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Air Travel with Bicycle

Old 04-11-19, 08:17 AM
  #76  
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The used travel bike I bought came with carbon bars, seatpost and stem, and I'm considering replacing them with aluminum for more durability. Good idea or unnecessary?
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Old 04-11-19, 10:21 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
Great thread.
...
Luckily our tandem has S&S couplers and uninflated the wheels are about 25.5" in diameter. I am not quite sure how the packing will go but I suspect that I will have 2 cardboard boxes at 26"x26"x10" and weighing 49# on a certified scale. ..
Yeah, this thread has a mountain of good info on packing up an S&S bike. There are some good you tube videos too, but I do not know if there are any specific to a tandem.

In your boxes, I would suggest a center support too. In post 39 above you can see my DIY center support, a couple wood dowels and some thin plywood (1/8 or 3/16 inch thick) held together with wood screws in case your box is sitting flat and airline handlers put something on the middle of of the box that can crush the contents of your box. That is something you could discard later. My first trip I used some masonite instead of plywood. The masonite cracked which could only have occured if they put a bunch of weight on my bike, so the center support obviously was needed. For version two I decided to use plywood.

I hope your cardboard stays dry, it can disintegrate if it rains when they are loading or unloading luggage and it gets wet.
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Old 04-11-19, 11:11 AM
  #78  
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Back before airlines got greedy about fees for bikes, I used a cardboard box all the time with no issues. Nowadays I want more stealth

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
The used travel bike I bought came with carbon bars, seatpost and stem, and I'm considering replacing them with aluminum for more durability. Good idea or unnecessary?
depends on if you are going to worry about them or not. I just don't have any confidence in carbon handlebars, the other parts I have no worries about.
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Old 04-11-19, 11:42 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
depends on if you are going to worry about them or not. I just don't have any confidence in carbon handlebars, the other parts I have no worries about.
One of the few DNF's on the Mac & Cheese was from a broken carbon handlebar, and I'd hate to have my PBP ruined that way. I think I've got it narrowed down to the Nitto M106 and B135. Can't decide if I want to go with a compact or randonneur bend. If I go with the randonneur bar, which is the direction I'm leaning, I'll need a shorter stem which would obviously compel me to buy a matching seatpost.
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Old 04-11-19, 12:45 PM
  #80  
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I dunno if I would trust any used handlebar; a good friend of mine had one snap at the stem... it was aluminum though.
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Old 05-12-19, 08:50 AM
  #81  
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Here are some pages on Skyscanner which lists rules for bicycles on some airlines. The information is a few years old, but at least they're a good place to start if you're looking for information.
https://www.skyscanner.com/tips-and-...with-your-bike
https://www.skyscanner.net/news/airl...r-bike-onboard

I have a folding bicycle with 20" wheels, which can fit in a cheap $30 standard sized plastic ABS hard shell luggage under the 158cm maximum linear dimension. Using this as an example, I was curious and asked KLM and Air France if I would have to pay additional special baggage fees.

KLM won't charge extra fees if the luggage is under the weight and size limit.

Air France will still charge a bicycle fee, even if the luggage appears standard. I specifically wrote about "parts of an incomplete bicycle" that fit in 2 separate luggage, and they wrote back saying that I'd have to pay a separate fee for each of the 2 luggage. My thoughts were to pack the folding frame in the first luggage, and the panniers and wheels in the second luggage. So I'd look for a different airline than Air France when traveling with a bicycle. Ironically, KLM and Air France are parts of the same company after a merger.

I looked at a few other websites of different airlines, and many of them have similar rules as KLM, where the bicycle would be treated as standard luggage if they're under the standard weight and size limits, and well packed and protected.

I think EasyJet will always charge a fee for bicycles, but the fee is cheaper than the cost of a 2nd standard luggage. So it may actually be more economical to declare and pay the bicycle fee if you are checking in 2 luggage.
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Old 05-12-19, 04:06 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
...
KLM won't charge extra fees if the luggage is under the weight and size limit.

Air France will still charge a bicycle fee, even if the luggage appears standard. ...
I have never been asked what is in the S&S case, but if asked I would say bicycle parts but not a complete bike. (I pack the saddle and sometimes a few other parts in a different bag.) But based on your comment, if I was flying Air France I would be more inclined to say I had sports equipment.

I usually have a bike helmet with me that I carry separately onto the plane, when it is strapped onto the outside of my carry on it is pretty obvious that I am probably biking. I have never tried to hide the fact that I am flying with a bike.

Twice I flew to Europe from USA with a bike helmet, bike pedals and saddle, but no bike. Those trips were for van supported bike trips where the tour company provided the bikes. In those cases I was never asked if I had a bike either.

I have never heard of an airline inspecting the inside of anybodies luggage, the govt security people do the inspections and they do not care what fees you were charged.
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Old 05-12-19, 05:10 PM
  #83  
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Well, I guess the problem of not declaring a bicycle at check-in may cause problems later on, if it gets damaged during transportation. If you want to make a compensation claim, they might say that since you didn't declare it, they might try to invalidate your indemnity coverage. But I don't know how these things work, so it's just my imagination speaking.

Next time I fly with my bike, I would research the airline options and pick one that accepts bicycles without any special requirements or fees as long as it fits in the standard luggage size and weight. I'd simply avoid Air France and only choose it as a last option. I think the number of people who fly with bicycles account for a very small portion of their passengers, so they probably don't concern themselves much for pleasing cyclists, unless they want to build customer loyalty or project an image of customer care.

I read somewhere here on bikeforums that EasyJet or RyanAir staff frequently ask what's in the luggage. Someone wrote that they simply call the contents "mobility equipment" instead of denying that it's a bicycle, and the check-in staff simply lets it through, as there are exceptions for mobility aids like wheelchairs. There isn't much material difference between a bike and a wheelchair other than the sitting posture, speed, and range. Although a bike is probably worth much more money. Some of the bike fee's probably go towards damage claims. I once flew with a folding bike in the original oversized cardboard box, and the check-in agent said I had to sign a damage waiver form, otherwise they wouldn't take it. They were probably worried about the cost of possible damage. I also once flew with a printer in a very strong cardboard box and I too had to sign a damage waiver form.

I think the risk is quite high for damage to bicycles. One time I had the folding bike fully assembled, but folded, in the original cardboard box, and it arrived with the folding lever completely bent inside out, which could only happen if the box was dropped on it's end from 1 or 2 meters. So now I'll only pack the frame separately or disassembled and well padded in a hard shell luggage in order to keep the effect of the weight down in case the luggage gets dropped. The approximately $50 extra cost for a 2nd luggage is small compared to the extra safety.
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Old 05-13-19, 03:49 AM
  #84  
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It's less expensive to tell the check-in person you've got a bicycle.

But if you want to pay more, go ahead and tell them it's something else.
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Old 05-13-19, 06:42 AM
  #85  
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it's definitely dependent on your airline. I feel like if you keep it under the max size of 62 inches, they shouldn't charge. Some literal minded agents are going to try to get the charge for a bicycle even if they work for airline that doesn't charge extra if the bike is under 62 inches. If there is an airline that says they will charge a fee even if the case isn't oversize/overweight, then I am going to avoid that airline. Orucase has an airline guide, but it was last updated in 2018. Best to check the airline website and the website of their operating partners. The company that actually flies the flights you are on is the one that really matters.

I feel like I have seen airlines that have extra charges for sports equipment that is about the same as they charge for a bicycle. Best to have a good story if you are going to be misleading.
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Old 05-19-19, 07:36 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
It's less expensive to tell the check-in person you've got a bicycle.

But if you want to pay more, go ahead and tell them it's something else.
It depends on the airline. For example Air France on a certain route, the 1st baggage is free. 2nd baggage is $100. But if you tell them it is a bicycle, they'll still charge you $150 for the bicycle, even if it is inside a case that's within the standard size and weight limits, or even if it's the 1st and only baggage that you have.

Ryan air baggage is 25 each. Sports equipment is 35. But if you tell them it's a bicycle, then it's 60. The website doesn't mention any exemptions if the bike fits in a case that's within the standard size and weight limits. And I would assume they wouldn't since budget airlines like to charge for extras.
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Old 05-27-19, 03:58 PM
  #87  
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On the touring forum someone just commented that American has dropped some of their fees. I just did an internet search and found this:
Newsroom - American Airlines Eliminates Oversize Bag Fees for Sports and Music Equipment - American Airlines Group, Inc.

And note the 126 inch measurement:
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/specialty-and-sports.jsp#bicycle

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Old 05-27-19, 06:19 PM
  #88  
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I just looked at the link. That's indeed what it says. So bikes within the new more generous limits are treated as standard luggage. Great news. No extra fees other than standard baggage fees, unless you go over the limits.

Also on the site,

Liability

We will only be liable for any damage to sports equipment if:
  • They are in hard-sided case
  • The outside of the case is visibly damaged

So you should always use a hard case. If the case looks good but the bike is damaged, I guess they'd claim improper packing. If the case looks bad, you should report it at the luggage service counter. The site says within 24 hours. For international flights, liability follows an international convention. I only briefly read it, but it sounded similar where they won't be liable for defects in the baggage, which I might interpret as improper packing.
Domestic flights liability up to $3500. International flights up to some vague units.

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Old 06-09-19, 08:06 PM
  #89  
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Just got this hard case for my upcoming PBP trip: https://www.topeak.com/global/en/pro...s/1106-pakgo-x

I was initially hesitant about it since there are smaller and cheaper soft cases from Evoc or Thule, and also a bit of concern about the published 127cm length (I see 120cm as the maximum length on airlines) but...

- I spoke to one person who has travelled with the case before and he did not encounter any issues with it.
- After all this talk of insurance and liability stuff, I decided my carbon bike would be better served in a hard case.
- I took actual measurements at the shop, seems like Topeak's measurements include the very tip of the top handle all the way down to the wheels. Box alone is well below 120cm and, worse come to worse, I can always disassemble the wheels for the duration of the transit.

BTW... Any experience with KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines)?

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Old 06-21-19, 03:16 PM
  #90  
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The airlines are more sensitive to weight than anything else, it is a nuisance for a gate agent to measure a bag unless one is trying to make a point.
Shipping to a friend or bike shop may also be competitive in some situations.
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Old 07-19-19, 05:24 AM
  #91  
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This thread just started on the touring forum:
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...job-delta.html

And I did a google search to confirm it, found this:
https://news.delta.com/checked-sport...fly-less-delta

A strict interpretation of this suggests if you bought your ticket before July 17, you might still have to pay the fee.
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