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Flying with a touring bike

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Flying with a touring bike

Old 12-10-12, 02:12 PM
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Flying with a touring bike

I'm new to touring but i'm planning on cycling the length of Italy. However i have a question about flying with my bike, I apologies if this has already been asked! Can i simply just put my bike on a plane without a box? As i will be going from one end to the other, carrying a bike box wouldn't be possible, i could pick up a cardboard box to fly out with and then throw it, but what's the best option for getting a bike back? Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-10-12, 02:18 PM
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Pack it in a box.

Fred "The Real Fred"

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Old 12-10-12, 02:29 PM
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Where are you flying from? Which airline? Most airlines will require you either box or bag the bike and will make you sign a waiver in case of damage. Some European and Asian airlines have bike boxes available at the airport, but you take a big risk if they don't have any available when you show up. We've seen accounts here of some European regional airlines that will let you shrink-wrap it (there are shrink-wrapping kiosks available at many airports.) The best solution is to coordinate w/ a bike shop at your city of departure so they'll save you (or you can purchase) another cardboard box, take a taxi to the airport and fly back.
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Old 12-10-12, 03:58 PM
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Depends on the airport and airline.

For most of US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand - I've assumed they've had bike boxes at the airport and have shown up and asked for them. Once flying from Amsterdam, the bike went into a plastic bag instead. Once flying from Portland, Oregon, USA, there were no boxes in the airport (!) and so we taped up the bike and it flew from there to Bangalore India without issues. However, in other cases between those countries I was able to get a box and put the bike in a box.

On flights I've taken from China, India, Malaysia and Russia, I didn't make that assumption that a box was available and instead did a combination of using the box I flew in on (storing in local hotel) if I flew in/out of the same airport - or finding a local bicycle shop at my end destination and buying a box from them.

As far as your flight back from Italy, I would call the airline and ask if they normally have boxes at your return origin airport. If not, I would look around to see if you can find bicycle shop not too far from your end point. If not, I'd probably show up at the airport and see what happens . On the flight out, it is probably best if you can box before going to the airport - though I've also (generally) done fine with boxes I've gotten at airports at countries above.
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Old 12-10-12, 06:54 PM
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don't look at just whether you need a box/bag, look at the cost.
some airlines, especially us-based carriers can charge $100-200
to carry a bike. and they may charge that each way. and then
they may charge that for each leg of the flight. check the airline
CHECK-IN COUNTER. often, the ground staff don't know the

here in asialand, some of the carriers (chinese domestic) will
still carry bikes for free. the big budget carriers (airasia, tiger,
jetstar) will charge a sporting goods fee of $15-30 per leg.
the website allows you to pay the bike fee online when you
purchase the tix.

many asian airlines used to be roll-on/roll-off. turn the bars,
remove the pedals, deflate the tires. but most are now requiring
a box. you can occasionally talk your way on board without a
box, or with the saran-wrapping. any city with an airport will
have a bike shop. for $5-10, they'll sell you a box and probably
pack your bike for you. failing that, find a home appliance store.
refrigerator/washer boxes can be cut to fit.

Last edited by saddlesores; 12-10-12 at 07:01 PM. Reason: i've got a lovely bunch of coconuts
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Old 12-11-12, 12:33 AM
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The subject of bike boxes and other ways of transporting bikes by air was discussed in detail by this very recent thread:

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Old 12-11-12, 08:37 AM
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As noted, check with the particular airline. Back in '00 I flew back from Spain via Iberia and British Airways with my bike in a plastic bag. The rear wheel was a little tweeked, but that's it. And, as noted, you could try to get a box from a shop at the end. Maybe even pay them a few Euros to box it for you.
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Old 12-11-12, 11:26 AM
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Thanks for the advice. It's given me something to think about.
I have seen a few reviews for flying with these big plastic bags, would need to ask the airline first to check that they are allowed! https://www.ctcshop.org.uk/ctc-plastic-bike-bag/
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Old 12-11-12, 11:31 AM
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I've heard many people say to pull your valve cores, that makes sense if the compartment is unpressurized or loses pressure, your tires might explode otherwise. pulling the valve cores only takes a second with a valve core tool and would seem good insurance.
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Old 12-11-12, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by lostforawhile
I've heard many people say to pull your valve cores, that makes sense if the compartment is unpressurized or loses pressure, your tires might explode otherwise. pulling the valve cores only takes a second with a valve core tool and would seem good insurance.
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Old 12-11-12, 12:09 PM
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Luggage is at cabin pressure, NB: they put Pet Carriers there too..

Then there are Special Handling fees, that too is specific to the route, and carrier..

Bike Friday designed their 20" wheel travel/tour bikes a fold and dismantle combo,
to go in a Suitcase, to avoid paying those fees..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-11-12 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 12-11-12, 03:12 PM
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Check out this relatively recent thread about bike boxes. There was a pretty good discussion on the topic

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