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Flying with a bicycle - packaging and fees

Old 10-26-20, 06:10 PM
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tmizzzle
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Flying with a bicycle - packaging and fees

Hi,
As we all know, many airlines charge "oversize" fees for any checked luggage over 62" linear inches. Very specifically, I would like input on how to package a bicycle and stay within that restriction. I'm not interested in advice on how to ship a bike with a courier. I want to know how folks have used a cardboard box to package their bikes and any best practices or travel hacks that have been successful. 20" mountain bike with 26"tires. Any advice appreciated.
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Old 10-26-20, 06:44 PM
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Remove wheels
Remove seat post
Remove pedals
Remove handlebars and tape them to the top tube, keep cables connected
Remove and wrap rear derailleur

Use Pipe foam and cut it to fit all tubes.
Wrap all other parts in lots of bubble wrap.
Use some PVC pipe to wedge between the dropouts.
Use remaining PVC pipe and some plastic wheel hub covers to make some supports to wedge in the box
so your box can’t be crushed.
put wheels into wheel bags, and put all small parts and pedals together in a small box
I stuff my bike clothes in as well for extra padding.

Shake box to make sure there are no loose parts, or the bike isn’t moving around.
Drop box from second story window to simulate standard airline baggage handling (no, just kidding... kind of)

61” is only a very large suitcase. My bike Friday does this and the frame folds up and has 20” wheels. You probably can’t do that with a standard size bike, most bike boxes are in the 80-90” range.
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Old 10-26-20, 11:48 PM
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Thanks. I'm looking for someone to tell me how to do it within 62". i know it's possible. please advise, o wise bike people.
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Old 10-27-20, 07:08 AM
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I'm not sure it's possible to pack an ordinary bike, especially a large one, inside the 62" requirement. Bike Friday or an S&S coupled bike are made for traveling under that requirement.

Before you give up in disgust, check the web sites for the airlines. I believe Southwest lets you fly with a bike as a piece of checked luggage. Delta and American, and possibly United, relaxed the requirements for bicycles last year. (No telling what happened this year with Covid.) You still had to pay for the checked bag, and keep it under their weight limit (50 pounds), but they were letting you get away with a larger box for a bike without the $150-200 fee.

Don't be too quick to dismiss the various brokers. I shipped my S&S coupled bike home last summer (2019), even though it met the 62" requirement, because it was cheaper with shipbikes than as a second checked bag.
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Old 10-27-20, 07:38 AM
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One problem, even if you can disassemble the bike to fit the requirement, is finding a cardboard bicycle box that size. Almost all bike boxes I have seen are made for shipping the bike with the rear wheel installed. Removing the rear wheel means that the box has to be made much wider even though it does not have to be as long
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Old 10-27-20, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I'm not sure it's possible to pack an ordinary bike, especially a large one, inside the 62" requirement.
I have a hard time imagining that it can be done with a full-size bike unless, maybe, it's on the very small size. (The OP says he knows it can be done yet doesn't know how to do it.)

I use one of these:

https://www.crateworks.com/product/p...stic-bike-box/

Total 86.5" for the outer dimensions. The depth is 11" alone. Wheels off and stacked on top of the frame, pedals off, bars off and turned and fork turned and my 60cm LHT fits snug depth wise. If I had only 62" I would be left with only another 50" total for length and width.

OP: Measure the length of your frame, possibly with the fork turned 90 degrees to save space, from the tip of the rear dropout to the most forward frame point. Subtract that number from 62 and you will know what you have left for height and depth. That, in turn should give you a better idea of whether or not it can be done.

This is my frame packed. The racks do not require a larger box because they take of dead space.



Last edited by indyfabz; 10-27-20 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 10-27-20, 11:28 AM
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I travel pretty frequently for work and was looking at this bag: https://postcarry.co/products/transfer-case I've read that some people have had luck not getting charged on Southwest, which is usually who I fly with.
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Old 10-27-20, 12:25 PM
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All over the world with this awesome carrier and usually USD$150.00 or sometimes as one of your checked luggage if lucky like me
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Old 10-27-20, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by tmizzzle View Post
Thanks. I'm looking for someone to tell me how to do it within 62". i know it's possible. please advise, o wise bike people.
Touring Bike 57 Inch Box



57" box

Good Luck
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Old 10-27-20, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Touring Bike 57 Inch Box
Uh..L+W+H have to be equal to or less than 62" to avoid the oversize charge. L+W+H for that box you picture is over 91".
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Old 10-27-20, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Uh..L+W+H have to be equal to or less than 62" to avoid the oversize charge. L+W+H for that box you picture is over 91".
I am most likely misunderstanding as if your shipping a bicycle box airlines will charge a excess fee if its more then 115linear inches.. I have only flown international and ship bicycles in these 110 Linerar inch boxes quite a lot but only overseas so maybe thats the key word..





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Old 10-27-20, 01:40 PM
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Pay the Charge
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Old 10-27-20, 01:41 PM
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Try an Airport Ninja case.

Also, many airlines have eliminated their oversize fees for bicycles - they still charge overweight fees though if the packaging exceeds 50lbs.
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Old 10-27-20, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Uh..L+W+H have to be equal to or less than 62" to avoid the oversize charge. L+W+H for that box you picture is over 91".
They loaded with no problems
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Old 10-27-20, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I'm not sure it's possible to pack an ordinary bike, especially a large one, inside the 62" requirement. Bike Friday or an S&S coupled bike are made for traveling under that requirement.
Yep, even the case for a Ritchey Break-Away doesn't quite meet the 62" requirement.

Last edited by tomato coupe; 10-27-20 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 10-27-20, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Pay the Charge

Yes I find a $150.00 for 115 Linear Inches very very reasonable as I shipped 3 bikes with me to Sri Lanka for less then $500.00 and thats 1/2 way around the world from Ohio, USA
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Old 10-27-20, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
They loaded with no problems
Thatís not the issue, man. Iíve flown with a bike domestically and internationally numerous times.

The issue is the OP trying to avoid todayís oversize fee by fitting a full sized bike into a box thatís small enough to avoid the fee. I donít think it can be done.
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Old 10-27-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by trekmogul View Post
I am most likely misunderstanding as if your shipping a bicycle box airlines will charge a excess fee if its more then 115linear inches.. I have only flown international and ship bicycles in these 110 Linerar inch boxes quite a lot but only overseas so maybe thats the key word..





*smh*

Letís understand the problem: Some airlines no longer charge extra for a bike (one still has to pay any standard checked bag fee) if you can get it in a box that is 62 linear inches or less. What is meant by that is L+W+H=62Ē or less. Thatís the OPís goal. I (and some others here) donít think itís possible with his bike.
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Old 10-27-20, 02:18 PM
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Maybe some variation of rinko for flatbars? If anything 26" wheels will make it easier As long as the charge is for oversize, I'd be OK circumventing it. I'm OKish paying bike surcharges as the airline takes all responsibility for damages (been there).

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Old 10-27-20, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
Yep, even the case for a Ritchey Break-Away doesn't quite meet the 62" requirement.
BF can be a frustrating place sometimes. ďI think the fee is reasonable, so just pay it.Ē is wholly unresponsive to the OP.

And you are correct about the Ritchey case:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fol...w%3fformat=amp
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Old 10-27-20, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
*smh*

Letís understand the problem: Some airlines no longer charge extra for a bike (one still has to pay any standard checked bag fee) if you can get it in a box that is 62 linear inches or less. What is meant by that is L+W+H=62Ē or less. Thatís the OPís goal. I (and some others here) donít think itís possible with his bike.

ok had no idea was looking for a free be shipment of a bike and will bow out of the conversation...
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Old 10-27-20, 02:58 PM
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I don't see how this can be done with a bike that doesn't fold up.

Just looking at the frame alone on my 54cm bike with a tape measurer, it would need a box that is (at a minimum) 39x23 and the rear dropouts are around 6.5" wide (assuming I removed the RD), so 7" to provide some minimal padding. I'm at 69", disregarding room for wheels, fork and handlebars. A 26" MTB frame in Medium/Large size may be a few inches smaller than my 54cm road bike.

I don't think it fits, but would love to see someone prove me wrong.
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Old 10-27-20, 05:02 PM
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Not helpful to OP:
My Bike Friday case is 29.5x20x12 =61.5
I roll it to the bag check-in, the person lifts eyebrows slightly as the weight comes 49.5lbs, and since I get 1 bag free there is no extra charge. Never paid an extra dime to have my Bike Friday flying with me in fifteen years.
I don’t think you can pack a full size frame in that size without S&S couples or a folding bike.

Maybe helpful:
If you have a credit card with one of the airlines it might give you waived fees for sports equipment as long it’s under 115” and 50 lbs.
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