, just in case airline personnel stack extra luggage on top of my bike.
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Old 03-13-24, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Then you need an airline with staff in Europe that will allow a bagged bike. That is different than needing a ticketing agent in USA that accepts a bagged bike. I suspect more luck with European ticketing agents.
A bike specific padded bag is one thing, a full sized bike wrapped in plastic and duct tape might be another.

If you’re denied at check-in, then what a ticketing agent or someone you called at customer service said is irrelevant unless you can back it up with the airline’s (or code-shared airline’s) web site information.

Typically that scenario would give you an hour or so to find enough cardboard to tape a box together. It could get hairy!
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Old 03-13-24, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Kelly I
I have a friend who has toured many times to Europe from San Francisco. She has always used the industrial saran wrap with good success
The wheels are off and the handlebars are off. Otherwise taped together and wrapped by baggage handlers in Bangalore airport with that saran wrap they otherwise use for suitcases. From Bangalore to Frankfort to Houston to Austin in three hops. The Frankfort connection was too tight so the two bikes were delivered two days after I arrived. Despite the appearance of the packaging, not big issues with the bikes from transit.

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Old 03-13-24, 09:12 AM
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A few anecdotes and pictures of ”look it didn’t get damaged” isn’t the same as ”this is a good way to pack your bike”
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Old 03-13-24, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
A few anecdotes and pictures of ”look it didn’t get damaged” isn’t the same as ”this is a good way to pack your bike”
Obviously, it is easy to critique and preach best practices regarding packaging bicycles for air travel. There are full metal cases (https://buxumbox.com/), which can be considered the gold standard. However, these cases have major compromises, and they are useless for point-to-point touring. It's unrealistic to expect someone to find a bike box or other robust packaging material when completing a long tour, especially if in a developing country or smaller town, regardless of the country.

As stated earlier, clear packaging informs the handlers that they are processing a bicycle and treats the item as such. I have travelled with my bike at least ten times internationally and within N.A., in a clear bag without issue.
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Old 03-13-24, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Obviously, it is easy to critique and preach best practices regarding packaging bicycles for air travel. There are full metal cases (https://buxumbox.com/), which can be considered the gold standard … It's unrealistic to expect someone to find a bike box or other robust packaging material when completing a long tour, especially if in a developing country or smaller town, regardless of the country.
Good grief! I wasn’t recommending everyone find a fully padded, metal reinforced, flight case!
If you can’t find a cardboard box or enough cardboard to cut to size and tape together in any town or city big enough to have an airport, well…

I’ve had a down tube badly dented by Air France from Paris with my bike in a cardboard box with a foam sleeping pad wrapped around it. I’ve seen broken child strollers that were in clear plastic coming off the conveyor belt, seen ”fragile” stuff fall off the top of baggage wagons, handlers who throw everything as if it’s personal…

Guardian article about Mishandled baggage

… and don’t get me started on baggage handlers’ knowledge of geography! 😅

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