Taking a bike on the Airplane- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Taking a bike on the Airplane

    Going to Maui soon. Flying Hawaiian Airlines. Would really like to take my bike.
    Has anyone had experience taking a bike on a flight? I plan on boxing it up in a standard cardboard bicycle box, with all the packaging materials.
    How much does it cost?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Reputation: fastale's Avatar
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    couldn't find any info on their website (didn't put too much time into it) but you're gonna want to contact the airlines. They probably have a flat fee (which will be very expensive) and will want you to package up the bike in a certain way. flying a bike sucks, golf clubs...not so bad. Should have been a golfer.

  3. #3
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    We've used Hawaiian quite a bit with our bikes, PDX and SEA. Cardboard boxes, make sure nothing is loose inside, your box will probably getted ripped, especially around the hand holes. TSA will open it and retape it, when we travel with two boxes one will get opened and one won't. Pretty sure it was $80 each, one way, might have been 50, the Hawaiian staff has always been really nice.

  4. #4
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    Purchase a bike case; the hard plastic kinds; doesn't need to be an IronMan or Thule; I've had 2 cases from Performance that work just as well. Then FEDEX or UPS those bikes to Maui or directly to the resort you'll be at.

    1) You won't be dealing with the added luggage at the airport. Expect to pay $75 per flight on SW, $125 on American, and $100 on Delta--each FLIGHT--not each trip. So 4 flights...

    2) You can take out insurance with FEDEX and UPS. A few years back American lost my bag, and I mean lost it...5 months later and its still G O N E. It had 2 $300 suits and shoes, I think I had close to $800-900 lost. It was harder than heck to get them to warranty/replace clothes. I can't imagine the headache/heartache you'll go through.

    3) If you can, rent a bike in Maui. Unless it's a 100% mtb'ing trip...the headache of packing, repacking, etc ain't worth it for 2 rides.

    4) If you ride a med size frame (SS preferably), with the fork & wheels removed you may be able to fit it all into a "Large" hard cased suit case. I've seen it done. If the bag's weight tips 70'lbs be prepared to pay $$, also if asked what's in there...tell them its art supplies. If/when they open it and see your bike, they'll want to charge you for transporting a bike--stay true to your story and tell them your a freelance bike designer on a business trip to Maui. Yeah, its weak...but its worked.

    -B

  5. #5
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    Contact other riders and shops in your area, you may be able to borrow or rent a hard shell bike case. (I rented from my LBS) Way more secure than a cardboard box. Buy the TSA locks and lock the box closed. If you must use cardboard, get some really strong packing or duct tape and tape the f-ing sh*t out that box. You are entrusting your baby to a bunch of complete strangers who have a nasty habit of rough handling and theft. Seriously consider shipping via Fedex or UPS. You can insure the shipment. Most airlines limit their liability to $1000 USD and will fight you to the death over any claim you may make.

    Wrap the bike very well with rags or bubble wrap or whatever. It will get banged around and scratched. Use a small block of wood or something in your fork and frame dropouts. You don't want your fork or frame to be bent or crushed. Secure any loose parts or fasteners and affix them to the frame. Any small parts, put in a small bag and zip tie the bag to the frame. Helps to prevent loss if/when the box is opened by TSA.

    Produce a written inventory of everthing inside the box. Everything including extra tubes, nuts and bolts, gloves, whatever. Place one copy inside the box and keep one with you. Write down the serial number and keep it with you. Hide some type of identification inside the bike, i.e. a small slip of paper inside the seat tube.

    Do not pack CO2 cartridges for flat tires.

    I did everything mentioned above and was still stopped by security. They tore the whole box apart and inspected everything. They then shoved a form in my face saying I had to sign to release them from ANY kind of liability for loss or damage. I had a freaking fit about that and was very nearly "detained" by security. You're going to rip apart my bag and then tell me you're not responsible if you lose or break the contents?! I don't f-ing think so bro. They forced me to sign and I wrote on the form that I did this under protest and would hold them liable. They didn't like that much either and when I handed the form back to them, they let out a heavy sigh and then proceeded to take down every single bit of personal information about me that they could get. So after all of this, I'm watching the lady inspect it. She then just starts stuffing parts back into the box with no regard to how it was packed. I had a fit about that as well and basically had to walk through the steps of how to pack it all back up. I get home only to find that she half-assed it and my bike had some really bad sctarches. Pissed off does not even begin.......

    TSA is the biggest freakin' joke ever.

  6. #6
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    Reputation: airwreck's Avatar
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    Hawaiian has direct flights to Maui now.
    The problem with cases is they are heavier than boxes and might push your bike over the weight limit.
    We have had really good service with Hawaiian this past summer with too heavy bike boxes and luggage. Several flights with two beat up boxes, no lost stuff, no damages, no problems. We do not argue and try to be helpful and courteous, and we've been late for most of flights too!

  7. #7
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    Can anyone tell me the typical size (outside dimensions) of a typical bike box?
    I am going to get a shipping quote through Fedex and see if I might go that way. My company has a good discount shipping fedex. thanks again for the input!

  8. #8
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
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    before you get all panicky

    this is on the site of the carrier you chose to use:

    Charges
    Bicycles and any attachable parts will not be included in determining the free baggage allowance and will always each be subject to a charge, whether or not presented as a single piece:
    Between points within the State of Hawaii: $25.00 USD
    Between Hawaii and points in the Continental USA: $80.00 USD
    Between points within the Continental USA: $80.00 USD

    FedEx rates are on their website.

    Jim

  9. #9
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    I'd never trust the airlines with my bike. Buy a bike case and FedEx it to where you're staying. I've done this all over the world and have never lost or dammaged a bike. It'll cost a few bucks more, but what the hell, I would rather be safe.
    Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.

  10. #10
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    Make custom boxes

    I custom made 2 boxes. One for the wheels and the other for the frame. This brings the weight down to below 50 pounds for each box. I also use the space and stuff my helmet, shoes and cycling clothes in each of the boxes.

    I made mine from a product called Gallina, used to protect windows from hurricane force winds and very light. You can make a frame from 1x2 and cover it with 1/4" plywood. better yet, forget the 1x2's and hold the ply together with aluminum angles and rivets.

    If they ask you what is in the box, tell them excercise equipment. Do not tell them it is a bicycle, you will be charged. make sure you weight the boxes to make sure they are less than 50 pounds.

  11. #11
    Nothing here
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    I agree with Anonymous. I shipped my bike FedEx on a recent trip to my friends house and arrived exactly like I packed it with no damage using cardboard boxes. My other bud who flew with his bike down had it in a Trico case. TSA obviously opened it up to inspect it because the case was hanging open with straps everywhich way and gaps in the bike case. They just opened it up and rummaged through it and shoved the bike back in without a care in the world apparently. Needless to say he was pissed. FedEx is easier too because you don't have to lug a 70lb bike box through the airport.

  12. #12
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    I much prefer sending bikes too. I just ordered a Crateworks box, and am looking forward to giving it a try next month when I head out west for a couple of weeks. It looks like a great product -- sturdy, but much lighter than the Thule or other all plastic boxes.

  13. #13
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    Look into renting a carrying case

    Check to see if your local bike shop has a carrying case that you can rent, you'll save some money and gain some great insight on how to pack it properly.

    I’ve been to Hawaii and rented bikes on 2 different Islands and that was nice, but having your own bike is great if you can afford to ship it. We went to Vancouver this past summer and I rented a bike carrying case from my local bike shop, it more than did the trick. You'll here and read horror stories about bikes getting damaged or not even arriving to the destination, they all have value and are worth listening to. Bottom line, insure your bike through the airline if possible. If you own a home many times homeowners insurance will cover the cost of your bike, or if you rent carry a rider policy in addition to the typical renters insurance because many times renters insurance will not cover stolen items outside of the home. Again it's great if you can get your own bike out to a vacation spot, but if you can't renting isn't that bad.

    Good luck on your decision, regardless of what you decide you’re going to have a great time! Right now the North Shore on Oahu is starting the big wave season. Watch the local weather while your there to see if the waves are at or near peak and if so spend the money to catch a jump flight over to Oahu and enjoy the awesome waves, surfers and scenes in general, you won’t regret it.

  14. #14
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    I flew with my bike twice this year (once domestic and once to Canadia) and have not had a problem. I think this is mainly for two reasons:
    1) I used a real bike box
    2) I packed that bike so securely that the TSA goofballs COULDN'T screw up the repacking if it got searched.

    Here's a highly anal method of packing your bike, but it WORKS...
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=crate

    That was the first time, and I admit I overdid the packing just to be safe and to learn what works best. I learned that I overdid it so on the second trip I used A LOT less tape and padding. I basically just protected the rear shock from the hubs using cardboard/tape and didn't bother padding or taping much else... everything was fine.

    One of the better decisions the second time was to NOT remove the rotors... that saved a ton of time rebuilding the bike. To make sure the rotors would be relatively safe, I took two of those plastic strut ends that came with the box and taped one on the outside hub on each side to keep the plastic case from pressing on the rotors.

    The key to my whole packing was to find the sweet spot for the wheels and strap around the entire thing so it could be lifted out and placed back in the box as one piece.

    I may consider using FedEx or that sports shipping company on my next trip to SoCal in February, but I may just take it on the plane since I have had good luck with it.

    p.s. - I have seen a number of people in the airports dragging their beat up (i.e. destroyed) cardboard bike boxes and was very glad that I had a proper box with 4 wheels... my suitcase has 4 wheels too, so I can just cruise through the airport effortlessly.

    p.p.s. - I told the agent that I had "trade show" equipment and got through with no charge on one of my trips. The other time I had to pay.
    I read that on the internet.

  15. #15
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    I'd recommend FedExing it. I fly as a military crewmember alot, which is nice because when I go to New Zealand or Alaska or some other sweet biking destination I just roll my bike on. Every time we have to TR (fly commercial from one base to another, don't ask me what the acronym means) something in my baggage goes missing, if not the baggage all-together. I wouldn't risk it with a whole bike, I'd just ship it so it arrives at the hotel the same day I show up.

  16. #16
    pro
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    About the Boxes though, colorado cyclist makes a sick bike box that can be had for about 100. Its made of poly carbonate

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by compression
    Going to Maui soon. Flying Hawaiian Airlines. Would really like to take my bike.
    Has anyone had experience taking a bike on a flight? I plan on boxing it up in a standard cardboard bicycle box, with all the packaging materials.
    How much does it cost?
    Thanks
    I've flown overseas and domestic flights while dragging my bicycle along to have with me for riding. It's usually $75 - 100 for domestic and up to $125+ for overseas flights. And that's one way. They call it an oversize baggage charge. A cardboard bike box will work, just make sure you wrap frame and components inside with blankets, foam, packing bubble wrap or whatever to protect everything. Tape the box up well. I've used that method several times.

    The last few times I have used FedEx as it was actually cheaper for shipping than the airlines charge. I shipped my Sugar 293 using FedEx out to San Francisco from Des Moines and back because I was out there working for 6 weeks. It was about $45 each way shipping with FedEx. Same packing headache of wrapping everything in the box, but a bit cheaper.

    I guess I should consider myself fortunate as no airline ever lost my bike - nor was any damage done to the box or bike in all the trips I have made to date.

    Just figure out if the time you are in Maui and all the things you are going to do makes it worthwhile to have your bike there for the costs involved. As others have mentioned, you might be able to rent a bike a few times and actually save money - or at least break even without the hassle of packing and unpacking a bike.

    BB

  18. #18
    "Its All Good"
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    I travel the world more or less with my bike, I can fly from New Zealand to Spain and not pay a cent to take my bike. I can fly New York or LAX to Europe and not pay a cent.... BUT if I fly from St Louis, or Salt Lake City to LAX or NY the pricks charge me, makes me sick.... The only country that charges you........... Have flown from St Louis a number of times, 5 in fact with my bike and the cost has been different everytime with the same bike bag..... And each and everytime I have had to keep my cool....

    I have used a Hard Case bike box and the Sette Padded Bag, it has been great, on the out pockets inside I have a box flattened on both sides... Have not had a problem except when British Airways misplaced my bike coming back from Whistler to Spain and bent my disk rotor in half..... British Airways and the US Airlines (Delta, AA, United) all suck basically.... And I do around 300 flightsd a year!
    The_Lecht_Rocks: whafe - cheeers - may i offer an official apology for the wagon wheeler "dis-belief"

  19. #19
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    Most airlines now restrict a passenger to only 1 check-in (50 lbs. or less) and 2 carry on. You would have to check the bicycle and pay extra, anywhere from $50 to $125. I had to check in a boogie board and it cost an additional $80!

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