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BikeFlights timing reliable?

Old 09-24-18, 07:27 AM
  #1  
Rob_E
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BikeFlights timing reliable?

TL;DNR: BikeFlights says if it can ship in two days. It would be easier and cheaper if I can trust that number. But I can still take my bike on the plane.

I planned to ship my wife's bike out ahead of us on an upcoming Katy Trail ride. I had checked BikeFlights and had seen that they only required 2 days to get the bike there. But then when I ordered a box from them, that took a week. I was going to ship my bike out with a day or two to spare, but that's no longer an option. BikeFlights doesn't seem to offer Saturday delivery, so the best I can do is ship Wednesday for Friday delivery. We fly in Saturday. Shuttle west and lodging for 5 days on the trail start on Sunday, so if the bike doesn't show up until Monday, then we're going to wish we had just paid the extra money and figured out how to get the boxed bike from the airport to our Saturday lodging.

So how reliable are those shipping numbers? Has anyone had a bike not make it on time? If I can count on those numbers, it's still the easiest way to go, but it'll really throw a wrench in the plans if the bike is late.
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Old 09-24-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
TL;DNR: BikeFlights says if it can ship in two days. It would be easier and cheaper if I can trust that number. But I can still take my bike on the plane.

I planned to ship my wife's bike out ahead of us on an upcoming Katy Trail ride. I had checked BikeFlights and had seen that they only required 2 days to get the bike there. But then when I ordered a box from them, that took a week. I was going to ship my bike out with a day or two to spare, but that's no longer an option. BikeFlights doesn't seem to offer Saturday delivery, so the best I can do is ship Wednesday for Friday delivery. We fly in Saturday. Shuttle west and lodging for 5 days on the trail start on Sunday, so if the bike doesn't show up until Monday, then we're going to wish we had just paid the extra money and figured out how to get the boxed bike from the airport to our Saturday lodging.

So how reliable are those shipping numbers? Has anyone had a bike not make it on time? If I can count on those numbers, it's still the easiest way to go, but it'll really throw a wrench in the plans if the bike is late.
I shipped last Wednesday from the Twin Cities, bike is being delivered today in Gainesville, FL, and that was their cheap, slow shipping. I have no direct experience with the 2 day, but if their slow ship is any indication, they're on the ball. No idea why getting a box would have taken a week, but with all the bike shops in the Twin Cities I never have to worry about that, as they would rather give a box to a fellow cyclist than throw it out back in a recycling bin.
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Old 09-24-18, 08:26 AM
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Bikeflights never delivers on any day. FedEx delivers your bike. Bikeflights is basically a discount broker of FedEx (and other company) shipping. When you purchase shipping, you will be emailed a FedEx shipping label. You and FedEx do the rest.

I have used them for four round trips. Paid for four-day shipping. Only once was the bike delayed . That was on a return trip from out west. There was some major flooding somewhere that closed major highways.
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Old 09-24-18, 09:26 AM
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If you've got the box now, is there any reason to wait until Wednesday to ship? Box it up, take it to FedEx today, and ask whomever is receiving it for you to hold it an extra few days. (Or save some $$ and ship it slightly slower...)
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Old 09-24-18, 09:59 AM
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At my LBS they suggest ship ahead, at least week before you plan to arrive,
to give the mechanics time to assemble your bike, if so labeled,
&you are willing to pay that cost, for your convenience.

receive and store, a 'do not assemble' bike , until you arrive is an option, too..






...
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Old 09-24-18, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
If you've got the box now, is there any reason to wait until Wednesday to ship? Box it up, take it to FedEx today, and ask whomever is receiving it for you to hold it an extra few days. (Or save some $$ and ship it slightly slower...)
Considered this. I do not have the box now. It should arrive tomorrow. I ordered the box from BikeFlights because running around trying to source one locally was going to be tricky. One car, that my wife uses, largely working 2nd shift, makes me finding and retrieving the box a pain, plus BikeFlights threw in a few pieces to further protect the bike. I did call ahead and get the okay to ship it a couple of days in advance of our arrival, but the current situation makes it unlikely that it will be possible for it to arrive before Friday, one day before I arrive.

And BikeFlights had no slower shipping options. I'm fine with the price they suggest for FedEx 2 day ground. I just wanted to ship it Tuesday, and Tuesday is when the box arrives.

And I don't need to account for assembly time. We get there early in the day on Saturday and don't leave until Sunday morning. I should have no problem putting the bike back together. In fact, the time-consuming one will be my own bike, which will be in a S&S case, and which consequently requires more extensive dissassembly.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:02 AM
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My experience with bike flights has always been great. Door to door service, no delays. I always make sure I send my bike well in advance, the folks I am sending it too when I start my six month summer tours out west have plenty of garage space. No baloney at the airport, no having to deal with Homeland Security bedwetters, no "we have to put it on the next flight," hassles.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:08 AM
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I, too, have gotten great results with BikeFlights.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
And BikeFlights had no slower shipping options. I'm fine with the price they suggest for FedEx 2 day ground. I just wanted to ship it Tuesday, and Tuesday is when the box arrives.
Maybe the box will arrive early and you can box the bike and take it to a FedEx drop-off place, which includes FedEx/Kinko's locations.

BTW...If you plan to ship relatively frequently, I recommend the plastic box from CrateWorks.com It's large but still "airline legal." It easily holds my 60cm LHT, large racks, stove and empty fuel bottle.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Maybe the box will arrive early and you can box the bike and take it to a FedEx drop-off place, which includes FedEx/Kinko's locations.

BTW...If you plan to ship relatively frequently, I recommend the plastic box from CrateWorks.com It's large but still "airline legal." It easily holds my 60cm LHT, large racks, stove and empty fuel bottle.
Yeah, there's place open until 10pm. Still have the transport problem without the car, but I could conceivably get it to FexEx by closing on Tuesday. Don't know if that would help, but maybe.

And, yeah, a dedicated box would be nice, long term. That's why my bike has couplers and a dedicated bag. This is the first time we've ever tried to fly with my wife's bike, so we will see if this becomes a habit.
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Old 09-24-18, 01:33 PM
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NB No tape over the bar codes, its harder to scan and shipping errors can be a result.
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Old 09-24-18, 02:49 PM
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Everyone. As already pointed out, Bikeflights has nothing to do with your bike getting there. Fedex ships your bike.

I never wait till the last minute. If it is supposed to take 3 days I pad it with 2 or 3. That way if there is a screw up there is time to fix it.
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Old 09-24-18, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
NB No tape over the bar codes, its harder to scan and shipping errors can be a result.
I never had a problem. Shipped tons of stuff. But I guess that doesn't mean it can't happen.
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Old 09-24-18, 02:52 PM
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What did the box cost you? I have always just gone to the shop for a box where they are free.
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Old 09-24-18, 03:13 PM
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Can you drive your wife to work Tuesday and have use of the car for the day? Then have her bike ready to box when the box gets to you. Throw it in the box and take it to fedex that afternoon. Then pick her up from work and not have to worry about the bike stress.
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Old 09-24-18, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
What did the box cost you? I have always just gone to the shop for a box where they are free.
Box cost me between 40 and 50 USD, plus shipping. Supposed to come with some other items to aid in packing and protect the bike, and it saved me the hassle of sourcing a box locally and figuring out how to get it from the shop to the house, so it seemed worth it. I would not have paid it had I realized that shipping the empty box would take about 4 times longer than their quoted time to ship a boxed bike. But the box was ordered and paid for before they gave me a shipping estimate. I had planned, as you say, to pad my bike's arrival by a few days, but that's not an option now. I realize that BikeFlights is not actual shipping company, but the question still seems relevant. They do provide shipping times, and I am wondering how accurate those estimates have proven to be. I can still take the bike on the plane, and still may end up doing that, but not having to deal with it at the airport might be nice, provided the risk of not having a bike at the other end is not too great.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I never had a problem. Shipped tons of stuff. But I guess that doesn't mean it can't happen.
It's more important that you tape over it in one piece, rather than vertically. The vertical seams can cause 'ghosts' in the barcode that mis-read...whereas if you tape over it with one piece, and it doesn't scan...it just doesn't scan.

I've never heard a complaint from customers about their Bikeflights-brokered shipment being delayed, but I don't recall anyone having quite as tight a schedule as you. Isn't there an option to hold for pickup? I'm sure wherever you are sending the bike would accommodate you, unless they are a whole-in-the-wall.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:44 AM
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No need to tape over anything. The label goes inside a plastic, self-adhering holder that seals so the label cannot fall out. They are available at any FedEx location, including FedEx/Kinko's stores. Bikeflights advises that you put two on the box and one inside the box. Seal up the box and slap two labels on it. One on the front and one on one of the box ends.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
I've never heard a complaint from customers about their Bikeflights-brokered shipment being delayed, but I don't recall anyone having quite as tight a schedule as you. Isn't there an option to hold for pickup? I'm sure wherever you are sending the bike would accommodate you, unless they are a whole-in-the-wall.
That's an option, or I assume, but it still means dragging a boxed bike around town, which is one of the issues I was hoping to avoid by shipping ahead. Box should arrive today. I could conceivably have it packed up and at FexEx in the morning, but it does seem like too tight of a schedule. It seems like the shipping schedule is pretty reliable, and it would probably work out, but consequences if it doesn't outweigh the inconvenience and cost of checking it on the plane. Only one person has mentioned a delay on one shipment, but with such a small sample size, I am not feeling like I should risk it. I may look into shipping it home after the ride, depending on how convenient that will be, because if the bike is delayed getting home, there will be no real consequence.
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Old 09-25-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed View Post
Can you drive your wife to work Tuesday and have use of the car for the day? Then have her bike ready to box when the box gets to you. Throw it in the box and take it to fedex that afternoon. Then pick her up from work and not have to worry about the bike stress.
Just saw this comment and had considered it. Problem being that I work first shift, wife works 2nd shift, and, having looked further into the FedEx shipping hours, while the office is open until 10pm, the deadline for shipping drop offs is 5 or 6pm. No guarantee that I will even have the box by then, let alone have it packed. Too many variables to make that work, but I did consider it.
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Old 09-25-18, 12:30 PM
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Shipped four times with BF, always with the cheapest/longest option. On one leg, the bike arrived one day late..... others were all on time.

That being said, I would want at least a couple days leeway for delays. Three or four would be ideal.

- Mark
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Old 09-25-18, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
No need to tape over anything. The label goes inside a plastic, self-adhering holder that seals so the label cannot fall out. They are available at any FedEx location, including FedEx/Kinko's stores. Bikeflights advises that you put two on the box and one inside the box. Seal up the box and slap two labels on it. One on the front and one on one of the box ends.
Assuming one has a plastic, self-adhering holder.
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Old 09-25-18, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Assuming one has a plastic, self-adhering holder.
Unless you are having the box picked up and cannot get to a FedEx location to get them beforehand, you will have them. If I am worried about getting them for the return shipping, I will pick up extras before I leave and leave them with the bike box during loop tours (Did that for my Black Hills Tour) or look for a FedEx/Kinko's store in the town where the tour starts/ends (have done that in Missoula on a few occasions.)
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Old 09-27-18, 12:52 AM
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I used BF to ship both my bikes when I moved to Hawaii. They offered 2 day, I chose the slower 6 day option. They made it in 5 days. If you take it to FedEx to ship they will have the plastic sleeve for the label, as was stated earlier. I also asked if they (FedEx) could wrap a couple plastic bands around the boxes just for extra assurance that they would stay taped up. You’re allowed up to 70 pounds so fill that extra space with other things you need to pack to avoid extra baggage costs at the airport.
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Old 09-27-18, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TruckerBrad View Post
You’re allowed up to 70 pounds so fill that extra space with other things you need to pack to avoid extra baggage costs at the airport.
This is a good point for anyone looking to ship with them. Having played around with their rate quote feature, I have come to the conclusion that, up to a point, box size, not weight, is the primary price driver. My box make and model is one that is listed in their dropdown menu. I played around and asked for quotes between the same origin and destination. Started at 70 lbs. and then got quotes for 60 lbs., 50 lbs. etc. IIRC, I stopped at 40 lbs. The quotes were all the same. That's good information to have if, like me, you put things like your racks, stove and empty fuel bottle inside your box along with your heavy bike. The less you have to lug through the airport the better. Next time I use them I will experiment with over 70 lbs. to see what that does to the price.
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