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  1. #1
    jcard14
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    Airline travel with a bike

    I have never flown with a bike before but will be doing so a few times in the coming months...what choice of travel bag/box has anyone out there used and what were their postives/negatives?

    Any tips in relation to flying with a bike would be much appreciated...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    "Its All Good"
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    Are you flying domestic or International? Is it a DH bike or a SS bike?

    I would have flown with my bikes (either AM, DH, SS) some 100 plus flights a year for the past 2 years....

    There is loads of changes taking place at present with many airlines around the globe, loads more are charging for extras etc.... Hence if you give some more information, I can share with you what I have learnt and know.....

    Cheers
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  3. #3
    jcard14
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    I will be traveling both domestic and international.

    It is an AM bike (SJ FSR)...I've checked on the fees...not cheap but I'll just have to suck it up.

    Thanks

  4. #4
    "Its All Good"
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    Well in general, most airlines will not carry Specialized bikes......LOL, only joking...

    Genrally for domestic flights in the USA, it is around 70 USD per bike...... Each way..

    Going International is generally speaking free, only time I had ever paid was in the USA, but it all changed a month ago. My main route is New Zealand to Europe, with a stop over in LA for work..... With some 19 baggage issues from 20 flights through London Heathrow, I started to only check my bags one flight leg at a time. So when I picked up my bags and bike in London to travel on to Barcelona, they now charge a flat rate for bikes and golf clubs of 150 Euro (250 USD) each way...... So keep away from Iberia Airlines like a bad sexual disease.....

    British Airways, probly the WORST airline in the world are now not accepting surf boards at all, and I hear thoughts that they will also start charging for bikes....

    I flew from Spain to London the other day on EasyJet, that was 50 Euro return for my bike, which was ok...

    See the link attached.... http://www.setteusa.com/show.php/Acc...ags|travel_bag

    I have had a great run with these bags, I can almost get 1 year out of one, keep in mind I am a travel whore..... They are a really reasonable price at PricePoint....

    I have tried hard cases, far more hassle to break the bike down....

    Using the Sette bag, I remove of course the wheels, handlebars from the stem and the rear der....... And the pedals of course......... The straps are what binds all together, the seat and the stem keep everything tight if that makes sense.... I do in the sleeves inside the bag on each side have a cardboard box flattened to give it support....

    The worst I have had is a bent disk rotor, of which I now remove the disks.....

    Hope that helps, the more stopovers with flight changes, the greater the risk is for damage and loss of bike..... So when you can fly direct somewhere, sweet as....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  5. #5
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    Hey Whafe...

    I have a carbon fiber framed bike, do think the Sette bag would be supportive/protective enough to take my bike on the plane without damaging it? Also, with suspension parts, do you have to take the air out of them for possible changes in pressure while it flight?

    Thanks, I really appreciate the help.

  6. #6
    "Its All Good"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leprechaun
    I have a carbon fiber framed bike, do think the Sette bag would be supportive/protective enough to take my bike on the plane without damaging it? Also, with suspension parts, do you have to take the air out of them for possible changes in pressure while it flight?

    Thanks, I really appreciate the help.
    Good question Leprechaun - I have taken my road bike which is full carbon. I had no issues.... For me, the most important part is the cardboard cartons that I have flattened and popped in the wheel sleeves inside the bag... For me, this really helps to enclose the bag as like a case....

    Am not to good at explaining in words, but by removing the handle bars, having a flat line if you can imagine with the saddle and head stem, keeps it really square and straight. The straps also really bind it all together, cause the top end strap sort of pulls under the saddle along with under the headstem....

    Back on air, I do release the pressure in my shock and forks, and of course the tires....

    Hope that helps, let me know any other thoughts or questions, and will for sure help out if I can... Cheers
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  7. #7
    Five is right out
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    I used to travel a lot with my bike (tourer). I always avoided boxing it if at all possible in the belief that baggage monkeys were less likely to stack it under other cargo that way. This worked fine, but it does result in a lot of minor scratches to the paintwork.

    If I were to travel with a bike with more fragile parts (ironically the things that make FS bikes so good for rough terrain- things like suspension and hydro cables) then I'd certainly get a Crateworks case. It's made of corrugated plastic, so it's far tougher than soft bags and it folds down for easier storage than something like a Trico.

    One rarely mentioned tip for flying: Turn up for your flight early and be really pleasant to the check-in people.

  8. #8
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    Smile shipping

    I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
    routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
    staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
    measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
    box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
    find a scale on return flight home.
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  9. #9
    Praise Bob
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    Well done!

    ^^^

    That's the way to do it. I just bought Thule 699 cases only to find out that most airlines wont accept baggage over 62 linear inches/50lbs. If you keep it under that limit you can get it on standard check in baggage. You are allowed to check in oversize baggage of up to 80 linear inches for an additional fee, but my Thule cases are 84inches. Doh! What really sucks is that the cases are awesome. The bikes fit in there really well and you dont have to take much apart. The cases have wheels and handles too. I ended up shipping with UPS and got a suprise bill 2 weeks later for fuel surcharges and oversize package fees.

  10. #10
    is buachail foighneach me
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    i've actually had really good luck with cardboard bike boxes. get a small size, reinforce all the handholds (top bottom and sides) with packing tape, and pack as stated above. best of all they're free from the dumpster behind any bike shop, and only a few dollars for the tape. granted i'm travelling with a steel, rigid ss, so i don't have much to worry about, but it works if you're on a budget.

  11. #11
    Five is right out
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmitch2
    I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
    routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
    staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
    measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
    box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
    find a scale on return flight home.
    That is a bloody excellent box

  12. #12
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    2 boxes might be the way to go now

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmitch2
    I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
    routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
    staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
    measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
    box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
    find a scale on return flight home.
    Just last year I bought the smaller of the 2 boxes that Performance sells (the trapezoid shaped "Team" box) and flew with it a couple of times. I once got away with no fee, but usually had to pay about $75. The box works great and I was able to keep the total weight to less than 50lbs.

    Now these jacked up fees are a big problem. I leave on Monday for a week in Wyoming and I'm afraid that I'll get to the airport and get slammed by AA with an oversize + bike fee (if they figure out it's a bike, I sure as h3ll won't tell them). I might not be able to keep it below 50lbs either since I have a new bike that I haven't weight-weenied yet.

    I might try getting a wheel box and cutting down a bike box instead of using my fancy one... not sure. Problem with that is I'd have 2, maybe 3 checked bags... and I'd get hit with big fees for that too.

    Maybe we'll see some smaller "2 piece" bike boxes hit the market soon.
    I read that on the internet.

  13. #13
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    hello!
    ways to transport you bike:
    1. Bike cases.
    pros - yeah! you travel in style. its like having the louie vitton or gucci of bike bags. good protection.
    cons - bike cases are heavy so most of your baggage allowance goes to it. you pay alot of excess baggage. ouch!
    2. cardboard boxes.
    pros - light and cheap!
    cons -not much protection. bike gets a beating. airline peeps throw boxes around drops them etc. etc. no matter how much fragile stickers you stick on it. usually when transporting luggage, they pile it up putting the bigger boxes underneath smaller ones. so if you can squeeze your bike in a shoe box then maybe your bike won't be under all that heavy suitcases/luggage.
    3. crate it.
    pros - light. good protection. won't stress bike.
    cons - haven't tried it but..... disassembling the bike almost part by part? this is ok i think if you're moving to a diffrent place permanently or at least stay in just one destination for a long time but if your on a tour flying from airport to airport, then for me thats a lot of work.
    4. wrap it. with glad wrap! just kidding....

    high density white foam cut to size, strapped with velcro. easy and reusable. this one's my fave!
    pros - easy, light, roll on/ roll off feature, not part of the piled up luggage, no disassembly/assembly required, can be ridden to and from airport (if you're hard core and if you travel light).
    cons - not much protection(but if they see that it's a bike wrapped in foam they somehow feel that its very fragile probably because there's too much foam on it making them sense how anal the owner is). am not sure about airline baggage size policies outside our country but here in the philippines it's not a problem.

  14. #14
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    pardon my ignorance but what do they mean by linear inches? length PLUS width PLUS height?

  15. #15
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    Yes linear inches is length + width + height.

    I just flew with my bike domestically and it was a $100 on US Airways. I used a case from Serfas and packed it with clothes, cytomax, and a few other things came in weighing 55 lbs.

  16. #16
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    I'll be flying to Europe in 2 weeks and am not sure how to pack the bike, so it won't be too big and bulky. I don't think the trans Atlantic flight will be an issue, but my concern is a flight I have from Duesseldorf to Milan on Air Berlin. Anybody have any experience/advice?

  17. #17
    Surly OG
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    Trico Iron Case. 'nuff said.
    Earn your turns. )'(

  18. #18
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtnBikerDan
    Trico Iron Case. 'nuff said.
    The problem with the Trico and the Thule 699 (which I have) is they're over 80", which the airlines deem the maximum they'll allow now...

  19. #19
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    If you disassemble it anyways, just take a normal hardcase suitcase. They're often offered as a set of two. The wheels will fit in the bigger one, and the frame will fit in the smaller one (if your frame is a full suspension size S or M).
    All you have to do to get it boxed is: Take off the bar and the fork, separate the rear trinagle from the main frame, unmount cranks, pedals and saddle. That will fit in the first suitcase. The wheels with the tires taken off fit in the second one.
    It took me about 35min to package the bike and another 35min to put it back together at the destination. There's still plenty of space left in the suitcases for your other stuff.
    Of course this solution implies no additional charge. If you don't have a set of hardcase suitcases yet- be careful with the size. If there's something like a big handle on the tp or a bulky hinge on the bottom, your bike won't fit.
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  20. #20
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    Got back from Wyoming on Sunday... cost me a lot to bring the bike in my box. The only way to avoid these high fees is to have 2 checked boxes right at the size and weight limit (62", 50lbs). You might still get hit with the checked bag fees, but they're a lot lower than the bike/oversize fee.

    The wooden box above looks great, but what about making one out of sheet plastic (similar material to the Trico case) and plastic angles for the edges? The sheet could be glued and rivited to the angle and a lid could somehow be devised also (maybe using a hinge?).

    Anyhow, does anyone know what kind of plastic the Trico is made of and where you can get sheets of it? And extruded angles? Or, is there a better plastic to use? I stopped by the homeo depot today and didn't see anything suitable.
    I read that on the internet.

  21. #21
    Just hit it with speed
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    How can you possibly get a non FS bike in a box under 62 linear inches? When people say to use a bike box are they assuming then that they will be larger than the 62 linear inches? I'll be traveling to Oregon this August w/ my bike. SS, Front Sus, 29er. I am flying Southwest and they only charge $50 each way. (This is my understanding) Do I have to be under 62 linear inches for it to be considered regular checked luggage? If I do I'll be no where close even with the size small bike box I picked up today at my LBS. I have no problem paying the 50 each way.

    The Sette bag mentioned above is 52 x 9 x 37 =98.75" no where close to 62".

    I'm confused.
    Don't hate on the minivan!!!!!!!

  22. #22
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    You can't fit a non-FS bike in a 62" box. You should carefully read the terms and conditions of your airline to find out if the surcharge is for boxes bigger than 62". There are airlines that charge an extra fee for a bike and an even higher extra fee for a bike in a box larger than 62" :-(

  23. #23
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    Southwest is the way to fly

    Quote Originally Posted by GFisher2001
    How can you possibly get a non FS bike in a box under 62 linear inches? When people say to use a bike box are they assuming then that they will be larger than the 62 linear inches? I'll be traveling to Oregon this August w/ my bike. SS, Front Sus, 29er. I am flying Southwest and they only charge $50 each way. (This is my understanding) Do I have to be under 62 linear inches for it to be considered regular checked luggage? If I do I'll be no where close even with the size small bike box I picked up today at my LBS. I have no problem paying the 50 each way.

    The Sette bag mentioned above is 52 x 9 x 37 =98.75" no where close to 62".

    I'm confused.
    You are lucky! Southwest charges $50 per bike, no matter the size and weight. That's what the agent told me on the phone the other day when I asked. So you don't have to get it within the typical 62" or 50lbs. You should call and confirm though.
    I read that on the internet.

  24. #24
    psu cycling
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    My personal experience:

    I just got back from Italy a few weeks ago after spending 7 weeks there. I flew USAir and contacted them a week before flying out. They told me I could sub a bikebox for a bag if it were under dimensions because I had bought my tickets before they changed their policy. When I arrived at the airport in Philadelphia: $80 charge. They then told me that Alitalia would honor their same policy on the way home ($80). OK, I thought. I took a cut-down cardboard bike box that was around 40lbs with clothes and such stuffed in.

    On the way home:

    At Leonardo da Vinci Aiport, Alitalia made me run to about 5 differert places in the airport, where I was eventually charged 150 E, or $238.50. TSA also decided to search my box, and they ripped it open in multiple places, as well as the plastic bag I had my pedals, tools, and drafting supplies (I was studying Architecture) contained in. I lost one CB pedal and a CB Multi-five tool. I contacted both parties and have received nill compensation. This was after I drove back to the Pittsburgh airport 2 days later to pick my things up since they lost my bags. Very bad experience.

  25. #25
    "Its All Good"
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    That truly sucks, am sorry to hear of your experience....

    So Alitalia has taken on the same policy as Iberia (Spain). 150 Euro is load of money, and even worse converting it to USD...

    My last trip here to Spain I did not fly Iberia, no more business from me. EVER..

    I head back to New Zealand on Thursday of this week. Am flying Lufthansa from Barcelona to Munich, then to LA, then New Zealand, so no charges at this point.....

    It is getting harder and harder. Taking the bike to pieces completely etc doesnt skid my wheels much at all.....

    Do hope that you get some result re your pedal and tool... Not sure though, I never have...

    Best of luck though

    Basically no airline gives a SH!T about customers gear and baggage.... I too think a fragile tag means practice 3 pointers into a hoop...


    Quote Originally Posted by asmxxiv
    My personal experience:

    I just got back from Italy a few weeks ago after spending 7 weeks there. I flew USAir and contacted them a week before flying out. They told me I could sub a bikebox for a bag if it were under dimensions because I had bought my tickets before they changed their policy. When I arrived at the airport in Philadelphia: $80 charge. They then told me that Alitalia would honor their same policy on the way home ($80). OK, I thought. I took a cut-down cardboard bike box that was around 40lbs with clothes and such stuffed in.

    On the way home:

    At Leonardo da Vinci Aiport, Alitalia made me run to about 5 differert places in the airport, where I was eventually charged 150 E, or $238.50. TSA also decided to search my box, and they ripped it open in multiple places, as well as the plastic bag I had my pedals, tools, and drafting supplies (I was studying Architecture) contained in. I lost one CB pedal and a CB Multi-five tool. I contacted both parties and have received nill compensation. This was after I drove back to the Pittsburgh airport 2 days later to pick my things up since they lost my bags. Very bad experience.
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  26. #26
    a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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    That's terrible

    Quote Originally Posted by asmxxiv
    My personal experience:

    I just got back from Italy a few weeks ago after spending 7 weeks there. I flew USAir and contacted them a week before flying out. They told me I could sub a bikebox for a bag if it were under dimensions because I had bought my tickets before they changed their policy. When I arrived at the airport in Philadelphia: $80 charge. They then told me that Alitalia would honor their same policy on the way home ($80). OK, I thought. I took a cut-down cardboard bike box that was around 40lbs with clothes and such stuffed in.

    On the way home:

    At Leonardo da Vinci Aiport, Alitalia made me run to about 5 differert places in the airport, where I was eventually charged 150 E, or $238.50. TSA also decided to search my box, and they ripped it open in multiple places, as well as the plastic bag I had my pedals, tools, and drafting supplies (I was studying Architecture) contained in. I lost one CB pedal and a CB Multi-five tool. I contacted both parties and have received nill compensation. This was after I drove back to the Pittsburgh airport 2 days later to pick my things up since they lost my bags. Very bad experience.
    I hate to hear that. It's maddening that we can't take a 25-30lb bike with us without paying a small fortune, but 350lb obese people are just fine.

    Maybe on the bright side someone like FedEx will capitalize on this and offer some kind of awesome bike shipping deal in the future. The commercial airlines suck... period.
    I read that on the internet.

  27. #27
    Five is right out
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmxxiv
    They then told me that Alitalia would honor their same policy on the way home ($80). OK, I thought. I took a cut-down cardboard bike box that was around 40lbs with clothes and such stuffed in.
    Man, that sucks. Best get that kind of claim in writing, especially when one airline makes a claim about another airline's policy.

  28. #28
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    I'm Heading to Whistler next week....

    After much thought and deliberation, I decided to just pull the bike apart and seperate into 2 pieces. Going to buy a double wheel bag or tape my single ones together. The frame will be pulled down, wrapped up and inserted in between my riding clothes.

    It will probably take me about 1/2 hour to re-assemble. Not bad for a weeks worth of riding.

  29. #29
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    Since 9-11 I have started using this service instead of the airlines

    http://www.sportsexpress.com/

    I have used this shipping service for several trips and have not had any issues with them. You can call them and track the shipment, add inusrance for the full value of the items (they do require your bike be in an "approved container" ;see website for approved bike cases) to pay out on any damages but you will have a much batter chance of getting a settlement from a commercial vendor than the TSA or airline. I did have minor damage once and they paid for the parts that I replaced without any hassle at all.

    Sending a bike into a black hole where the entrance is controlled by people not interested in doing their job well and where the case may get opened for inspection or damaged without much recourse short of legal action is just not worth the hassle to me.

  30. #30
    Praise Bob
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    Expensive

    I just looked at the Sports Express site and generated a quote and it was really expensive. They want $400 each way to transport my 2 bikes to/from moab! I just paid $150 each way using UPS.

    The irritating this about all this is that my airline tickets are cheaper than it is to ship the bikes these days. As other posters have pointed out, airlines have stopped accepting the Thule/Trico cases so our options are severely limited. I think the way to go is to seperate each bike into 2 smaller packages and then ship them FedEx

  31. #31
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    I did it!!!!!

    I could'nt take the pressure of not knowing anymore, and I did not want to wait till the last moment while I was packing to find out it was not going to work.

    I pulled my bike apart and covered a lot of the parts with styrofoam wrapping and placed everything in a canvas bag. this then went into a medium sized duffle bag. The fork (150mm) fit with 2 inches to spare. Packed a full face helmet in there too and a bunch of riding clothes. So we have the wheels (1st piece) and the duffel bag (2nd piece) and I will be carrying a cary on with some more of my clothes. The two pieces will cost me $15 and $25. not too bad.

  32. #32
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    I travel with a TRICO Iron Sport Case...little to no problems.

    One thing: I had a trip a while back when my bike was re-packed shoddily (2003)...I've since taped pictures, of how the bike is supposed to be packed, to the lid with a nice note to the TSA folks thanking them for handling my Bike with respect.

    Laugh now, but believe it or not, trips have been perfect from that standpoint, with one time even a "Thank You" note from a TSA dude written on the TSA tag they leave in your case (that tghey checked it)...he/she even wrote: "NICE BIKE!"


    No problems since



    .

  33. #33
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    Not the point......

    Quote Originally Posted by RSW42
    I travel with a TRICO Iron Sport Case...little to no problems.

    One thing: I had a trip a while back when my bike was re-packed shoddily (2003)...I've since taped pictures, of how the bike is supposed to be packed, to the lid with a nice note to the TSA folks thanking them for handling my Bike with respect.

    Laugh now, but believe it or not, trips have been perfect from that standpoint, with one time even a "Thank You" note from a TSA dude written on the TSA tag they leave in your case (that tghey checked it)...he/she even wrote: "NICE BIKE!"


    No problems since



    .
    I have a hard case that protects the bike very well. The problem is that shipping an oversized case that weights over 50 pounds is now going to cost a minimum of $150 each way. I just got back from Whistler this weekend and it cost me $50 each way beacuse of how I packed everything. BTW - It did NOT take me 1/2 hour to re-assemble, it took 1 1/2 hours. Still worth it though.

  34. #34
    Gringo
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    Please, everyone who travels with bikes keep the forum updated on their allowances. I for one find comfort knowing that there are still loopholes for oversized sporting equipment.

    FWIW:

    Delta still accepts bike boxes, at least on their big jets, and waives the oversize fee if you tell them it's a bike. If it's one of your 'allowed' checked bags (2 for international travel), there is no extra fee! If overweight or in any of the other penalty categories, you are charged only for that category. There are some inconvenient embargoes during specific dates where no oversized carriers are allowed, particularly to Latin American countries.

    I carry email confirmation of the bike policy obtained two weeks in advance from each airline at check in to avoid problems.

    EVERY airline seems to be different now, so do your home work before you get to the airport, but I'm surprised that it is reported that the large carriers are no longer taking boxes over 80 inches. Every time I call the airlines I've used, they say it's ok if it's a bike.

    Air Berlin may be like Lufthansa, and charge a per kilo fee for sports equipment which is

    Wheelchairs in boxes are never a problem, however...

    G.

  35. #35
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    I have flown AirBerlin/LTU in my move to Germany with 800 pounds of luggage and three bikes. Two were in cases, both charged $32 each. You must reserve in advance, by phone. Their policy is clearly stated on their website.

    Also I will be working on establishing a tutorial, including some research and experiences with Whafe on how to travel with your bikes by plane. I hope a component will be to constantly update the limitations as they seem to be frequently changing.

  36. #36
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gringo
    Please, everyone who travels with bikes keep the forum updated on their allowances. I for one find comfort knowing that there are still loopholes for oversized sporting equipment.

    FWIW:

    Delta still accepts bike boxes, at least on their big jets, and waives the oversize fee if you tell them it's a bike. If it's one of your 'allowed' checked bags (2 for international travel), there is no extra fee! If overweight or in any of the other penalty categories, you are charged only for that category. There are some inconvenient embargoes during specific dates where no oversized carriers are allowed, particularly to Latin American countries.

    I carry email confirmation of the bike policy obtained two weeks in advance from each airline at check in to avoid problems.

    EVERY airline seems to be different now, so do your home work before you get to the airport, but I'm surprised that it is reported that the large carriers are no longer taking boxes over 80 inches. Every time I call the airlines I've used, they say it's ok if it's a bike.

    Air Berlin may be like Lufthansa, and charge a per kilo fee for sports equipment which is

    Wheelchairs in boxes are never a problem, however...

    G.
    I've never had that level of service from Delta when flying with a bike and their recent website changes seem to suggest > $200 each way. As I have to fly with them for work I've not bothered flying with a bike since January before the changes came into effect. Prior to that my charges had ranged from $0-$150 per flight.

  37. #37
    Gringo
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    I've never had that level of service from Delta when flying with a bike and their recent website changes seem to suggest > $200 each way. As I have to fly with them for work I've not bothered flying with a bike since January before the changes came into effect. Prior to that my charges had ranged from $0-$150 per flight.
    Good point. I should have clarified that I've also had a little luck with Delta and these are for international flights, but their website is also a bit ambiguous as to what is/is not refused...

    My experience is that you pay $150 for oversize unless you delcare it's a bike, I tell them that's what the website says and so far it's worked, but this TECHNICALLY/OFFICIALLY changed this year.

    You'll also get clipped for another $150 if it's overweight, and another $150 (I think) if it's outside your one or two bag allowance. All of these are each way.

    Their online written policy is a bit ambiguous, making it seem that any oversize bag is not allowed. If it is outside their sum of the dimensions formula, they now waive the size dimension so you can still bring it but then you get to pay $150. The transport bags (not the huge boxes) can measure small and barely stay under the dimension formula. I'm also extra nice to the check in staff, and this has often saved me $$$ in oversized or overweight penalties... If it's close they have discretion to ignore.

    Maybe I've had luck, but I've also had their customer service send confirmation email of that policy which seems to confuse the check in staff enough to let it go. I'm testing it again by bringing a bike back to Munich from the States on November 1. I currently go out of my way to fly Delta when I'm taking a bike (even though Lufthansa is quicker), and I almost always bring a new one back when I am coming from the USA several times a year.

    I'll try to confirm the Lufthansa/Alliance handling rates, I'm not clear from their website alone, though they've always been ski friendly.

    Air travel has really gone down hill over the past decade, and I suspect that the US based carriers will soon go to a flat fee for golf clubs and skis and then bikes will follow suit.

    G.
    Last edited by Gringo; 08-13-2008 at 01:40 AM.

  38. #38
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    I just flew US Airways from San Diego to Anchorage and was charged $125 (for bike and luggage) going to Anchorage and just $25 on the way back.

    The ticketing agent on my return flight was quick to charge me $25 for 2 checked bags but when he saw one was my bike, he didnt seem to care and let me slide without paying extra.

  39. #39
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    https://www.delta.com/traveling_chec...x.jsp#bicycles

    According to their most recent update a bike is $175 as checked baggage, I'm not sure what the weight and size limits are or whether they try to tag extra fees on top if you go over 62" and 50lbs.

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    My interpretation of that is the bike can be of any dimensions/weight, as long as it only has one seat (carry-on the second seat on a tandem ). As noted in a previous email, there is no way a non-suspended bike (that isn't S&S or Ritchey coupled) is going to fit in 62 linear inches.

    I have an S&S (62" linear dimensioned) case, and recently have claimed it contained wheelchair parts when asked. I may burn in hell for lying, but I'd rather not dick around trying to justify the 62" limit is what is important, and not what the contents of the box are.

    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    https://www.delta.com/traveling_chec...x.jsp#bicycles

    According to their most recent update a bike is $175 as checked baggage, I'm not sure what the weight and size limits are or whether they try to tag extra fees on top if you go over 62" and 50lbs.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gringo
    Delta still accepts bike boxes, at least on their big jets, and waives the oversize fee if you tell them it's a bike....
    G.


    Ding-ding-ding!

    I fly Delta often and that's what I do.


    R

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    One more thing....

    before you buy tickets check if there is no 'Excess Baggage Embargo' in place for the airlines you want to fly with. If you ever fly with Continental please check this link:
    http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...e/embargo.aspx
    I was flying from Toronto to Lima last year and had to change airline one week before departure because of this 'restriction'. Changed to Air Canada and it cost me $75 CAD / $50 USD for my bike case loaded with large Cannodale Jekyll. This is a case I bought:
    http://www.roofbox.co.uk/bikebox.html
    It is huge and can be loaded with boots, helmet, camel back, tools, etc. just make sure you don't go over the weight and/or linear inches limit. The only problem I had with this case was the size which in case of small planes (domestic airlines in Peru) it was impossible to load on the plane without removing the handle and $45 extra charge.

  43. #43
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    Out of colorado, I have flown to Atlanta, Georgia and Rome, Italy with our two road bikes, in one pro-bike double xl case, and find that rolling it up to baggage check is like playing the lottery. Flying to Georgia we were charged $240 for the case, after explaining to the counter person that this was our luggage and that she needed to figure out what needed to be charges to get it on board, at first she said it was too big, and overweight and would have to be left behind. The return flight from Atlanta was $85 no questions. Going to Rome, from DIA, the counter person asked me to remove parts to get the bag under 80# and I explained that the case was designed to meet airline regs. and that I would not remove and repackage the case unless United accepted responsibility for the safety of the repackaged boxes. She said that was impossible, and charged us $340 to check the bag to rome. In roma, the united agent paged a super hot baggage rep that escorted me to the large baggage check-in and they x-rayed the bag and checked it through to denver without any extra charges.

    In both trips the TSA repacked the bag, and did not reattach the fork mounts, and things were moving around during travel. Nothing was damaged, but make sure that if you have a system of packing that some TSA agent may have to unpackage that you leave detailed instructions for the TSA to repackage your bike.

    Another tip for checking bags is to not argue or piss off the counter agent, my girlfriend always gets mad when they start adding additional charges to the bill, and will get short with the agent. When that happens any measure of latitude you may need to get your oversized bag on board will be lost. Kill them with kindness, and accept whatever charges they have, and things will go much smoother. Pissing off the counter agent only makes the process worse. Explain your packaging to the agent, and show how the case/bag is designed to protect your light and expensive bike, and tell them of the extensive riding plans that you have for your distination. That way they understand that you are not just bringing a heavy case to make their work harder, but that it's the only way to protect the plans you have on this bicycling trip. If you can check bags at the curb, a $20 tip for the sky cap can sometimes get your bag checked without the bag charge roulette at the ticket counter.

    Happy travels.

  44. #44
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    This thread should be stickied if you ask me. Anyways thanks for all the shared experience. I'm planning a trip to Bolivia in the next year and I'm still concerned with travelling with my bike. I have yet to decide whether I'll go for a rent when I get there if if I'll bring my own bike. One way or another, this thread helped me a lot to weight to + and - and I'll sure head back here when comes the time to decide.

    Thanks all
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  45. #45
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    I'm flying Delta from PHX to ATL tomorrow. I managed to pack my FS into an Apple G5 box. Weighing in just below 50lbs with my complete bike + shoes + tools + camekbak + cardboard. I had to trim the box down just an inch to fit under the 62 required inches. If I have any troubles I'll be sure to post them. <center>

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    Smile

    what is the width of the box with the tires off?

    thanks

    Mitch

  47. #47
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    On the way back...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ry-daddy
    I'm flying Delta from PHX to ATL tomorrow. I managed to pack my FS into an Apple G5 box. Weighing in just below 50lbs with my complete bike + shoes + tools + camekbak + cardboard. I had to trim the box down just an inch to fit under the 62 required inches. If I have any troubles I'll be sure to post them. <center>

    Stop by Home depot and pick up 2 pieces of foam insulation. Cut them to size and slice them lengthwise and slip over your seatpost, seat/chain stays, crank arms, frame, etc.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmitch2
    what is the width of the box with the tires off?
    the box is 23" x 24" x 16".

  49. #49
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    Again, I am certain that there is no rhyme nor reason with each companies policies.... More so on the counter agent on the day...

    The other day I flew from LA to Vancouver on Alaskan Air.... I went with them because am Platinum frequent flyer with One World and thought this would help. Not at all, got charged extra, had to pay 75 USD, of which they said they let me off 50 USD......On the return trip from Vancouver to LA, I only got charged 25 CAN Dollars. So again, totally different rates for a company with the same policy...

    Last night I flew back to New Zealand on Air NZ from LA to Auckland, had one of my bikes, and 2 other bags, had a total of 80 Kgs, no charge at all.....

    I will say though, I usually average 6 months out of a Sette Bike Bag from Price Point. That would be used usually for say 10 return trips.. But of late I have had the bag with rips right through after one trip, along with straps being ripped off...

    So traveling with our bike in toe is indeed a journey that will never have any guarantees, which sucks the big one.......

    But hey, I will still travel with my bike.....
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  50. #50
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    I was the OP on this thread....glad I started it, it seems to have helped a lot of ya'll out. Just wanted to update the thread with my recent (and first) airline experience with a bike box...

    I flew from Fort Lauderdale to Portland, OR for the Labor Day Weekend on Southwest. I was charged $50 each way for the box (Serfas)....so not a bad deal.

    My next travel with the bike will be in November from Miami to Costa Rica on American...so far, American has told me it will be $100 each way...we shall see, I will let ya'll know how it goes....

  51. #51
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    has anyone used a tri all 3 sport case? if so, experiences and opinions?

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    Smile

    when they ask me what is in the box, I tell them bicycle parts. they say ok.
    keep it under 62 linear inches and 50 pounds fully of bike parts, and there
    is nothing they can do. since my wooden box I made is screwed together,
    tsa has not taken the effort to open it up. I even mark the easy side for
    them to open up.

  53. #53
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    No problems traveling on United this week from Germany to Portland. They charged me the advertised 125 dollars. Smooth sailing, even on the 9/11 through 9/12 flight home. The TSA guys are doing a good job.

    G.

  54. #54
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    Well this is the 3rd time I've travelled with my XL RIP9 29er bike and I have not had to pay anything extra. I do as other posters have mentioned and totally dissemble the bike, pack the front and rear triangle and wheels and other misc stuff into a 29er wheel box that measures just over the 62 linear inches and then stick the fork, cranks and a few others into a hard bottomed duffle with clothes top and bottom. I wrap the frame up in either cardboard or bubble wrap. I plan on fabricatin a proper box out of either thin alu or maybe Fibre Glass or some such sometime in the future.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  55. #55
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    Flew to Denver and back last week from NYC with Jet Blue, $50 each way with my large bike case.

  56. #56
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    Just thought I'd add my 2c and that is for international travel I've used British Airways and been quite pleased (Johannesburg, South Africa thru London To Vancouver, Canada) It's been free each time I've gone with a "standard" hardshell bike box - no extreme disassembly required. Delta Airlines is another story though - $300 roundtrip! They seem to charge for every little extra.

  57. #57
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    On my last trip Delta wanted $700 for my girlfriend and I to take our bikes on the plane round trip. Insane to say the least.

    I shipped them FedEx through shipbikes.com.

  58. #58
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    I went through the self-check in at Delta in Atlanta headed to Liberia, Costa Rica, and a second time on the way to Munich, Germany. The first time I went to the kiosk, scanned the passport, selected 2 bags to check, took my gate pass to the baggage handler where she obliviously printed out the baggage tags, slapped them on, no notice of oversize. The second leg through Atl to Munich, I checked-in online, went straight to the baggage check, and the same thing. They scan the gate pass, didn't pay attention to size, and again no penalty.

    Partly luck, partly airport setup.

    G.

  59. #59
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    I took british airways this summer, had no trouble getting the bike there and back, no charge, and no hassle. I called to tell them before each flight that I would be arriving with such. The check-in people never batted a lash. They did say however that in november they would start charging for bike boxes weighing more or bigger than what they want. no experience with that yet. I used a toughbox which i think you can still find on ebay.
    look in my profile at the pictures to see the box and bike packed. I was going for a three month stay and was able to pack extra clothes and shoes and such with the bike.

  60. #60
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    In late September I flew from ATL to PHL with my road bike in a Serfas hard bicycle case which I rented from a local shop for $50. Delta charged me $175 each way, plus $50 each way since it was a second checked bag. What a rip off.

    Without a full suspension bike or an S&S'd bike that can be split in half, I don't see how obscene charges can be avoided. There are lots of good ideas/tricks in this thread that I wish I had seen before I took this trip. Thanks for the input!

  61. #61
    Mark
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    Are you getting Porked by your airline?

    Welcome to the wonderful world of "Cost Centers"

    With the elimination of pillows, blankets, hot food and that wonderful Amerian invention: the $15 bag charge we have all been screwed.

    None have been screwed more thoroughly that the cyclist who wants to take their bike on a plane in the U.S.!! I used to pay a relatively nominal $50 each way for my bike case. Now it ranges from about $100 to as much as $200 depending upon the airline.

    The only way we can make an impact on this situation is for some of our larger organizations (like Cycling USA, NORBA, UCI) to take an activist role in this situation.
    Also, if someone here or at one of the cycling magazines was to publish a list of the ACTUAL (not rumored) and up to date fees for bike cases on each airline we could all be better and more knowledgeable consumers when selecting our airline (both for business and pleasure travel)

    If the airlines see that they are being measured and the results made public they just MIGHT change this. However as long as the fees are buried in the fine print of baggage rules and subject to change with very little fanfare we will continue getting porked to fly our bikes!
    ===============

    Mark

  62. #62
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    I use a bag made my Pika Packworks and it has served me well. It's smaller and more compact than most bike bags, so i can often get away with the ticket checker not knowing it's a bike bag.

    Since I run guided tours all over the world, I have spent a good portion of my time dealing with airlines. I'm trying to sign deals with some of the major airlines to get discounted flights and free bike shipping for my clients. Many of them have been receptive - I tell them that bike fees are one of the biggest peeves for mountain bikers, and that most bikers will gladly pay more for a competitor's flight if they don't have to pay bike fees. They're usually quite surprised to hear this and willing to work with me on it, especially when I point out that bikes typically weigh about as much as a set of golf clubs (which usually fly free)

    Perhaps we can get them to change their ways and stop charging us!
    Life is better on a mountain bike,

    Mike Brcic,
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  63. #63
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    And another thing......to consider.

    The problem may or may not end after getting the bike to you destination airport. I am coordinating a group of 7 riders going to Tahoe this year. We are flying in from all over the place...Jamaica, Tampa, London and possibly Alabama.

    Once we all arrange to fly into a particular airport, how do we get the bikes to the destination. Once at our destination, how do we move the bikes to different trails easily ??

    What we are doing is 1. Some of the guys are shipping their bikes to a LBS. 2. Others are packing their bikes into soft cases so that the bike can be assembled at the airport and the bag stored in the trunk of the car. We are going to have to bring 2 of the cheap trunk mounted bike racks with us. Renting 3 full size cars is much better than renting an SUV. renting 3 vehicles also increases the options to split the group if they want to go seperate ways or different restaurants.

    In the past we rented a large van and strapped the cardboard bike boxes to the top of the van, the last time we dented to top of the van because of the weight. Thank goodness they did not check. In this scenario, we rode to the trailhead each day. We had to unpack the bikes at the rented house and pack them up when we were leaving. When we go to Tahoe, we will be driving to various locations like Downeville, S. Shore Trailheads, etc.

  64. #64
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    Just to add some updated information, the wife and I took a spring break trip with are bikes and had no issues transporting our Trico Ironcase-packed bikes on Airtran ($79 per bike, each way). Airtrain offers no-frills service, but the upside of that is the fares are reasonable, the fee for bikes is one of the lowest of the airlines and it's inexpensive to upgrade to business class (there is no first class) where you get free drinks and attentive service. Very cool.


  65. #65
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    MTBMich had a great idea.

  66. #66
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    Within the US I just shipped my bike FedEx in my Thule 699, weight 62lbs, $4000 insurance for $63. Way better than most of the domestic airlines and at least it's insured.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6thElement
    Within the US I just shipped my bike FedEx in my Thule 699, weight 62lbs, $4000 insurance for $63. Way better than most of the domestic airlines and at least it's insured.
    That's about half the price that I've been quoted. Could you provide more info about how you're shipping the package? IOW:

    Are you shipping from residence to residence or are you using a commercial account?

    What is the origination and destination?

    What are the dimensions of your case, exactly? The specs say 47" x 10.5 x 30.5, which is almost exactly the same as my Trico cases, sometimes the specs are off.

    I'll be considering this shipping option in the future, if I can get the price down a bit.

  68. #68
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    Very helpful thread. Indeed, keep it updated. So far, I've only been charged $60 each way on Jet Blue, with no hassle. I use a soft bike bag.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    That's about half the price that I've been quoted. Could you provide more info about how you're shipping the package? IOW:

    Are you shipping from residence to residence or are you using a commercial account?

    What is the origination and destination?

    What are the dimensions of your case, exactly? The specs say 47" x 10.5 x 30.5, which is almost exactly the same as my Trico cases, sometimes the specs are off.

    I'll be considering this shipping option in the future, if I can get the price down a bit.
    I think it's closer to 47*11*27. Shipping it from a FedEx location to my residence, paying at the FedEx ship centre when I dropped it off. I'd calculated $63 when I'd worked it out online, when the lady measured etc it came to $63.20 or something close. I like the fact that it's insured for $4000, unlike the airline when you feel lucky if you arrive, let alone your luggage.

    edit: Shipped from HSV, AL to NYC

  70. #70
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    If you are looking for a beefy case, take a look at these guys: http://www.hybridcases.com/ I have one of their cases that I use for moving electronics. Works very well

    -E

  71. #71
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    This is a very cool thread. I'm flying to UT in about 3 weeks and have been very perplexed about how to get my ride out there. Unfortunately I'm flying out on Delta, which has totally screwed bikers forever. $175 each way, with an added $50 if the case is over 50#. I think that's ridiculous, however airlines are making a killing this way. Too bad a handful of them probably won't be around much longer anyways...

    I'm starting lean more towards shipping the bike out instead of flying with it. Does anyone have any specific advice about which carrier to go with? Fedex, DHL, UPS, etc. Trying to get the best rate. Shipping from Philly to SLC. Thanks!

  72. #72
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    Airline baggage regulations

    I am planing a big trip with my bike too, and I found this site:

    "Airline baggage regulations for bikes"

    http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

    Check it out it could save you some $$$.

  73. #73
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    Travel With Bike

    I set up my own Fed Ex account and shipped to final destination, and shipped back by dropping at Fed Ex Ship Center. The key is using your own account and printing your own shipping labels (cost much more if you pay through shipping center). Paid $65 each way standard ground from Philly to Sedona. Avoids the hassel of Airline. I used Trico case but you can use box as well.
    DQS21

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by dqs21
    I set up my own Fed Ex account and shipped to final destination, and shipped back by dropping at Fed Ex Ship Center. The key is using your own account and printing your own shipping labels (cost much more if you pay through shipping center). Paid $65 each way standard ground from Philly to Sedona. Avoids the hassel of Airline. I used Trico case but you can use box as well.
    Hey dqs,

    I'm actually getting ready to fed ex a bike from Philly to SLC. I'm also iusing a Trico case and I'm guessing it will weigh between 60 and 70 lb. I entered the info on the fed ex site and I keep getting a $94 estimate. Do u think it was cheaper because u set up an account? I can't imagine SLC would be significantly more expensive than Sedona.

    Let me know if u have any tips for getting the cheaper rate. Any input would be much appreciated, as I'm shipping out later today. Thanks much!

  75. #75
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    I believe there is a 15% + discount for having own account, it only took a few minutes to set up on-line. Much less expensive than going to shipping center. I actualy went to a shipping center and they told me it would be $190, went back to hotel, used a computer to access my fed ex account and printed my own lable and it was $65.

    My exprience is setting up your own account is least expensive way, you can still drop off at shipping center for pick-up if you wish. All info is availible on Fed Ex site. Only issue I found is you do not want to ship the bike to a shipping center, they may not accept it if you ship ground.
    DQS21

  76. #76
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    Fed Ex vs UPS

    Anyone know if an individual can set up an account with UPS and get a similar discount? I live in the boondocks. We have a UPS shipping center, but not Fed Ex. Thanks,.

  77. #77
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    Hey dqs, thanks for the advice. I ended up shipping out yesterday from a FedEx shipping center on Henry Ave. I set up the account and printed at home for a grand total of $75. Not too shabby, especially considering Delta was going to charge me $175 for the case, and probably an additional $50 for the weight. That's $225 for my bike!!! Absurd! I could have bought another plane ticket for less.

    Oh well. I'll report back later on my FedEx experience, but I'm assuming things will work out just fine. The one downer about this was my packing experience. I used a Trico case and had to take off my fork. Kind of a pain in the ass, but I guess it's a good way to learn more about building the headset back up.

    Cheers traveling bikers!

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lev
    I used a Trico case and had to take off my fork. Kind of a pain in the ass, but I guess it's a good way to learn more about building the headset back up.
    I agree that pulling the fork off is a drag, but imagine how big the case would have to be if it fit a full suspension bike complete with a long travel fork! Regarding the headset, I just used masking tape on the top and bottom of the head tube to hold everything in place during transport. Only took a couple of minutes (with my wife's helping hands) to get the fork back on and tightened up.

    I gotta look into getting a Fed Ex account for my next trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    I agree that pulling the fork off is a drag, but imagine how big the case would have to be if it fit a full suspension bike complete with a long travel fork! Regarding the headset, I just used masking tape on the top and bottom of the head tube to hold everything in place during transport. Only took a couple of minutes (with my wife's helping hands) to get the fork back on and tightened up.

    I gotta look into getting a Fed Ex account for my next trip.

    Can you elaborate a little more on the masking tape thing? I'll look into trying that for the way back...

    Dude, set up the FedEx account. Literally took me about 3 min. No excuses not to

    Here are some pics from the recent packing:






  80. #80
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    So if my bike bag is 53" long and 30 inches tall, is it too big?

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    usually they use linear measurement, which is a total of the width, height and depth. I think I've seen some airlines stating anything under 90 linear inches is OK, but it varies from airline to airline. You have to check with the airline.
    Life is better on a mountain bike,

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    Quote Originally Posted by sacredrides
    usually they use linear measurement, which is a total of the width, height and depth. I think I've seen some airlines stating anything under 90 linear inches is OK, but it varies from airline to airline. You have to check with the airline.
    62" is the norm for all (US) domestic carriers. Beyond that it becomes oversize and $$$, though there might be another threshold at 90" which makes it even more expensive.

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    I have traveled for the past 1.5 years with my Dahon Fuego. No charges as of yet for a bike. Its small enough people dont get that its a bike. Twice I was asked what it was I said a therapy machine LOL.

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    Heh! This is a great thread. I just booked my flight to go to Moab(via Denver) and it costs $186 Taxes and all from Buffalo. So now my challenge is to get my bike down there. Has anyone travelled with Continental, they offer a bike box for I think $10. I have a Giant Reign and was wondering if this bike box was any good? I know it is going to cost $100 each way, but I am not mechanically inclined to remove all parts/

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    Quote Originally Posted by canuckgunner
    Heh! This is a great thread. I just booked my flight to go to Moab(via Denver) and it costs $186 Taxes and all from Buffalo. So now my challenge is to get my bike down there. Has anyone travelled with Continental, they offer a bike box for I think $10. I have a Giant Reign and was wondering if this bike box was any good? I know it is going to cost $100 each way, but I am not mechanically inclined to remove all parts/
    Be very careful about the airline's fee. They may say $100, but they probably ALSO have a size and weight restriction. I think you need to get on the phone (not just their web page) with their customer service and ask detailed questions about bringing a bike. Last time I looked they have a size and weight restriction of 70lbs and 115 linear inches. 115 linear inches can be difficult to meet with a bike. I know nothing of the box they might sell you, but I would never trust my bike to the luggage gorillas unless it was in a hard case.

    I pack my bike packed in that Performance trapezoid "team" case or whatever it's called.

    Here's a pic from my excessively excessive photo thread...
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...02838#poststop
    Look carefully... one wheel on each side of the frame with air partially out of tires squeezed between the cranks and fork, the fork is turned backwards to make it fit, bar is off and is between the wheels and top tube. The pedals are off and the rear derailleur is off. I backed way off on the tape and silly stuff like removing the rotors the next time, and the process was much faster.

    Finally, you need to learn a little about assembling the bike. You could also take it to a bike shop in Moab and I'm sure they'd help you out a bit with it. Just buy something afterwards as a good will gesture.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by 40hills; 07-16-2009 at 05:29 PM.
    I read that on the internet.

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    Thanks for the heads up. Looks like the way to go. I see the Team Performance are for sale for $174. But guess what I leave in Canada so the shipping charges are almost $100. Just cannot win with aaagh!

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    I was able to put my bike in a regular hard luggage.

    but what about the wheels?

    can I take them in a bag as carry on luggage? size 27" diameter and 6" wide.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Airline travel with a bike-3358792228_ec4d8bafe8_o.jpg  

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  88. #88
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    I found an old suite case, worked great!
    I traveled around the world with my Kona Dawg.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Airline travel with a bike-102_0457.jpg  


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    Awesome. Now tell us about your trip (perhaps on a different forum).

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    Anyone tried their luck with this lately with United ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enduramil
    Anyone tried their luck with this lately with United ?
    I think this has been said before, but skip the airline and just Fedex to a friend or bike shop. Much less hassle these days, and cheaper too depending on the airline.

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    Rent a Bike Case LBS

    If you don't travel often with your bike, check with your local bikeshops - mine rents one for a reasonable rate & who wants to store it if you only fly every few years...might work for shipping too, if size meets the specs. Costs a little more than a cardboard box, but tougher and easier to wheel around.

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    Nice post...Thank you very much!!......

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    Great thread! Very helpful!

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    I have flow 3 times so far with bikes. Each time I just get a box from my LBS and pack it well. I usually put alot of stuff in the box along with the bike (they don't charge per weight, just the bike, from my experiences). Two times I had been shipping my track bike(no problems) and this last time I was bringing my mtn bike(problem). As soon as the bike started coming around on the luggage belt I could see the TSA tape job on the box, I could also see that the box had been a bit damaged and most importantly... I could see my right hand shifter through the one handle opening. I knew this couldn't be good! Got to my destination, opened the box and noticed that they did a horrible job of repacking it! I set it up and took out for a ride to dial in on the shifting and work out the tweaks. It was shifting a bit weird but I thought it would be ok for the race the next day. After my first lap i go to shift up and click, click, click click. NOTHING! Its not working. I had to finish the last 2 laps with just three up front.

    Does anyone know if TSA will reimburse me for my now broken shifter from there shoity repacking job?

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    Trico Iron Case

    I took my full carbon mountain bike to Europe last month in a Trico Iron Case I picked up for $125 on craigslist. I put a little extra foam tubing around the carbon derailleur and the bar, etc. It feels like you are really crunching your bike in there, but it came out just fine. TSA inspected and re-packed it on the return leg and did a nice job. I was impressed!

    FYI, British Airways still does not charge for bikes (yet), but they do count toward your baggage allowance. They can charge an overweight fee, apparently at their discretion (over 25 kg, if I recall). My bike and case were about 28kg and they did not charge me the extra weight fee in either direction.

    Hauling the bike box onto crowded trains was a different challenge altogether, but we managed

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    Thats what we were told and what the signage says at the terminal but we were charged $79 bike fee on top of the charge for 1st not free checked bag(IRC $49???) we argued and got management involved but bottom line was you may be charge two charges for transporting bikes. FWIW, we went Baltimore to Seattle roundtrip and drove to Whistler.
    I used cardboard bike store boxes and even squeezed a Thule car bike rack into one box and all our DH armor in the other box. So we had one bag and two bike boxes total for 10 days of Whistler, not bad



    Quote Originally Posted by PCinSC
    Just to add some updated information, the wife and I took a spring break trip with are bikes and had no issues transporting our Trico Ironcase-packed bikes on Airtran ($79 per bike, each way). Airtrain offers no-frills service, but the upside of that is the fares are reasonable, the fee for bikes is one of the lowest of the airlines and it's inexpensive to upgrade to business class (there is no first class) where you get free drinks and attentive service. Very cool.

    2011 Canfield ONE 200mm DH 35 pounds
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    Wife: 2009 Canfield ONE also 29 lbs

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    I have flown with my bikes 3 times now. First two times was with my freeride bike (Turner Highline) and I put it in a cardboard bike box. I decided I hate this method as the box inevitably gets pretty beat up and resulted in a few small chips to my paint. Also the box is big and bulky and hard to carry around and transport in vehicles.

    I just went on a trip last week to California - SF Bay area. I took my trail bike (Banshee Spitfire) this time. I decided to try the route that some of my friends have done before, and used a large hockey gear bag. I bought the largest bag with wheels I could find at my local sporting goods store, which happened to be a Reebok bag measuring 40x18x18. I also bought some 1" thick foam sheets from the fabric store. I was able to fit my whole bike plus helmet and camel back in this bag, and actually had room for more stuff but then it was over 50 lbs. The advantage to using this approach is the airlines shouldn't charge you the extra bike fees, as this bag looks just like regular luggage. With careful and proper packing, there shouldn't be any damage either. And the bag has both wheels and handles, so it is easy to move around. I will post some pics when I get home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustMtnB44
    I bought the largest bag with wheels I could find at my local sporting goods store, which happened to be a Reebok bag measuring 40x18x18. I also bought some 1" thick foam sheets from the fabric store. I was able to fit my whole bike plus helmet and camel back in this bag, and actually had room for more stuff but then it was over 50 lbs.
    Beware that 62 linear inches is the common maximum for US carriers for regularly checked luggage. Beyond that it is considered oversized and up to their baggage rates. I've taken my S&S case (26x26x10") more than a dozen times r/t on United and it has never been measured, though YMMV.

    Just to carry wheels, the smallest case practical needs to be at least ~26x26" (that'll fit 700x28c or 26x2.1" with tires deflated, or 29er with tires removed). You then only get 10" of depth to stay legit in the 62", which even for a S&S or Ritchey coupled bike is a PITA to fit (a fully disassembled Turner Flux and RFX will also fit).

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    JustMtn44: Sounds brilliant. Were you able to get your bike in the bag without removing the fork? Anxiously awaiting those photos.

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